Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Dinner Party

Tonight I'm hosting a dinner party for 6 friends (was supposed to be 9, but 3 cancelled). I LOVE hosting parties, so I'm excited. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies, but baking is another story! I absolutely hate to bake--one of the many things that Rachel Ray and I have in common! ;) Right now I'm prepping things and wanted to take a quick break to check on my blogworld friends! What are you doing for NY Eve?

Here's my menu for tonight:

-Bacon wrapped water chestnuts
-Cranberry turkey pinwheels
-Shrimp cocktail
-Olive tapendade with cracked pepper crackers
-Roasted red pepper spread on crostini

Salad: Mixed greens tossed with orange segments, parmeson cheese & an amazing orange vinaigrette served with crusty breads and herbed olive oil for dipping

Main Course:
-Grilled filet mignon
-Roasted garlic parmeson twice baked potatoes
-Almondine carrots

Dessert: Lemon berry trifle and coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream

Drinks: X-rated martinis made with ruby red grapefruit juice (these are my fave!), tons of wine, and of course a variety of way too expensive beer to please J

I'm sure I'm making WAY too much food, but that's pretty typical for me. I'd rather have tons of leftovers that not have enough food. I'll try to take some photos later and post them. So, what do you think of my menu?

(Tomorrow I will post my farewell to 2008 and the ringing in of 2009 ... I have so much to say!)

Monday, December 29, 2008

If I could go back in time ...

Last night while J and I were lying in bed cuddling he asked "if I could travel back in time and tell you about our infertility struggles, would you still have gone through all of this?" I sat there for a minute and then asked "would you tell me about Myles?" and J said "yes". I quickly replied "absolutely ... I would put myself through all that we've been through and more if it meant that I'd have Myles for any amount of time." I then said "wouldn't you?" to J. He said "no" and I was shocked! J went on to say that he wouldn't want to put Myles through all that he went through. J said he didn't like seeing Myles struggle and that he couldn't bare to put him through that again. Of course I didn't want Myles to be in any pain either (what mother does?), but the docs assured us that he was always made comfortable by pain meds. I was crying and felt terrible thinking of Myles in pain. J finally agreed that Myles was on a lot of pain meds and probably didn't feel much pain. Honestly I think he was just trying to make me feel better.

As I've said before I wouldn't change anything we've been through in our IF journey because that path led us to Myles. I do wish that I could go back and take away Myles's pain, but wouldn't change having him. The overwhelming sadness, anger, and devastation over losing Myles couldn't even compare to the pain of not ever knowing him! So, if someone could have told me about the last 4 years before we'd experienced them, I'd still have walked each and every step of our journey despite all the sadness because the joy of having Myles for the 26 days we had him far outweighs everything else!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to Myles

On Christmas Eve Josh and I visited Myles grave to leave him a little Christmas gift. When we arrived we found that someone had already shoveled out his grave and left him a cute little snowman decoration with an ornament attached that says "You Are Loved" (pictured below). This little gift was left by my dear friend, D, who herself is currnently going through a divorce. D is an amazing woman and wonderful friend who never ceases to amaze me! Despite all that she's dealing with she still remembered Myles. I love you D and am so lucky to call you my friend!

Josh and I left Myles a small stuffed penguin. I don't like the idea of leaving stuffed animals, which will get dirty and ratty from rain and snow, but I just fell in love with this little guy and had to get it for Myles. There's something about the penguin that reminded me of my sweet little Myles.

Christmas Eve day was horrible for me. I cried all morning, all afternoon, and all night. I literally couldn't stop crying. I haven't had one of these days in awhile, so I guess I was due. Josh makes me cards with stick figure drawings for every occasion and this year Christmas was no exception--you should see all of them for the last 11 years! It was a very sweet card, but reading the note and seeing the drawing of me and Myles on the inside made me cry even more.

Yesterday only one person, my aunt N, asked me how we were doing during this difficult time. She said that she can't imagine how difficult it is to try to pretend to be happy when someone so important is missing. Of course this made me cry, but I was also very appreciative that she mentioned Myles's name. I thanked her and told her how nice it was for someone to recognize this. For the most part I held it together at the family gatherings, but was very sad when my recently engaged brother was talking about his prospective wedding date in spring 2010. His fiance was saying how her neice is going to be a flower girl and it made me sad to think that Myles would have been a little over two at this time and likely would have also been in the wedding. I burst into tears the minute we got in the car and cried the whole way home. J tried to comfort me. He told me how much he missed Myles too and he told me how hard Christmas day was for him too ... watching my cousin's little boy and watching his daddy play with him. I know how much J dreamed of having a little boy and I can't imagine how difficult that is for him. I hate to see my "rock" so sad!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Have a Date!

Well after spending far too many hours at the repro clinic we found out that we are NOT crazy (not even J, hah!) and we have a date for our FET--January 29, 2009! K starts Lupron on Saturday and estrogen on 1/10! I can't believe that we're finally really doing this. I'm so excited and honestly am so happy to be doing this with such a wonderful person!

K stopped by tonight to pick up some of my extra meds and gave me these notes that her 7 year old made.

Keyton is so darn cute and so sweet! Honestly is there anything sweeter than that? I am so touched by Keyton's support and love! J and I are the luckiest people to have such an amazing family with us on this journey!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift Giving in Memory of Myles

Today I spent the afternoon wrapping gifts for a local family in need. This family like all families has a story. They immigrated to this area in 2007 from a refuge camp in Laos. The father was "killed" (not died, but "killed") before they immigrated and the mother is disabled and was recently diagnosed with a terminal cancer. The eldest child, P, is in my 1st period general biology class and the two other children are in elementary school. Due to the mom's disability P is the sole provider for her family. She just turned 18, attends high school full time, does all the cooking and cleaning, and works full time. P is one of the hardest working, kindest, and happiest girls you will ever meet. P suffers from chronic migraines and doesn't have health insurance, yet you won't hear her complain. Every day P greets me with a smile and a warm, cheery good morning. At least twice this year she got up early before getting her two little brothers ready for school and made traditional Hmong foods to bring to her favorite teachers. I can not say enough about P--she's truly an inspirational young woman!

One of my friends and colleagues mentioned that she and her family were going to "adopt" P's family for Christmas. Their plan was to buy them essentials like warm winter clothing and food. None of them had winter jackets, hats, mittens, or boots. However, the gifts wouldn't be bought until after Christmas. My friend is taking P shopping during our winter break. I decided that my family and close friends would contribute non-essentials in memory of Myles and would wrap them and get them to the family before Christmas. I wanted to make sure that each and every one of P's family members had a handful of wrapped gifts to open on Christmas morning.

P told me that her little brothers love playing in the snow, so we bought them each a sled. A friend told me that his son loves the nerf dart guns, so I bought each of the boys one of those too. Friends and family donated other gifts for the boys including action figures, books, handheld games, puzzles, etc... P loves photography, so we made sure she had photo albums, frames, a photo board, and other girly things like pink polka dot pajamas, matching plush slippers, lip glosses, eye shadow, lotion/body wash set with loofah, purse, wallet, etc.. My dear friend, M, and her dh, J, are donating a Canon Rebel 35mm camera to P and I know she'll love it! For the mom we collected lotion/body wash sets, perfume, candle sets, slipper socks, a purse, a winter jacket, etc... Additionally we collected many other items for the whole family including new bath towels, wash clothes, a radio/cd player, kitchen items, gift cards, and money.

When I finished wrapping the gifts and looked at all of them it made me smile and cry. I feel so good doing something like this for a family who I know will truly appreciate it. I can picture the smiles on the little boy's faces when they see their sleds and tear open the rest of their gifts. I can also see P's face light up watching her family on Christmas morning. This will be a Christmas to remember for P's family. Although I haven't enjoyed much of the holiday season, I did enjoy this. I am doing this in memory of my little Myles and it makes me feel good!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Infertility is NOT natural selection at work!

Thanks to all who stopped by to welcome K and to tell her just how amazing she is! We are very lucky to have one another. Honestly I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather be venturing on this journey with! I just know we are in for the ride of our lives and I'm looking forward to it!

Last night was a horrible night. I cried all night as I kept going over and over every single detail of the night Myles died, which just so happened to be 10 months ago yesterday. I could picture Myles's sweet little face as I held him for the last time and the sadness in his eyse when he looked at me as I was talking to him. I remember immediately knowing that things would not end well because the sparkle had left his eyes. I rehashed all that I didn't do, but wished I had. I revisited all of my regrets from that last night. I tried to recall the the feel of Myles's soft skin, but the memory eludes me. With every passing day it seems that I lose more and more of him and it kills me. I just wish that I could hold him again or feel his little hand wrap tightly around my finger. My memories just aren't enough.

Today started out as a new day, a better day until tonight. I went to Sub.way to get Josh and I a sub. The "sandwich artist" happened to be one of my former students--a not so stellar one. I made small talk with her as she made our subs. When I asked her what she'd been up to she said working and preparing for the baby. I almost threw up, but somehow managed to ask her a series of questions about it. She informed me that it was unplanned. No $hit! She's 20, barely graduated high school, works at Sub.way, and isn't married to the boy who got her pregnant (actually they're not even dating). I left without an appetite.

This type of scenario upsets me, yet it also provides evidence that infertility is not natural selection contributing to the evolution of humans. Some ignorant, scientifically-illiterate people make rude comments that infertiles shouldn't be spending so much time and/or money on trying to get pregnant. These people say we should adopt. They say infertility is natural selection at work ... nature's way of weeding out the "less fit" from the gene pool. It might be hard to believe that people say this, but if you read any of the comments on the NY Times Surrogacy article you likely saw this sentiment reiterated multiple times.

Well my friends I'll be honest and tell you that my pregnant former student is far from being a superior individual in the human gene pool. I can't imagine that nature would select her to pass on her genes over someone like me or any of my other infertile friends. This is actually a detriment to the human population rather than a benefit. I say it's more a matter of luck/chance that some are fertile while others are infertile. The lucky fertiles will make more contributions to the gene pool, but this has nothing to do with selection as it's a completely radom process. This my friends is a mechanism of evolution called genetic drift. So, those idiots who say that infertiles are "less fit" and shouldn't be trying to reproduce fail to understand the mechanisms of evolutionary change and should come spend a few weeks in my general biology class!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hello Niki's friends, it's me "K" here to say hi!

I have to start by thanking you all for supporting Niki over the past year, I can see how you are all bonded and think it's grand that you have found each other, even if your miles apart! Having good friends can make a difficult time, more tolerable!

I suppose you all want to know a little about me, pretty boring really! I'm a 30 year old mother of two little boys and fab husband. I work in the medical field as a surgical technologist (the crazy one who hands the surgeon all their instruments and bosses them around ;-) I am related to Niki via my step-father (he's really my dad, I feel bad saying step) my father passed away when I was nine. My step father has brought me much love... and Niki! My husband and I really didn't spend much time at all deciding if this was the "right" thing to do, we are so appreciative of our crazy boys, and know Niki and J will be superb parents; and I'm healthy and able. I made my lists, pro's and con's, and my con's were so few (heart burn, getting fat) nothing which made me second guess my heart's natural answer.

So, here I am, already on birth control pills, done with blood testing, done with the SHG, getting ready for psych. test and the transfer, thrilled to be able to give my cousin a miracle, Myles a sibling(s) to protect, and Niki and J a good reason to wake up and smile each day, a reason to decorate for the holidays joyfully, and a way to feel as mommy and daddy as they deserve to feel today (being the proud parents of Myles), and guess what.....I CAN'T WAIT!

I'm so grateful for all your kind words about me, but honestly, it's Niki and J that deserve commending, they've forged ahead and not given up hope! So stay by Niki's side, keep her smiling and I promise to do my best to make her (and J's) dreams come true!

Until next time, Happy Holiday's and Peace on Earth!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Feeling grateful today

Last night I went to a Christmas party for my aunt's catering group (I work for her catering weddings in the summer when I'm not teaching). It was a nice time, but everyone of course talked about babies and getting pregnant. Some of the women are older and were talking about their new grandchildren. Others are younger and were talking about having oops pregnancies while on the pill while a few of the others around my age were talking about using multiple forms of birth control, so they don't get pregnant again. Seriously?! Anyway most of it was difficult for me to endure, but when they were complaining about their husbands I felt fortunate. J is such a wonderful man who helps out around the house. In fact our relationship is more like a team--we were together towards the same goal in almost everything we do. Of course we have our differences and disagreements, but all in all we work well together. J doesn't think it's my job to clean the house or do the laundry--actually he does all of the laundry (I never do it) and does his share of cleaning. Sure I do most of the cooking, but that's because I like to do it. J does most of the yardwork because he likes that. This is our house and we both do our fair share to take care of it.

After the party I met J and a close friend of ours to have a drink. This dear friend is currently going through a divorce because her husband had an on-going affair. She tried to work it out with him, but he refused to end the extramarital relationship. Her husband was a close friend of ours too, which makes the situation even more difficult and strange for us. As I sat there listening to my friend talk about her future worries of dating, etc.. I realized yet again for the 2nd time that night how lucky I was to have my loving, helpful, trustworthy husband. I spend a good deal of my time feeling sorry for myself and for all that I've gone through, but last night I spent several hours feeling very fortunate. I am married to an amazing man who always knows how to make me laugh! I love you J and am so fortunate to call you my husband!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From the words of another babyloss mamma

This morning I read Mrs. Spit's eloquent post and was reminded of a very important point that I often forget during my dark moments of overwhelming grief and sadness. As I think of Myles's birthday that is fast approaching and the date that marks a year from his death I need to remind myself of the words spoken by Mrs. Spit as she remembers her son Gabriel:

"There came a point, a few weeks ago, when I realized that if a one year anniversary meant anything, it meant that this was forever. It meant that the days I was surviving to face would pass, however I chose to mark them. I was looking at the rest of my life, knowing that I would always miss Gabriel [insert lost child's name]. If there is a choice to be had, it is how I will live, how I will remember and honour and find meaning." --Mrs. Spit

I think all babyloss mammas need to be reminded of this very thing. Thank you Mrs. Spit for reminding me that Myles will always be missed and that I must continue to draw inspiration from my amazing little boy. I must live my life by Myles's example. I must continue to honor Myles in any way I can and must try to find some meaning, however small, in this tragedy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

K's New Dream & Journaling

Yesterday K told me that she had a new dream about having our baby for us. If you're a new reader, K has always had very vivid dreams. In this dream she saw herself giving birth to our boy/girl twins! In previous dreams she's only seen a little boy. I have to admit that I spent the entire evening fantasizing about the possibility of twins! :D Don't get me wrong I'll be happy to have one healthy little one cooking in K's uterus, but haven't really ever given too much thought to twins. In fact in the last two cycles I was crossing my fingers that I wouldn't get pregnant with twins--too risky with my history of preeclampsia. But now I don't worry as much about twins as I'm certain K could carry them, so I will continue to fantasize about the possibility of two healthy babies to fill our arms and warm our hearts!

K also told me that she started to write in the journal I gave her. K said that she figured that she should record her reasons for wanting to act as a surrogate for us. I was so deeply touched that K started journaling already and that she put this at the beginning of the journal! It's an absolutely perfect way to start her surrogacy journal! I can't help but think about how amazing it will be for our future child to read this journal when he/she is old enough. We certainly will have one very loved little baby! Thanks K--you are such a beautiful person!

I've been tagged--Random Stuff About Me

I’ve been tagged by two fellow bloggers, Lisa and Crystal, so I figured I should give this a try. Lisa and I share the bond of infertility, IVF and miscarriage. Lisa is a strong, caring woman who’s been one of my biggest supporters through all of my struggles and for that I’m so appreciative! Crys and I both know the devastation that is left in the wake of preeclampsia. We both delivered our little ones several weeks early and both lost them way too soon! Crys was one of my saviors in the early weeks and months following Myles’s death. I don’t think I would be here where I am today without the support she gave me! Thanks to both of you for being such amazing, inspirational women!

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.

Random Things About Me:

1. I have a Master’s degree in wildlife biology. In the past I’ve worked as a wildlife biologist studying West Nile virus in corvids (blackbirds, crows), I’ve also trapped mice/rats and bats, I’ve collected animal scat (poo) to identify animals, and I’ve necropsied (similar to an autopsy) various wild animals.

2. I’m a very girly girl who loves pink, which you wouldn’t guess if you read #1, but I can definitely get my hands dirty (see #1). I love to get dressed up! I wear makeup including lipstick (okay some days colored lip gloss) and style my hair every day. I love to accessorize and wear heals. I do love skirts and dresses, but not in the frigid WI winter weather!

3. I’m obsessive about plucking my eyebrows—I will pluck almost every day! I can’t stand to look in the mirror and see a tiny brown hair poking through my skin under my perfectly manicured brows. This is the reason that I can’t wax my brows—I can’t stand to go that long with the little hairs showing!

4. My secret guilty pleasure is reading Hollywood gossip magazines! I love them and can’t help myself when I’m in a grocery store checkout. If J is with I won’t buy them, but if I’m by myself the temptation is often too much!

5. I have struggled with body image issues my whole life. Even when I was a size 1/2 (before my infertility struggles) I could not completely love my body. It’s a huge issue that drives my hubby crazy. I blame my mom for my issues as she struggled with eating disorders when I was a kid and always made rude comments about people being “fat”. My mom’s mom did the same thing. I spend hours of therapy working on this issue and am hoping to break the cycle, so I don’t pass this on to my future children.

6. I LOVE dark chocolate! Nothing (well okay almost nothing) is better than a rich, warm, gooey dark chocolate lava cake! YUM!!

7. Despite not really liking football (well sports in general) I have a fantasy football team. My team is so good that they've made the playoffs. I tell J I'm not competitive and that I don't care about my team, yet every week I spend a little bit of time researching my players and asking my students/colleagues who I should play. I quietly cheer when I kick the boy's butts! :)

Surprisingly that was fun! I didn’t think I could think of 7 random things about me, but near the end I couldn’t figure out which one to pick from the list forming in my head! I am tagging a few of my “old” and new blogger friends: Becca, Donna, Nicole, Dora, B, N, and Duck.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Insensitive People

I just got back from the local clinic. I had to go get blood drawn for the long list of infectious diseases that the FDA requires to be tested in order to use a gestational carrier. This in and of itself sounds harmless, right?! To ruin my day a pregnant woman walks into the waiting room of the lab and where does she sit in the near empty room, but right across from me! Grrr! This kind of stuff is what makes me think the universe is always challenging me! Immediately I’m irritated and don’t look up from my magazine as I consider how to move to the opposite side of the room to face away from her, but before I can do that I hear her say “hi Niki.” Uggh! I look up to see a girl who graduated with my brother. Now that she’s addressed me the cordial thing to do is ask her about her pregnancy, which is the last thing I want to talk about, but I’m nice so I say “I see you are expecting. When are you due?” She replies that she’s due on January 5. Again I’m nice so I go on to ask if she’s expecting a boy or girl and she says it will be a surprise. She continues on about how she’s hoping the baby doesn’t arrive until after the holidays because it will be too much stress ... how excited she is to be expecting her first ... how excited her parents are to be grandparents ... blah, blah, blah!

At this point I’ve tuned out and am just hoping and praying that they call my name any second. She then asks “don’t you have two children?” and when I look surprised (okay, maybe shocked is the right description of my reaction) she says “or is it one?” Now I am dying for the lab tech to call me back, but nope they don’t. Frickin’ universe! I say well yes we had a little boy, Myles, who was born in January, but died in February. Surprisingly she says nothing but “oh” (nope not even the uncomfortable I’m sorry) and doesn’t even blurt out the question "what happened?" like most people do. She just uncomfortably stares at me with unsympathetic eyes. B$tch! At this point I want to claw her eyes out! I try to quickly change the subject by saying that we are trying again and finally as I’m saying this the lab tech walks out with my pee cup. Hallelujah, thank you universe! I jump up, wish the insensitive pregnant b$tch well and immediately walk into the bathroom to fill my pee cup. As I prep to fill the cup the tears start rolling and rolling down my face.

I guess I just expect everyone to know and don’t expect to get caught so off guard. And to not express sympathy for the death of our son is plain rude, especially when the girl is sitting there rubbing her giant swollen belly in my face. If only she knew how horrible and life altering it is to watch your child die in your arms! Hopefully she won't ever know, but maybe when she finally holds her child for the first time she will feel the most intense love she's ever felt. This will give her perspective that she currently doesn't have and hopefully if she ever encounters another babyloss mamma she will react with empathy and compassion.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Myles's Christmas Ornaments

I finally decided to put up a tree, but because we weren't sure if I'd actually decorate it we used the fake one. I prefer getting a real tree, but this year is different. We didn't feel like venturing out among all the happy families to select a tree, so the fake one it will be. Anyway tonight I decorated the tree and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I decided that putting up a Christmas tree would be the extent of my holiday decorations.

The ornaments I bought to remember Myles this Christmas:

The ornament my parents bought for us:

The ornament my friend, M, gave to us to remember Myles:

Friday, December 5, 2008

She always knows how to say the right thing

K read my recent blog post and sent me an email about it. She said that she's been wondering how I'd feel about doing a transfer so close to Myles's birthday and wanted to share her thoughts. This is what K had to say:

" ... let it be a blessing, you've been grieving daily, and if it brings even the smallest amount of joy to a sure fire sad day, let it! Maybe this slightly drawn out time line is Myles work, wanting to see his mommy smile close to his birthday rather than be so sad!"

I read this and immediately tears flooded my eyes. K is so understanding and empathetic. She seems to always know just what to say to me to help make me feel better! To think of my little Myles wanting me to be happy warms my heart! Thank you K for making me look at the overlap in the two events in a different way that does make me smile! K, you are truly my angel of hope!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another step closer

We finally got word from my clinic that our FDA paperwork was approved, so the clinic is sending us kits to do the infectious disease testing. My RE's clinic is a little over an hour away, so they're letting us do the b/w locally. They also scheduled the psych evals, new program start meeting with RE, consent signing, and injection training for K. I requested that we do it all on the same day, so they scheduled it for Tuesday, December 23. At this time we will get our IVF calendar, which is what I'm really anxious to see! I do know that we won't be doing a FET until after 1/20 because my RE will be out of the country again from 12/30-1/20. So, I'm guessing that the FET to K will fall around the week of Myles's birthday. Right now I feel okay with that, but my feelings may change as we get closer to the date.