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Two under two…

My two under two.

I’m no stranger to being a parent, having been one for 20 (almost 21) years. I’ve been a married parent, a single parent, a step parent, a surrogate parent… yeah, I know parenting.  Or, so I thought!

When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy my partner in crime, Scott, kept telling me, “You’re going to need help… Seriously, Sandy, you’re going to need help.” In my hormonal state, every  time he spouted that sentence at me, I wanted to slap him. I am an independent, fully capable, woman… help?! *SNORT*

I had a plan. A well laid plan. In my head, not on paper, because everyone knows everything looks easier on paper.  ANYway, about the plan: I would continue breastfeeding Dublin and perfect tandem nursing, thus achieving my goal of breastfeeding each of my kids until they turn two. I was going to get up every morning by eight. I was going to have a clean house.  My days would be filled with productivity… from playing structured games with my almost two year old, Dublin, all the while I would be baby wearing my newest addition, Juniper, in one of the many baby carrying devices I recently acquired.  We would go to the park, we would play on our patio, we would walk to get Starbucks… oh the fun we would have, the three musketeers!  And why shouldn’t I be able to achieve this, after all I’d been able to do it two times before!

Here is where the universe has a hearty laugh at my expense; as well as all the other moms who have more than one child under a certain age. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. And they laugh and laugh and laugh! This is where they say, “Sandy… it doesn’t really count when one child is 20 years old and the other is 20 months. That’s sorta like cheating.”

Two under two… it’s a new game, with new rules.

I know that there are wonder-moms out there; I’ve seen them in pictures. I’m pretty sure they exist. I, however, am not one of them….

On a good day I get up around 8. But on a bad day, it could be 4 a.m., 2 a.m., noon, 3pm, or any other random number that resides on a clock.  My new translation of a good day is when I get 4 hours of consecutive sleep, I don’t have many of those kind of good days.  A good day is when the family room floor is toy free for 2 hours (that usually happens during nap time). A good day is when the dishes are done and the laundry has made it out of the dryer and as far as a laundry basket. My bedroom floor currently has about 5 filled baskets. I think it’s time to buy more baskets.

Most days I feel like a cow… no, not in the traditional “I feel fat” sort of way, I’m too tired to care about THAT right now. No, I mean literally… I feel like a milk supply outlet. If I’m not feeding Juniper, I’m feeding Dublin. And sometimes, when I’m feeling adventurous and ambidextrous, I’ll feed both at the same time. Maybe I should say when I’m feeling adventurous and amBOOBextrous! Haha. ANYway,  I seem to constantly have a boob out. Don’t get me wrong… I’m a happy cow; I come from California after all! I’m a thrilled and happy cow, except when Dublin bites me. Then I’m not so happy. Or when he drags his teeth… oh my friggon lord, that HURTS!

**On  a side note: I’ve lost ALL of my Juniper weight!! Just don’t get me started about how much Dublin weight I still have to lose! Ugh! **

So, after all my firm and unequivocal “NO, I WILL NOT NEED HELP!!!” it is with a enormous relief that I hand off Dublin to Scotts mom when she arrives several mornings during the week to watch him while I run back to bed and try to catch a couple of hours more sleep, Juniper willing. Or, while I clean the bathroom… Or, while I try and catch up on any number of things I’m currently behind in!!

I have a new found respect for all women who have performed this juggling act before me, those who can do it with grace and style. I’m 5.5 weeks into this parenting two under two and have not found my groove yet, but when I do… I hope to join the ranks of those other fabulous mommy’s out there that actually make it beyond their front door with spawn in tow. (I have ventured out by myself for walks in the double stroller, but the thought of going to Target BY MYSELF accompanied by both kids has me breaking out in a cold sweat.) While I’ve not found my groove yet, I have to say this new chapter in life is a challenge that I am feeling so blessed to be venturing in to. Bring on the spit up, the poop, the crying, the tantrums… because at the end of the day, when I get a toddler hug or a newborn smile… my heart melts with joy.  Yup, I’m feeling very blessed to have the opportunity to do this two under two thing.

Pregnant at 42…

No, Im not psycho... just like to be sure. (7 tests)

Yes, you counted right-- that's SEVEN tests. I wanted to be sure!

If luck be a lady and I be that lady, then I am so knocked up right now! Despite the fact that we were on the look out for a double lined pregnancy test, it was still a shock to get one. Then to get another one and the one after that one… and 7 tests later, still seeing all the positive results lined up in a row, I’m in a state of disbelief. I feel so very lucky and oh-so-very scared at the same time.

Though I’m obviously beating out the statistics for a woman my age in the conception department, it’s still very scary- all those statistics running around in my head. I know it’s possible to beat the odds, I just did it with the fabulously healthy little one-year-old running around my house. But will I beat the odds again?? I truly hope so.

I’m 7 weeks along, or at least I think. Being me, things were not cut and dry. First off, I got an “inconclusive” blood test. Never even knew that “maybe pregnant” was an option for pregnancy blood tests! It did, after a few days and a retest, give me the positive I was hoping for. Our first ultrasound appointment, where we were supposed to see a heartbeat, showed that we were earlier than THEY thought. I’d have been freaking out, but I suspected with a certainty that I’d ovulated late. So now we’re waiting for our next ultrasound, which will be in a week.

Meanwhile, I hold my breath, look at my son and repeat, “Yes… I CAN do this!”

Waiting game….

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting…. wait, what’s that… oh right, I’m still waiting! I thought it would only take a couple of days, from the last round of testing, for us to find out if we were officially in the IVF study program; but here it is five days later and we still do not have our official, “YOU’RE IN!”.

Everything is moving forward as if we’re in the program. Since mother nature stops for no one, we need to get through all the protocol so we’re ready to go if we’re accepted. That meant my having a phone consultation educating me about the IVF experience and what I can expect if I am to soon become quite closely acquainted with a needle that likes tummy fat. I also had another phone consultation informing me of more blood tests that are required to be completed and in their office no later than two weeks before my Aunt Flows arrival, as well as one blood test and a visit to a porn-o-matic for HIM. He gets off so easily in all this testing stuff!! (pun not intended… ok, fine. Pun intended.)

During both phone consults I asked about my recent blood test results and if they had come in yet and if I’d be able to view them online (at the patient portal the fertility clinic has set up). She said that I would hear from them before they ever made it to the online portal. I asked her if that meant that I could stop compulsively checking my portal every few minutes, she laughed and said I could stop checking, I’d hear from them first. I didn’t stop checking, because I’m neurotic like that. Interestingly enough, lab results ended up being posted, despite my ever hearing from the clinic. Unfortunately, they were incomplete and didn’t have all the results, only some I didn’t understand and my Estradiol levels. And the Estradiol levels were what had me concerned the last go around…. and even more unfortunate: they had gone up some more! Now I’m sitting here biting my nails wondering what this means to my FSH levels…. because if the FSH levels come back too high, we will be declined from the program.

Yes, yes… gibberish gibberish gibberish. So, translation: high levels are bad, low levels are good….. and I’m higher than Charlie Sheen on an average Friday night.

I feel like this fertility time bomb that might just blow at any moment. So I hold my breath and tip toe around, willing my levels to remain steady….. “Steady girls, steady… almost there, alllll mossssst THERE!”

Though, the truth is, at any moment during the IVF treatment we could get kicked out. There are so many check points that we have to pass, and it won’t be until that final needle hits my belly that I can fully exhale. It’s very intense, like a several month long thriller movie.

Meanwhile, my mood is great and I’m optimistic. I find myself perusing the twin strollers on Amazon and maternity clothes.

Sunshine on my mind…

I have repeatedly said this, but it’s so true: I am solar powered. When the sun comes out, my energy increases and my outlook brightens. The sun is shining bright today and I’m feeling rather sunny.


After the mini melt down of last Thursday’s appointment, I received a phone call that night from the nurse practitioner I’d visited. She called to give me my blood work results. She said that, though she didn’t know how to interpret them, she thought I would like to know the results. (How awesome-nice was that?!?!) So she gave me the numbers, I thanked her for her call… and I immediately scrambled to find my past results to see how they compared.


Damn. They had changed. Stupid turning-40-age-thing.


My Estradiol levels have jumped to way above the normal range, which might explain why I haven’t been seeing any double blue lines on the gazillion pregnancy pee sticks I’ve gone through. Obviously I’m not a doctor and will not pretend that I can self diagnose myself….. but here it is, the scribbling figures I had written down, and there is an obvious and glaring blip on a previously spotless blood test results. A year and a half has made quite a difference.


I called and asked the person in charge of registering applicants for the research IVF study if my new numbers would have an effect on our being accepted into the program. She said that they wouldn’t. So one test down, a few more to go.


I have another doctors appointment on Monday and then ANOTHER one on Thursday. Thursday’s is the biggie though, because it’s the one at the fertility clinic and we’ll be able to discuss the tests results with the doctor and hopefully get a better idea of where we stand in regard to being able to participate in the study program.


It feels like a bit of a whirlwind, all of these doctors appointments and hoops that need jumping through. The good news is that, just like all whirlwinds, before we know it, we will arrive at whatever destination we’re to arrive at.


Whether or not we are accepted into the program or not, I think there will be a sense of relief knowing if I’m officially “infertile” and if I am, is there anything we can do about it. Seven months ago it felt like it was my destiny to get pregnant. Now, not so much. I think all along the knowledge that I am not capable of getting pregnant was there lurking, subconsciously, in the back of my brain and that’s why it was never too much of a shock not to see those double blue lines appear on any pregnancy test.


Every time someone told me to “just relax” and it will happen, it made me feel so much pressure. It made me feel judged. It made me feel like this not having a baby was some how all of my controllable fault. Though the test results are seemingly not at all good… at least now I know that even if I had become master of all things zen, so relaxed that I appeared to be sleeping…. I would STILL probably NOT be pregnant! I feel like holding up the piece of paper with the newly scribbled numbers, running it around and waving it, while yelling…. “seeeeee I told yooooou, I. AM. JUST. OLD!”


But as stated before, I am not a doctor. Maybe the blood test results have nothing to do with age, I’ll let the doctor diagnose that. Meanwhile, I can’t help but wondering where the whirlwind will land. Will we receive IVF. Will it work? Will my elevated Estradiol levels be unrelated to age, can they easily be fixed? Will the end of 2011 find us under a pile of diapers and baby clothes…. oh, the suspense of it all is killing me!

Balloon. Needle. Pop.

I get an IM today that potentially changes everything. It went something like this:


HIM: Did you know that the free IVF is going to cost $5000??

ME: WHAAAT?!

HIM: Yea, that’s not exactly free…

ME: I knew we’d have to pay for some test, but I thought my tests were going to cost somewhere in the range of $1600 out-of-pocket.

HIM: Yea, but you didn’t include my tests…

ME: Your tests???

HIM: The semen analysis costs $2000

ME: It’s going to cost you $2000 to watch porn and catch it in a cup?!??


This baffles me because yesterday, during the consultation, there was little said about all of these hidden costs. In fact, it wasn’t until they started telling me all of the appointments I was to schedule on this coming Friday and Monday that they started throwing prices in the air. I’d catch a $250 here and a $450 there… all the while scribbling each figure down. That’s how I came up with the $1600.


HE is, apparently, a bit more savvy than I…. since he decided to call and clarify the costs….. and that’s where my blissful-baby-bubble went POP.


So, the hard cold facts as we know it is now this: FREE = somewhere between $4000-5000… give or take $500. AND that $4000-5000, give or take $500, is BEFORE we’re even accepted into the FREE program.


GAH! I know it’s not a “gimmick” because it was a real facility, at a real hospital ,with real doctors and shiiit. However, it was definitely misleading. I wish that they’d spelled it out BEFORE the $288 consultation…. even in the small print, because I swear- I would have read it…. word for word.


So what to do. What to do.


I think I’ve already established that we do not have the bank roll of Celine Dion and we’ve already broke into saving to pay OUT OF POCKET to have my tubal ligation reversal surgery. OUT. OF. POCKET. Yea, and out-o-pocket ain’t cheap!


The “FREE” was appealing…. a bit blinding to the 40-year-old-my-eggs-are-numbered-me…. But at the end of the day, I’m a pretty realistic woman. Though I’m emotional as the next “infertile” woman, I am also a realist. I can’t NOT think about how IF we spend the $4000-5000 and NOT get accepted into the program, we’ll be out $4000-5000 and have NOTHING to show for it except maybe some numbers on a piece of paper…. numbers that will just confirm that I’m a 40 year old woman who is of “advanced maternal baby making age….”


This depresses me. I fully understand that this baby-less state that we find ourselves in is solely due to my age. HE could go out and hook up with numerous other woman out there his age and BOOM….that 30 year old chick is knocked up. But with me…. well, it’s just not happening.


Having progeny is important to him. I get that. I did that. I LOVE love LOVE that I have a mini-me running around on this planet…. and I want to be able to give that to him too. I want him to experience how wicked cool it is to look at your child and see yourself in them.


For me, it is this baby making thing that is the hardest thing about dating someone younger than I. Because….. like I said before, I’m the one and only glitch… the 40 year old baby making faux pas… among the two of us. And that is totally and utterly depressing.


We’ve decided to put off deciding if we’re going to beg out until later tomorrow afternoon. But I don’t think I’m going to hold my breath on this one….


Balloon. Needle. POP.

Ms. Potential….

Potential… such an optimistic word. So hopeful. So encouraging….. yet, so not guaranteed.

That first date, that job interview, the artistic abilities displayed… such potential….. but really, what really counts is the view in retrospect: did the relationship pan out past the 2nd date, did the job interview land the job, did the artistic abilities reach their…. potential…..??

Potential, so optimistic a word…. but still, until the end, a gamble.

I’m so excited about tomorrow’s appointment. We’re going to a fertility clinic to discuss our potential participation in an IVF research study… IF we’re accepted into the study, we’ll receive FREE IVF treatments!!!

Translation: IVF normally costs anywhere from $15-20,000!!

IF we are accepted into this program, it will be like winning the fertility lottery. It’s just feeling too good to be true. Potentially a very interesting kick off to a new year!

New years always offer such potential, a clean slate….. a great starting point. And right about now I would be writing my list of New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I’m just not feeling it. Instead, I’m feeling a bit more introspective and have decided to write a list of questions that I want to answer by the end of 2011. So, with all the pomp and grandeur of an official New Year’s Resolutions list… I here by give you the list of things I want to answer in the coming year:

1.Where am I living?
2.What job do I have?
3.Did I get pregnant?
4.Did my pregnancy take?
5.Did I have twins?
6.How did Sonora like Florida?
7.Did Sonora extend her stay with the Florida program?
8.Did I lose anybody I love?
9.Did I meet any new friends?
10.Did I get in shape?
11.What books did I read?
12.Did I have an epiphany?
13.Hows my relationship?
14.Did I go on vacation?
15.Did I finally use my passport?
16.Did I learn a new skill?
17.Did I continue to bite back?
18.Did I train my dogs?
19.Am I happy?
20.Did I make a difference?

Two Cents From a Buttinsky….

Perusing the various internet forums is a voyeuristic experience. Well, maybe not if you were at a site that was discussing electronics or gardening….. but baby making? GAH! Baby making sites have some serious boundary issues! You will hear all amounts of sorted details from a couples private life. During a recent visit, I couldn’t help but wonder if the husband knew that his wife is telling everyone that they missed the ovulation time frame because he “couldn’t finish”…


In addition to knowing where every women is in her monthly cycle and just how often every couple on the site are doing IT, there is actually something a bit more disturbing to be witnessed. Over and over again I will see women who are self-prescribing everything from taking over the counter herbal progesterone, to buying unprescribed Clomid off the internet. Not trying to be the naysayer, but I can’t help but ask: how many women are unwittingly dooming their own fertility by taking something that their body might not need??


Blood test ladies…. BLOOD TESTS! Unless your name is Superman, prefixed with “Dr.”, you’re not going to know what’s going on in your inner regions without getting a BLOOD TEST. Just because something is herbal, doesn’t mean it can’t mess with your hormonal balance and unless you know what your hormonal levels are, you don’t know what, if anything, needs tweaking.


But I get the frustration that might lead a woman to trying to do it on her own…


When I wanted to find out about where my fertility life-span was in the big scheme of things, to see if it even had a pulse still, my gynecologist said, “my advice is that you should have started on baby making yesterday…” and since at that point I would need a tubal ligation surgery, he added that I’d have to find a doctor that was familiar with the procedure, because he was not. NO referrals were giving, I was just on my way with the reinforced panicky feeling that I was starting a day too late. Not finding any real answers there, I decided to take my question to my regular doctors office, where I was told “this is not my area of medical expertise, but I’ll certainly order the tests, but I won’t be able to advise you on the results….” A year-ish later when I finally took the test results to a fertility doctor, he said my numbers looked good and everything was within normal ranges.


So yes, I totally get the frustration, my gawd I am still frustrated with the lack of hand holding that I’ve experienced. I’ve already bemoaned the fact that I’ve not been able to find a doctor that makes me feel confident about any sort of fertility-plan-o-action… But I do know that there are doctors out there who are willing to supervise the whole process. I’ve come across women on sites who have them. But, it seems to me, the vast majority of us out there do not have that sort of doctor.


I’m a little to A.D.D to start coming up with my own plan. My brain won’t stop thinking and questioning everything. My brain can be like a worry-wart juggler of facts who, when it’s all up in the air, is too concerned with dropping anything and can’t fully concentrate on just one thing….put too much in there and my worry-wart brain freaks out. SO, I try and keep it simple. Maybe this A.D.D self is what has kept me from trying to do my own self-prescribing….. because I’m a worry-wart-cluck-cluck-chicken.


And now, here I am, worrying about the other women out there! If I were to be able to offer some of the women out there some unsolicited advice, just because I’m feeling like a buttinsky, I’d tell them to go and get blood work done! Just because Mariah Carrey took progesterone and had acupuncture, does not mean it’s a cure-all-baby-making-plan for all women.


ANYway… that’s my two cents.

Snap-Crackle-POP!

If someone were to ask me if I were accident prone, I’d whole heatedly deny it. But then, if they persisted and asked a few more questions, there might be doubt cast on my denial.


Question : Have you ever been in any jarring event, something that snaps your neck or body??

Answer: Um, I’d like you to meet LOLA and LULU… my two chocolate labs. Every walk with them has a snap-crackle-pop!


Question: Have you ever fell??

Answer: You mean like down the stairs?? There’s been….. a few times.


Question: Have you ever been in a collision?

Answer: Well, not a car wreck, if that’s what you mean.

Question: Have you ever collided with something other than a car??

Answer: Yes, my vacuum cleaner.

Question: Your vacuum cleaner?!?

Answer: Yes. A few times.

Question: How did you collide with your vacuum?

Answer: While vacuuming the stairs… what goes up, must come down….. OH WAIT, now that I think about it, I WAS in a car accident. I totaled my car. Forgot about that one.


Question: Have you ever had a sports related injury?

Answer: Define sport…

Question: Any activity while you were being active….

Answer: Well, I shot off the back of a treadmill once… oh wait, I think that happened twice. And then there was the time I went snow boarding


Question: How is your desk at work?? How do you sit?? Are you ergonomically correct??

Answer: Um, pass…. Next question….


AND the list could go on and on…. IF I were to be asked the right questions.


Sooooo, guess who had a chiropractic appointment today?? And guess who is totally outta whack and misaligned. Yes, that would be me. For a couple weeks my neck has been wound tighter than the inside of a golf ball (that would be reference to a golf ball from my childhood, they might have different stuff in them now). Coincidentally, a friend suggested that I go to a chiropractor for fertility and it was on my list of things to do. So, even if my neck wasn’t messed up, I was planning on making my way to an office soon. Wouldn’t it be wild if I wind up pregnant this month?? I mean aside from the fact that IT WOULD be wild, but you know what I mean. WHAT I’m trying to say is that I’m a bit woo-woo…. and I find myself with this reoccurring neck issue, one that has been coming and going for a few years. But this time it’s sticking around with no relief in site, so much so that it’s making me turn to chiropractic care sooner than I would have done. And what do I find, that my whole lower back, in addition to my upper back and neck, are totally messed up!



Yes, yes… I can hear the skeptic out there saying “it’s a sham, of course they’re going to say you’re messed up…” BUT, to those nay-sayers…. I point out the above question/answer section. I do not exaggerate! And all that jarring had to do something, right??


I suppose, in the end… the pee stick will do the talking. I either will be greeted with one line, or two. AND no matter which one greets me, at least by then I’ll have a happy neck. I hope.

Reverse and Rewind….

When I first met Scott, I was still riding the high off of my overdose on relationship self-help books. I was going through my “put it all on the table” phase. I was determined to show him all my cards and for him to show all of his too. The theory behind this is: if you let it all hang out, sure you might scare off a few, but you’re more likely to find THE someone who will love you for exactly who you are…. thus avoiding the awkwardness of being 2 year into a relationship and finally admitting that you never really liked football and you prefer to cook once every two weeks.

A real convert of the I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours thinking, I took every opportunity to NOT hide who I was. Where some (sane) 38 year old women might try to hide their age from the hot 28 year old they find themselves lucky enough to be on a date with…. I compulsively dropped my age several times during those first few dates. I just didn’t want him to ever say, “You never told me you were THAT old!” Because I did….over and over again. Also, with no fear I broached the subject of children. I was able to get out of him his expectations for children in his future and I remember telling him that because my tubes were tied and I was 38, it would take medical intervention or adoption for us to ever have kids together.

Yes, I know… nothing like a little playful-flirty, “You have beautiful eyes…. by the way my tubes are tied and my eggs are old, so we might need to see a fertility doctor….gawd, you’ve got a gorgeous smile too….”

Fast forward several months…..

I knew that having kids was very important to Scott. I enjoyed having my daughter and was not against doing it again. Hell, she was almost 18… so I knew I could get a kid to the finish line without screwing them up too bad. And that was on my first go at parenthood, imagine what I could do on my second try!

I decided to talk to my doctor about whether or not having kids was even an option for me. Blood tests were ordered, needles inserted, blood work sent off…. and then finally the results were in. My numbers were pretty damn impressive for a woman of 38. In fact, if my stats could go to bars, they might just get carded!

Fast forward several more months…..

He’s THE ONE. I’m THE ONE. We’re blissful. But time is not on my baby-making side. So instead of a few years of uninterrupted-by-poopie-diaper happiness…. we decide to jump into the baby making.

Fast forward a several weeks……

I researched my insurance options for getting my tubes reversed (none), I researched doctors who perform the surgery (several), and narrowed down my choices (few).

Fast forward several more weeks….

If you want to feel old at 39, sit in a fertility clinic, next to your younger paramour and listen to how old your woman bits are.

Fast forward a few more weeks….

I get wheeled in, I get wheeled out….. they could rebuild me, they had the technology!

Fast forward to present……

If something interests me, REALLY interests me, then I’m all over it. I will research that puppy to its death. Some might call this “obsessing”, but I prefer to call it “getting educated”. Fertility and pregnancy have become my new area of interest. True, I already have been pregnant before, so you’d think it’s like riding a bike…. but this is not the case since there was no planning with her. She was my serendipity baby and a happy surprise.

This time it’s going to be different….. this time it’s going to take some work!

To be continued…..