Our new arrival!

Our son, Silas Arthur Patrick Kelly, was born April 2nd at 6:12 am. He weighed in at a whopping 8lbs15oz and was 22 inches long!

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Lucy has done a wonderful job welcoming her new brother. It’s hard¬†to put into words how much love I feel for these two. We have our first doctors appointment today and our first full day alone at home, but so far things have been going really well. I’m looking forward to sharing some more projects around the house that got done (or at least started ūüėČ ) in the last few weeks, especially his nursery!

Xx-h

It’s a…

announcement

BOY!!!

A healthy baby boy. Pk was able to come with me to my ultrasound yesterday and we decided to tell Lucy last night at dinner. She took it pretty well – there was about 5 minutes of crying because she really wanted to have a girl baby, then a few more minutes of crying when she realized she wasn’t going to have the baby herself. Once it sunk in, with lots of descriptions of our friends’ families (i.e. – neighbor Jane has a little baby brother John and you are going to have one too!) she got REALLY excited. She still thinks we should name him Lily, even though he’s not a girl and he should be a dragon for Halloween next year. She kept describing all the things she would show him and do with him and gave my belly lots of kisses. It was so amazing how instantly she felt love for him. This morning she woke up and asked if he was coming today, so we might have to work on that delayed gratification business. We shared the photo above with friends on Facebook and Instagram – it feels so great to celebrate!

It’s finally sinking in, I think. We are really going to have another baby. A whole new personality for us to know and love. A new character in the story of our lives together. I feel so lucky.

xx-H

ps. I think picking a name is going to be hard! Pk likes to be pretty contrary ūüėČ

Surfacing

I surely didn’t mean to take 3 months off blogging. In my defense, I’ve been kind of distracted.

17 weeks

Our FET worked! Pk and I are expecting another baby, due April 1st.

We got confirmation of our success while we were visiting my sis in DC/Ocean City. I initially stopped blogging because it felt too soon to share our news and because it was so foremost in my mind that I almost couldn’t think (or write) about anything else. We also wrapped up some projects on the house so there wasn’t a lot of house related business to blog. Very quickly though, the main reason I stopped blogging was because I developed kind of awful morning sickness along with a solid case of the first trimester blahs. The first trimester is such a strange time – you are terribly sick (or at least I was this time) but not quite ready to tell everyone why you look like death warmed over all the time. I’ve also had a hard time managing how anxious I feel about this pregnancy. Even though I’m passed the point at which I miscarried last year, I still feel worried about how things will turn out.

I was not sick at all during my pregnancy with Lucy so being so ill has really taken me by surprise. Strangely, the worst of it happened after I started my second trimester, around the time that all the books and pregnancy apps promised i would be feeling better(I’m 17 weeks now.) I developed severe migraines and uncontrollable nausea and even spent a long day in the ER getting IV hydration and meds. Thankfully, I think I’ve reached the peak of how sick I’ll be and am actually starting to feel a little more human! I really hope it’s all rosy from here on out – I’m not sure I could handle another 5 months of feeling like I have the flu.

Lucy still isn’t totally aware of what’s going on. We were trying to hold off until we knew the gender of the baby, but I think at this point the belly is making things pretty obvious, even to a two year old. I also didn’t want her to associate “mommy’s having another baby!” with “mommy won’t get off the couch/stop throwing up” I want her to be excited (heck, I’m ready to be excited!) It still feels a bit surreal, but I’m ready to enjoy this and so, so, glad that we have a new member of the family.

That’s the news from our end.

xx-H

ps. I’m so glad to be back in the land of the living! Right in time for Halloween!

More updates in the yard…

Sorry for the unintentional break from posting here. We seem to have fully embraced a summer schedule and that means late nights and no naps and thus, less opportunities for blogging. But! I’ve found ¬†a few minutes, with help from Caillou.

We’ve had the BEST week, mostly because Pete was able to take off a few days around the 4th of July. So needed and so fun just to have him puttering around the house with us. I take for granted how demanding his schedule can be – poor guy was pretty exhausted. Luckily we finished the deck in time to enjoy a little R&R- just what our family needed. The long weekend started with a baseball game (we have White Sox season tickets – a totally much deserved splurge for Pete.)We had an amazing 4th of July that included a parade, a bbq, and some fireworks by the lake. We hosted a little get together on the new deck on Friday night and then saw David Byrne and St. Vincent at Ravinia on Saturday (awesome show!). Lucy slept in her wagon for most of the show, but woke up for a few Talking Heads songs.

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Basically the best extra long weekend ever.

We spent the rest of the weekend prepping for the pavers in our back yard. We knew we needed to have a devoted area for the bbq and AC unit so we left a little 8X8 foot pad next to the patio. I originally planned to do bluestone in that area and for the walkways to the gate and the garage – I love the classic look – but after pricing it out it just wasn’t an option. Bluestone runs about $10 per square foot, whereas concrete pavers run between $1-$6 per square foot. We hit up our local big box stores to see if we could find something large and simple and settled on these ones from Menards. They were $6.99 per 16×24 inch paver which is about $3 per square foot. We just bought a pallet and had it delivered. Easy Peasy.

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I’m not usually in favor of material that’s supposed to look like something else – but I think these are totally the right thing for this yard. The stone patterning is pretty subtle and the color is a nice bluish gray. They obviously don’t have the natural color variation of bluestone, but since they are cast from a mold they have a uniform thickness that natural stone wouldn’t. Sean laid down a gravel and crushed limestone base and then added a few inches of sand for leveling.

IMG_5367 IMG_5368I’m not quite ready to so a full reveal of the yard – we have a few more details to pull together and Sean is still laying the walkways today.By details I obviously mean finding a place for all the toys and junk that have accumulated . Here’s what the finished patio/ac/bbq space looks like.

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It sounds kind of funny – but I think working on the yard has brought a really extreme level of happiness. I’ve just been feeling so good lately – like our house is finally coming together and maybe not such a terrible eyesore. Sometimes with a fixer upper you just get so burnt out from all the projects that have to be done vs. projects that are just pretty and pleasing. Having some space to entertain outside is so important for us because our house is really petite – it’s like a whole new addition in comfortable, safe living space. I cant wait to get the new fence which maybe will get started next week, depending on Super-Sean’s schedule. He’ll also build a screen to cover the AC unit since it is so flippin’ old and ugly (fingers crossed it will last the summer though! I’d rather spend money on a new fence than a new compressor.) I’ve got plans for a few furniture pieces for that spot to make it a really functional outdoor cooking space.

So! That’s what’s happening with the yard. Now, what’s happening on the baby making front – ¬†our FET is happening on Tuesday. Crazy right? It seemed like this time has passed so quickly, but maybe that’s because I’m hopped up on estrogen, steroids, and baby aspirin. I started the dreaded progesterone shots last night which is like injecting yourself with a dull pencil full of olive oil. My tush is SORE, but. It’s worth it. I feel optimistic about this try, but guarded, of course. This will be our 3rd IVF/FET since Lucy was born; maybe 3rd time’s the charm? If this round doesn’t work we’re going to take a break from fertility treatments. It’s just too expensive and stressful to think about doing again this year. Or maybe even ever again. I realized this past week that no matter whether or not we have another baby – our little threesome is wonderful the way it is. We are so happy and lucky to have this little house and such a great life in our hometown surrounded by our families. If this is as good as it gets, it’s pretty darn perfect.

I hope  you all are well and having a fabulous summer.

xx-H

Summertime.

Whoah. Two weeks just seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye! But now it’s officially summer, and there are lots of fun things going on around here. Let’s see, where to start…

hermione

Hermione is home! You guys – she was gone for TWO WEEKS. I had totally given up hope that we would see her again. I had packed away her food bowl and emptied her kitty litter, when lo and behold I got a phone call from a lovely older woman one saturday night who said that hermione had been hanging around her yard ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN and did I want her to bring her inside? I jumped in my car and raced to pick her up (2.5 miles from our house!) She was a little scrawny but otherwise totally fine. I think the baby rabbit population of our town is glad we recovered her. Little minx. Not sure the dog is too thrilled to see her again, but I’m over the moon.

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We’ve been spending tons of time outside, with friends, doing fun crafting and art activities. I found a super simple recipe for outdoor chalk paint (here) and love setting Lucy loose on our neighborhood sidewalks. We’ve gone to feed the ducks and geese at our local landfill turned lagoon, and parked ourselves in the front yard with watercolors and ice pops.

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Lucy went to White Sox game. I think she liked it. Hotdogs and lemonade and Daddy – what’s not to like?

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I picked up a Phil and Ted’s Freerider. It’s a scooter that attaches to the stroller and can be used as a buggy board. Lucy is absolutely obsessed and I love keeping her close when I want to.

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We adapted my Schwinn Meridian Trike to take a Yepp stem mounted rear seat for Lucy. I lovelovelove the stability of the trike when I’m biking with her. I won’t be winning any road races, but it’s fun to cruise to the beach.

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Deck progress! Finally! Sean was really slammed with other jobs, but he’s finally back and working through the weekend with his helper and Pete to get the deck going. The gravel covers the swale we dug for drainage and the concrete footings for the deck. They still have to attach a ledger board to the house before the framing can get going.

So! That’s whats been happening. Oh, I also started meds for our FET(happening in mid July) and have had migraines like twice a week, which is why I haven’t been posting much. I’m not eager to add any more heavy duty meds to my regime so I’ve been trying to just tough them out with tylenol. I did pick up a homeopathic remedy that I’m eager to try – normally I wouldn’t have much faith in that sort of thing, but I’m trying to be more open minded. So! That’s what’s been happening around here. I also completely rearranged our living room, but I’m waiting for a few more details to come together before I put it on the ol’ blog.

Hope you all are well!

xx-H

Our luck.

Sorry for the long delay in posting – I just couldn’t get my brain wrapped around anything else but our IVF cycle.

It didn’t work.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I had a few days of positive tests (even on mother’s day!), only to find out that my initial HCG (the measurable hormone of pregnancy) was way too low, and then today’s level was even lower. In technical terms it’s probably considered a chemical pregnancy; meaning that while home pregnancy tests and my blood-work showed it’s existence; it was over before it really got established. Luckily we have 3 frozen embryos from this cycle and today I got the go ahead to try a frozen embryo transfer immediately. FETs are much less hard on your body than a regular fresh IVF cycle because you don’t have to take ovarian stimulating hormones, you just have to get the timing of the transfer right and hope that your embryos survive the thawing process. Last year we got pregnant after an FET of embryos from our first IVF cycle in 2010 (that produced Lucy) but I lost that pregnancy ¬†– exactly a year ago today.

Kind of poetic timing. Or at least really sad.

I feel… okay I guess? Sad, definitely. Frustrated and a little confused – sort of worried that maybe we have something else going on with our embryos – maybe a genetic issue that’s arresting their development? Or perhaps an immune issue that hasn’t been uncovered? Chemical pregnancies and miscarriages happen all the time under normal circumstances (doctors estimate that 40-70 percent of pregnancies end before they are even detected) so they don’t necessarily indicate an unusual fertility problem, but I can’t help but wonder.

Thanks for all of your good wishes and positive vibes sent our way. It means so much to me and Pk to have support during this very trying process. I’m really glad that we can keep trying and have my fingers crossed that this next round ¬†will be successful for us. If I haven’t mentioned it before – knowing how lucky we are to have Lucy in our lives gives me a huge sense of gratitude and humility everyday. Every life is a miracle, and I’ll be squeezing her a little harder today.

-H

and now we wait.

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We made it through our transfer and now we just…wait. No doubt the waiting is the hardest part of any fertility treatment – ¬†just kidding – getting through embryo transfer with a very full bladder while a nurse leans on your uterus with an ultrasound wand is probably the hardest (I kid! I kid! – but really the receptionist told me that I wouldn’t be the first patient to pee on my doctor; thankfully I didn’t.) Your bladder has to be super full during transfer because liquid conducts ultrasound waves and the doctor has to see your uterus very clearly to place the embryos. You lay on the table for 20 minutes and then they push you out the door with a “good luck” and “the bill is in the mail” Not really the last part…

This period of time is ¬†called the dreaded TWW (two-week-wait) in fertility support board parlance. The shots are over, no more constant blood work and appointments, no more check in calls – just waiting (still lots of pills though – yay hormones!) Theoretically you are supposed to wait until your official blood test from your doctor to determine ¬†whether you were successful or not – my discharge nurse specifically told me not to test at home, but that’s kind of like dropping an alcoholic off at a bar and telling them not to order a Glenlivet, easy ice and a splash of water please. I tested early with Lucy, and with the baby that I miscarried last year – I will probably test again early this time.

I realize that this whole process has mightily distracted me from the blog – it’s hard to think about posts when I’m busy obsessing about this family building business. I think from now on I’ll be mum (what a pun!) on the possible pregnancy talk – at least until we know for sure whether we were successful or not. I have lots of updates to share about the progress of the studio and our plans for the back yard, but obviously right now my mind is occupied with other things. And, of course – it’s spring! glorious beautiful and amazing spring – the only warm time of year when we leave our windows open all the time and lounge around outside without fear of being eaten alive by mosquitos. We’ve been spending as much time as possible outside – nothing makes Lucy happier than digging in the dirt with her little plastic shovel. I hope you and yours are well and enjoying the warmer weather.

xx-H

may day!

Hey – I promise I’m still here. I’m just totally distracted by the amazing weather (85 and sunny for May Day? Crazy!) and looking forward to my (our?) egg retrieval tomorrow. Mostly I’ve been outside doing this…IMG_4565gah! my face looks so swollen from huge quantities of estrogen, but I wanted to share this because it’s what we’ve been doing as soon as we wake up every day…

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and this, every afternoon

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Meanwhile our contractor/best friend Sean has been coming to work extra early (so he can watch Lucy while I go to my monitoring appointments) and also because he’s hustling on the garage/studio. I’m not sure where “babysitting for client’s child during her infertility appointments” falls under our renovation budget, but he doesn’t seem to mind. They are besties.

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IMG_4563 IMG_4560This week he added a couple windows above where my sink will be and built a storage loft above the doors (that are being replaced with custom carriage doors.) He added some LED can lights underneath so that the area underneath the loft isn’t too dark and installed an exhaust fan so that I can cool down the space and vent out any fumes from work. Honestly I can’t get enough of the space – it just feels good to be in there with all that bright natural light. Insulation should be going in this week when the weather cools off and then we are ready for plywood sheathing.

On the IVF front… our egg retrieval is tomorrow, which I’m thrilled about because my swollen ovaries are making me look about 4 months pregnant, not to mention being seriously uncomfortable. Hopefully things will go well with fertilization and in about five days they’ll be transferring two babies (embryos officially) back where they belong. I feel… cautiously optimistic? and nervous – there are still a few more hurdles to cross, but right now I’m trying to send out as much love and positive energy I can into the universe. Pk and I are so lucky that we get to try this, so lucky to already have the miracle that is Lucy, and super fortunate to have an excellent doctor. If you’re into that sort of thing, send some positive vibes, wishes, and prayers our way. We’d appreciate it.

xoxo Helen

garage studio update.

Here’s what’s happening folks. Our contractor Sean has been making tons of progress on the garage/studio. He’s entirely reframed it from the inside out –

IMG_4357It was super dark in there (the above pic was taken from the door which was the only source of natural light. He added the skylights-

IMG_4363What a difference just one made! But we added 3 more…

IMG_4388Today he is putting on a new roof.

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My back yard is UTTER CHAOS right now, but that’s ok because progress is happening at a break neck pace. The roof will get finished over the weekend and then we will move on to insulation. We thought long and hard about using spray foam but it’s just too expensive for the budget (prob would be somewhere around 2-3k.) Instead we are going to use standard fiberglass batts, but we will probably spring for batts with a higher R-value since adding the interior framing made for deeper joist pockets. We also are thinking about doing a floor like this one – it’s an added expense, but I think its perfect for this application. It’s a floating flooring system so we can take it with us if we ever move, and it insulates the concrete slab floor which will make the space much more comfortable in winter. We still have to add windows looking into the backyard and the plywood sheathing ( which we are using instead of drywall). Sean will install the beautiful carriage doors he built, then electrical (which we are running exterior of the plywood for flexibility) – then done!

Focusing on this stuff is the perfect distraction from our ongoing ivf cycle, I’ve been on stims for about a week and then the real fun (egg retrieval and embryo transfer) will likely happen next week. I’ve had fewer monitoring appointments than I expected, but I have one tomorrow bright and early an hours drive away. Not an ideal way to spend a Saturday morning, but I’m hoping to hear that everything is right on track. My moods are all over the place, but it’s hard not to be cheerful when the weather is this perfect (65 and sunny all weekend long!)

Hope you all are well.

xx-H

pictures of Lucy from behind, instagram edition.

IMG_4352 IMG_4351 IMG_4350 IMG_4349 IMG_4315 IMG_4345 IMG_4346 IMG_4348This poor sick baby – not sick enough to stay home and rest, but sick enough to be a crab apple. I snapped these pics on some of our few outside moments. The weather is finally better (despite last week’s rains and flooded basement, oy.) I keep hoping the fresh air will do her some good, but this is one slow going head cold/ sinus infection. Lucy has decided that she no longer wants to cooperate when it’s time to take antibiotics so I’ve resorted to a combination of wrestling and bribery. Are they helping? I don’t know… she still sounds and feels bad, but at least has no more crazy high fever. She is taking three hour naps and snoring louder than her dad every night, but at least she’s sleeping. I can almost excuse the wild temper tantrums she’s been throwing lately (almost.) They are so foreign to me, like when she did figure out that this was a way to communicate her frustration? Where is my angelic toddler? Who is this tiny screaming spitfire? Should I blame the antibiotics? The sinus infection? Distracted parenting?

I started the stimulation part of our IVF cycle last night. Now I’ll have more frequent monitoring appointments – every 48 to 72 hours for the next 9-12 days, until our doctor thinks that my eggs are fully cooked at which point we’ll schedule our retrieval. The cruelest part of IVF is the unpredictability. Want to RSVP to something? Sorry – there is no way to plan ahead. Need to schedule a meeting? ¬†you may or may not be able to attend. Trying to take a trip? Nope – you have to be available for monitoring appointments. Will you or won’t you be pregnant? Will it work? I find it ironic that so many people (normal, fertile people) can schedule their lives around their planned pregnancy and I plan (or un-plan, as it were) my life around our infertility treatments.

I think some people find solace in statistics and information; I know I did during my first cycle that resulted in Lucy. IVF is so unpredictable that it makes sense to want to absorb whatever info you can find. You want to predict every possible outcome. Here’s what I know now. You can’t. You can’t possibly predict what will happen – whether your cycle will be successful, whether it will be cancelled, whether you’ll make it to transfer day, whether you’ll have embryos to freeze so you can try again later, whether it will work and you’ll get pregnant, whether or not you will carry that pregnancy to term. My doctor said it best during one of the million appointments you have prior to actually starting the process – “You are over one hurdle.” Just one. It really is like a hurdles race – you have cross each hurdle, each step in the process, and immediately prepare yourself for another one. This time around I’m not so vigilant about reading all the statistics and comparing my experience to other people’s, partly because I’ve been through it before and partly because I’m trying to keep the stress level low. This time I’m kind of just riding the wave, following my doctors instructions, trying to fit in extra rest when I can, and preparing myself for the next hurdle. Pk is gone for a quick trip around the world, but he’ll be back mid week – when I’ll be good and dosed up on hormones (excited honey?) There’s a kind of great relief in not being hyper vigilant this time around. We’ve set this process in motion and now we’ll see it through, whatever the outcome. Fingers crossed.

xo-H

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