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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Infertility Awareness Week

It's Infertility Awareness Week again, and I'll always remember the feelings of being alone, helpless and desperate during the nearly 2 years it took to conceive Matthew. The hours spent at the Fertility Clinic, the devastation month after month of another negative pregnancy test, and then finally the total elation when we found out we were pregnant.

With this one on the way, we were completely surprised by the positive pregnancy test. We hadn't been trying for number two, and if I'm being honest, I was in denial for the first few months that it had happened and so easily. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. We had minor complications in the first trimester, and I thought for sure I would miscarry, but I didn't. This little bean is a fighter and held on. Now, at 21 weeks pregnant, I think I am finally more at ease knowing the baby is ok and growing appropriately. 

I don't know if I'll ever get over the "trauma" of infertility though. I may be fertile now, which happens to many couples, but the pain of those years will forever be a part of me. I wouldn't change it though, because I was blessed with my amazing son. I'd endure those struggles all over again if it meant being his and this new little one's mommy. I appreciate him more because of what I went through, and I have this overwhelming sense pride when it comes to being his mother.

CNN posted this article about four couples' experiences with infertility. It's a good read and sheds light on the struggles that so many couples have on their journeys to become parents. Sadly, not everyone achieves their end goal and my heart literally breaks for those still waiting, still struggling, still trying.…/infertility-journeys-ireport/index.html

CNN asked its iReporters to share stories of their journeys during Infertility Awareness Week.|By Ashley Strickland, CNN

Monday, April 20, 2015

Beautiful weekend!

I actually felt pretty good this weekend. It's been dicey over the last several weeks as to whether or not I'd be feeling well enough to do much, but I lucked out and felt well enough to get out and enjoy the weather.

Saturday, Eric and I went to the Families Touched by MS fundraiser, which is a local organization that raises money to do home renovations, buy needed equipment, etc. for families in the community who are living with multiple sclerosis. It's really a great cause and the money goes directly to people in need. We haven't been able to attend the last couple of years because of various conflicts, but it was great to see how much the annual event has grown since the last time we attended. I even stayed out until 11 p.m., and that never happens anymore!

On Sunday, Eric went golfing, so it was a Matty and Mommy day. I decided that I wasn't going to waste the day inside doing chores around the house, instead we were going to seize the moment and have some fun. After Matt's 3 hour nap in the morning, during which I did do housework, we went outside to blow bubbles, use sidewalk chalk and have a picnic. Matthew loved chasing the bubbles, but he might be a little too young for coloring on the sidewalk. He ended up coloring his shirt more than the actual cement. After lunch, we went to the grocery store to pick up this week's necessities, which included a fly swatter. A man also shopping got a kick out of Matthew bopping mommy on the head with it... several times. Why oh why did I teach him the "Little Bunny Foo Foo" song?

When we got home from Wegmans, Matt wanted to stay outside so we got Marley's leash, buckled the little guy into his stroller and walked the large loop around the neighborhood. I wasn't sure how wheeling the stroller, hanging onto Marley and being off balanced from the pregnancy was going to pan out, but it went surprisingly well. Marley was really well behaved and walked right next to me the whole walk and only picked up her pace one time because a mean-looking dog was outside unleashed and she wanted to get us as far away from it as possible. As much as I complain about her being a pain in the you know what, she really is a great dog.

This morning Matthew saw the stroller again and had a minor meltdown that we couldn't go for another long walk before we headed to the babysitter's. He doesn't understand that there is to be no walking when it is cold and raining out. I tried to explain it to him, but he didn't care. All he wanted to do was "walk" as he kept repeating over and over, arching his back and flailing about as I was buckling him into his car seat. Wrangling an 18 month old is no small task. I even broke a sweat trying to get him there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Long time, no post

Wow, I have not posted in a really long time, but that's because a lot has been happening in our crazy lives.

Since December 22, I found out that number 2 will be making his or her appearance on or around September 3. That's right, two under two. We're nuts!!

This pregnancy has been different and similar in so many ways. I am a lot moodier and very short tempered, but I think part of that is lack of sleep and the other part can be contributed to hormones. When I was pregnant with Matthew, I could put my feet up and take naps when I got home from work. With an 18 month old, who's the biggest mama's boy ever, napping is really not an option.

It took 18 weeks, but I am finally starting to get through the day without getting sick or feeling like I could get sick at any time. With Matthew, I threw up just about every day of my pregnancy, but once it was done, I wouldn't feel sick anymore. With this one, it's been 24/7 non-stop nausea. I'd like to say I'm not complaining, because we are so blessed to be able to expand our family one more time, but I can't help it - I'm complaining. It sucks feeling like junk all the time. I know  that once the doctor puts that little baby on me though, all of the yuckiness will be a distant memory and my life will once again change for the better.

I don't think Matthew understands that we're bringing him home a built-in playmate in a few months either. I'm a little nervous about how he is going to react. He's such a joy to be around, and although he gets into mischief sometimes, there isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't make me laugh and smile. He doesn't speak many words yet, but when you ask him if he wants a brother or a sister he almost always says no, no, no. As the baby in utero grows, I am feeling kicks and rolls more and more. The other day, Matt was laying on me and the baby had a huge movement, Matt gave me the strangest look, pointed to my belly, laughed and said no, no, no. Maybe he does understand more than I give him credit for...

Marley on the other hand is most certainly not excited that we will be bringing home another little person to terrorize her. She's been a handful to say the least these days, which has been a major contributor to my short tempered ways. She is no longer the center of my attention and I know it bugs her, so any time I am on the floor with Matt, she has to get right in between us, wagging her tail and more often than not knocking Matt over in the process. She adores Matt and the two play together very nicely, but when it comes to mama the two of them are constantly fighting for my attention. It's very tiresome being so loved haha. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when we throw a newborn into the mix. Continued prayers are welcome.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Learning day by day

We've been dealing with food allergies for a few months now, and it hasn't been the easiest road. We've had reactions to things we thought were safe, we're learning that cross contact can be the cause of reactions, and we even learned our dog's food can be a risk to Matthew.

At first, I was devastated, because food allergies can be extremely dangerous, and that is scary. I would do anything for my child, and if I could change places with him I would, but I can't. At first, we were just dealing with a life threatening allergy to dairy and a possible nut allergy. Then, about a month ago, we discovered Matt also has a life threatening allergy to eggs. This added another layer, and my paranoia and anxiety sky rocketed. How can I leave my allergic child with anyone but me? What if he has a reaction, and I am not with him? What if he accidentally picks up a food that he is allergic to and eats it? I must go completely dairy and egg free in my house, and I can't let anyone feed him anything other than what I send for him. I have to figure out a way to live on one income so that I can stay home with him, and I have to stay home every night. To say I was a little irrational is an understatement. Let's face it, I have to continue working, going out is good for my mental state, and even under my careful watch, he is still going to have, and has had, reactions.

Then, I found the FAAN network (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) online and I started to understand some things. First, my initial fears and anxiety are normal. These allergies are changing our lives, but it's doable. After all, one in 13 kids grow up with food allergies. Next, I think I am finally understanding that reactions are going to happen. Rather than spend the day crying because my child is swollen and covered in hives, I have to focus on how I am reacting to it. Am I noticing any signs of anaphylaxis? Is the Benadryl working? How is he acting? These are key things to focus on, because it can mean a happier life for my child. I am praying hard that he outgrows these allergies, and I have faith that he will - at least the dairy allergy, since 80 percent of kids do outgrow it - but in the meantime I can't stop living. Our life is just different now. I still have fear and anxiety, but it's easing up every day. Grocery shopping has been a big challenge, but yesterday wasn't scary because of all of the labels I was reading, it was scary because of the thousands of people trying to get down the different aisles. sidenote: my goodness people can be rude this time of year. I got my toes ran over by carts, I got rammed in the side by another person's cart and no one even said I'm sorry. And if I heard one more F bomb I was going to scream! Merry Christmas to you all, too. Ok, I'm off my soap box.

While in the war zone called Wegmans, I found some great food Matt can eat, including egg and dairy free waffles, fish sticks and a different brand of his favorite veggie chips, which I had to stop buying because the old brand changed manufacturing sites and started manufacturing the chips at the same facility as other dairy products. Now, he can enjoy them again. I can also call the manufacturers to find out if some of the questionable ingredients have milk protein, and I am finding alot of them are happy to help.

It's still scary sometimes, but we are plugging along, and for that I'm thankful! Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First Thanksgiving with Food Allergies

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and while it is often one of my favorite holidays, it's also become a scary one for me. It's Matt's first major holiday he's celebrating since his dairy allergy and nut allergy suspicion diagnoses. It wasn't until recently that I learned just how many meals are made delicious because of dairy and nut ingredients, and the Thanksgiving meal is certainly no exception. There's butter in the turkey, the gravy, the bread, the potatoes, the desserts, the list goes on and on.

The regular list of no nos is pretty extensive too, beyond the obvious milk, butter and whey, but to top it off, we have to be conscious of foods that would otherwise be safe for him to eat if only they weren't processed in the same factory as other dairy and nut products. I learned the hard way that those traces of milk, cheese, peanuts etc can still cause a reaction in Matthew.

During last week's snowpocolypse event where we were housebound for four days I learned that Gerber graduate foods that do not have any of the items listed on the foods to stay away from must also be processed in a factory that makes foods with dairy and nut ingredients, because he broke out in hives. Luckily, it wasn't a severe reaction, but it was scary nonetheless, especially because we couldn't get out of the driveway and onto the roads if we needed to get him to a hospital.

So tomorrow, even though I will only feed Matthew the foods I 100 percent know are safe for him to eat, I will still be watching him like a hawk to ensure he doesn't accidentally ingest anything that could cause him serious harm.

To all my friends and family, happy Thanksgiving! And please, stay with your family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. Don't go shopping for Black Friday sales on Grey Thursday or whatever the heck they are calling it. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what you have; it's not for promoting the bad business practices of shopping centers who are out to make a buck at the expense of their employees' happiness and ability to spend this national holiday with their family and friends.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Allergies ugh!

So over the last few weeks, Matthew has started eating new foods - whole milk... allergic, almond milk... possibly allergic... peanut butter ... definitely allergic. It's been a trying and scary few weeks of hives, eye and nose swelling, Benadryl and doctor's visits. Next week, we'll be adding a new doctor to the list of appointments, pediatric allergist.

When Matthew was 5 months old he had a reaction to me eating peanut m&ms but a blood test showed he did not have an allergy to peanuts, so we figured that he wasn't allergic. My new pediatrician suggested trying peanut butter to add protein to his diet. So Saturday morning, I made Matt a multigrain waffle with peanut butter on it. As soon as he took his last bite a large hive appeared on his left eye, his nose on the same side swelled slightly, and more hives appeared around his cheeks and leg.  Not wanting to over react, I gave Matt a little Benadryl and took him upstairs to sit in an oatmeal bath and watch. Watch to see if he had any trouble breathing, swallowing and if more hives would appear. Luckily none of that happened, but when the eye swelling didn't go down I figured it was time to call the emergency line at his pediatrician's office. We had an appointment in 20 minutes and to get him there to be seen. Matthew now comes equipped with an Epipen Jr., but I pray to God we never have to use it.

Next week, Matthew and I will be at his two-to-three-hour long allergist appointment where they will test him for those allergies, the severity of them and if he is allergic to anything else. I wonder what causes a child to get allergies though?As far as I know, we don't have food allergies on either side of our families - with the exception of my allergy to pastry filling. I just don't get it. He is healthy in every other aspect, but he suffers from horrible eczema and now it's suspected that he has these food allergies. Hopefully we will get the answers we need to ensure that Matthew stays as healthy as can be. If that means avoiding foods with peanuts and milk, so be it. Let me tell you though, it's not easy to find foods that haven't been processed in a factory with peanuts. And milk? My goodness it seems like it's in everything. I'm hoping he grows out of the milk allergy and I'm further hoping it's just a milk sensitivity and not a full-blown allergy. Keep us in your prayers for a good report next week. I'll keep you all posted. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Well that was eventful!

Ever just feel overwhelmed? That's where I am at right now. The house is a mess, the kid started hitting and the dog, well, she's a pain in the you know what!

Let me begin... every evening I try to make sure the dishes are at least done and the kitchen is mostly cleaned up, because I can't stand gross left over food dried up on the counter. But now, because Matt is into everything I also try to make sure the toys are mostly picked up, or at least thrown into one corner, before I head out the door for the day, but by the time I come home from work it's as if a tornado has made a run through the house.

It's typical every day mom stuff I know, but I feel like I can never catch up on all the stuff that needs to get done. There's endless loads of laundry, piles of dishes to be washed and put away, toys every where and a window of just a few short hours to complete the daily tasks that are must dos every single day. If I let it go, which if I'm being honest happens far too often, it becomes a monstrous task that gives me heart palpitations thinking about the growing list of to dos that need to get done over my short two day weekend.

My day goes as follows, I get up in the morning and shower as quickly as possible so that I can be ready before the baby gets up - sometimes that happens, sometimes not so much. Then I am running around trying to get the baby ready for the day, take care of the dog, the fish and try to get myself ready for work. Then, I drop the baby off at the sitter's house, drive to Tonawanda, work til 5, then get in my car and drive 45 minutes home. Then from the minute I walk in the door, the dog is barking and jumping at me for attention, the baby is following me around the house with his arms up for me to pick him up and the sink is already filled with dishes, the fish bowl needs to be cleaned, the dog is scratching to go outside and the toys are scattered across the floor. Then it's bath time, a little cuddle time on the couch, and then bed time by 8:30 p.m. By 9, it's dishes time, sit on the couch for a little tv and relaxation and then bed time. Some nights the baby sleeps through the night and other nights he's up for hours, and I try everything I can to get him back to sleep before my alarm goes off for the day.

This morning was pretty typical, I got up and showered and ate breakfast all before Matthew got up. It was nice to sit and watch last night's Tonight Show with my husband before the chaos began. I should have known it was too good to be true.

After Eric went to work, all hell broke loose.

As I was upstairs changing Matthew I heard the dog rustling with something in the kitchen. In a span of a few short minutes, a tin of cupcakes from Matthew's birthday party had been entirely consumed along with a few of the plastic Jake and the Neverland Pirates cupcake toppers that I had used to decorate for the party. I wasn't even down the stairs yet and Marley's tail went between her legs and she headed straight for the back door because she knew she ate something - again - that she wasn't supposed to. Now, if it had just been the cupcakes, I wouldn't have worried because she'd eventually puke them up, probably in the middle of the night, but these cake toppers were big and I know Marley would have trouble passing them if she had to, so I called the vet. Induce vomiting, they said, and call them back. GREAT.

I have the baby on my hip, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my other hand and I am now chasing Marley throughout the house because she knows what will happen when I pour it down her throat. I finally coax her into her crate where she is thrashing around and Matthew is trying to scoot around me to get into the crate with me and Marley, because that's where the party is, right? I get Matt out of the crate who immediately has a melt down and is throwing himself onto the ground in fits of rage, I corner the dog and get some peroxide into her mouth and get her outside and wait... and wait... and wait... nothing. She's apparently getting used to peroxide-induced vomiting, so I am now chasing her outside with the medicine syringe filled with more peroxide yelling at her to get over here, cursing and telling her that if she doesn't come to me right now I am sending her to the pound and getting rid of her. The roofers two doors down got quite the comedy show this morning. After about 50 minutes, the dog finally threw up the contents of the cupcakes and I was able to take Matt to my dad's and get to work. I then received a text from the hubs asking if I took anything out for dinner? SMACK MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL.

Side note: I have to give credit where credit is due. Eric does the cooking, so at least I don't have that added to the to do list.