Friday, July 30, 2010

The Babe

Now introducing the Sultan of Swat...

The Colossus of Clout ...

The Great Bambino!!!!!!!!

(Sure his bat is upside down, but you should see that swing!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Story, Part IV

Click HERE to read Our Story, Part I
Click HERE to read Our Story, Part II
Click HERE to read Our Story, Part III

The girl and the boy went in to the doctor after their mandated break and told him that they wanted to try one more time. The doctor was excited. He told them that he truly felt they could get pregnant and he was glad they decided to give it one more try. There were no more embryos left from the very first IVF procedure, so they would have to do a brand new cycle all over again. This meant a repeat of all the shots, monitoring, and ultrasounds. The girl now knew what to expect and she and the boy were actually able to have a few laughs as they went through treatment. During the three month break the girl had decided to make an intentional change in her attitude. Her decision to be pessimistic had not helped her in the least so far, so she decided that maybe optimism was the way to go. It sure made the procedures she was going through a lot more bearable this time.

The shots gave way to the surgery and after it was completed they were once again in the two week wait. The girl and the boy were excited that they had a vacation to fill their days this time during the downtime. Everything went a little faster when there was something else to take up the dead waiting period. The girl thought she would be more scared than she was during the wait, but it turned out her optimism was having positive results. Every time she started to have negative thoughts about the future, she consciously made herself reverse her thinking. It was hard, but with the help of the boy she was able to do it fairly well. Vacation ended and they headed home to the inevitable.

The broken record played again as the girl went in for the pregnancy test, came home, and waited for the call. She was surprised when the phone rang early this time, way earlier than the previous two times. The nurse was shouting, she was so excited. Positive! The girl was hesitant. She did not want to let go of her emotions yet. She had been burned so badly before in the past and she was afraid to release. She tentatively asked about her hormone levels from her pregnancy test and was flabbergasted when told they were high, very high. Her hormone level when she was pregnant with the ectopic pregnancy was 25, this time it was over 1000! The girl's mouth hung open as the nurse assured her she WAS pregnant this time, very pregnant. It was June 14, 2007.

The girl and the boy told few about their news. They wanted to be sure this time. They wanted to be positive that they did not take all of their friends and family on another roller coaster ride of emotions. They were so indebted to their support system that they wanted to be absolutely sure before they rejoiced. The date of the ultrasound came and the girl awoke with a knot in her stomach. She was glad the appointment was early so they wouldn't have to wait all day. They went into the same exam room where they had heard such terrible news six months earlier and waited. The doctor came in and was upbeat. The boy and girl smiled back tightly. The doctor sensed their impatience and started the ultrasound. The boy held the girl's hand while she lay on the table. It didn't take long for the doctor to smile and congratulate them ... three times! Yes, he saw three babies, which was why the girl had such high hormone levels! The girl and the boy were overjoyed, petrified, and shocked at the same time. This was actually finally happening after two years of waiting and wanting, pleading and praying. They finally were going to have their family!

The rest of the year passed in a blur of doctor's appointments, ice cream binges, and swollen feet. They found out they were having a boy and two girls. They had baby shower upon baby shower and received more love and prayer than they ever thought they could deserve. Their hearts were full and they praised God for allowing them to witness His miracle. They thanked Him for His timing and forgiveness of their selfishness. They prepared for the babies and waited.

Right before Christmas 2007 the girl gave birth to the most beautiful babies ever given to a boy and a girl. They were tiny, but perfect in every way imaginable. They stayed under the watchful eyes of the doctors until they were strong enough to come home where they flourished. The girl and the boy felt a happiness they had never known. They shared a love and bond with each other that could now never be broken. They had traveled farther in two years than most couples had in a lifetime. Their love for one another and their babies was boundless and alive. Their family was finally here and complete ... or so they thought.

In September of 2008, when the triplets were 8 months old, the girl noticed something didn't feel right. She was up to her elbows in laundry and bottles and babies, but there was something different. The boy noticed as well. After denying the possibility to herself over and over, the girl finally gave in and did something she had never had the opportunity to do. She drove to the store and bought a pregnancy test. It practically turned positive the instant that she touched it. Shock reigned again. The girl could not wrap her mind around it. She was not able to get pregnant on her own. It was impossible ... except that it was not.

Eight months later, in May of 2009, miracle baby number four was born to the boy and the girl. They were amazed. Amazed at his life, their triplets' lives, and the God that was the center of their lives. The girl realized she had grown more in the past four years than she had in all the years previous to trying to have children. The years of anguish, fear, and hurt had given way to four precious miracles. She had learned patience, perseverance, and love - all things she was now constantly using in her day to day life with her family of six. She thanked God every day for His perfect timing and His love. She lived her life with a passion and a fierceness she never knew she was capable of. The boy and the girl were joyful - not because they got everything they wanted, but because of everything they became on their journey to get there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Story, Part III

Click HERE to read Our Story, Part I
Click HERE to read Our Story, Part II

The boy and the girl could not believe the IVF cycle had not worked. Wasn't this the most intense, in-depth treatment they could get? And if they couldn't get pregnant with the most advanced treatments out there, what did that mean for their family's dreams? The girl ached inside. It felt like they were continually butting their heads up against a thick concrete wall. Where were the results? They cried some more, but perseverance won out. It seemed there was nothing to do but to press on.

It was now January 2007. The boy and the girl decided to go through their next IVF cycle. This one was less intensive because they were able to use embryos that were saved from the first IVF procedure. There were still shots, but not quite as many. The girl was now an all-out pessimist. Every glass was half empty. Nothing looked promising to her. She reasoned that if she didn't expect to get pregnant, she wouldn't be as crushed when it didn't happen. She was wrong. It hurt either way. The boy and the girl went through the motions of the frozen IVF cycle and started the two week wait. They talked some more about adoption. They loved the idea of it, but they wanted to be sure they exhausted all the options for having a child of their own. They were waiting for God to tell them to stop trying, and they truly believed He was not telling them that yet.

The girl went in for her pregnancy test two weeks after her transfer and once again had to wait for the afternoon phone call. This time she tried to busy herself and not simply wait for the phone. She found this was impossible. She was only kidding herself. The phone finally rang and she answered, steeling herself. When she heard the word "positive", her mind went blank. The nurse continued talking and giving instructions for the next step, but all she heard was a loud ringing in her ears. The girl thanked the caller, hung up, and immediately picked the phone back up to call the boy. Her words ran together she was talking so fast. The boy ran to the girl's office and they cried and hugged. They could not believe that finally, FINALLY, they were going to have a baby of their own.

The boy and the girl rode the next few weeks on a high unmatched by anything they had ever felt. They cried with their friends and family who had been in constant prayer for them. They praised God with all their being. They felt a lightness they had not felt in the past year and a half. The girl went in for several more blood tests so the doctors could monitor her hormone levels. They were slightly worried about the girl's hormone levels, but the constant tests showed no decrease in levels so the doctors were optimistic. The next two weeks flew by and before they knew it they were once again at the doctor for an ultrasound. But this was the type of ultrasound they had been waiting for - the one where they would see their baby for the first time. The girl was tense with anticipation. The ultrasound began, but instead of jubilant congratulatory exchanges, there was only silence. It was deafening. The doctor said he was sorry, very sorry. He saw no baby. The boy and girl were confused and in shock. How could this be? The doctor theorized that the girl's hormone levels indicated she had an ectopic pregnancy that would have to be terminated for the safety of the girl. The pregnancy would have to be ended immediately.

A few days later the girl went in to the doctor's office for a shot. She had to receive methotrexate, a highly toxic drug normally used to treat cancer. The drug would stay in  her system for three months, which meant she could not become pregnant during that time because the drug could harm an unborn baby. It was a mandated three month ban on treatments, a three month break from all the anxiety and heaviness. The boy and the girl were actually relieved to have the break. It gave them a chance to breathe and think without the pressure of getting pregnant pressing down on them. They talked about their options and prayed. After the break, they decided to try IVF just one more time, and then they would end it and move on. It was May 2007, two years since they had initially started trying to have a family of their own.

Click HERE to read Our Story: Part IV

Picture of the Week - July 25

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog.  I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

Poor Wilson. I see a lot of this in his future.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Story, Part II

Click HERE to read Our Story, Part I

The boy and the girl were so excited to start talking with professionals about their impeded journey to parenthood. While they had a few scant answers in hand, more testing still needed to be done. The girl underwent surgery in May of 2006 and was told she had moderate endometriosis, which the surgery hopefully helped to clear up. She was sick after the surgery, but she didn't really mind because she felt something was getting accomplished and that they were moving forward. She was suddenly relentless in her pursuit of a family. She took notice of every pregnant girl that passed her by and longed to be in her shoes. It seemed like having a baby was so easy for everyone but them.

After she recovered, the boy and the girl started their first minor treatments to help them have a baby. The girl had to take pills and there was a lot of timing, constant monitoring, and ultrasounds involved. They thought it was funny they had undergone so many ultrasounds already when you usually don't have one until you are already pregnant. The first try came and passed without a positive result. Their spirits were dampened, but they went ahead for their second try. When the second try passed without an affirmative result, the girl broke down. Would nothing ever go their way? She became bitter and withdrawn. She didn't understand, but she continued to pray. She had her friends and family pray as well. She figured she could use as much prayer as possible to get them through this. The doctors wanted the boy and the girl to give the minor treatments one more try. The girl was pessimistic, but agreed. She was not surprised when the third attempt had the same result as the previous two. The boy and the girl felt spent and defeated. How much more could their emotions take?

The girl talked to God every day. Some days it was every minute or two. She begged Him, she made promises to Him. She knew she was loved by Him, but she still desired her will over His. She had not grown enough yet.

The doctors started talking about more invasive treatments. They discussed things like daily hormone shots and in vitro fertilization. The boy and the girl set off on this next step with trepidation. Their hearts had already been weakened from being broken on a monthly basis, so they were cautious about any hope they put into upcoming procedures. The girl began receiving twice daily shots in October of 2006 in order to start their first IVF cycle. They prayed together in bed every night for the baby that they so desperately hoped was growing in the girl's belly. After weeks of shots, the day finally came for the procedure. As soon as the girl awoke from the anesthesia, she started counting the days until they would find out if it had worked. She never knew two weeks could seem so endless.

The girl went in for her pregnancy test early one morning and was told she would get a call in the afternoon. She spent all day at work waiting by the phone and jumping out of her skin every time it rang. She didn't feel pregnant, but could you really even feel it this early? She obviously did not know. Finally the phone rang and the girl answered. She knew the outcome before she heard the words. She could feel it through the tension in the nurse's voice. There was no baby yet. The girl hung up and stared at the walls for a few minutes, then she started to cry.

Click HERE to read Our Story: Part III
Click HERE to read Our Story: Part IV

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Story, Part I

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved a boy so much it made her head spin. The boy loved the girl as well and they soon decided to get married. They had a beautiful wedding in May of 2004 and started living their lives together from that moment on. They both loved being together and starting their little family of two. The boy loved the girl and the girl loved him back fiercely in return. A puppy joined the mix and they really thought that life could not get any better than this. They did everything together from grocery shopping, exercising ... they even worked at the same place! It was almost sickening how much they loved being together (but not to them). Life was wonderful and they looked forward to the future with wide eyes and unwavering fervor.

As with most couples, it wasn't long before the girl started thinking about adding to their little family. Of course she had to convince the boy that this was a good idea, but, after some thought, he agreed and they started trying to have a family of their own in the spring of 2005. The girl was so excited. She smiled every time she passed the racks of baby clothes at the store and she wrote baby name upon baby name down on scraps of paper around the house. She told no one her secret, but she had a lightness to her step that could not be hidden. She was so ready for the next step in their lives.

After a few months, the girl started to get a feeling that something was not right. Time had gone by and still there was no morning queasiness, no expanding waistline. The boy gave her encouragement and sweet support. She felt anxious and pressed. She felt a nagging emptiness begin to enter her heart. Still, she pressed on with hope, but the spring was fading from her step. She could not understand why her dream was not coming true. She prayed and prayed for guidance and strength, but she received more lessons in patience in return.

Finally, in the spring of 2006, the girl and the boy decided to talk with someone about their struggle. Surely, they surmised, someone with medical training could provide some answers and, more importantly, solutions. The boy and the girl were scared and tired of carrying this burden on their own for the past year. They longed for answers, but received vague responses in return. They both underwent testing and found that both of them had minor issues affecting their dream of having a family. The doctor said there were options and medical procedures they could try. The girl and boy were hopeful again. They started year two of trying to have a baby with a new found anticipation and optimism.

Click HERE to read Our Story: Part II
Click HERE to read Our Story: Part III
Click HERE to read Our Story: Part IV

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writing It Down ...

I have thought for a little while about posting about our journey to have children. Many people already know pieces of our story, but I thought I would like to give a full account of how we actually went from a family of 2 to a family of 6 in such a short amount of time. . It's amazing how quickly such monumental life events can fade away so quickly, so I wanted to preserve the journey of how we got pregnant with our children before I start to forget the details in the midst of all the other memories we are making. I also hope it serves as hope for anyone who currently struggles with infertility. I know from experience that this struggle can seem so arduous and draining at times while being accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions. I hope our story can let others (and someday our children) know how much we fought to have them in our lives and how special they are to us. This story will take a few posts to tell, so I'll post it in parts. I hope you enjoy it and please share it with anyone you think it will benefit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Picture of the Week - July 18

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog.  I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

This was the result of a little detour we made during our "adventure walk" the other day. It was nice because we got to sit in the shade while the kids went crazy throwing anything and everything besides the kitchen sink over this bridge. Who knew cause and effect could be so much fun?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blair Witch Baby

I downloaded some videos from our Flip the other day and ran across a few things I had forgotten I filmed. By the way, if you do not have a Flip video stop everything you are doing and GET ONE NOW! I am serious, go get one. They are relatively inexpensive and awesome. A little video recorder that fits in your pocket. I know that we would only record things on holidays and birthdays if we had to lug out the camcorder every time we wanted to record something. This baby fits in my purse and, as a result, I've been able to record some things I would have never thought of because I always have it with me.

Back to the topic at hand. So everyone has seen (or at least heard) of the Blair Witch Project, right? So if you haven't seen it, it's a documentary about these filmmakers that head out in the woods to seek out the Blair Witch. They disappeared and this movie footage was supposedly found a year later. Well, this thing scared the pants off me and I'll never forget the scene where the female filmmaker is talking directly into the camera, nose dripping, crying about her fear of the ghost that is hunting them. Her "face in the camera" scene became a worldwide trailer for the movie, so just google it on You Tube if you don't know what I'm talking about.

I took a video of Luke and he happened to get a hold of my camera while I was filming. The result is a kickback to the Blair Witch scene, just minus the suspense! This was shot when he still was mixing crawling and walking and you can see why he was hesitant to give up the crawling ... the little man could really move on all fours!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Opening side note:
Apparently I have an affinity for using song titles and/or lyrics in my blog titles. What does this say about me? Contrary to what it may seem, I am not a music buff (I first heard some song the other day that apparently has been out for over a year, oops). I can only imagine I am channeling my inner Lady Gaga or something like that. At least I know who she is. Anyway ...

We just spent the last 2 weeks at a much needed vacation in Florida with my side of the family. We had such a wonderful time with family and we did not want to leave. The kids keep asking to go back, not realizing that it's a bit of a longer drive than around the corner! We spent our days lazing around by the pool, having water gun wars, jumping in the waves at the beach, going out to lunch, and eating ice cream or popsicles for dessert EVERY night. We really had so much fun and can't wait to go back soon! Here are some pictures of the last few weeks.

As it should be on any vacation, we were a little slack on hygiene related issues. I think this was after a couple day hiatus from hair brushing.

We spent a lot of time just goofing around (we're good at that). Luke loved playing with his old baby toys. Who said this thing is for 6-12 monthers?

Lots of pizza, mac and cheese, and quesadillas ...

And did I mention the desserts?

And the second and third desserts?

The beach was a little rainy, but we had fun anyway.

We exhibited a bit of patriotism in the form of flaming fire sticks (aka sparklers) on the 4th.

And we swam our little hearts out every day.

We're still recuperating from the drive, but what a fun trip! We can't wait to go back!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Picture of the Week - July 11

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog.  I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

The essence of summer, the popsicle, versus your #1 nemesis - The popsicle-stealing little brother.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Check It Out

I just had to post the link to this hilarious blog that is currently going around. It's called Catalog Living and is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. Check it out when you get a chance.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vacation Knowledge

While we've been vacationing, I've just happened to mentally compile a Top 5 list of some of the things we've learned while in FL. Most of these are child-related (surprise, I know), but they are good things for any vacation in my mind.

Sunscreen + sand + eyes = a BAD combination. Children touch their faces more than anyone or anything I know. How is it that they don't have all the clogged pores and breakouts like I do when I continually touch my face with grubby hands? Ah, youth. Anyway, I have definitely learned that the sunscreen needs to be applied waaaaaaaay before we actually go to the beach so it can dry completely before heading out for a morning of eye-rubbing, sand-chucking fun.

It is acceptable to limit your children's diet while on vacation. Selfishly, this is just for convenience purposes on my part. Pizza, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese have become staples this trip. Seriously, I think we may have had each of those meals at least 3 times each. The kids don't complain though, so bring on the convenience and empty plates. I can't wait to reap the repercussions when we get home.

If you are going on a vacation where the destination is a beach/resort-like area, DO NOT stay in view of the pool or beach if you have children who love the water. Yes, I know staying beachfront is one of the coveted things of a beach vacation, but the view will soon lose its allure when you are pestered every waking moment about when and where they can go swimming. Trust me, it's not worth it.

Kids do not like loud, unexpected noises (i.e. fireworks, duh). Now, this is something I already knew, but I thought it needed special emphasis. Don't be fooled and think, "Oh, it's 4th of July and we need to be patriotic and I'm sure they'll be fine with a few fireworks even though they're still scared every time I turn on the dust buster ..." Not gonna happen folks, stick with what you know. On a happier note, we did enjoy some sparklers this year. This is a marked improvement over last year when someone - not me - decided to bust them out with three 18 month olds in a contained area. I'm just glad we survived that one with all of our extremities still in tact.

Baths and pools are not that dissimilar. Both are large bodies of water that children love to play in, and in the heat of summer a pool in FL is just as warm as a bath. Being that we figured this out early on in the trip, the pool has definitely stepped in as our once a day bath in many cases. What? You don't think they get as clean in the pool as in the bath? I beg to differ. All that chlorine has got to be just as good as soap and scrubbing, right? So what if I find some dried up Cheerios or a stray raisin or two in someone's hair the next day, it's no big deal.

So if you see four barefoot, somewhat dingy looking children running away screaming from fireworks on the beach, you'll know you've found us. Hopefully we've made some good memories and can save the hygiene, vegetables, and baths for a normal day. Hope everyone else is enjoying some great vacations of their own this summer as well. Back to the grind for us soon!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Picture(s) of the Week - July 4

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog.  I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

I know it's the 4th of July and I should have something patriotic pictured. However, I have decided to buck tradition (and just not admit that I'm out of town and having a hard time uploading current photos) and post a normal every day picture for this week. I snapped this when Luke was getting to play with some of the triplets' "big kid" toys. He was so proud of himself for keeping up with them (and I just can't resist the little fat rolls around his knees!). Hope everyone has a good 4th!