Thursday, May 03, 2018

FET for Baby #2

I wanted to give you guys a quick update on our plans for baby number 2!  I've been sharing quite a bit of this on Instagram, but if you don't follow me there then you may not be familiar with the saga the ensued several months ago. 

Back in the fall our donor sent me a text saying that she had been trying to get ahold of the IVF coordinator at the clinic we went through because her regular doctor wanted her medical records from the procedures she had as a donor.  She said she had been emailing her and getting no response.  I told her I'd try to contact her via email saying I wanted to start an FET (even though we were nowhere near ready) I thought that maybe there would be more of a sense of urgency for her to reply to someone wanting to start a cycle, well I never heard from her either.  We both got pretty fired up about it and my donor actually reached out to their main office in Atlanta and was finally able to get a response from the IVF coordinator. 

I knew that because of this communication situation I wanted to get into contact sooner rather than later with the clinic so we could make sure all bases were covered in a timely fashion.  I emailed her in the middle of January and figured she'd get back to me within a few days.  10 days later I still had not received and email so I decided to contact the Atlanta office (the same lady my donor had) and within the hour had a response from the coordinator.  She gave me some bs excuse as to why she hadn't responded to my previous email, but she has been in quick and constant contact with me since.  

So in order for us to proceed I have to be completely weaned off of breastfeeding which I've been for about 2 months now.  I also have to have 2 normal cycles and since my period came back at 4 months PP, I knew that wouldn't be an issue.  I've actually had both of my normal cycles after weaning so realistically we could be cycling right now for a May transfer, but that's actually a little sooner than anticipated.  So instead we will be waiting until mid-summer (hopefully July) before we actually transfer.  A part of me would really love to transfer as soon as possible, but since we have some control of when this happens, another part of me would like to wait a little bit longer so that this baby would be born in Spring rather than in winter like Georgia was.  It may seems silly but winter in Illinois is a really crappy time to be off for maternity leave and also leaves very little options when it comes to birthday parties! 

I am excited to hopefully get pregnant again, but I’m really not looking forward to the prep for the cycle.  I am already obsessing over the calendar counting days and trying to figure out dates.  We do have to travel on a plane out of state for this to happen so for us the sooner we know, the better, however we don't have much say because it's all dictated by my body so we can't really be booking any flights or anything like that yet.  If my calculations are correct we could be transferring the 3rd week of July somewhere between the 17th & the 20th (see, obsession) which would give us an end of March, early April baby.

The biggest downside of the process this time around is that we no longer have infertility treatment coverage so the monitoring ultrasounds will not be covered, the transfer won't be covered, and some of the meds won't be covered.  Luckily, just like last time, I have already had all of the meds I need donated by some of the amazing women from our Instagram community.  I also opened an HSA account with our new insurance plan and fertility treatments are considered to be "qualified" medical expenses and can be paid for out of that account.  My company contributes $1300 a year into the account so there is some relief even though our full coverage benefits that we had before were definitely better.

I am definitely excited for what is to come for our tribe.  We have 5 frozen babes on ice and I'm very hopeful that our transfer will work and we will be bringing home baby number 2 next spring!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Favorite Toddler Apps

I am going to preface this post by saying that I truly believe that too much screen time for a child can be detrimental and that we feel very strongly about making sure our child plays outside and uses her imagination to the fullest for the longest she can.  We want her to stay a kid as long as possible and definitely do not want her face plastered to a screen at an early age.  With that being said, I also believe that screens are the future for our children.  It's inevitable whether we like it or not.  They will be raised and taught on tablets and computers.  I do feel like books will still have a strong presence in Georgia's life as well, but the nature of the beast that is technology is that our kids will be using them at a very early age.

So lately Georgia has been showing an interest in our phones.  It's kind of a monster that we created ourselves being that we use our phones in front of her, maybe sometimes too much, and she sees that so she wants them.  Very rarely do I ever give her my phone to play with, one because she has already FaceTime'd with someone I haven't really spoken to since college (not in a bad way just grew up, got married, got jobs, families, etc.), and two because I don't want her to be plastered to a phone screen all the time when she has plenty of toys and books of her own and hopefully soon we can get her outside once the weather makes up its mind and we finally get some warm weather.

I ended up giving G our old iPad.  It doesn't take updates anymore because it's so old but it works fine still it's just a little slow.  It's still on iOS 9.  It works well for her because it's obviously bigger than a phone and it's not as easy for her to get into things she shouldn't (like calling) because there are only a few apps on it.  So far there are only a few apps that she uses, most of which are entirely educational.

Fisher Price Laugh & Learning Letter Monkey
If you search Fisher Price in your App Store there are tons of them.  Georgia's favorite most used app is the Learning Letters Monkey.  It does letters, numbers, shapes, and songs.  It's definitely the one she prefers over any other.  The songs are cute and catchy and the colors are bright with very cute & simple illustrations. 

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Shapes & Colors
This one is great too.  It has 2 levels, level 1 is colorful shapes with little faces and they bounce all over the screen and play music.  Level 2 is similar but it also has a colorful piano that they can make their own songs with.

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Animal Sounds
This was the first app I ever bought for Georgia when she was like 8 months old just to play the sounds for her.  She never showed an interest in the phone or the app at that time but now this is one of her favorites.  It's also got 2 levels and plays through different animals like Lion, Monkey, Bear, Goat, Frog, etc.  There are literally tons of FP apps, these 3 are free, some are paid, but they are all geared towards learning and these are some of our favorites.

Baby Bubbles
This one isn't really "educational" but it's fun for G.  She likes to pop the colorful bubbles that appear on the screen.  The downside to this is it doesn't hold her attention very long, but I think as she gets older it will be one to keep her occupied in a pinch if we need it! The nice thing about it is it has no adds or interface so there is nothing else they can accidentally press to take them out of the app.  It also has sounds and the bubbles are different colors.

Kids Doodle – Movie Kids Color & Draw
This app is fun!  It's just a blank drawing board with fun neon colors that change each time you take your finger away and then put it back down.  It also has a video function that plays back the steps they took to draw their picture like a movie.  There's also a gallery with this so you can save your work and go back if you want.  I think I like this app more than Georgia but I know it will be one she will start to enjoy as she gets older.  Again, not as educational as the FP apps, but drawing is always fun & I think it's a great way to be creative. 

Sometimes it's just easier when we are cooped up in the house because of a lingering winter, or we are on a long flight, or our kids are just being assholes, to hand them the phone or tablet for the sake of everyone's sanity.  What are your favorite apps for your kiddos?

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Post Csection, Post Breastfeeding Body

In honor of Csection Awareness Month I am sharing my story about my post-csection and post-breastfeeding body.  I'm going to preface this by saying that I am about to get very real and vulnerable as well as transparent with this post.  I am also going to say that many people may not understand why I would be writing a post like this so I will also say that if this post is offensive in some way than you can kindly exit your browser and move on.  This is my experience and these are my feelings. 

Ok so now that that is out of the way, I've always been very thin and petite naturally.  I've never really had to watch my weight or watch what I eat, being thin runs in my genes on both sides of my families and I've always considered myself pretty lucky for those reasons.  The same thing came when I got pregnant.  I gained about 40 pounds but didn't have any stretch marks and didn't really get big anywhere except my belly and my swollen feet at the end.  Other than that I didn't even really go up in bra size I mean I was literally all belly.  

Even though I'm naturally thin, it doesn't come without its own set of insecurities and body shaming.  Being told to "eat a cheese burger" (trust me, I eat PLENTY of cheese burgers!) or being asked why my chest was as flat as my back were comments I have received several times throughout my life.  I guess it's nothing that a push-up bra can't fix in a pinch, but still, sometimes hurtful and unnerving hearing those types of comments.  Similar were the comments after Georgia was born of women saying that they "hated" me because of how thin I was so quickly.  This is honestly a side of postpartum that rarely ever gets talked about because the struggle is often the opposite, but this is the reality for a lot of women.  We are body shamed for being too thin while others are shamed for being too thick rather than celebrating the fact that we just birthed a baby we are quick to start trying to get back to our "pre-baby" body when in fact we should be resting and recovering from all that we put our bodies through. 
When I was in labor with Georgia and ended up being told I would need a csection I was devastated because I had never even considered needing one.  I was taught a very valuable lesson about birth and how much it can change.  I thought I was being flexible with my birth plan but clearly wasn't.  I ended up with an amazing OB who left me with one of the best scars I've ever seen, meaning that it's very very faint and hardly visible at all, plus its extremely low.  I instantly noticed a change in how my body was after all the swelling from the csection.  I knew that it would be different, I mean I just grew and birthed a tiny 8lb human, of course my body would be different!
After Georgia came I lost my weight in just a few weeks with zero effort.  I was breastfeeding which in my case was also helpful.   I was constantly eating, I could not keep up with the demanding diet of breastfeeding fast enough!  I thought I ate a lot when I was pregnant but the breastfeeding diet was a whole different ball game.  So my body after pregnancy bounced back quickly and I was thin with the biggest boobs I've ever had in my entire life.  Keeping weight on was a challenge but I knew I needed to keep up with demands of my body in order to provide the demands my baby was making from breast feeding. 

At 12 months I began the weaning process so that we can move forward with our next embryo transfer.  I am now officially over 13 months postpartum and about six weeks post breastfeeding and my body has again changed.  I am weighing less than I did while I was breastfeeding (I'm about 108lbs, was about 110 when nursing), I have no shape at all.  I am a twig.  My supply has dried up leaving me with less on top than I've ever had.  Some people I'm sure think I am crazy for thinking that this is in any way a bad thing, but I am still adjusting to how I have changed physically over the last 13 months & since stopping nursing.

I would do it all over and over again if I had to, regardless of how my body turned out in the end.  It was worth it all.  And sometimes csection mamas are made to feel as though the birth of their baby wasn't worthy or was the "easy way out" when in fact it is really the opposite.  The recovery can be horrible, it can cause issues with breastfeeding, and it makes it impossible to do the simplest of tasks.  But I am a work in progress when it comes to loving my body & my body image.  I never really have loved my body, but I am trying to go easy on myself and accept me for me.  I think this is really important as women and mothers of daughters because there is so much pressure to have a perfect body.  We need to embrace our bodies and our scars and be kind to ourselves whether we are mothers or not.  I wear my csection & other scars proudly and working to make peace with feeling beautiful with my postpartum self, and all that she is.
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