Thursday, June 28, 2012


I'm pretty sure my daughter knows her name. She keps looking up when I say "Evie" and I'm starting to think it's not just a coincidence. Other "coincidental" things occurring include... my car being vandalized! Why does this keep happening to me? I think I've racked up some decent karma lately. Is it necessary to spraypaint my house and smear... "something" on my windows? Apparently some hoodlums think so. Of all the cars.. of all the houses. Always mine. And I'm the nice one. They could at least get A's car. I kid. Sort of.

Speaking of A, his schedule is about to change, meaning our baby schedule and my mom's schedule are about to change. She's worn out, so it will be good for her, but he is just going to have to get up at a decent hour so I can go to work. Of course these days a "decent" hour is 7am or earlier. WHO AM I? But in all seriousness, he's going to have to watch Evie until he goes to work so I can get out and home to be with my baby. Of course that means on some days my mom only has to come over from 11-4, so she should finally get some rest.

Aaaaand no word on the house. I hope I'm wrong on this karma thing, or I earned it back, because I want to hear a yes. I suppose if they were going to say a flat out no, maybe we would have heard by now? I did design my kitchen yesterday. This HAS to work out. Plus... I need to move out of my neighborhood of vandals. Seriously. There's very little crime in my town, but my little community must be the center of it or something. It's time to get out. I have paint colors picked.

And just for fun, here's a picture my dad loves. It's her "Yeah, I'm all that" face (did I just say "all that?" Dear Lord).

And this one I call "HI! I look like my mom"! I wish I could find the baby picture of me where I look like this. I man she's even got on a whale outfit. Uhm.. she.. chose it? Ok fine. I did. It's still cute, and she still loves her octopus.

PS: Look at those cheeks!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Post-Baby Body Part 2

I posted a while ago about my body after having a baby. I'd lost a lot of weight at first because I just wasn't eating, and I knew I'd gain some back when I started eating again. It's not that I wasn't eating on purpose, but I'm sure most people will tell you that  abdominal surgery just makes you lose your appetite. For a long time the muscles in my belly also seemed to jut out, and I was afraid they would never go down and I'd look post-pregnant forever. I'm happy to report that my belly is back to "normal". Granted, normal is still way too heavy, so I started weight watchers at the beginning of the month. After 4 weeks I've lost 13.2 pounds, and I'm starting to feel better about myself already.

I loved being pregnant because I had an excuse for a giant belly, but once the baby was here and the belly was still there I just felt awful about myself. But now things seem to be back on track. My clothes are starting to feel (and look) bigger. I can wear regular jeans again and that feels nice. I sort of hate all of my clothes, though, and when we move I'm going through them and giving a ton of stuff to Goodwill. One thing I do need to start working on is exercise. I know that once I lose the weight I'm going to be flabby if I don't exercise. We're getting a treadmill, and I'm going to buy a bike with a baby attachment so Evie and I can go for bike rides. I'm thinking of joining the swim club up the road from where our (potential) new house is. I believe it's something like $20 a month and I can take classes and lap swim. My ultimate goal is to wear a bikini next summer. Yes, I have never worn one in my life, and I intend to attempt it post-c-section. My goal weight is 165. I'm 5'10, and when I weighed 185 I wore a size 12, so I think I'll be in an 8/10 and will be able to pull off a bikini. I just need to really keep working at this weight loss.

I'm proud of myself for losing 13 (.2) pounds last month. I've dropped nearly 2 points from my BMI, and my mid-term goal is to lose 41 more pounds by Christmas. My short-term goal is to lose 6.8 by July 31, the week before my mini-vacation to the beach with A and E.

I really hope we get the house we put an offer in on. It's in a great area in a nice neighborhood that's rural but 6 minutes from downtown in the closest town (and a target). It has 3 bedrooms so we can finally have our guest room back, which is sort of essential with so many out of town friends and family members. And it has a family room with a door so we can shut A off in his own little world if he wants to be super loud at night (which he tends to do just by nature). It has room for our treadmill, and room to put in a pool one day. And for a swingset for E. I want her to learn to play outside so she doesn't end up overweight like her momma. The house needs some work, but with a few minor changes it will be just great. It's in serious need of landscaping and some curb appeal, but it's great space and it'll be nice to have our own house!

Anyway, things are good right now and I feel like I'm starting to get my confidence back. If I feel this good now, I can't imagine how I'll feel as I get closer to my 165lb goal weight... and that first bikini!!

How My Daughter (and Prozac) Changed My Life

I've mentioned a few times in this blog that I have severe, crippling OCD. I've been in therapy since I was 5, and on medication on and off since I was 13. We are pretty sure it was caused by a strep infection that triggered PANDAS and eventually turned into regular OCD. Whatever the cause, it happened, and it's awful. I go through rough periods where I take medication, and then I go off meds when I think I'm doing OK. But I have what you would call "medication sensitive" OCD meaning that medication works WONDERS for me, and I'm VERY lucky in that regard.

About 2 years ago I hit one of the lowest points in my life. I'd gone off prozac in an attempt to try to conceive. I was OK for a few months, but then the OCD started back up and it was absolutely horrible. I don't want to detail it now, but it was rough. OCD tends to be triggered by stress, and my life, for some time, was incredibly stressful. We'd found out that my kidney disease was progressive. We tried to treat it and it didn't work. We discovered my husband had a brain tumor that caused infertility. Needless to say, things were hard, and coupled with my OCD, life was tough for both of us. I knew that I could defeat the OCD. I'd done it before. I tried a new medication that simply did not work. And, though I'd never been depressed in my entire life, I started to become someone new. My husband used to tell me that I was not the same person he married. I started expecting the worst - assuming my kidneys would fail quickly rather than hoping for treatments to help. I questioned God, and lost faith in almost everything. Looking back on it now it's clear to me that I was very depressed. Not clinically, but due to so many events that I just couldn't let go of - that skewed my whole perspective.

When I got pregnant I was happy. But the negativity was so deep-seated that my outlook was a mess. I was still worrying, and unable to look for hope instead of fear. I stopped taking medication when I hit the third trimester because I didn't want to risk my daughter's health. I was horrible to deal with. I was snappy, cranky, angry, argumentative... which had nothing to do with my daughter, of course. I was thrilled beyond belief for anything dealing with her. But it was certainly not an "easy" pregnancy, and my husband... oh, my poor husband.

When my daughter was born it was the most amazing experience of my life, but when we brought her home it was a lot harder than we'd imagined. She slept in 45 minute increments, so I was sleep-deprived on top of everything else. My husband and I had a lot of "If we don't fix our relationship we are not going to make it" talks. We were just not meshing, and I was incredibly picky. He didn't have the instinct I did, and I was completely unwilling to let him figure anything out on his own. I tried breastfeeding, but it simply wasn't working. I pumped and got a teaspoon after half an hour.And at that point I decided I needed to go back on medication for my OCD, and for my cholesterol, and we made the decision to formula feed at about ten days. Could I have tried harder? Possibly, but I don't think it would have happened. And I'd been without cholesterol medication for 2 years. It was time.

It was weeks before I started to notice a real difference. I was struggling somewhat with Evie's reflux. Seeing her in pain just brought me to tears, and I didn't know how to deal with it. I was her mother, and I NEEDED to fix her. That was my job, after all. But even still, many times I would just hold her close and sob happy tears while she slept, praying and thanking God for the beautiful miracle in my arms. And then, one day, everything changed.

My OCD had started letting up some. Evie started feeling better after giving Zantac some time to work. She started showing her true colors - as a happy, squealing, cooing, energetic, playful, talkative, sweet, sweet girl. And I started really, truly appreciating the wonders that really had been occurring in my life. Yes, I have kidney disease. But I have a beautiful daughter that at one point I didn't think I'd ever have. Andy and I have been doing well and finally adjusting to life as "mom and dad" instead of "Erika and Andy". With the OCD abated, and nothing holding me back in that regard, life became... good. It became impossible to be anything other than completely content for more than a few moments. It is literally not possible to walk into the house after a long day, walk over to your drowsy baby, lean down and say hi, and have her eyes widen, a huge smile cross her face, and a huge squeal come out because she loves you... and still be upset. It's just. not. possible. Or to wake up in the morning, peer over at the rock n play, and watch as her eyes adjust to being awake, she focuses in, and laughs as she realizes I'm there.

I'm glad I started the prozac to clear out the cobwebs. I wish I didn't have to take it, but all it does is give me the proper brain chemistry. It just puts me on the same playing field as everyone else. And now I can really be myself again. I feel honestly happy, deep down inside. Evangeline has made that possible. I can no longer look at my life and not see how lucky I am to have such a beautiful girl that I got to carry and deliver like I always wanted. Although I don't think lucky is really a good word for it. I'm blessed. I am truly blessed to be living the life I am. And now I have a reminder of how beautiful life can really be.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Solid Food!

I got approval from the pedi to start rice cereal. Evie has been taking 5 6-7oz bottles a day and still acting hungry. I'm nervous to give her more because she already spits so much. So we started the cereal. She sits in her bumbo and squeals the whole time. She opens her mouth for the spoon but is still trying to figure out what to do with the cereal so most of it ends up on her face. I usually feed her until she starts whining for the bottle. Who knows if she likes the cereal or just sitting in her bumbo.

I hope she figures it out soon. Tonight she just cried and cried and I'm not sure if it was hungry or tired so I just fed her 2 hours after her last 7oz bottle. It's insane. But she also got woken up from her nap by spit as usual so she was extremely tired. My poor sweet girl. She's so happy but the reflux takes her naps away. It's so unfair to her and I hope she feels better soon. It's definitely still uncomfortable so I'm not sure if the Prevacid isn't working or it was just a crappy day or what. In any case, here she is attempting her first cereal!

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Clothes? Yes Sir

A few weeks ago I bought a pair of jeans from Old Navy. I tend to have trouble with jeans.. they fall off of me because I have no butt. But ON jeans are great. I didn't know what size to order, so I guessed, and when the jeans came in... boy were they tight. Tight enough that I decided not to wear them. A few days later I joined Weight Watchers, and have been faithfully following the program. As of Tuesday I'd lost 10.2 pounds in 3 weeks, so I decided to try the jeans on again. They fit so much better! They're still a teeny bit snug, but I don't know if they're actually snug, or if that's just because I'm used to maternity pants, which I've been wearing for nearly a year. It was really time to try regular clothes again, though, and I'm so happy to start feeling like my body is returning to normal. And I'm actually at the weight I was when I started my first IVF, so I've lost all my fertility drug weight, and I'm well on my way to my goal. Which, granted, is, 103.2 pounds away. but it used to be 113.4 pounds away, so that's progress!

I'm really trying to be a more fit role model for my daughter. She's about to start solid foods, and before I know it she'll be eating with me, and I want her to learn the right way to eat, and the importance of exercise. I want us to take walks and bike rides together, not sit on the couch and watch tv all night. I want her to be healthy, and in order for her to be healthy, she has to have a model for her behavior.

I had to go shopping in plus sized stores for my prom gown. I hated it, and I don't want that to happen to E. Aaaaand the thought of wearing "regular" clothes is pretty exciting. I have boxes of small clothes I don't fit in that I'd love to wear again. I want to wear a binkini next summer! I've never done that in my life, even during the 2 short years of my adult life when I was actually thin.

I'm proud of myself for sticking to Weight Watchers, and I feel like I'm going to save money cooking more at home and shopping wisely, so it's a good idea all around. It feels great to be making some real positive changes in my life! I hope E reaps the benefit of her mommy's new mindset.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sweet, Happy Girl

Now that my baby is growing up (4 months tomorrow!? Seriously?) and getting used to things, she has such a pleasant disposition. Her reflux seems to be clearing up a little, and she has no problems taking the Prevacid from my finger (thank God. I had no idea what to do if that didn't work). She wakes up every morning and as soon as she sees me gets this huge smile on her face. She whines if she's hungry or tired, but is normally smiling and content. She does, however, have a ton of energy, and the doctors kept saying "I've never seen a baby so alert!".

Yesterday she started playing a game of "Look what I can do, mom!" otherwise known as "How loud can I scream?". She was cracking me up because I was holding her and she'd just all of a sudden scream really loud and bounce around in my arms. She was happy, and it was definitely an "I just realized I can make this sound!" thing. We were trying to look at a house and everyone just kept laughing. We decided we needed to buy the house because she clearly loved it.

I am extremely excited for the house. It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath single family home on an acre of land. It has 2 separate living areas so if I want to hang out in the living room with E, A can still watch movies and be loud in the family room. We'd need to tile the kitchen/dining area and put in new countertops, but my dad can do all of that, so we just need to buy materials. Otherwise it's completely ready. We'd make the dining room wall a half wall, too, so I can be in the kitchen and see what E's doing in the living room. Plus there's a ton of room to expand the deck, put in a pool one day, and have a great swingset for E! I really hope A likes it tomorrow when he gets to see it, and it's still available! It's a foreclosure so I don't know how long it will be out there, so I'm going to tell him to be ready to put in an offer tomorrow. I really hope this is the house for us. It's perfect. The downstairs bathroom even has a jetted tub! And when we have guests, they can have their own place to shower.

The house is also in the town we want to live in, so we'd be closer to friends and family. I need to calm down so I'm not devastated if we don't get it!

Instead of talking about the house, I'll post a picture of what E is doing right this second. My mom said she was squealing, and then said "No, make that SCREAMING. Happy happy happy" lol. She's watching "Bubble Guppies". I don't even know what that is!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The last few weeks Evie hasn't been having too much trouble with reflux. She still spits up a lot and coughs, but it doesn't seem to be causing her pain. I went to her specialist appointment anyway, though, in the hopes of finding something to help. It was the most unhelpful appointment possible.

I explained that it has been a few weeks since she screamed while eating, but that she does spit up hours after meals, and that she coughs and gets red eyes and such. Their conclusion was pretty much that she has reflux. Really? *sigh*.

A few weeks ago she had a strange colored spit-up, and my mom saved the thing she spit up on. I saw something in her formula that looked the same color, so I figured it was just a fleck of food coloring. Well the doctor said it looked like blood and we needed to check her stools and that I "Shouldn't feed her that because formula is clear!". I don't know what formula she was referring to, but it is most certainly not clear. She also wanted us to get blood work done to make sure she's not anemic. Is she serious? So we went home and my mom poured peroxide on the spit-up stain. There was no catalase, so it was not blood. I'm going to do the stool sample, but I'm not putting my 4 month old through blood work. And they said not to start her on cereal, despite everything I've EVER read saying reflux babies should start cereal at 4 months because it helps keep their food down.

I really feel like we got nothing accomplished and I wasted 3 entire hours in the doctor's office. I already knew she had reflux. The only things they offered were to put her back on Prevacid but split the dose up and give it to her dissolved in water. Well what they don't tell you is it's impossible to dissolve the damn thing in water, or get it all up in a syringe. So I'm going to crush it on my finger and give it to her that way. And they said if the spit-up doesn't get better she needs an x-ray.

I have to discuss with Andy, but I've pretty much decided that I'm not going back there. I'm going to continue to work with the pediatrician, and tell them I want to try rice cereal and see if it helps the spitting. Hopefully they will agree. What a waste of time. At least now I know, and maybe the Prevacid will do the trick.
My Dearest Evangeline,

I wish there were words that could explain how much I love you, but I'm afraid I simply can't find them. But I can tell you it's impossible to be anything less than completely content now that I have you in my life. Your sweet smile melts away any hint of negativity I might be holding on to. I live each day for the privilege of being your mommy. You amaze me every single day and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things you will accomplish. You are already so smart and sassy and so full of personality. You remind me so much of me. You bring joy to everyone who meets you. I feel like having you in my arms makes everything OK. I know it sounds corny, but I didn't know it was possible to feel this much love and at times I feel like my heart might explode from pure joy. You are everything a mother could possibly hope for. There are times when I just stare at your sweet fingers and toes and stand in awe of your perfection. And as I sit here writing this letter, I find myself so close to tears of joy because you just make me happier than I ever though I could be. Seeing your smile each morning makes me want to do everything I can to be the best person I can be. I love you more than anything on or off this earth, and I truly believe I am the luckiest person in this entire world. I hope I can show you this each and every day. You deserve nothing less.

I love you, always.

Monday, June 18, 2012


The internet is an interesting thing. You can find just about anything you want, and sometimes you come across things you don't want, and sometimes even things you don't realize that you need. Today I came across something that I think is going to change my life.

I was looking at these two boxes of Baby Orajel a co-worker put on my desk today (which was incredibly sweet, though they won't get used. No benzocaine for my little one). The baby on the front has teeth, and I wondered what really young babies look like with teeth. I suppose it had something to do with Evie teething, and how much I love her gummy smile. So I googled "3 month old with teeth". And it brought me to a blog about adoption. Which brought me to another blog about having a child with special needs. Which brought me to a web site for children with special needs who need homes.

I know this site was just a small sampling of the many children out there who need homes, who are unlikely to be adopted due to special needs. And it made me realize just how lucky I am to have my daughter, and that she's healthy.

I remember at her 12 week ultrasound being told her neck measurement was too large, and there could be something wrong with her. It was terrifying, but we were lucky that our blood work came back good, and that our daughter was born healthy (granted she does have a huge fat roll on the back of her neck! It's cute!).

I guess I feel stupid. I feel so ungrateful for my "woe is me" posts. Because I do have so much goodness in my life. And I suppose sometimes God has to lead you somewhere you'd rather not be to show you how things really are. And I do have issues... I have a serious kidney problem. But I'm fortunate to be in a country where I can get the medical attention I need. To have insurance, and a doctor at one of the best hospitals the best hospital in the world. There are so many who are suffering and alone, or who have more of an uncertain future than I do. My sister-in-law is a twin, and her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer recently. She has an 8 month old and a 3 year old. Last week she found out it might be stage 4. And she is such a pillar of strength and hope and trust in God's love. My sister-in-law shares the gene mutation that causes the cancer. She and my brother don't have any children, and have been told having them might give her cancer, too. She said it was something like a 90% chance! And they're struggling so hard with what to do.

And here I am, healthy enough to work, with a supportive family, a loving husband, and a beautiful baby girl. And I feel sorry for myself? There is just too much negative in the world for me to contribute to it. I think my attitude needs to change. I feel like deep down in my soul I'm coming to an understanding, and I hope I can make thankfulness a bigger part of my life while I continue to pray for those who need it most. And once I get my own life under control, I hope to be able to help others. I don't know how yet... but there has to be something I should and could be doing to make this world just a little bit better.

Father's Day

Yesterday was A's first Father's Day. I wish I could say it was a great day, but I think he spent most of it tired and sad, wishing he didn't spend so much time at work and away from his daughter. He'd worked 16.5 hours the previous night, so he stayed home when E and I went to see my dad. I'd hoped he could nap and re-charge, but I'm not sure how well it worked. I didn't want to take E away on Father's day, but I think he needed some time, and he said it was OK. He did get some good E cuddle time when we got home, and she rewarded him with vomit. When A holds her, he sometimes has her sit on his belly kind of folded up (which is a position I often use to burp her) and she tends to spit up on him that way. But he did get some good snuggles and love in. This child loves her daddy, that's for sure. She loves when he makes faces at her.

For his gift, I ordered a White Sox headband from Etsy and got professional photos done of E. She was such a good sport, and even laughed while she was on her tummy. I told him she knew it was for her daddy and she wanted good photos.

We also ate crabs with my dad, which, for anyone who doesn't know, is a Maryland tradition. My dad's cousin's wife came, which was a treat. My dad's cousin died of cancer a few years back, and they were very close, but his wife moved to MI with her daughter and grandkids after his death, so we never get to see her. She made E the most beautiful gift, which I will post when I get home. And E just loved her to pieces.

A really needs to quit his job. He works 60 hours a week sometimes, and never gets to spend time with us. We miss him, and he misses us, and I hate it. We need to find a house to buy soon so we can get in it and get settled and he can quit his job. Our family will be so much better for it. He'll be able to help a bit more with E, so I might get more sleep. If that happens, I'll be able to clean up more, and I won't pass out at 9pm so I can actually spend time with him.

I guess things are hectic right now. I want A to be happy, and he's miserable, and that's hard. All he wants is to spend time with his girls and his job just kills him. I love that he has such a great work ethic and wants so much to be supporting his team, but we need him and he needs us, so it's a double-edged sword. Hopefully we find a house and can just spend some time together soon. We all need it.

Friday, June 15, 2012


It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that my daughter is a bucket 'o sass. But just in case you're not convinced, please see exhibit A:

This is my 3 month old disrespectin' (and please pardon the spit up. She went is going through a very vomitous phase). A few weeks ago I noticed that she started whining when I left the room. And yesterday, a whole new level of "Oh shit, really?" crashed down upon me.

We had a picnic at work. E was fantastic. She slept through lunch, then woke up and smiled and laughed at everyone and generally had a good time taking in all the new sights. She's very inquisitive and wants to see EVERYTHING. She didn't fuss at all until the end when another baby started crying, and as soon as I put her in her stroller with her octopus, she was fine, as evidenced by this photo:

She's talking to her octopus. They talk all the time, but she won't tell me what it's about. Whatever he says, it makes her happy, so so far I've let it slide.

A bit later I packed her up in the car, she immediately fell asleep, and I embarked on the 1 hour trek to my parent's house. Where it happened.

Now let me take 1 quick step back and say I don't believe in "cry it out" for infants. I think they cry when they need something. There are times where I know she's changed, fed, cuddled, played with, had a nap, and still cries, where I just get done what I need to do anyway, but I always reassure her that I'm there. I figured by not picking her up I was teaching her a bit of self-soothe, but by talking to her and sitting near her and patting her that she was learning that mommy was there for her.

Buuuuut something didn't work as planned.

Half way to my parent's house she started crying, complete with cry face. It was a weird cry, and I knew she was completely fine, and I figured she'd fall right back asleep. But she didn't. So when I got there I picked her up and looked at her. And noticed... no tears. No red eyes. No red face. She was FAKE CRYING. And she stopped the second I poked my head in the back seat! My not-quite-4-month-old has learned to fake cry. She was tired of being in her seat, and wanted me to pay attention to her. HOW DID SHE GET SO SMART?

So I did an experiment. She was in her bouncer, happy as a clam with me playing and talking (this picture is during the experiment - and no, she does not have a unibrow, it's a shadow!).

At one point, I stopped looking at her, and started talking to my mom. Within about 15-20 seconds, she was whining like she was about to cry. As soon as I looked back at her she stopped.

And now I'm at an impass. I can't just let her cry if I want her to feel safe. But if I pay attention every time, she'll cry every time she wants attention. And I'm at my first mommy moment where I need to break a behavior and have absolutely no idea how to do it. And yet I'm impressed by how freaking intelligent this child is to pick up on this already.

Dear child self: Karma's a bitch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Renewed Hope

I told myself I wouldn't do this, but I'm getting hopeful about a potential kidney treatment. It's an all-natural thing that is basically just good for you, kidney problems or not. But after seeing so many reviews from people who were taken off the transplant list because of it, or their creatinine dropped entire points... I feel like I need to give it a chance. I prayed for guidance and I feel like God is leading me to this kidney treatment. I emailed the information to my nephrologist, and with his OK, we'll be ordering it today and we'll check in a month to see how it's going. It's also supposed to help your cholesterol, which would be great since mine is terrible.

I don't want to get all crazy into thinking this will be it for me. I still know that chances are it won't be. But I'm willing to try it before Cellcept. I'm also going to go mostly gluten free once I use up the stuff in my fridge currently. I can do without sandwiches and pasta for the most part, but if anyone knows of a gluten-free crunchy, seasoned topping (similar to bread crumbs) I'd love to hear it. And every so often I can have a slice of pizza or something. That will be a big reduction in gluten so we'll see if it helps any and I need to stay on it.

I'm also just working on my health in general. I'm on Weight Watchers and LOVING it. I've been on it two weeks and I've lost 7.6 pounds, and a whole point from my BMI! And I can't help but think it will be good for my kidneys for the following reasons:

  • They won't have to work so hard to process the extra blood
  • My BP will go down, which is good for your kidneys
  • Although my cholesterol will always be high, it will go down at least a little, which is also good for kidneys (who knew!?).
So I think I'm headed in the right direction. I even let myself start thinking about more kids. I don't want to let myself down. I don't want to find these things not working and be extremely depressed. But I do owe it to myself to at least let a little hope in. Because this could be great for me. And I'm willing to try.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One and Done

The phrase "One and done" has been playing through my mind for days. Longer, really, but it has ramped up in the last little bit. And each time it stabs me a little bit harder.

When I was a kid, and I didn't have any worries, I was going to have 3 kids, and the first two would be boys, then a girl (so her brothers could protect her of course). Pregnancy, in my head at least, didn't have complications, and I didn't have kidney disease.

But it does, and I do.

For a little while I was trying to reconcile myself with adoption. I thought I might not be able to get pregnant physically, and if I could maybe I shouldn't. I told myself I would adopt and that would be OK. And I consider myself so fortunate to have my little girl. I'm not ready for more kids. I want to give her everything. I want to focus 100% of my attention on her. I don't want to have to tell her I can't play because I'm feeding the baby. I don't want to think about someone else being as important to me as she is.

But I do want more kids. I thought maybe we'd try when E was 18 months, so she'd be a little over 2 when the next was born. And by try, I of course mean FET because.. yeah the other way just doesn't work. Maybe if I didn't have 3 embryos in the freezer it wouldn't be so hard. But I look at E and how amazing she is and I think we have 3 other babies with the potential to be amazing, I want to give them a chance. And maybe if I knew someone would give them that chance if I couldn't I would be OK. But I don't know that. And I want my babies to get the opportunity to live. I guess I never thought my kidneys would actually go so far down hill. Or that my "cutoff" of 35 would loom so close. I wanted to be done having kids by 35, but that might not happen. I hate not knowing. And I kind of hate knowing that celebrities wouldn't have to think twice about getting a gestational carrier, but that I don't have tens of thousands to spend to give my little ones a shot. Because of my stupid, defective body.

I am eternally grateful for my little girl. And it's not that she's not enough. I just think about her getting older when we're not here. Right now she has no cousins, she eventually won't have parents or aunts and uncles. I want her to have someone to be with and share things with.

And it's hard to not have control. All of the same people I was so jealous of who got pregnant right away the first time are having or talking about having second babies. And I can't think about it because my body's in too sorry of a state. One day my close friends are going to be having their second and third babies, and that same sting is going to hit over and over if I just can't have a new baby again.

I will always be grateful for what I have. Is it wrong to want to be able to have more? To be saddened by the idea of not giving E a sibling, or A the little boy he longs for? To be disappointed in my body for being a failure all over again? I don't know. Maybe it is. But I want to give my little frozen embryos a chance to survive. I want my little girl to have siblings. And I can't apologize for that. I hope that one day I do have the chance to have another. I know that no matter what happens I have my gorgeous girl. And I'm thankful, always, for that.


I've been getting a little scared lately. Well, I guess "getting" isn't the right word. I've been scared, but done my best to put on a brave face. I've kind of accepted the idea that nothing is going to make my kidneys better, but the idea of transplantation is still scary, and I still don't want to need one. So I've decided to do the one last real medical thing that could help. The thing I've been threatened with since Day 1 that terrified me more than anything else - Cellcept.

Cellcept is a terrifying drug, but the fact is that if it doesn't work, I'll need a transplant, and if I get a transplant, I have to take it anyway. So I figure I'll give it a shot. But I'm terrified. My dad took a similar drug and developed a staph infection in his spine that nearly killed him. And there was an association to lymphoma. I don't want to give myself cancer while trying to stave off a kidney transplant. I want to do what's best, and right now I don't know what that is. If you're the praying type, please pray for guidance for me. I could use it.

This whole kidney ordeal has taken on a much deeper level of hurt since I had my daughter. The idea of seeing her sad because I'm ill makes me want to throw things. And I don't want her to lose me. She needs me. So if nothing else, I've decided to put my kidneys at the forefront and make the changes I need to make. He mentioned living gluten-free. I don't know how plausible that is, but he said since it's not an allergy, but somthing to do with a sugar attached to the IGA that any reduction should help, so I'm going to live as gluten-free as possible and see how I do. It won't be easy, but I can do it. I have to.

The good news is he asked if I lost weight. I said I thought so, and he said he knew I had because he had to use a smaller BP cuff. So I'm doing something right at least! Only 110 pounds more to go lol. I do feel like I'm finally starting to get my health on track. I feel stupid that it took having a baby to motivate me, but at least I'm motivated. And I need to get my cholesterol down, too. I'm so thankful I can take lipitor again now, and hopefully between that and my weight loss I can start to reverse any atherosclerosis that has started. I need to do better.

And some more gratuitous cuteness.

Happy baby!!

Actually doing OK with tummy time and not screaming. That's because she's watching tv. But look how strong she is! And she's SO close to rolling back to front!!

Being cute in her little dress at mom-mom and popi's 40th anniversary party. Chewing on her hands as always. Complete with leg rolls.

OMG I forgot to mention she slept from 7:30-6:30 straight last night. 11 HOURS with no feedings. BOO-YAH my kid is the best.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More Big Changes

When we first found out we were going to have a baby, A and I decided we really needed to buy a house. But we got so wrapped up and consumed in doing things for the baby we decided to hold off. Now that she's here, I'm feeling the pressure a lot more. We're currently living in a quad - a townhouse with neighbors on the sides and back. We have an end unit, but we still have a lot of neighbors. Our house is tiny, with 2 bedrooms, a living room, and a tiny dining room and kitchen. Two people cant be in the kitchen at the same time. It's about 1000 square feet. It has a little patio, and that's it. E's things are all over the place because we simply have no place to put them. We have boxes and boxes and a bed that used to be in E's room as a guest bed at my parents' house. The house is old and has always looked shabby. The finishes are awful and the maintenance guys suck. The toilet in the half bath isn't even attached to the floor. We had mold in the ceiling from a leak in the upstairs toilet, and they cut a big hole in the ceiling, semi-patched it, and left it unfinished. There's a foot print on the "molding" around the bathroom floor from where it separated and the guy wouldn't even get down to push it back in. He used his foot, then didn't wipe up his footprint.

Oh, and have I mentioned that we live in an extremely low-crime area, yet someone spray-painted "kill" on the side of our house? And our fence still says "slut" because it was never cleaned up. It's white on white, so it's hard to see, but it's there. The list of grievances goes on and on and on. We NEED to get out. Our house is never clean because there's so much "stuff" with no place to go that I just give up.

So we finally decided to start looking. I go look at houses and have A come back for a second look at the ones I like. I was completely in love with a house but it fell through because someone else put an offer in and it was a short sale and the bank said no more offers. I've looked at about ten houses and I found one I really like. It's not a dream house. We'd prefer a single family home, but with our future finances in question with A going back to school, we want to keep our payments as low as possible. Could we afford more? Probably.. but I don't want to get in over our heads. It's a small townhouse, but it's much bigger than our house now. It has a separate dining room, a big (for what we're used to) kitchen, and a living room on the first floor. The dining room has sliders to a deck and a cute little yard for E that backs to green space. Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. One of the bedrooms is quite small, but it would fit a queen bed, and we just want it as a guest room. Then the basement has a family room, and a laundry room with TONS of storage space. We could actually store all of our own stuff, and have room for E's toys in the family room. We'd have to put the desk in the family room as well, but at least it won't have to be in our bedroom!

A is going to see it Wednesday and I hope he likes it as much as I do. We need to put in new carpet  and new kitchen cabinets, but then we'd have a great kitchen so I'm excited. I'm already decorating in my head and putting in new furniture. I want E to spend her first Christmas in her own house! It's a starter home, and I'm OK with it not being the biggest, most expensive house. I just want a place for our family to call home and have room to stretch out just a little.

I hope A likes it. We could have our own house by the end of the summer! E could have a yard to run around in when she learns to walk! I'm so excited.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ahh, Sleep

Someone slept from 8:30pm-6am last night. No fussing, and no need to even put her binky back in. Someone's mommy is REALLY excited about it. I feel like if we could just get her reflux issue resolved we could get her in her crib and life might return to some semblance of normalcy. Don't get me wrong, I love that my evenings have been totally disrupted by my teeny girl, but it would still be nice to have some mommy time. Or some mommy daddy time. And since she's asleep by @8, I could totally have that! If I didn't have to tip toe around the sleeping little one in the living room. Imagine! The things I could do! I could clean, organize, watch tv, read books! Prepare meals in advance... oh how glorious this would be. But until we figure something out with her spit-up, I'm not ready to not be with her.

Working is feeling slightly less horrible since I'm going in so early. Most days I get at least 4 hours with her while she's awake, plus mornings depending on when she wakes up. It's enough that I do get to notice all the developmental changes that are occuring. Yes, I want to be at home, and hate that I have to work, but since I do have to, I'm trying to look on the bright side. I don't have a ridiculous commute, and I do have a very flexible schedule, so I can adjust to maximize time with my girl. I have all weekend to spend with her so we can go on fun outings. And when Andy quits his job, we'll have a great division of individual Evie time, and total family time.

Yep, I finally feel like we're settling into life as a little family. The past few days Evie has been feeling better (dare I hope it continue!?) so she's been easier for A to handle on his own, and for grandma, and for me! Plus, she's happy, and my GOD that smile just... oh my goodness just thinking about it I want to cry I'm so lucky. She's getting so active and independent. Always rolling around, playing, talking... not so much falling asleep on her momma, and that's hard for me. I miss that time so much. Just pulling her into bed and snuggling while she sleeps, or having her fall asleep in my arms for a nap. She did it the other day and I just enjoyed it because she's so busy it doesn't happen as much these days.

I'm excited that she's developing so well, learning to have fun and enjoy her parents, her toys... starting to notice other babies and cats even. Right now I'm just feeling obsurdly lucky. And all I can do is thank God every day for my amazing miracle daughter. It's not always easy, and sometimes it's down right tough. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

This is a closeup of her new binky, by the way. She has Polky the caterpillar, who is her buddy, but he was dirty, so she's using Pinky the elephant today. She loves to cuddle him while she's sucking on the pacifier. It's so sweer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Novel

Evie does something new every day to make me fall even more and more in love with her. Right now she's "talking". Her babbling is sounding so much more like real words. I swear she says "ma" on the regular, but has no idea that she's doing it, so it doesn't count. She's squealing in an attempt to laugh, but just can't quite get it. She's such a happy baby when she's not bothered by reflux or overtired. Lately we've struggled to feed her because she smiles and giggles the whole time isntead of sucking. This child needs solids. Thank God our pediatrician is recommending we start at 4 months, and that's only 2 weeks away (OMG). She has the muscle strength, but not the balance, to sit up, and often does little baby sit-ups when I'm holding her. She's still a horrible napper, but I hope solids and rolling around and sitting up more will help with that. She's rolling from front to back more consistently now. My mom says it's because I put her down up on her elbows, but what does she want me to do, place her arms at her sides just to see what she does?? I'd rather not lay her with her face in the mat. And she can hold herself up on her elbows, so it's not like I'm doing it for her. She's also dangerously close to rolling back to front. I thought she was going to do it Sunday, but she stopped just short, caught on her lower arm again. One thing I do know is she hates to sit still, and loves to be stimulated and roll and kick all over the place. She's going to be mobile way too soon.

Yesterday my mom called me and I could hear Evie squealing in the background. My mom said she was talking to her octopus. That's definitely my child. And I'm just a teensy bit excited that she already loves her octopus because I want her to love real ones!!!

She's sleeping 8 hours straight more and more often. Last night I kept her up because I heard a teeny bit of congestion and I kept suctioning her nose and waking her up. She finally woke up with wide eyes after the 4th time, and I realized I was being al ittle neurotic, so I put the nasal aspirator down and left the poor child alone. I'm a little ridiculous at times. But I did get to sleep in my own bed and it was magical. I don't know if I've mentioned this (and I probably have) but I've been sleeping on the couch since E was born. It was just easier when she was little, and now I don't like to leave her because her reflux terrifies me, but I also don't want to be sequestered in my bedroom all night, so we've just been sleeping in the living room. A and I share the couch, and E sleeps in her rock n play right by me. This arrangement is growing old quickly. I want to put her in her own room. I want to be able to hang out with A and watch TV for a while, then go sleep in my bed. We have a video monitor and everything, I'm just scared. I just keep hoping she'll grow out of the spitting up, and the doctor will help us later this month.

We are slowly getting in to more of a routine. I'm trying my best not to be so much of a control freak. Failing, but putting in effort! A and I are discussing him quitting his job and going back to school in the Fall. He'd go to school Tuesday and Thursday and my mom would watch the baby. He'd watch Evie Monday, Wed, and Friday, and then work some evenings. Financially we can handle it, we just have to tighten our belts some. It would make him happy, and we'd actually get to spend time as a family. I'd be jealous that he got to be with E 3 days a week, but I'd be home at 3:00 so I'd have her all evening to myself while he worked. So really he wouldn't have much more E time than me since I'd also have her Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Taking Evie to my mom's and spending the night up there is becoming really hard for me. It's at least an hour to work, plus I have to go back and pick E up and bring her back to my house and we live 45 minutes apart. And my parents are with her 4 days a week which is hard on them. Something has to change, and daycare isn't worth it as expensive as it is. And school would make A so happy. He's hesitant because he likes bringing in money, but he is killing himself (literally) at work. He's stressed out so much his blood pressure is going to go through the roof. I'd just have to make sure I got to work at 6 M, W, and F so I could be home at 3. Which isn't a problem as I'm up early enough as it is. Plus, Evie will be 6 months old by then, so she should be sleeping better, and less fussy during the day. I know it won't always be easy, but it will be better. I miss A. I want family time. And I'd get to go back to gaming on Wednesday and seeing my friends! I didn't really want to quit, but I wasn't willing to give up time with Evie. This way, A will have her until 3. Then I'll come home and have her until 6:30. Then he'll take over again when I go out.So he gets a long break to take a nap or whatever he needs to do. And I get a decent amount of Evie time. She takes her last bottle at 7/7:30 anyway, so I wouldn't miss much more than if I was there all night. I think it's a liveable/workable schedule, where I get to spend 4-5 hours every night with E even though I'm working, and I like that. Plus we can do things as a family on the weekend, which we can't do now because Sunday is recovery day.

If A ever gets off work, we're going to sit down and discuss logistics. I'm pushing for this because we ALL need a break. A hasn't had 2 weekend days off in a row in as long as I can remember. Unless he specifically asked for it, anyway.

I need to stop writing. This is too much... but things are good. A and I are doing better since I'm trying to back off lol. And we'll see how this whole thing goes.