Dec 17, 2014

Grateful

First off, thanks for all the well wishes for Ben's eye surgery. It went really well, and while his eyes are still tired, he's recovery beautifully and can already see a huge change in his vision!
Nothing like a medical procedure to really put things in perspective.

Monday night I sat next to Ben as he dozed off to sleep, and thought about how grateful I am to have him. We've been through so much and my life is absolutely, completely wrapped around this man.

Two years ago we were told an IUI would be our best chance of getting pregnant.

One year ago I was pregnant with Cece, but things had already started to go downhill - I was bleeding, and Christmas Eve will be the anniversary of when we were first told her heartbeat was not where it should be.

A year later I am pregnant with our son, and I hope a year from now we'll be enjoying our first Christmas as a family of three.

I blinked back tears as all I could think is...I am grateful. 

Grateful to be in a less hurtful place than I was at this point last year. Grateful for being pregnant. Grateful for still continuing to advocate for infertility rights, and excited to be gearing up for next year's DC Walk of Hope in June.

I am grateful for Ben, and for having someone who is absolutely a partner in every sense of word.

It sounds silly, but this surgery was eye-opening for more than one of us.

Dec 15, 2014

22 weeks

How far along: 22 weeks, or five and a half months, say what?!

How big is baby: Lemonhead (what I sometimes call him - because, you know, one nickname is not enough), went from the size of a banana, to a carrot, and is now the size of a spaghetti squash - uh, that's kind of a big jump!

Anxious about: Last time I posted an update I talked about being anxious when people asked me about movement. That has since passed (see below!) so right now I'm feeling good. I'm sure something else to worry about will crop up soon, so right now I'm just trying to enjoy the moment.

Non-pregnancy related - today is Ben's eye surgery. It's going to help correct a condition he has and should be a huge improvement in his day-to-day living. The surgeon is very good and the success rate is at 90% but it's still surgery so I guess I'm a little anxious about that. If you wanted to send a couple good thoughts our way this morning we'll take 'em!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: So far so good on not needing to avoid too many foods. I actually think I'm getting hungrier so there may be some growth happening. (I mean, spaghetti squash - that's a decent size, right?) The amount of food that was fine for me even a week ago is most of the times not enough. It's been over two weeks since I've gotten sick, but I am too chicken to stop taking my morning sickness medicine - I mean, I puked for five months. I just don't want to go back to that at all. 

Gender: Boy! And because it was so much fun to do, I thought I'd share the photo from our holiday cards this year!
Taken the day after our ultrasound
I got the idea from Pinterest which is awesome in and of itself because 99% of the time I forget Pinterest exists, and the other 1% my projects never turn out how they should look.

Movement: I was almost 21 weeks when I thought I might have felt something. It was late at night and I was getting into bed and felt like something shifted in my stomach, but I was tired and kind of brushed it off. A few days later I was emailing a friend asking if she thought by 22 weeks it would be too paranoid to call the doctor if I hadn't felt anything. I think Lemon knew I was worried, because later that afternoon it was as if someone really lightly (and very quickly), brushed a hand over my stomach - more movement then even the sensation of a touch. I was sitting at my desk at work and I put my hands on my stomach and whispered, "Lemon, was that you? Do it again!"

Within the next couple of days I was consistently feeling little "plops" (as I so scientifically call them), in my stomach - like little bubbles, and every single time it makes me grin like a fool.

The belly: Growing, growing, growing!

Miscellaneous: Again, with the growth. Sometimes my stomach will feel heavy or I can feel it stretching. But hello, spaghetti squash!

Things that made me cry: Oh you guys. A couple weekends ago our thermostat was being weird - the temperature kept dropping, so that Monday we called our property management company (ah, the beauty of renting), and the landlord came out that night to take a look. He knew what the problem was, but couldn't get the specific part that night. He was so nice and so apologetic - he told me (Ben was still at work) that we should go to a hotel that night, they would reimburse us for it, because he didn't want us staying in a house with no heat.

I talked to Ben, and then talked to my mother-in-law, trying to weigh our options. (Did we really need to stay at a hotel? Could a space heater in the room work? Should I look at prices just to see?) We had a few options, I just needed to make a decision and then let Ben know. My sister called me in the midst of this and even though I was perfectly fine thirty seconds before, as soon as she said, "hey what's going on," I lost it. (Like the eggs for Thanksgiving only 100 times worse).

I could not stop crying. I told her I was fine, I just had to make a decision and I think the long day hit me (it was almost nine o'clock at night by this point), and my brain simply shut down. She kept saying, "it's okay, it's okay," and then finally told me she would come over. While waiting for her I packed a suitcase in case we weren't going to stay at home, and at one point knocked something over in our room - nothing broke, I wasn't hurt, but I started crying all over again. It's definitely the least in control I've ever felt of my emotions.

My sister and my cousin showed up a bit later with keys to hotel room nearby. They made me laugh, she told me to get some sleep, and made me promise that I'd text when I got to the hotel. The heat was fixed the next day and while parts of the story are definitely funny now, it was crazy at the time, and I'm so grateful to my family who can put up with me in hysterics. Sheesh!

Best moment of the week: Feeling Lemon move. I love it every time, and one night Ben was telling Lemon good night and blew a raspberry on my stomach. When I laughed, he said "that's what he's doing," (talking about the movement), and man if I didn't feel a little plop right then. Ben goes, "see - he likes it!" 

Dec 11, 2014

Four Things

This little thing has been floating around the blogosphere and I thought it might be a fun way to end out the week!

Four names that people call me (other than my real name):
1. Becky Jo - okay technically that's still my name but you can tell someone has known me most of my life if they call me this name.
2. Red - another nickname from when I was little. For a long time this was my paternal Grandpa's name for me, and I would get angry if anyone else would call me that.
3. Legs - this one cracks me up! Nine times out of ten when Ben and I are walking somewhere I'm behind him (hello, I'm short), and he'll always say "come on Legs, you can do it! Keep up!" It makes me laugh every time.
4. Peeps - how my best friend and sister and I refer to each other. (Did you follow that?) There's a long story of how this started that I honestly don't even remember anymore!

Four jobs I've had:
1. Cashier at a Gap Outlet
2. Volunteer at Girl Scout camps
3. Packer at a moving company (Weirdest thing I packed - a room full of beanie babies in glass cases. In a house with a retired couple. Um...)
4. Technical writer

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. The Bourne series - just the ones with Matt Damon though. I am nothing if not a purist.
2. Elf - all the time during the holiday season.
3. Braveheart - there was a time I watched it every day.
4. Dirty Dancing - I used to be obsessed with Patrick Swayze. In a totally not healthy way.

Four places I've visited:
1. Kosovo
2. Ukraine
3. Canada
4. Hawaii

Four books I'd recommend:
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
3. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Four things I prefer not to eat:
1. Lima beans - I used to trade my brother my lima beans for his carrots. It was a good system we had going.
2. Right now any kind of burrito from Qdoba or Chipotle - but only because I've thrown them up one too many times. (I bet you really wanted to know that, right?)
3. Yogurt. I loooved yogurt as a kid and I think I overdid it, because try as I might, I cannot like it no matter what flavor, kind, etc.
4. Pickles. Again, too much as a kid. I would eat them like candy, but as I got older even the thought of them makes me want to gag.

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. The drive home from work. My commute can be a pain but between podcasts (hello Book Riot and Serial), and Christmas music I'm enjoying it a little more than usual lately.
2. I'm counting this as the next full year, so having a healthy baby boy!
3. Resolve's D.C. Walk of Hope next June. This year was such an incredible experience, I can't wait to see what next year brings!
4. Ben's eye surgery which is next week! It's going to fix a condition he has and should make a huge improvement in his day-to-day living.

Four things I'm always saying:
1. "Dude." This can be used pretty much in any way.
2. "You're my favorite." Probably what I say the most to Ben (other than I love you).
3. "That's awesome!" When I asked Ben something I say a lot, he didn't hesitate before telling me this.
4. "Up your butt and around the corner." Here's the best part about this - I would say it when I was younger (and then get scolded for it), but I will randomly say this now and every single time, I laugh like it's the funniest thing ever. (Don't hate on my maturity level).

What are four fun facts about you?

Happy almost Friday!

Dec 8, 2014

The best 12 days of the year

Oh my goodness, I am simply bouncing in my seat with excitement, because today kicks off my favorite time of the year!

Today starts More Love Letters' 12 Days of Love Letters.
It's our biggest campaign of the year, and if you've read this blog the past two holiday seasons you know it's amazing. If you're new around here, let me give it to you in a nutshell. More Love Letters is about spreading love in the world, one handwritten letter at a time.

The 12 Days of Love Letters in a nutshell? 12 days of letter requests. Lots of hot cocoa. A lot of good done. And bundles of hundreds of love letters dropped at strangers' doorsteps!

Today is the first day, and the first request. Let me introduce you to Siera.

Siera is a teenager who is full of life and has a love for God. She loves musical theater and is a talented writer. For the last year, Siera has struggled with sickness that has left her going in and out of the hospital. There have been small bits of progress but she has also experienced intense headaches, fatigue, numerous tests, doctors, and turns in the road. Siera, like most of us, needs a reminder that she is strong and capable and can keep going, even in the midst of hardship. Let's rally together as a crew of cheerleaders to remind her to keep fighting. She is meant to be a bright light in this world!

Want to help me send some love to Siera? All you have to do is sit down and write her a letter. It doesn't have to be long, or complicated, it just has to come from your heart. Maybe it includes a favorite quote or yours, or some song lyrics - maybe it's just a note saying "I'm cheering you on. You can do it."

So pull out some fun stationery, write your letter to Siera, pop on a stamp, and send it by Friday, December 19th to this address:

Siera's bundle
P.O. Box 17638
Atlanta, GA 30316

That's it! That's all you have to do, and I guarantee your letter will make a difference in Siera's life!

I know some of you are saying "yes, I'm on it, I'm off to write my letter," but a few of you might be a little hesitant, wondering if you might write the wrong thing, or if you can do this - write a letter to a stranger. I'm here to tell you - you can. The More Love Letters page answers any questions you might have, and if that doesn't do the trick, take a look below - I'm sharing the letter I wrote too.
Dear Siera,

I can only imagine how you're feeling right now. I haven't fought sickness and hospital visits. I'm sure you're tired. Let me help you rally.

Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern, and so do you.
                   - T.A. Barron

When you're weary, I will help you continue to fight. When you think the circumstances have beaten you - I will remind you - they have not.

You got this. You are an incredible light in this world. Keep shinin' girlfriend. You matter. Your story matters. We know it - and so do you! 

Wishing you health and happiness, this season, and always.

Love,
Becky 

Just speak from your heart - it'll mean the world to Siera.

Don't forget to mail your letter no later than Friday, December 19th!

If you want to check in daily with the 12 Days of Love Letters, you can catch all the requests here! Now get to writing!

Dec 3, 2014

20 weeks

How far along: 20 weeks - holy moley I am halfway! I'm so thrilled to be here!

How big is baby: In the past two weeks Lemon was the size of a bell pepper, an heirloom tomato, and is now the size of a banana!

Excited about: Knowing we're going to have a little boy! I honestly didn't care whether Lemon was a boy or a girl but hearing he's healthy and being able to say "he" is a whole new way of connecting now! (Also, a friend of mine told me I'm going to be a great boy mom because, "I don't take any sh*t." Ha!)

Anxious about: Being asked if I've felt the baby kick. (See below). Also, we're trying to get serious about saving money so I can take a good chunk of time off after Lemon is here (some of which is not paid). I know we'll make it work and figure it out, but it's a bit stressful to think about!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: I've started to notice there are a few foods that are higher in acid that bother me (a lot of marinara, sometimes apples, etc). but otherwise nothing I'm really craving or avoiding. I am SO susceptible to suggestions though it's hilarious. Someone mentions a certain type of food and I'm like "oh my gosh, that sounds so good," or when eating I say, "mmm, this is the best piece of bread (or insert another basic thing) I've ever had!"

Gender: A healthy baby boy!

Movement: Our ultrasound last week did a lot to calm my anxiety, but the fastest way this creeps back up is when people ask me if I've felt any movement. I don't think I'll feel any "real" kicks for a few more weeks and I don't even know if I'll be able to identify these elusive flutters people keep referring to. I know the question is asked because it's a natural next step and everyone is curious, so I try to just smile, say "not yet," and remember that the doctor said because my placenta is in the front, it would take a good kick for me to feel something.

The belly: Growing! So far I think I'm just expanding in the stomach which is fine by me!

Miscellaneous: We told our families our big appointment (i.e. the ultrasound where we found out gender) was December 1st, but it was actually last week. Since we hosted Thanksgiving, we wanted to surprise them, and oh did we! We actually have it on video and the reactions are fabulous - I think it will be great to show Lemon once he's here!

Things that made me cry: This is a new category I'm adding - I think it will provide some amusement and also a few touching moments. (Plus it'll give you a look into my crazy, and who doesn't love that?)

*The day before Thanksgiving, Ben ran to the store to get us food for that day (our fridge was packed with Thanksgiving stuff, but we didn't have lunch or dinner for the day before). While he was gone I took all the ingredients out I'd need to make pies, figuring I'd save myself time later. Right before he got back I realized we didn't have any eggs, so when he walked in the door (his hands full of groceries) I started crying (and I mean crying), and blubbered, "I'm really sorry but we don't have eggs so you're going to have to go back to the store." He asked me why I was crying and I said, "I don't know!" He set the groceries down, gave me a kiss and said, "Okay, well I'll be right back." God bless him for rolling with it!

*I had almost an hour long conversation with my mother-in-law about pack-n-plays and carseats and it was so much fun! When we got off the phone I picked up Lemon's blanket to knit for a bit and then cried all the happy tears. I never thought I'd get to have these conversations and while parts of me are still nervous I feel like I can finally be excited and I'm just so grateful!

*The technician at our ultrasound was awesome and gave us so many pictures afterwards. There's one that's just of his feet and I don't know why but it makes me tear up every time I look at it.

Best moment of the week: Our anatomy scan ultrasound. The tech was delightful and I'm pretty sure we laughed through the whole appointment! I still get nervous sometimes but hearing I am in no way high risk and our son (our son! ahh!) is healthy and looks great gave me such a sense of relief!

Dec 2, 2014

Give Hope

Today's the day! It's the third annual #GivingTuesday.

Please join me today in Giving to Resolve.

Giving to Resolve means supporting education about infertility. Giving to Resolve means getting support groups in every state. Giving to Resolve means continuing Walks of Hope and Advocacy Day.

Giving to Resolve means giving hope.
It could be the amount you saved on Black Friday deals, or it could be the amount you spend on a latte.

Every little bit helps. And because of a generous donor, any donation Resolve gets (up to $10,000) will be matched!

Will you help us get there? Thank you for being such a great support to me and the infertility community!

Go here to donate!

Happy Giving Tuesday!

Nov 29, 2014

Breathless

Dear Lemon,

Last week I held your Dad's hand as a technician told us you were a boy. I gasped with delight.

A boy. 

You've been real to us for awhile now but this cements it even more.

We grinned and giggled as you bounced around, showing us your heart, your brain, and your little tongue working in your mouth. When the technician whispered, "look at that - you all made ribs," I gasped. When you kicked your feet like you were dancing, I gasped, and thought my heart might burst right out of my chest.

You already take my breath away and I hope that never changes.

All my love,
Mom

Nov 27, 2014

It takes a village

Today is the last day of my Ten Days of Thankful series! Can you believe it's Thanksgiving?

Today I am thankful for you. 

Every time I try to express how much the blogging world means to me, I fall short. I think because to truly appreciate the marvelous-ness of it, you have to be part of it.

I've met some of my closest friends through blogging, and I've built and cultivated relationships with so many of you readers.

I appreciate every remark, every time you read a post, and every time tweet or facebook comment. So many times you all say you're glad I share my story here, but honestly, it's only because of you. You've created a safe and open space where we all can be frank and not judged and I will never be able to form the words for that.

So thank you for being you.

Yes you, reading this right now; whether your comment on every post or not at all. (Although, hi lurkers, would love to meet you!)

It takes a village to build a happy life. Thank you for being part of mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 26, 2014

This crazy life

Today is day nine of my Ten Days of Thankful series; every day from now until Thanksgiving I'll post about something I'm thankful for - I'd love for you to join me!

Today I am thankful for life. 

Bear with me - I woke up at 4 AM, couldn't go back to sleep, got up at 5, started knitting (obviously), and then threw up for a bit, so it's been kind of a weird morning.

Earlier as I was sitting in the quiet, just the slight click of my knitting needles together, I was thinking how I was grateful for...everything. For being able to get up and do what I please, for deciding how I want to spend my day, for the food we have to make in preparation for tomorrow...just...everything.

I know this is an easy time of year to be thankful for all the good in our lives but this morning I'm just going to roll with it.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

What are you thankful for today?

Nov 25, 2014

Compassion

Today is day eight of my Ten Days of Thankful series; every day from now until Thanksgiving I'll post about something I'm thankful for - I'd love for you to join me!
 
Today I am thankful for compassion. 
 
I don't know if I'll be able to say I'm grateful for infertility, but I'm thankful for the people it's brought into my life. When I think of all the compassion that has been shown to Ben and me along our infertility journey (much less this year), it almost brings me to tears.
From our weekend getaway
Compassion is a quiet miracle. The more it's shown to me, the more I want to expose it to others.
 
I am thankful to all who demonstrate it, and the determination to let it be a leading force in my life.

What are you thankful for today?