Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Around the House: Early Fall

I spent a few minutes outside today reflecting on my situation, and ran back in to grab my camera when I noticed how much the leaves had started to change. It is weird - this is our 2nd fall here in South Carolina, and even though it is my favorite season, I'm sad to see the leaves starting to drop already. It seems like we just got them (because of the long winter, late spring). Anyway, it is still beautiful to someone that spent more than two decades not experiencing fall in Arizona.

 {these red berry clusters on the dogwood is usually the first sign that fall is coming soon!}

 {I don't think I've uploaded any pictures of our new walkway - this was J's birthday present from his parents - pretty awesome!}

With September about two-thirds of the way through, it won't be long before the days are chilly! I've acquired several dresses, cardigans and leggings so that I can wear something besides jeans and sweaters this fall/winter - can't wait to finally try them out!

Recurrent Early Pregnancy Loss

So, as you may or may not know, Josh and I have been trying for baby # 3 since December of 2012. I figured it would take a few months, and then we would be good to go. And we were. Good to go, I mean. I practically get pregnant every time Josh looks at me. But for some reason, those little babies aren't sticking. When a miscarriage happens before a heart beat is seen on an ultrasound, or the baby fails to implant properly or progress past a certain point, they call it a "Chemical Pregnancy." And I've had three of them in 9 months. It is seriously pretty heart breaking.

So far I've tried hard not to dwell in grief - or to dwell at all. After the first one in May, I shrugged it off knowing that sometimes these things just happen. I got pregnant again quickly. They asked me if I wanted to come in for testing, and I laughed them off, thinking there was no way I would miscarry again (after all, I had Mikey and Jonny after having a miscarriage before getting pregnant with Mikey). They agreed that I was probably right, and everything would probably be fine. Except it wasn't. Just a few days after getting my positive result on a pregnancy test in July, I started bleeding. Again.

I started doing research. The doctor agreed that we should test my hormones to rule that out. So, in August, I went in to test my progesterone levels at CD 21. And they were low. The doctor was happy - he knew just what to do! Clomid was the answer! When my next cycle started in September, I was to take Clomid on cycle days 5-9. Except my next cycle didn't start, because OMG I was pregnant AGAIN! I ran back in to have my HCG and Progesterone tested again, and we were able to determine that my progesterone was still low (but not as low as it had been) and my HCG was 32. I started my progesterone supplements, confident that we had intervened early enough. For the rest of that week, I enjoyed the symptoms of early pregnancy, and took pregnancy tests everyday to watch the line get darker.

But then, that weekend, I woke up feeling "normal" - and my gut told me something wasn't right. So, like a fool, I took another one of those home pregnancy tests, and while it was still positive, the line was much lighter. Much much lighter. It weighed heavy on my heart all weekend, when finally I decided to go into the doctor's office on Tuesday morning to get my HCG levels tested again. The results came back at 13, another chemical pregnancy.

I stopped the progesterone supplement, and now I'm just waiting for the miscarriage to start. I'm so very sad. It would be easy to just give up at this point, because afterall, we have two gorgeous boys that I cherish. But I can't shrug off this dream I have of having a house full of little ones. 5 has been the number stuck in my head.

It still stings though. Especially when I get a text message from my little sister with a picture of a positive pregnancy test attached. /sigh.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

11 September

I feel like it is finally safe to write about now that we are more than a full week in to our new daycare arrangements.

The old daycare had been giving some red flags lately - nothing obnoxious, but the kids had been begging me to pick them up early, the turnover was crazy, and finally, the last straw, the Director we loved had quit. I found out the details of her departure from the Assistant Director, who informed me that she was also quitting (but had put in her two weeks).

Fortunately, about a month earlier, I had put the boys on a waiting list for a Pre-School right up the street from us. The curriculum is Christian based, which I'm fine and happy with, and so far things have been awesome! The real tip off for me is that my littles aren't ready to come home in the afternoon when I pick them up! For now, J man is only going M/W/F and still has "G-Ma" days on T/Th. Mikey is thrilled to go every day, and it was suggested that he not go part time since he is actually in a 4K class and would miss out on a lot of learning.

Strangely enough, I think the largest adjustment has actually been mine. I have never had to pack lunch boxes before (and I'm struggling with efficient ways to do this while also providing healthy foods!) and I've never had to do the whole "homework after school" bit either. I guess I assumed Mikey would be super into the whole homework thing, but he hates it, lol. I think part of the problem is that I never remember the homework until he is involved in some cartoon. So, obviously the solution would be to make him do his "homework" (we are talking like one worksheet here, folks) as soon as we get home.

I'm grateful to get this experience now, and have a year to get used to a school calendar before he starts Kindergarten. I'll try to post tips as I learn them!

Other than that, our early "Fall" days have felt more like an Indian Summer, with muggy afternoons in the high 80's. Even so, our Dogwood Trees (the first to announce that the season is changing) now all have their sweet red berries and leaves that are starting to go red. I've also indulged in my first Pumpkin Spice Candle purchase, and have baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. I'm so excited that my favorite time of year is finally here!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Part II (Wading River, NY)

Our 2nd leg of the trip took us from the mountains of Virginia to the North Shore of Long Island, the home town of my Mother In Law, Wading River.

Passing through the city was traumatic for me. The traffic was absurd. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live in NY (or other cities as populated as NY City).

But once we got there, the boys were enthralled at all the "outside" time they got running around Uncle Tommy's property. After first it was just playing on the gravel walk way. But pretty soon they were all over the place, picking up sticks, playing with bugs, and frolicking through Tom's garden.

We didn't get down to the beach as often as we would have hoped, but parking was a bit of a problem. But, we checked off the requisite activities of getting our toes in the water, building sand castles, and finding shells, rocks and beach glass.

Cousin Penny showed us how to make a great sand castle. She was quite the hit with the boys.

We drank a lot of beer. I took a lot of out of focus pictures because I didn't bring my kit lens. We ate and and ate and ate.

 And then, the day before we left, we went fishin' down at the creek. Which seems like more of a redneck southern activity, but apparently something that New Yorker's from small towns enjoy as well.

New York was awesome - the boys are already asking when we can go back!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Part I (Clifton Forge, VA)

The Gaines' Family Vacation has since come and gone, and I thought I would share some of the snapshots I captured (before my battery died!).

Our final destination was Wading River, NY, but we stopped in Clifton Forge, VA along the way to visit Aunt Joanie & Uncle Terry.

Part I: Clifton Forge

There are only so many interesting photos you can capture of the captives in a minivan during a 6 hour voyage. It had been a long time since the boys were stuck in one spot for so long (in fact, they hadn't been in the van longer than a few minutes since we traveled from AZ to SC!). So, above you have the dynamic father/son duo that took turns driving for the whole trip, and two very antsy little guys at the end of our trip.

Joanie and Terry live in such a neat little place. There home is so cozy and inviting, and there property has all sorts of exciting things for the boys to explore (like an old army truck hiding in the barn!).

After the boys returned from their adventure at the Train Museum in town, we walked down to the neighborhood park so they could continue to stretch their legs. Unfortunately there was a bit of a gnat epidemic, so we fled back home shortly thereafter.

This was a one night stay for us, and that evening we explored the garden (Johnny was eating tomatoes right from the vine, lol), sat around and enjoyed conversation and some delicious homemade salsa!

This was one of the last images I caught from the van as we were leaving Clifton Forge. It was early in the morning, chilly, and the mountains had fog rolling off of them. I'm missing the cooler weather we had in our neck of the woods mid-August! I can't wait to visit again when it snows this winter :)