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It's Not Dark Yet!

30 January 2010

Bedtime Boy“It’s not dark yet!” has become Keyven’s latest excuse in the recent fight against all things bedtime.  Considering all the flak I took from the anti-co-sleeping camp for my initial choice of nighttime arrangements, I think we have done pretty well.  We had such a good stretch of relatively compliant sleep routines and peaceful jibber-jabbering as he slipped off to dream land.  Alas, all good things must come to an end.

A recap of the last 10 minutes since I put Keyven down for his afternoon nap:

“Hey moooooooooommy… (pronounced mow-awwwwwww-mee) come here! Pleeeeeeeease!”

*insert fake coughing here*

No Jammies“Mommy. Get. In. Here. Right. Nooooooooow! Or go to timeout! 1… 2… 3… Go to timeout, mommy!”

*banging, flopping, general chit-chat*

“Hey moooooooommy… hey! Mommy, what are you doin’? Come here, mommy!”

*crib rails being banged in time to singing B-I-N-G-O*

“Mommy, why won’t you come sing with me?” (Said because I put him to bed without our usual singing because he was being particularly ornery.)

“It’s not dark yet, and I’m NOT sleepy! Do you HEEAR me, mommy?!”

Annnd… silence.

One of the most random and funny things that Keyven has worked in to his night-time habits is the request for socks.  On his hands. It comes and goes, and sometimes happens during the day as well.  We have no explanation for it, but it makes him happy and he’ll even wake up with them still on!

Crash Landing The funniest part of all his protesting and drama-filled antics in bed is that he is perfectly capable of climbing out of his crib.  He never has done it, though.  Oh, there has been an occasional leg hiked up over the top rail when we are in there to get him up and he’s in a hurry.  But it has never lead to anything.  Yet…

Photos, Top to Bottom: Pre-bedtime singing “Happy Birthday” and then yelling, “Cheese!” when I got out the camera; the morning after a night of sock-hand and “No jammies!” demands; what happens on the way home from school with no nap and a late night of bed-fighting the night before… passed out in the car, and didn’t wake up when we brought him in the house!

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Strike Two

14 November 2009

For those of you wondering or keeping track, we just finished cycle two.  By finished, I mean that my period started today, after two days of negative pregnancy tests.  I guess all the crappy symptoms were the result of, oh, I don’t know… the three different forms of hormones I’ve been on in the past three weeks. 

I know they say “third time’s the charm” and all, but for now there’s not going to be a third time.  The next cycle will put me in to being due during the Fall 2010 semester and… we’re just not sure at the moment that we want to push graduation back another semester.  Of course, I’m sad and disappointed at the current outcome.  But just knowing for sure either way kind of makes things less stressful — at least there’s one thing in my life that is a known factor for the time being.

Sorry this isn’t much of an update or blog, but I just wanted to get it out there.  Thanks for thinking of us.   

Basket Boy Birthday Song

9 November 2009

Oh, blog.  How I have neglected you.  I haven’t even posted stuff about my own kid’s birthday, and it was almost a month ago. Well, at least that just goes to show that when I miss other people’s kid’s birthdays, it’s not because I don’t love ya’ll.

There are so many things to tell, so many stories that I wish I just had a video camera crew with me 24/7 so they could capture all of this kid’s adorable cuteness — and maybe some of his not-so-adorable naughtiness, so I can remember that when I think I want to have five kids.

This video will just have to hold you over for now.  I posted it on Facebook a couple of days ago, but I know lots of the blog faithful aren’t on there or maybe didn’t see it.  It’s pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.  It’s from last Sunday, and he has been singing it ever since.

In fact, if I may digress for a moment, there’s a really funny story involving this whole singing “happy birthday” thing.

Last Saturday (the 31st), was Nana’s birthday.  Since we were with family & friends all day for Neewollah, we ended up at my grandparents’ house in the country for our traditional post-Neewollah food & bonfire.  Before we eat, the VanDyne family always gathers in a circle to hold hands and pray (there are so many of us, there’s not usually a table big enough to sit around at once).  Keyven loves it.  He squints his little eyes shut and then peeks around the room at everyone while someone is praying.  This particular night, someone suggested that we should sing “Happy Birthday” to Nana before we prayed.  So, we all stood there, holding hands and singing to her.

Later that night, back at home, our very tired boy (who had a minimal nap and lots of over-stimulation) was insisting on having some yogurt, even though it was almost 9:30 p.m.  Tim and I were sitting with him at the table, keeping him company while he ate.  And jabbered.  And ate.  And jabbered.  Then he stopped, set down his spoon, and looked at me.

“We pray?” he asked.

“Uhhm… okay.” I said, as I took Tim’s and Keyven’s hands. We bowed our heads. I said a quick prayer, and figured he would get back to his eating so we could get him to bed.

“Nooooooo,” Keyven said, “I pray.” He reached out for our hands.

Tim and I smiled at each other and held hands again, looking at Keyven expectantly, before closing our eyes for him to pray.

There was a brief pause.  I peeked out at him and he was sitting there, little eyes all scrunched shut.

He started out, “Hap-birth-day. To. Yooooooooooou…”

Tim & I both looked at each other at the same time and almost lost it. It was all we could do to keep quiet and let him finish his “prayer” — complete with “Hap-birth-day. Nan-uhhhhhhhh. Hap-birth. Day. To. Yoooooou!”

Could this kid be any cuter?

Try, Try Again… ?

17 October 2009

Maybe you’ve guessed by now, based on the lack of updates.  But, we don’t have anything “positive” (in any sense of the word) to share in the prego department.  Sorry it has taken me a while to post the news.  I’m doing okay, but just trying to not over-think it.

I figured it wasn’t going to go the way I wanted when I took tests on Tuesday & Wednesday and they were negative. On Thursday, my period started.  Not the kind that could be mistaken for spotting or implantation bleeding.  Since true false positives are pretty rare, it’s safe to assume that I had what is referred to as a chemical pregnancy.  That means we managed to conceive, but it miscarried very early.

It’s kind of a weird term, because it makes it seem like there wasn’t really a pregnancy at all.  I guess the reason why they call it “chemical” is because the only way it can be detected is by hCG tests (either blood or urine).  If we had done an ultrasound that early, it wouldn’t have even shown up as a gestational sac at that point, because it would still be so small.  When it gets far enough along to be visibly confirmed by an ultrasound, it becomes a “clinical pregnancy.”

Not that it makes me feel any better, but this is a pretty common occurrence.  Some statistics put the number of conceptions that end in miscarriages as high as 70%.  Unless you’re actively trying to conceive and being obsessive about pregnancy tests, you’d really never know you had one that early.

On Monday, I have to call and cancel my new obstetrics appointment with my doctor, and talk to them about whether or not we’ll try another cycle or if we have to wait.  I guess on the bright side, the prego symptoms weren’t all in my head.

No News is Good News?

12 October 2009
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They say, “No news is good news.”  So if it’s partially no news and partially good news, then it must be really good news, right?  Unless the good news doesn’t really turn out to be so great, which takes us back to just no news, which by then has gone down a little bit to just so-so news.  Wow, now “news” is turning in to one of those words that just looks funny when you read it too much.

Okay, okay, I’ll get to the point already.

As most of you know, today is the big day.  Well, was the big day.  We were going to wake up together and snuggle and talk about going to take our pregnancy test to find out if we’re having another baby.  After fixing me coffee &  waffles, Tim was going to stand outside the bathroom, waiting impatiently while I did my “test prep” and then we’d anxiously wait together for the results to come up.

What actually happened: I woke up at 4:30 with an insanely horrible urge to pee.   Yes, ever since that last blog, this has still been happening.  Some mornings I can ignore it and actually fall back to sleep.  This was not one of those mornings.  Fifteen minutes later, I poke Tim.  “Honey… I really have to pee.”

I went, and did my thing.  (TMI ALERT!)  I have to pee in a cup when I do this, because I have ruined far too many of those freaking expensive little tests from actually peeing too much on them.  Yes, it is possible.  Plus, doing it in a cup alleviates that desperate “ohmigod-i-have-to-pee-so-bad-and-I-don’t-even-know-if-I’m-awake-enough-to-do-this-right” feeling.  You can be relieved, wake up a little (just a little) and then get down to the business at hand.  And, as was the case this morning, if you’re obsessive about your tests, you can take more than one without waiting until you have to pee again.

I used an EPT Certainty test, compliments of Alison — who is now pregnant and decided she didn’t really need two more tests, which were likely to expire before she’d be able to use them again.  I appreciate it, because I probably would have just saved them and done something silly like use one when I’m eight months prego just to see what happens.  For those who aren’t up on the latest and greatest innovations in POAS (pee on a stick) tests, these are the Cadillac version.  I don’t even want to know how much they cost.  But once you do your thing, a little digital window displays an hourglass timer until it’s time to read the results.  Then it says, “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.”

At least I assume if one is pregnant, it says, “Pregnant.”  But in my case, this morning, it said, “Not Pregnant.”  *insert sad face here*

Good thing for me (and you, dear readers) that I’ve been preparing for this very morning.  I have not one, but two other types of pregnancy tests.  And a cup full of pee.  Oh, and a mild obsession with being convinced that I am pregnant this time, or having very realistic psychosomatic symptoms.

So, I “ran” another test.  This one using a Dollar Tree home pregnancy test.  Yup, ladies, you heard it here (in case you hadn’t heard it already).  The dollar store sells prego tests for… get this… a dollar.  Granted, you’ll have to provide the timer and it’s clear plastic so you have to look at your pee the whole time, but those are sacrifices I can make to not have to pay drugstore prices.  The other great thing is that they have a pretty good reputation for being able to detect pretty low levels of hCG.  It actually detects levels sooner than any version of the EPT brand tests.  You can visit the Pee on a Stick website to see how tests compare.  Dollar Tree (New Choice): 25; EPT Certainty: 50.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with using an EPT test (and I sincerely appreciate the donation), but they’re more appropriate for normal women who have missed a period and think they might be pregnant.  Not ovulation-obsessed day counters who are probably testing too early.  As of today, I am at 13 DPO (days past ovulation).  According to fertilityfriend.com, the average DPO count for an accurate HPT (home pregnancy test) is 13.6.

IMG_2920 Okay, back to the second test.  The control line came up — that’s the one that appears in the second window that essentially lets you know that you used enough pee to get the chemicals all the way across the stick.  It darkens and changes a bit as it sits, but for the most part, once you see that you can be pretty sure of the results.  This is another advantage to the non-digital tests in general: you can actually see the lines instead of letting the test “read” the results for you.  I know it’s supposed to make it easier, but then you can’t stare scheduleat the window for minutes wondering if there’s a line there or your eyes are playing tricks on you.  Now where’s the fun in that?

At first, I didn’t see anything.  But then I noticed a very faint blue line in the first box.  I showed it to Tim, but he’s a guy and I don’t expect him to “get” all the subtle nuances of POAS tests.  He just looked at me like I was crazy and suggested we go back to bed and try again in a couple of days.  I tried to go back to sleep, I really did.  But my brain can only take so many “what ifs” before it decides it is just awake for the day.  I resorted to my good friend Google to help me find pics of other “faint” pregnancy tests, and the likelihood of it being a true positive is pretty good.  I even included a pic so you can see for yourself (or not, depending on how good your lighting & eyesight are).

I’ll be heading to the dollar store today to get a couple more tests.  Most people say to wait two more days (and hCG levels double every 2 – 3 days in early pregnancy), but we’ll see if I can make it that long.  Fortunately, our schedule this week is loaded, as you can see.  Yes, that’s an actual screenshot of the Excel spreadsheet that keeps us somewhat sane.  Sooo… maybe there will be another announcement tomorrow, but as you can see, I won’t have time to blog about it!  😉  Stay tuned for the next installment of Adventures in (Missed) Conception.

Edited (10/18) to Add: After posting this entry, I realized that the test pictured was not a New Choice brand test from the Dollar Store. It is actually a generic CVS-brand HPT.  I must have had this left over from buying some during a trip to Virginia.  Yes, I did check the expiration date and it was well within the margins.  Just wanted to put this out there in case anyone noticed/cared.

I’m Just Sayin’

6 October 2009

Here I am, on my fifth morning in a row of insomnia.  Yay.  I’ve got this down to a science now, though:

– Wake up.

– Realize it’s way too early to be awake unless I want to start a new career at the donut shop.

– Try to go back to sleep, without success.

– Going back to sleep is frequently hampered by some annoying random song stuck in my head.  Today’s was “Teardrops on My Guitar.”  Really, brain?  I hate that song and you know it.

– Get up and pee.  (This one just started yesterday.)

– Listen to everyone else in the vicinity sawing logs.  Think about poking them until they stop, or are at least as awake as I am.

– Play solitaire on my phone, in hopes that it will lull my brain back in to sleeping or pass the time until it’s actually time to get up.

– Debate doing something useful with my time, like blogging or homework (ha!).

– Finally fall back asleep — provided I’ve been up at least an hour and a half, I can usually get some winks in as long as it’s not to close to actual waking time. Otherwise, waking up for real is torture.

The interesting thing about all this is that I recall it used to happen to me in my super-early prego days before (and again in the 3rd trimester).  Sunday & Monday, I had weird little fluttery cramps off and on all day.  Too early for period cramps.  Right on time for implantation cramps.

Also, Sunday night I finally started peeing a lot and haven’t stopped since.  As the MS walk crew can attest, I usually have a bladder of steel.  Even though that problem is typically associated with later pregnancy because of the uterus pushing on the bladder, it can be a sign of very early pregnancy.  Because your body is already making changes that cause you to pee more — like flushing out toxins and increasing blood supply.

I know, I know… it’s still too early to tell.  And I’m not saying 100% that I think I’m pregnant.  I’m just cautiously optimistic.  And I don’t have anything better to do at 5 a.m. than this, so you guys can relive the tortured pre-test moments with me. 🙂

Have you seen the sidebar countdown? Six more days until I get to pee on a stick.  Technically, I could take a test as early as Thursday because that’s when the hCG shot should be totally out of my system. And I DO have a couple more tests now, thanks to a donation this weekend from Alison of her unneeded prego sticks. Hmmm… no, I shouldn’t.  I will really try to be a good girl and wait until Monday.

Oh, I forgot to tell a little story previously about our trip to the doctor’s office last week.  When we got there the day of our IUI, there was a bright blue Honda Fit parked next to the front door of the office building.  Its custom tag read “BLUBRRY.”  Strange coincidence?  Or a sign?  I’m just sayin’…

How to Make a Baby

29 September 2009

Throw out everything you know about the birds & the bees.  We’re going high tech.  After all, last time was completely spontaneous and unexpected, so we might as well plan this one down to the point where we know the precise moment of possible conception, within hours. Right?  I wish it was a matter of preference and not a matter of whether or not we want to have another kid before Keyven graduates from high school. 

After going back and forth on the timing of things ever since… well, pretty much ever since Keyven was born… a couple of months ago, we officially decided it was time to start trying to add to our family.  We figure that now, while we’re both in school and schedules are more flexible, it would be easier to deal with the baby-phase than later when we’re both trying to start new jobs.  So, we’re trying to aim for next summer as a due date. In fact, if I don’t get pregnant in the next few months, Plan B is probably going to be waiting until we’re done with school.

Here’s the part where, if you don’t want medical details, you should stop reading. 😉  We decided to share because it’s not something people talk openly about often.  And if it helps someone else out who is going through this, or about to, then it’s worth it.

Knowing that I have a history of fertility issues, we headed to the doctor’s office to get things checked out.  No surprise that I’m not ovulating.  I was prescribed Provera (to kick-start my period so we didn’t have to wait for 60 days or more for it to start) and Clomid for helping to stimulate my ovaries into producing some follicles instead of just sitting around doing nothing all cycle.

As any couple who has been through fertility treatments can tell you — but probably won’t, because men seem to be much more sensitive about these things — we also found out that Tim would get to participate in this phase of testing.  Needless to say he wasn’t super-thrilled when I came home with a plastic cup and instructions for um… specimen collection. The morning we had to take the sample to the lab was borderline bad comedy, complete with him holding the cup in his pants waist and us driving like mad to the hospital.  Where there was, of course, a mix-up and all sorts of confusion because in our rush to leave the house we forgot the lab prescription. 

When the results came in, we found out that his “count” is great, but the survival rate ain’t so hot.  His count was actually so spectacularly high that it registered “abnormal” by the lab’s standards.  The max number in their range is 160 million per sample.  Tim’s had 265 million.  It seems a little odd that having a lot would be considered abnormal.  As my doctor put it, “You can never have too much sperm.”  The problem is, they don’t seem to last long.  The number left by six hours (which is about how long it would take them to reach an egg, if one miraculously popped out) compounds our fertility issues further.  Tim likes to say, “They’re sprinters, not marathon runners.”  You really have to have a sense of humor about this process.  Especially when they tell you you’re going to have to do IUI — intrauterine insemination — to have much of a chance at this working.  IUI is a nice way of saying “artificial insemination.”  I think they stopped using that term because it hurt too many daddy feelings. 

Last week, I started my Clomid, taken cycle days five through nine.  Monday, I had an ultrasound to see if it worked.  I did have one mature follicle. That means, even with the fertility drugs, my ovaries only eked out one!  At least we don’t have to worry this time around about multiples!  They gave me an hCG injection at my appointment to make me ovulate (meaning, to get an egg to pop out of that mature follicle).  As fair warning to anyone who might have to do this: it’s a butt shot. And it doesn’t hurt at first, but by the time you’re walking out of the office through the waiting room, it could cause you to announce loudly “Ow, my butt hurts!” to a roomful of very confused strangers.  On the plus side, it’s a great excuse to make your partner rub your butt all day.

Anyway, hCG is not the hormone that would normally make ovulation occur in the body, but apparently that hormone is so hard and expensive to manufacture that no one does it.  hCG does the trick.  Unfortunately, it also makes you feel like you’re pregnant and makes any pregnancy tests you take in a week likely to be positive, even if you’re not. 

Today, we went back to the doctor’s office for our IUI.  This requires another donation from Tim, so it can undergo a process called… are you ready for this? Sperm washing.  Talk about world’s worst jobs.  Basically the sample is spun in a centrifuge and separated, then concentrated and placed in a new medium used to place the sperm during the IUI.  This time, though, there wasn’t the option of doing the “preparation” at home.  We were granted an unused suite of exam rooms and a sticky note on the door that said, “Do Not Enter.”  Funny how you don’t notice that the doors in exam rooms don’t lock until you’re in a situation like this. 

After we completed the first phase of our “mission,” as Tim liked to call it, we had to wait about an hour for the preparation to be done.  When we came back, it was in to a paper towel skirt and on to a table with me.  Tim stood by and held my hand.   And it was finished.  Actually quick and painless. The most uncomfortable part was that I had to lie down for 20 minutes afterwards on the exam table with my butt propped up.  Dressed again, and got instructions to not take a pregnancy test until two weeks from yesterday.  Ahh… the dreaded waiting begins.

So far, I have been totally exhausted, hungry, and crampy.  The first two, likely due to the hCG shot.  The latter, Tim likes to credit as my uterus’ reaction to the sneak attack of his highly trained elite soldiers on their infiltration air assault operation.  They reached enemy territory without the usual early warning system and he’s convinced they’re in there taking names and kicking butt in their quest to reach the hostage egg.  Like I said, it helps to have a sense of humor in all of this.  It would be wonderful if I got pregnant the first time around; however, the chances of that happening are only about 6%.  That low number is mostly due to the fact that my ovaries only produced one follicle — had there been three or four, our chances would have been closer to 25 – 30%.  I guess we’ll spend the next couple of weeks finding a balance between hopefulness and reality.  But now that we’ve shared it with the world, you guys can wait with us! 

Send us lots of baby wishes, good prego thoughts, and love.  We’ll keep you posted. 🙂