Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'll Take It!

After last month's crazy-long 46-day cycle, I'm happy to report that this last cycle was 33 days.  That's the shortest (or "most normal") cycle I've had since it came back!  Sure, I wish it had resulted in a pregnancy, but I'll take it!

I will, however, admit that I ate like crap...which doesn't make any physiological sense as to why my cycle would be long when I was careful about my glucose intake and short when I had a month-long pity-party and ate every morsel of sweetness in site (keep in mind I have PCOS/insulin resistance).  I recognize that I need to find my "happy medium", where I make healthy decisions without going bonkers and getting too consumed with my hopes and dreams of being pregnant again.

I had considered checking in with my RE again to confirm that we stick to the protocol we had been on when we were waiting for Ella.  He started me on the Metformin and charged me with changing my diet and exercise routine in February 2009, when I was 40 pounds heavier than what I am now.  If my cycles had continued in the 40+ range again, I think I would have called him.  But a 33-day cycle gives me hope, so I think I'll just keep on doing what we've been doing for a little longer.

My husband and I also had a pretty long heart-to-heart about "carrying the emotional burden" involved with trying to get pregnant when confronted with in/fertility issues.  Physiologically, the woman clearly bears an unequal share of the work.  Conception is dependent on her body's ability to regulate its hormones and properly present an egg in an ideal environment.  She then needs her body to continue to carefully regulate those hormones as a new life begins, and then carry and nurture that new and growing life for nine more months--only to go through the agonizing pain of childbirth (followed by sleepless nights and being tethered to a breastfeeding baby).  Her partner, on the other hand, can make a quick donation, and his task is (physiologically) done.  But I need more from my husband.  I need him to be going to God in prayer.  I need him to be aware of my cycle.  I need him to lovingly remind me that I don't really need that cookie after dinner.  I need him to give Ella a bath so I can go for a quick run.  I feel that we're now on the same page, so all we can do is hope and pray and trust God.

Today's blessing is more yardwork.  My husband rented a tractor so that he can tackle some of the bigger projects that he's been hoping to do, and then we'll order another load of rocks.  It's so much work to make this space look nicer, but I really feel good about making it a nice space for Ella.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ella-isms (Vol. 5)

As I promised, another update on our most recent "Ella-isms":

Sharing is Caring
We're trying to help Ella learn to share with us, her friends, her cousins--everyone.  I happy to report that she really seems to be getting the hang of it.  But it took a while--last week, she asked for cookies after dinner, so I happily obliged.  When I ask how many she wanted, she said "1, 2, 3!".  So I brought her three, and one for myself.  I put them all on the table, and asked her to share with me.  She happily gave me her water, with a big smile on her face.  Okay, so she did share something with me--but it wasn't quite what I wanted.  I asked again, and she put a cookie in my hand, and then quickly plopped it into her mouth.  I expressed my disappointment, but she went right on eating her cookies.  By the time she got to the last cookie, I put on my bed sad-face, but she already had it in her mouth.  As I pouted and shared my sadness, she paused, and then reached her little grubby finger into her mouth to pull out a tiny morsel, which I accepted.  We tried the experiment again last night, and she very proudly shared her cookies with both daddy and mommy.

When my husband spent three weeks away, I tried to make my time at home with Ella somehow more special.  We started reading our books outside after her bath, and then I suggested that we cuddle and watch the sunset.  Sounds nice, right?  Except, Ella couldn't get the hang of "cuddling".  She wiggled and squirmed and wanted to climb up and down the steps.  I put up with it the first couple of nights, and then instituted two ground rules:  1) no talking, and 2) head on the shoulder.  Now that she has these rules in mind, it's made all the difference in our bedtime routine.  For the last week or so, she has gone down without a sound!  She also likes to cuddle at various times throughout the day as well, and it's such a sweet, sweet thing to hear her request "cuddle?".

I think I've shared before that my 2012 New Years Resolution was to read to her every night.  Now, whenever I finish a book, Ella insists on reading it herself--complete with an "Ella read it!" exclamation.  I'll admit that she has the book upside down half of the time, and today she thought it would be a good idea to put her book in a bucket of water (I caught her before she did too much damage), but for the most part, she is very happily point out pictures correctly. 

"Can You Say ________?"
We're definitely in that vocabulary explosion period, and Ella repeats nearly everything I ask her to say--and surprises me every day with new words that she is developing on her own.  And she's also starting to put together words and concepts into sentences.  For example, after returning from the trip home to see my family, she and I were playing outside when an airplane flew by.  She excitedly looked up and exclaimed "Ella!  Airplane!  Sacramento!!".

Sympathy Points
We're trying to help Ella develop empathy, and it warms my heart that she is indeed a very caring and conscientious child.  When she hears a baby crying, she always points them out to me, saying "baby, crying, sad"--and is visibly concerned for the child.  Recently, her best friend Maddy got a pretty bad burn on her hand from touching the stove.  Whenever Maddy's name comes up, Ella reminds me "Maddy, burn, hand, hot, owie, no touch, hurt, cry, sad".  In fact, Maddy's mom said that she thinks Ella "is going to be that smart and pretty girl that all the other girls want to hate, but can't because she's so nice" (I think I'm supposed to take that as a compliment, but I really hope that no one hates my daughter).

I truly am having a blast being her mom.  I love her dearly, and look forward to every new little thing that she learns.  It's not easy keeping up with her (or keeping her entertained, for that matter), but it's totally worth it. 

Today's blessing is that Ella was such a trooper while I pushed her in the stroller for about two miles, picking up the trash along the road into our community.  We collected three giant garbage bags full of cans, bottles, condom wrappers, a pregnancy test box (not mine), and even a roller blade (just one).  She was such a good sport for keeping me company while my husband slept in.  I don't think that I picked up trash along our road since before I was pregnant with her, so I guess it was about time!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Long Time Gone

Where do I start?

I think this was the longest break that I've taken between posts since I started this blog.  It's a mixture of having a busy summer and being at a loss for words on where I am (fertility-speaking).  Let's start with the busy summer--because that's more fun.

Okay, so I posted about our trip to California to visit my family.  It's was the perfect way to break up the three-weeks with my husband, but Ella and I stayed busy with swim lessons as well.  My husband came back towards the end of June, and we jetted off to Montana the following weekend to surprise his parents for their 40th wedding anniversary.  It would have been a perfect weekend--if we hadn't been so scared about a huge 200,000+ acre wildfire that was raging about 20 miles away from their house and moving quickly in our direction.  The sky was grey on our drive in, with ash falling at the party.  It left us without power for most of the weekend, but my father-in-law is an amazing man who always makes sure that his family--including six grandkids--are well cared for.  Not only did he keep a generator going nearly the whole time we were there, but he also hooked up the trailer and brought the kids down to the river to swim (I should note that the Powder River, which runs along their ranch, only came up to Ella's waist at the very deepest point).  Ella reconnected with her Montana cousins, and got to meet her three Wisconsin cousins on the trip (she's the youngest of the six grandkids on my husband's side of the family).  As in the past, Ella was a wonderful traveler, though I'm sure the two hour drive-two hour flight-three hour drive (plus one hour delay on the return) wasn't really all that exciting for her. 

We got back on Monday, worked on Tuesday, celebrated the Fourth of July on Wednesday, worked on Thursday, and then headed out to Palm Springs on Friday to meet up with some friends and their 16-month little boy.  Again, Ella tolerated the six hour drive as well as I could have hoped, and napped for the last two hours after our lunch stop.  We enjoyed a hot but relaxing weekend, and probably spent more time in the pool than on dry land (we definitely got our money's worth out of our $2 swim lessons!).  Ella is a little fish--to the point that it's almost scary!  By the end of the weekend, she was pushing off the steps to me...but hasn't quite gotten the hang of "kick your feet and move your arms and blow bubbles simultaneously", which meant that she typically just started sinking to the bottom, eyes and mouth wide open in utter excitement.  She would just spit out the water and do it all over again without a care in the world--but we have a long ways to go before I'll feel as "comfortable" with her being around water as she apparently is.  It would have been a nearly perfect weekend--if the air conditioner in our car had not gone out as we were leaving Phoenix, while it was 105 outside.  We had a two-hour drive in the heat, and Ella kept requesting "No wind!" because she (and my husband) were not fans of having the windows down.

But we made it home last night, despite the heat, and enjoyed a slow morning before heading to Ella's first dentist appointment.  She was such a great little patient!  This was just the initial "sit in the chair and get used to the noises of the office and count your teeth" sort of appointment, but they said that everything looks great so far!

So I think that catches you up on our busy summer, which means I might as well turn to where I am--emotionally speaking--in regards to my in/fertility.  If I were to sum it all up in three words, it would be:  "I don't know".  I think I got carried away last month, so I'm trying the complete opposite approach this month.  I'm trying out a "I'm not going to think about it at all" style for this month.  No more temping.  No more checking for phantom signs.  No more calculating.  I'm literally trying to change the subject with the internal conversations that are going in my brain.  On occasion, my mantra has been "not gonna think about it".  Perhaps I'm acting like an ostrich by burying my head in the sand, but whatever I was doing last month by being super healthy and exercising regularly clearly wasn't working for me because I ended up with the longest cycle I've had since I stopped breastfeeding.  I recognize that I got caught up (again) in wanting so desperately to be pregnant--maybe the tardiness of my cycle really was stress related.  So this month has been a good experiment in self-discipline as I try to not (over-)analyze anything related to my fertility (or possible lack thereof).  Don't get me wrong--I'm not completely oblivious.  I remember that my cycle started when I was home in California, and that was around the middle of June...but I'm not going to pull up a calendar or count back the days. 

As for how I'm feeling about it all--I'm just trying to enjoy every moment that I can with Ella.  She is such a delight.  If this is the only chance I get to parent a 21-month old, then I want to live it up.  I love her dearly, and as much as I would love to get to do this all over again, I am so blessed to have the chance to be her Mommy.  I just wish my body would work correctly...

So there you have it--our busy summer and my update on where we stand for trying to add another one to the mix.  I can't promise I'll write daily, but I definitely do need to share some more "Ella-isms" soon. 

Today's blessing is the beautiful desert!  If you're unaware, we actually get monsoons here in Southern Arizona.  We came back from our trip to Palm Springs to bright green ocotillo in our backyard.  It's hard to imagine when it's 100+ outside, but it really is beautiful.