Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016

Wow, what a year this has been for our country and the world. It seems like everyone is quickly ready to say good-bye to this "terrible" year and have a fresh start tomorrow in 2017. I can't say I'm feeling the same hatred toward this year that I'm picking up on social media.

We did have some very tough times this year in our family, especially with the unexpected passing of our two year old niece, Alayna. That was absolutely one of the saddest and difficult things I have ever experienced. But I feel like our family has been really strong, and I am incredible proud of my sister- & brother-in-law for how they've dealt with the entire situation. I love that we can talk about Alayna, share videos and pictures all the time. I love how much our family loves her and that we will never, ever forget her beautiful smile and heart.

This year wasn't easy on Tim and I either, fertility-wise. We (mostly me) struggled emotionally with my body not cooperating month after month, feeling like it was just not going to happen for us again. Thankfully, my body decided to get in gear and even gave us a pleasant surprise of two little beans! :)

Tim and I ended the year by going to purchase a new (used) car today to accommodate our growing family. We're also in the beginning stages of reorganizing our house and preparing for the babies' nursery.

Health-wise, this has been a decent year for me. I was surprised to see my lung function get back into the 90s, although it didn't last as long as I wished it would, it's still stable and "normal". I plan to stay compliant with my treatments as long as it'll fit me and after the babies are born. It is my job to stay healthy for them and my family.

Overall, 2016 wasn't too bad, but I have no doubts that 2017 will be even better!! :-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

12-13 Weeks

December 14: 12 Weeks!

This belly is getting tough to hide! We've been taking them
first thing in the morning before work and before it gets stretched out from eating.
Pretty soon it won't matter the time of day because I'll just be big all the time!
12 weeks today and you're the size of toy soldiers or plums! Word of your existence is spreading across family and friends rapidly and it's been so fun! Everyone wants to know if you're identical (probably not) and if/when we're going to find out your genders (yes, definitely...and hopefully soon!). Some people have asked how being pregnant with two babies is going to affect me CF-wise (we'll see). Many people have been in shock and have been super excited!

I'm excited to be approaching the second trimester because that means you're slowly getting out of that critical development period. That also means that I should be open up to a few more medication options as you get bigger/more developed throughout the winter. I'm sick again - it came on quick Monday into yesterday. I ordered Cayston yesterday and it'll be delivered today which means I can start it tomorrow. I'll try to increase my treatments as much as possible which is always hard, plus with the holiday parties coming up it's going to be harder, but necessary. I emailed my doctor already this morning to see if there's anything else I can do/take. Luckily right now it's mostly my sinuses and my throat, but I can tell it's getting to my chest.

I'm nervous because this is the second time I've been sick already and its only the beginning of winter. The last time took me about two full weeks to fight off because I couldn't take any antibiotics. I'm hoping the Cayston will help me kick this one a little sooner. I'm also hoping that since we're getting into the second trimester, there may be a lower dose of an oral antibiotic that I can take if I get sick again this season.

December 21 - 13 weeks!
I'm slowly on the upswing of this sickness. Unfortunately Anna's had to go on antibiotics and Daddy is at the doctor right now to get some for himself. I'm very thankful I didn't get what they had, or if I did, that it wasn't as bad. Mine is mostly in my chest now, and just hanging around a little bit in my sinuses.

You two are 13 weeks along today which means you're the size of jalapeno peppers, Matchbox cars or clownfish (about 3 inches long) -  haha! One app I have is so fun and has lots of comparisons each week. You both each have fingerprints now, which is kind of cool! This is the last week of my first trimester which is also pretty exciting. In some ways I already feel like this pregnancy is flying by -- probably because I started showing so early!

I'm heading into Maternal Fetal Medicine today to get my blood drawn for the Harmony Prenatal Test. It's a screening for Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13 which are chromosomal abnormalities. I'm at low risk for any of these because we don't have a family history and you're both measuring just fine. I'm getting it done because we had it with Anna and it just gives us that peace of mind. It will also tell us your genders! With it being done so close to the holiday, we might not get the results until after the new year, but it's still exciting that we're finally going to find out what you are within the next couple weeks!
Just recently, I've been thinking you might be two girls. I don't know if that's because I just want to be able to reuse all of Anna's old clothes, or what. A couple weeks ago I was convinced you were two boys - so who knows! Naming you is going to be the hardest part because there are two. I have my two girls names ready to go - just have to convince Daddy. We both don't have any boys names, so if you're both boys, that's going to be the hardest.

I've been feeling pretty good pregnancy-wise for the most part. I can definitely tell you've been growing because I've been having lots of stretching pains down low over the last couple days.

Christmas Eve - 13w, 3d
I'm a little sad, but mostly pretty excited because this is Anna's last Christmas as an only child. I feel like I've been wanting to soak up every minute with her lately, especially because I'm on winter break, because I'm afraid we won't get that one-on-one time when you two are born! Next Christmas (and for  years to come) will be so fun with all three kids together!

I learned on Wednesday that the Harmony Screening may only give us a little information about your genders. It just detects a Y chromosome if it's there. So if it doesn't detect one at all, then we know you're both girls. If it does pick up a Y chromosome, that means either you're a boy and a girl, or two boys. It'll just tell us there's a boy in there, not how many. So I'm very curious to get the results. The genetic counselor who was there on Wednesday said the office is only open Wednesday and Thursday next week due the Christmas and New Years holidays. If we don't hear back one of those days, then we'll have to wait til the following week. I'm not too worried about it though because my next appointment is shortly after, so I'm guessing they'll try to look/confirm for us then. I wanted Daddy to come to that appointment with me, but that's the night Anna is starting swimming lessons, so I'll have to meet them at the Y after my appointment.

December 27 - 13w, 6d
Not too much news to report other than I am SO ready to prepare the house for you! Yesterday, Anna and I took down all of the Christmas decorations. I think that's the soonest I've ever taken down decorations, but my mind is racing with all of the things we need to get done to prepare for your arrivals. While Anna was taking her nap, I pulled everything out of the living room closet and almost everything out of the second closet (your closet) in the office (your bedroom). It's mostly still all in the living room right now which drives me a little crazy, but we're slowly sorting through things. We're making a sell pile (already sold $60+ worth of stuff), a garage sale pile, keep & find somewhere to store pile, and a garbage pile. Thankfully the garbage men came this morning, so I was able to get rid of a nice chunk of stuff already.

I wouldn't say I'm "nesting" already, but more preparing. There are a lot of unknowns and things out of my control with this pregnancy which I don't like. For example, my health and how my body is going to handle growing two babies; if I'll have to go on bed rest; if I'll be able to work til the end of the school year; when you'll be born; how you'll be born....
I am a planner. I like to know what's going on ahead of time. So all of these things that are completely out of my control are always on the back of my mind. Cleaning the house and getting the office converted into a nursery is something that I can control, it's something that I can see and put my energy into over the next few months, so that's why I'm so anxious to get it started.

We've also started buying diapers and wipes. We don't have a ton yet, but I figure we might as well get them now while they're on sale and stock up because we know it's something we're going to need!

I cannot wait to find out your genders! The fact that we should know within the next week or two makes me so excited. If one or both of you are boys, I'm going to have a hard time restraining myself from shopping! :)

Good-bye first trimester! You were not as bad as you could have been - thank you! - but I'm looking forward to the second trimester for the energy boost, baby genders, and my favorite: baby movements!

10 & 11 Weeks

December 1 - 10 weeks!

Not much difference between this and eight weeks - but still difficult to hide!!
I'm ten weeks today and there's just something exciting about entering double digits! I am dying to tell everyone about BOTH of you, but I can't spill the beans just yet....but we're getting closer!! We're within two weeks of everyone knowing! I am SO excited for my ultrasound on Monday afternoon. You two are about the size of a Lego person this week and your arms/legs/joints are starting to move and bend - which I can't wait to see on the ultrasound. You're going to be so much more baby-like and much less blob-like! :)

As long as everything goes well on Monday, then on Tuesday I'm planning on taping our Christmas card to the board in the lounge, at school, where we put all of our announcements. It's getting extremely hard to hide my belly, and I'm pretty sure everyone at work is suspicious, but too afraid to ask! I'm going to ask them to keep it off social media until we mail the ones out to all family and friends on the 10th. 

The Christmas cards came in yesterday (two days early!) and they look great! I'm very pleased with how they turned out. I would have liked the fireplace picture to be bigger, but Daddy likes that you have to look at it closely to actually figure it out. It'll be so exciting to hear everyone's reactions and to see who actually notices. We're bringing two to Linda & Roger this weekend and I cannot wait to see their reaction!

December 6 - 10+6
Linda and Roger were very surprised! We had to ask them to look at the fireplace again because they didn't notice at first. Linda said NO WAY! And Roger said, No shit?! Then later he said, "Shit, I can't spoil three of them! :) That's the Roger answer I was expecting! :)

I had another ultrasound yesterday and you're both still in there! It seems silly now to think that you wouldn't be, but I just get worried. Everything looked good. They actually moved your due date up one day and I'm officially due June 28th - even though twins never make it to their due date.

I met with a new nurse practitioner at the MFM office yesterday who was fantastic! She answered all of my questions and we talked about a lot of things. You two are "Di Di" twins which means you each have your own sack and your own placenta. The NP told me this is the best kind of twins to have because you're at a lot less risk. You don't share a blood flow, or a placenta. You're each growing individually of each other, which means we most likely won't have to deal with one twin being the "bigger/dominant" twin. That really helped put my mind at ease. She also informed me that the national average for twin delivery is between 35 and 36 weeks, although 37 weeks is considered full term. She said they'll closely monitor you guys and me, and obviously right now there's no telling how long you'll be in there.
With a twin pregnancy, I'm at a higher risk for pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and gestational diabetes (the CF puts me at high risk, then the two placentas - she said it's a "triple-whammy"). These are things that they will closely monitor me for and we'll adjust accordingly. If I delivered around 36 weeks, that puts me at the very end of May/beginning of June. I just hope I can make it through the end of the school year!

December 13 - 11+6
The word is spreading quickly!!! We dropped our Christmas cards in the mail on Friday evening and people received them very quickly (yesterday was Monday). Lots of messages and texts with surprised notes! It's been so fun! Grandma Dorothy is VERY EXCITED to watch two babies and she is definitely not bailing on us! :)

The day after my doctor appointment, I put our Christmas card up in the lounge at school. I made sure to get their early so most people would see it as they came in in the morning. All it took was for a couple people to notice before they were pulling other staff members in to see the announcement! Many people understood quickly that I was pregnant, but lots of "look closer" and "count the stockings" comments were made by each other to help them see the surprise! I wish I could have been recording everyone's faces when they went from thinking it was one, to realizing it was two! HA! Lots of open mouths, terrified-for-you looks, but also lots of happy, that's-so-amazing faces, too! Lots of hugs and even a few happy tears! :) It was so fun! It's also been SO nice to be able to wear my maternity clothes to work this last week because I've just been so much more comfortable. My belly looks 4-5 months pregnant, but most of that is still just weight gain & a growing belly during the day from eating/digesting. I think after winter break it'll actually be babies making that belly. 

8 & 9 Weeks

November 17 - 8 weeks:

Nice belly already - this was taken in the morning & all I had eaten was one piece of toast.
See what I mean by it being difficult to hide & me getting strange looks!
I know most of it is just weight gained/CF, but still!
I am so tired!! I wake up tired, when I leave for work I'm tired, I am so exhausted throughout the day, and then with it getting dark so early, I've been ready for bed by 7! Haha! I do not remember feeling this exhausted during the day with Anna. I know, I know there are two babies in there, but still. I hope it passes soon so I can get my energy back!

Other than feeling tired all the time, I've been feeling really good. I haven't noticed any more nausea when I get hungry...but I am starting to notice that I'm hungry all the time! I'm also still fighting this cold that started about a week ago. Thankfully I think I'm finally over the dry, non-productive hacking cough part. Yesterday, and more so today, I've been producing a LOT more mucus and I've been getting a lot of it out. I'm supposed to start a new Cayston cycle in two weeks, but I might call next week to see if I can get it a bit early to help fight off the last bit of this cold. 

Hopefully in about three more weeks we can spill the beans! It's killing me trying to hide my belly and not say anything about being pregnant!

November 22: 8w, 5d
Still exhausted over here!! I even had a student point out yesterday that I kept yawning - oops! I'm also very hungry - I woke up in the middle of the night the other day (at 1:00am) to eat sour cream & onion chips and a string cheese. I don't know if I was dreaming about it, or what, but I woke up and had to have those! I'm hoping that does not continue...haha!

I'm slowly starting to feel better. I'm still coughing more than usual, but what's coming up (except first thing in the morning) has been pretty thin and yellow, so that's good. I think I'm going to keep my Cayston to start on December 1st, since that'll actually be here quicker than I think. I'm really looking forward to my next doctors appointment which is two weeks away. This week should fly by with Thanksgiving and having a nice, long weekend. But next week is back to a full week at work, so that'll seem to go by slow, I'm sure.

This past weekend, we shared the news with some of Daddy's family. We told them that I'm pregnant, and everyone is very excited! Grandma even said, "YES!" Everyone is assuming it's just one, so I can't wait to hear their surprise when they get their Christmas card! I think we're going to send them out after Isaac's birthday party, which is December 10th. Then everyone will get them right before we have our family Christmas on the 17th! :)

We have our pictures back from Heather and they turned out really cute. Now we just have to do the fireplace picture this week so we can create our cards. I'd like to see if we can get a good deal on them on Black Friday, but then it's going to kill me to have the cards in the house and not mail them out for another two weeks! We'll see...

I cannot wait to see these babies again! They're going to be so much bigger than the little blobs they were two weeks ago! I am constantly worrying that one just isn't going to be in there anymore, even though I've been feeling great. I've had no cramps, pain, bleeding, etc to suggest that, it's just hard when I can't feel anything this early on except wanting to sleep all the time. I guess I should take that as a good sign, right?!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

6-7 Weeks

November 8 (Election Day): 6w, 5d
24 hours from now I'll be having my ultrasound and I cannot wait!! Daddy and Anna are going to meet me there, and I'll be running out of work as fast as I can after our meetings. Tomorrow is the day where we find out if there's one strong little baby, or if our life will be turned upside down with two! I think either there's two, or you're a boy because I've started having some nausea this week (and I didn't have that with Anna) - yuck! It has not been fun. Its typically in the morning right around when I'm about to eat breakfast. I don't know if its because I'm hungry, but it's something I have to get past and make myself eat because that usually makes it go away. Thankfully it doesn't usually come back throughout the day, but we'll see...
Daddy and I already have our Christmas card idea picked out and it's going to be really hard to get through Thanksgiving without telling anyone because I'll be 8-9 weeks by then. I've already noticed some people looking at me differently, but I haven't had anyone ask me yet. Most of my problem is that I've gained so much weight (in my belly, of course) over this summer/fall, so things aren't fitting correctly. I can't wait to stop hiding my belly and have it actually look like a baby bump!

November 9th: 6w, 6d
There are TWO of you in there!!!! They actually saw three gestational sacks originally, so for about five minutes Daddy and I thought we could be having triplets which was quite terrifying! She told us to not freak out and that she would just check each sack individually and see what we're dealing with. Baby A looked great and had a heart beat of 152 bpm. Baby B was a little harder to see because of it's position, but still measured great and had a heart rate of 135 bpm. The third sack ended up not having anything in it, so they called it a "blood sack" or something like that. They said it'll eventually just dissolve itself and shouldn't pose any problems.


Tomorrow I am scheduled for my routine CF appointment, so I'm excited to tell and talk to my doctor about what to expect. I'm hoping my lung function is better than last time, but I'm also feeling a bit of a cold coming on, so we'll see. I was 138.2lbs today, so I've already gained 4 pounds since the IUI three weeks ago....thanks, Kalydeco. It's getting extremely hard to hide my belly, and not because of the babies. It's because of my weight gain and it all going straight to my belly. I may have to tell people at work sooner than I planned because I'm already getting weird looks from people. I'm sure it'll become a hard baby belly soon enough though with this being my second pregnancy and with there being two babies in there.

After our ultrasound, Daddy, Anna and I went looking at car seats and double strollers at Babies R Us and Target. Double strollers are expensive, but we saw a really nice one at Babies R Us that we both really liked, so we'll have to start saving up. :) As of right now, the plan is to still share at Christmas on our card. The discussion now is to share whether there are two at Christmas, or wait until we know your genders. I want to put two on the Christmas card, Daddy wants to wait, so hopefully I can convince him to announce it sooner.

November 11: 7w, 1d
I don't think it has set in completely that there are two of you in there. I talk about "them" and "they" and "babies", but I don't think I've fully grasped what it's going to be like to take care of both of you at the same time! Luckily I have the next eight months to let it sink in! I am getting excited thinking about everyone finding out this Christmas, that it's going to be so hard not to say anything for the next month. I want to send out our cards in early December, just so everyone will know!

Oh, how could I forget?! I had my CF appointment yesterday and Dr. Dowell was surprised but so excited for us! She went running around the office showing off your ultrasound pictures, it was so funny. She isn't too worried about me staying healthy during this pregnancy since I am starting off really healthy. But, there aren't many oral antibiotics safe for you guys (especially now), so I'm hoping that I can fight this cold with extra treatments and extra rest. My weight wasn't as high as it was at the ultrasound the other day (must have been my large lunch that day!), but still stable at 134.9, which means I've gained only about a pound since the IUI -- seems more reasonable than the four I thought I gained the other day. My lung function was good, at 86%, so I hope it's able to stay around there throughout pregnancy. I have my first high-risk appointment scheduled for December 5th and I'm really looking forward to see how much you've both develop. It also means that after that appointment we can get our Christmas cards ready to send out - woo hoo!

November 14: 7w, 4d
We had our Christmas card pictures taken yesterday and I can't wait to see how they turned out. I wanted to do them early so we could do them outside before it got too cold. Heather (and Berkley) took our pictures and created a cute little sign for Anna that said "Only Child Expiring June 2017". She did so good smiling in the pictures and tolerating the chilly weather. We're also going to do an indoor picture with stockings over our fireplace, but we have to wait until we reorganize the living room and decorate for Christmas. I asked Daddy to get our stockings out of the attic, so all five are out in the living room. :) With your ultrasound pictures hanging up, and the two little baby stockings out, it's slowly starting to feel a bit more real.

Thankfully my sickness and nausea has gone away for the most part. It comes about whenever I get too hungry, so as long as I'm eating regularly, I've been feeling pretty good. Lung-wise, this cold sucks! I did three treatments a day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'll try to keep that up this week, too, because I don't think it's going away any time soon without antibiotics. It's not too bad throughout the day, but in the evenings my mucus production is nonexistent and my cough is so tight and dry. I'm scheduled to start Cayston December 1st, so maybe I can talk to Dr. Dowell about starting it a week early to help kick this cold if it's still lingering by then.

Other than that, my challenge for this week is to keep my belly hidden at work. It's still mostly just CF belly, but I think people are starting to get suspicious. I'd like to hold off until the Christmas cards go out, but we'll see. It's getting hard to find clothes (and non-maternity pants) that fit and hide things.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

4 & 5 Weeks

October 27th: 5 weeks

Dear Baby or Babies (we don't know yet),
YAY!!!!!!!! I am so excited to be pregnant again!! It has taken us six months of frustrating fertility appointments to get to this point, and we were on the brink of IVF, so the word excited doesn't describe the way I'm feeling enough.

I cannot imagine what my body is going to look like carrying two babies, or how it's going to handle it, but if that's what we're in for, then we're ready as we can be. If you're just one lone little bean in there, then I'll be equally excited (and maybe a little relieved) because I know I can handle it.

You're already giving me a run for my money and keeping me on my toes. I started having pregnancy symptoms just one week after having the IUI. My nose is already on high alert and I've come to hate the smell of popcorn because they make it every Friday at school.

I've also had some experience with coughing up blood already. After talking with some of my CF friends, it seems kind of common, but I don't remember having this issue when I was pregnant with your sister. I've been in contact with my CF doctor and we're increasing my Vitamin K to daily for a week. She also wants me to keep running (although I feel that might be part the trigger) to keep working my lungs and get that junk out...just to take it a bit easier. We'll see!

At five weeks you're the size of a BB pellet or a black peppercorn. It's fascinating to read how much is developing already in your tiny little body(ies). Its been three years and I've easily forgotten. I'm planning on staying on Kalydeco during this pregnancy because, to me, the risk of stopping it is greater than staying on it. When I was pregnant with Anna and I stopped it, my lung function hit an all-time low, and I definitely don't want to take that risk again.

October 29th: 5w, 2d
I had my running group again this morning and we ran/walked 2.4 miles. We did a flat course and I felt very tired throughout, but my lungs felt great afterwards. I haven't had any straight blood or streaking today since my run, so I'm hoping that it's getting healed in there.

As long as everything goes well over the next month, Daddy and I are planning on announcing to everyone using our Christmas card. We're not sure how/what we're going to say yet, but I'm looking forward to everyone's reactions! :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Anna & Antibiotics

Things have been a bit crazy around here and if you've been following along, you know that we're expecting some new arrivals (that's right, there's two!!) this spring! I'll post much more about that later, but I wanted to post a little happy thought today.

Anna, Tim and I have been sick for the last week. It started with me last Monday, and of course I'm still going. Then Anna started on Wednesday/Thursday, and Tim on Friday/Saturday. This weekend was difficult because we spent it celebrating Christmas with Tim's side do the family, but none of us were at 100%. Thankfully today we all got a "sick" day. School was canceled last night due to the icy roads and very cold temperatures. Tim didn't have to work today either because his dad wasn't feeling the best. It's been nice having a recovery day. 

This morning when Anna work up, though, her poor little eyes were full of green gunk. Whatever is going on in her sinuses had started coming out of her eyes - poor baby! I decided to get her in to see the doctor today to see what was going on since she didn't seem to be getting much better. Turns out one of her ears was quite red inside which the doctor thought could be bacterial. So, Anna is now on her first round of antibiotics and eye drops (those are not fun). 

My happy thought is that I am so proud that she has been able to go this long without being sick and needing antibiotics! I really do attribute it to her being breastfed for the first 13 months of her life. She's also been watched by Tim's fabulous grandma, which has kept her away from a daycare setting, but she's still around a couple other kids. I'm just so happy that she's been able to stay so healthy, and I hope the trend continues as she gets older. 

As for the two little ones coming this May/June, I definitely plan on nursing them as well. Although I know it'll be much more difficult than it was with Anna, I think the benefits are absolutely worth it. 

*Not bashing formula-fed babies, just proud of my body & how I feel it has kept Anna healthy*

Friday, December 16, 2016

Our (In)Fertility Journey: Round Two, Part Three.

Saturday, September 24
I had my cyst-check on Monday right after work, and thankfully everything looked clear. :) I also missed two days of birth control while camping, oops, so my period actually started the day I went in for the cyst check - convenient! They took some blood work and told me that I'd most likely start my injection on Wednesday, as long as my blood work checked out. Again, thankfully, everything was fine and my meds shipped Wednesday afternoon so I was able to give myself the first one that night. I'm scheduled to go back for a scan on Monday again to check the progress of my follicles. I'm definitely having mixed emotions. This is our last chance to get pregnant the IUI route so I'm very hopeful, but I'm also pretty much hopeless because we've had basically nothing but bad luck since May. Monday's appointment is going to show us whether we can have hope for this final IUI or not, so we'll see.

In other news, in the three week birth control period, I got a call from the fertility clinic saying that Tim and I needed to attend an IVF informational meeting one evening. So we arranged to have Anna stay the night at Grandma's so we could have a nice hot date learning about IVF in detail. The meeting was actually very informative and I felt like it gave Tim and I a lot of information to talk about, and what to look forward, too. I feel like it prepared me to go through IVF mentally. I mean, it's not too much more than what I'm doing now (as far as meds), but it also looks like it's going to be quite a bit more emotionally involved. I've definitely comes to terms with going the IVF route, and I think it helped get Tim a bit closer to my side, too.

Thursday, October 6
My first scan after the injections wasn't very informative. It showed that follicles were growing on each side, but neither side had a dominate or large follicle just yet. They asked me to come back on Friday, where our results were pretty similar. I had 2-3 follicles (some on each side!!) measuring about 12mm, and they need to be 18-20mm to be considered mature and ready for ovulation. I was told to come back the following Monday.
I went in on Monday for another ultrasound and they always look at the right ovary first. There was a large follicle measuring about 17mm on the right side, and one a little bit smaller. The tech remarked how I looked like I was almost ready to trigger, but I was a little frustrated because my follicle was on the right again. Then she went over to the left side and there were two big follicles!!! It's the first time since May that I've produced a mature-sized follicle on my left side! One was measuring 17mm and the other was just a bit smaller. I was so excited - we finally had our chance!! When she was done, the tech went to get a nurse to discuss next steps. The nurse told me to trigger Wednesday night for an IUI on Thursday at 10am.
Here I am, Thursday afternoon, relaxing at home after the IUI this morning. The last couple days and this morning I've been feeling a dull pain/cramping/discomfort in my ovary area, so I'm hoping that's a good sign that my body is preparing itself properly. My hopes are so high for this cycle! It's the first time I've ovulated from my left side, and when we were trying with Anna, each time we did an IUI with a follicle on the left it worked (one did for a couple days, and the other full term), so I'm this will be just what we need...we'll find out in two weeks.

Friday, October 14th
I'm 8 days past my IUI and I am driving myself CRAZY symptom spotting every little feeling! The day of and the day after the IUI, I felt more bloated/crampy/uncomfortable than I remember with previous IUIs. I asked the fertility doctor about it right before the procedure, but he said that it was just my body's way of preparing itself.

Just days after, I was feeling some discomfort towards the middle-left side of my uterus. I was feeling some tight, pulling pains, kind of like round ligament pains. This Wednesday morning I noticed my boobs were feeling slightly sore near my armpit area. The sensation increased a bit yesterday and today...even sometimes getting that feeling right before having a let-down when nursing (obviously I'm won't, but I haven't felt that in a long time!). The soreness has even moved just the sides to towards the top, as well. After talking about all of my weird feelings with a couple good friends, I couldn't wait any longer and took a pregnancy test this afternoon. I really didn't think it would show anything because it's still so early, but I just had to try. Of course it was negative, but I'm not feeling disappointed. In fact, I just placed an order for 20 test strips that should be here by Monday or Tuesday! :)

I really have a good feeling about this, just from the signs from my body. But, if this doesn't work, I am honestly going to be devastated because in my mind, right now, I'm pregnant. I'll continue to test all week because it's going to be on my mind constantly (still) until I know a for-sure answer. If I'm feeling all of this and I get my period next week, it's going to crush me. It's also going to make me think I am a bit crazy for thinking myself into being pregnant and having these feeling for nothing....let's hope that's not the case.

Monday, October 17th
11 days post IUI and I took a dollar store test this morning that had the faintest second line I have ever seen!!!! I'm super excited, but still a little cautious. It's still very early and I don't want to go telling the world yet because of what happened the first "successful" IUI back in 2013. I will know for sure on Thursday when I go get blood work. I will continue to take a test every day this week, and hope the line gets darker, until I'm able to get to Springfield on Thursday (day 14). This morning's test just verifies, for me, that I'm NOT CRAZY and what have been feeling is real!! This has NOT set in yet, but it's exciting just typing it out!

Thursday, October 20th
I'm pregnant!!! I've been taking tests all week and they've slowly been getting darker. This morning I went to the fertility clinic to get blood work done since today is two weeks since my IUI. I anxiously awaited the call all day to hear what my levels were, checking my phone a million times throughout the day. I even called at 12:30 during my recess and at 2:30 after school with no luck, just reaching the secretary who couldn't find an available nurse. They finally called me at 3:00pm and the nurse immediately started with, "How are you feeling?" I said,"Umm...pregnant!" She laughed and said, "Well you are!" I asked what my number was and again, she laughed while saying 449.

*When I was 14 days post IUI with Anna, my number was a 189, so I was very shocked to hear such a high number. I immediately asked. "Uhh...does that mean there's more than one?!" And she replied that there could be....what?!?! I couldn't believe it!! I was expecting to hear a good number because of the way I had been feeling for the past week, and I jokingly threw around the idea with a friend, but I was completely surprised to hear there could be more than one baby growing!

The nurse was SO happy for me and was so sweet on the phone! She kept saying how excited she was for me and how "it really did just need to be on that side". (Tim was right!) She told me my Progesterone level was "greater than 40" which is excellent. They want it to be between 18-20. I asked if it was higher because of the possibility of multiples, but she said no, it's just a really healthy pregnancy. :-) **I'm still shaking my head in disbelief as I'm writing this!**

Once I contained myself a bit (my hands were getting sweaty just talking to her on the phone), I asked what the next steps were. They want to see me back on Monday morning for another blood test. My hormone level should double every 24 hours or so, which means my number should be around 3,600 when they call me back Monday afternoon. And if everything goes well Monday, we'll schedule our first scan for two weeks later...which is when we're really find out how many babies we're talking about here!! She also told me that I may feel nauseous since my hormone levels are so high - so far, so good there (although I'm already feeling like my nose is on high alert).

After I hung up the phone, I just sat there in disbelief. I didn't want to tell Tim over the phone because I wanted to see his reaction, so instead I called one of my CF friends who's been helping me through the last two long weeks waiting for this result. She was just as shocked as I was about the possibility of two babies, but was also so excited. Then, of course, I had to call Catie! Again...you could hear the surprise and disbelief in her voice, too! The more I talked about it...it still didn't sink in. It felt weird using words like "they" and "them" instead of "it".

I composed myself enough to get some work done at school before heading home. I couldn't wait for Tim and Anna to come home!! They got here right as I finished up my treatments. I couldn't hold it in very long and had to tell Tim right away. His face was hilarious! It was just for a split second, but the look of shock (and maybe a little panic ;) ) was there and then gone. He's mister non-emotional and didn't really say too much about it, but kept reminding me that we don't know for sure yet. He always thinks I'm crazy for getting to ahead of myself. Of course I was thinking about trying to come up with two baby names, him making another crib, where we're going to fit all of their stuff, how I'm going to breastfeed two babies, etc and he would just shake his head. Haha! I know that it's a possibility that it could be one baby, and that's totally okay with me. The idea of having two babies (and a three year old) is a little scary right now, but if that happens, that we'll deal with it.

I also called my CF doctor tonight to get her in the loop. She was SO happy and of course, surprised when I mentioned the possibility of two. She said that I'm on the extremely healthy side of CF and she sees me just like she would any other woman walking around carrying two little babies, so she's not too worried. We discussed me staying on Kalydeco for this pregnancy because I didn't feel comfortable coming off of it and she told that she supports my decision which I really appreciate. There aren't any medications that I need to stop at the moment, and I go back for a routine visit November 10th (which is most likely the week I'll have my first scan), so we'll just make sure everything's looking good lung function-wise. I've been feeling really good lately, so I hope it continues over the next nine months and beyond.

So I'm done telling people - friends and family will find out eventually. Either when I get too big to hide it or when we decide to make our announcement. I am REALLY looking forward to our first scan and seeing what we're dealing with - it'll feel so much more real then! I am so excited for Anna to be a big sister. She is going to be the BEST! She loves babies and will be such a big helper. I am beyond excited right now that I feel like I can go on and on all night, but I'm stopping here! :)


Monday, October 24th
This morning I have my next blood draw to make sure everything is progressing well. I've been very relaxed over the weekend about everything. I even threw away the pregnancy tests I've done and only took one more to see if the line would get any darker - it barely did. I'm still feeling alright - no sickness or nausea. Some smells are worse than others (like popcorn, gross!), but I haven't felt like I've been going to puke, yet. Sometimes when I'm switching my position during my sleep, I feel a little pull or cramp in my uterus area, so I'm sure it's already starting to grow and stretch. I just want to know if we're talking about "it" or "them". I'm hoping that we'll schedule the ultrasound today, so that I at least have that date to look forward to. :)

Friday, October 28th
So the fertility clinic never called me back on Monday afternoon, so I ended up calling them Tuesday morning. My HCG level was 1,549 and my progesterone was 40. These are still excellent numbers! We have our first ultrasound scheduled for Wednesday, November 9th, and I'll be a day shy of seven weeks then. I'm SO excited!! I really want to know how many babies are in there! My HCG levels are still considered high, so we'll see...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Our (In)Fertility Journey: Round Two, Part Two.

Feeling a little nervous about the way the last post ended....nothing compared to how nervous I was about this meeting! It was mid-cycle in July. This round of treatments had been canceled pending this meeting.

I asked Tim to take off work for this so he could be there to support me and hear our new plan of action. We discussed the first issue of how I had been ovulating on the wrong side for the past three months. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing a fertility clinic can do to have my body ovulate on a specific side - that was just up to my body. 

Another major issue that was brought to my attention was my uterine lining, or lack there of. Apparently in June and July, my uterine lining was "too thin" to sustain a pregnancy. So why they had me try an IUI in June I'm not really sure, but I didn't think of that until after we left. The oral drug, Fermara, I had been taking was supposed to help stimulate follicle growth as well as my lining, but it wasn't doing it's job and/or my body wasn't responding properly. This just blew my mind because it's exactly what we used to get pregnant with Anna, so why wouldn't it be working now? Mentally and emotionally, I wasn't ready for IVF yet. It was nearing the beginning of the school year which is one of the most stressful times of the year. I didn't want to use up all of my sick days for IVF appointments, and emotionally, I just wasn't ready to give up in IUI yet. It had worked before, why not now?! Thankfully, there was one more option left before IVF. 

After explaining to the doctor that I wasn't ready to start IVF yet, he said that there was one more thing we could try before IVF. We'd pursue IUI, but instead of taking Fermara, I'd do an injectable hormone. They'd put me on a low dose so I didn't over-stimulate, I'd still do the Ovidrel trigger shot and we'd still do an IUI as in cycles previous. I'd have to do a daily injection and have a couple more ultrasounds (plus blood work each time) to monitor my ovaries. The biggest concern was over-stimulation and a multiple pregnancy. Because of my CF, my fertility doctor (and high risk OB, but not as much) really wants to avoid a multiple pregnancy. I agreed to do the injectable hormones because I really wanted to keep trying for an IUI. We made a plan - we'd try the IUI with injectables and if I wasn't pregnant in October, then we'd take November off to prepare for IVF in December over Christmas break. This would allow us three more rounds (August, September and October) to try an IUI, and put my IVF over Christmas break which should help reduce the number of days I'd have to take off work for appointments. 
I was very thankful that the doctor was so understanding and that he listened to our wants and needs. I also appreciate that he is looking out for our best interest. He feels like we'd be very successful with IVF because we wouldn't have to worry about which side I'm ovulating on and because he thinks I'd respond to the medications well, but I just wasn't ready yet. Leaving that appointment, I felt very good. I loved the feeling of having a plan and I was glad that we still had a few IUI cycles left to try. I was very hopefully that the injectable medication would be exactly what we needed. 

Fast forward a couple weeks to the beginning of August when my cycle started again. I had to get in for my baseline ultrasound between days 1-3 of my cycle because I had to start the injectables earlier in my cycle than the oral meds. *In the last two weeks, the fertility clinic had contacted my insurance to get me approved for the injectable medication. Of course when they called to order it when my cycle started, that couldn't be an easy task either. My cycle started on a Wednesday and they wanted me to begin the injections that Friday night. I was on the phone with several different people Wednesday and Thursday trying to get this medication over-nighted to me by Friday and they were all giving me the run around. Then I found out that the medication that was prescribed wasn't covered by my insurance and it would cost thousands of dollars out of pocket -- that wasn't an option. So then I had to call the fertility clinic back to see if I could take the "generic" kind. Thankfully the nurse was amazing and got it all straightened out for me and my meds arrive on Friday afternoon. 

So, the injections weren't too bad. It was only one a day and the needle wasn't big. They were also preloaded in a cartridge which was really nice. I went into the fertility clinic a few days after starting. My follicles were responding well, but it looked like my biggest one(s) were going to be on the WRONG side AGAIN! I went back a few days later to double check and I had two huge follicles on the wrong side and one just under the wanted measurement on the correct side. I was almost in tears during the ultrasound. I was SO frustrated!!! They wanted me to do an IUI anyway (again). My lining responded perfectly to the medication and the doctor said there's always a chance that one of the follicles to move to the other side where my fallopian tube was (they've seen it happen, just not often). So, I actually triggered that night and we went in for the IUI on a Sunday, the day before I went back to school. Perfect timing. 
The whole week after the IUI I felt weird. I was having random cramping throughout the week and just felt a little off. The whole next week I felt absolutely nothing. Even though the start of the year was keeping me very busy, it was always on the back of my mind. We were running out of time. If this one didn't work, the next one would probably make me use a sick day or two for appointments - which is a sick day or two less saved up for maternity leave. On day twelve of my two week wait, I had some brown discharge which had me thinking in both extremes. Either it was implantation bleeding or the start of my period. Of course, I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I convinced myself to chill out because it was still early. I didn't have any discharge on day thirteen and did not take a test. Day fourteen came and I couldn't bring myself to take a test. I didn't want to be disappointed yet again. The whole day, off and on, I was having brown spotting. It was driving me crazy because my period wouldn't just start already, so I kept going back and forth getting my hopes up that it was implantation bleeding. Finally, around dinner time, my period came on full-fledged, so I didn't have to think about it anymore. I can't say I was surprised, because again, we didn't have the right circumstances, but I really had my hopes up that first week after feeling so weird. 

So, I called the fertility clinic the next day (Monday) to start my second round of injectables. The night before, I was thinking to myself "we have two more months; two more shots to get this right before IVF". I was able to get an appointment for my baseline scan right after work. I headed over to the fertility clinic and during the scan, there looked to be a huge follicle on my correct side. For a split second I thought to myself, "Finally! Let's do this! Let's trigger for an IUI!" But I quickly realized that I just started my period, so there was no way I could already have a mature follicle - that's when I knew something was wrong. The girl who was doing my scan was obviously new because it took her forever and I could tell she didn't want to say much. When I asked her if it was a follicle already, she reluctantly said no, that it was a cyst. I knew it couldn't be a good sign. When she was finished, she told me to wait there until a nurse came to talk with me about next steps. 

The nurse was really nice, but you could tell she felt bad. She told me that the cyst isn't uncommon after all of the meds I had been on recently. She said that if we went ahead with this cycle and the injectables, that all of the hormones would go straight to the cyst which would just make it bigger. I had to start on birth control (what?!) to help get rid of the cyst. Apparently that helps get rid of them. I'd take a low dose birth control for three weeks, go back for a "cyst check", and if it was gone, I'd stop the birth control and wait for my cycle to begin again. While holding back the tears (emotional much?), I asked if we'd still have time to do one more cycle? I wasn't sure if we had to be pregnant by October, or if we could still try in October to be pregnant in November. She said that since my cycle will likely start towards the end of September, we'd still have time to try one more time before taking November off to prepare for IVF. And in that short time, "two more months" quickly turned into "one more month". 

So here we are, I've been on the birth control for just over a week now. I haven't had any side effects from it, but I'm so ready to be done. It is a little nice to not be stressed this month with fertility appointments, it's frustrating that we only have one more shot at IUI. Realistically, we could post-pone our IVF, but it takes months to get on the list (we were put on the list in July for December) because it fills up so fast. I can't put this off any longer. I'm at a point right now where I feel like IVF is just the way we have to go, and I really have a strong feeling that it's going to work for us because so many of the factors are controlled. Tim's struggling to accept IVF as our route. He feels like it's our last chance and doesn't want to give up on IUI when we haven't even had the correct circumstances. I completely understand where he's coming from, and I'm really bummed that IUI most likely isn't going to work for us this time, but emotionally and mentally, I don't know how many more rounds of it I can go through. He wants to keep trying month after month until my left ovary decides to get itself in gear, but we're already going on month five and I'm getting so drained. I don't think he completely understands how emotionally exhausting it is for me every month - he's better at controlling his emotions and not getting his hopes up than I am. But it's also not his body. I feel like my body is failing, and if there's another option that could potentially work better, than I think that's the route we have to take. I feel like people who don't go through fertility don't have a clue what couples go through. They don't realize how taxing it is on a relationship. I am so lucky that Tim has been so supportive throughout this entire process, and even talks about having a third child (which means he's willing to go through all of this again) one day. We'll see what the future brings, and we have to take this journey one step at a time. It's only something that him and I can decide together which is why we don't share much while we're going through it. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Our (In)Fertility Journey: Round Two, Part One.

Here we go again...

*Reader beware: These posts will include talk of periods, ovulation, semen, etc...if you're uncomfortable, don't continue. I want to help spread the word about fertility treatments and help to inform others either going through it, thinking about, or anyone who can relate - especially people with CF.

Tim and I always knew we wanted to have more than one child...as many of you know, Tim always jokes that "only children are weird". When Anna was about 9-10 months old, my cycle finally came back. When she turned one, we decided to start trying on our own again, but soon realized we'd have to go the fertility round again when my cycles never regulated. 

In November 2015, I went to see our amazing fertility doctor to discuss the steps we'd need to take to try for another baby. I thought we'd have to go through more testing, blood work, etc. since it had been two years since I had gotten pregnant. Much to my surprise, he was pretty much ready to start me on meds right then and there! Tim and I weren't sure when we wanted to start fertility treatments exactly (he wanted to time things, I wanted to start asap), so I told the doctor we weren't ready just yet, but that I just wanted to know the direction we'd head when we were ready. He was understood and explained that we'd pick up right where we left off. We'd use the same oral hormone and ovulation injection, and go with an IUI which is what we did to get pregnant with Anna. All he wanted me to do was get the A-OK from the high risk OB team who took care of me during my first pregnancy. 

Tim and I decided that we'd try on our own for a little bit longer and pursue fertility in the spring/summer. I made my appointment with the high risk OB in March and she was so excited to see me back. She was very pleased with my health and was so excited to have me as a patient again. The only thing she needed me to do was have an echo on my heart to rule out pulmonary hypertension (which could be there because of my CF). She felt that with my health as good as it was, I'd be fine, but it was more of a formality. I had my echo done over spring break, in April, and the OB said it was "the most normal echo report I have seen in a while". She sent the results to the fertility clinic and said she'd see me "soon for an OB visit". If only it were that easy...

We decided to start fertility up in May since it was the end of the school year and I'd be able to have my appointments over the summer...plus, if it worked out, we'd be set for a spring baby -- aka: maternity leave at the end of the school year + longer time with baby over the summer. Again, if only it were that easy...

We went in at the start of my cycle in May. For those of you who don't know, I only have one Fallopian tube. That means when I ovulate on the side without the tube, the chances of me getting pregnant are extremely slim, even with IUI. So, the follicle has to be on the correct side, which is the left side, for me to have a good chance of getting pregnant with an IUI. In May, I started taking the oral drug, Fermara, to help stimulate my follicles to grow. Of course this month, my body decided to produce its biggest follicle on the wrong side. Lovely. So we were told to still do the trigger shot and have timed intercourse. This, to me, is a waste of time and money. There's a reason we're at a fertility clinic, but whatever. It's basically their way of us at least trying something. Needless to say, it didn't work.

In June, we did the same thing, used Fermara. This time I produced a very large follicle on the WRONG side again! The doctor told us it wouldn't hurt to try an IUI this time around. We knew the chances weren't great, but figured why not? So we went in for the IUI the morning we scheduled to leave for vacation. Two weeks later....no good. I wasn't surprised, but still disappointed. I felt like maybe we had a bit more of a chance. 

In July, we did the Fermara again. And I ovulated on the wrong side AGAIN! So if you're keeping track, that's three months in a row that I ovulated on the same side. It's a myth that you ovulate on opposite sides every month! After my ultrasound, when I saw the follicle on the wrong side, I wanted to cry. I was getting so frustrated. This was the last month we'd go through treatments before school started and it was a bust, again! Then the clinic called me and wanted to schedule a meeting with the doctor to discuss other options. This freaked me out a bit. I knew the only option left was IVF and I wasn't ready to throw in the towel on IUIs yet. We hadn't even had the right circumstances yet. I was quite nervous to meet with the fertility doctor, but I knew it had to be something important for him to arrange a meeting mid-cycle.

Friday, November 11, 2016

CF Clinic

Here's a quick recap of my appointment yesterday.

I started feeling a cold, extra tingly cough coming on Monday that slowly increased throughout the week. I was worried about what that might show for my lung function because my lungs were getting tight. And now this morning I'm feeling worse than I did yesterday, and I'm really looking forward to the weekend to relax, shake extra, and maybe even get in a nap.

I got to my appointment about ten minutes early, but didn't get called back to a room until about half an hour after my appointment time. Oh well, I had time to scroll through FB and relax after the long drive. The took me back to get my weight (134.9lbs) and then to the room. The people who cleaned it were just walking out and the cleaner smell was SO strong. They asked if I wanted to wait in the waiting room for 5 more minutes while it aired out and I definitely said yes. So, five minutes later she brought me back to the room and it was much better. Someone came in to do my vitals (100% O2 level and blood pressure was fine). Then came the PFTs...

I always get a little bit nervous before doing them because it's basically the whole reason I'm there. It guides the rest of my appointment and tells how my lungs are holding up. My last visit was very disappointing when I had a huge drop and was down to 81%. I was hoping to be a few points higher than that today because I had been feeling excellent until this week, so I was worried that my tight lungs would skew the results. My first blow was pretty good, and when I looked at the screen I saw 86%! I said, "Yes!" and then coughed my brains out for a little bit. Once I got everything out, I did the test again and got an 83...not too bad, but I was getting tired and tight. I coughed a bit more until I felt clear again, then went for a third test. Same result - 83. I could tell the last two were lower because of the way I was feeling, so thankfully they took the first test as my best one. :)

So even with this cold beginning, my lung function has gone up at least 5% over the last couple months. I am very happy with that. I think the combination of being healthier, doing all of my treatments, and joining my running group has definitely contributed to that increase. I'm a little worried I'm going to lose a bit of it by the way I'm feeling this morning, but hopefully I'll fight this nasty bug off soon.

Thankfully, I'm at a very healthy weight so I have some back up pounds to help me get over this cold. As a person with CF, it's always been very hard for me to gain weight, and it's always come off very easily, which was not fun! My body is going to be working extra hard over the next few days to fight this cold, which burns more energy and calories. So I'm glad and lucky to have that extra weight, so that if I did lose a few pounds, I'm still within a healthy range. The unfortunate part of being at the heaviest weight I've ever been is my belly. Oh the dreaded CF belly.....I posted about it several years ago when I thought I was at my highest weight (about ten pounds lighter than I am today - thanks Kalydeco). It's very common in the CF community to have a belly. It's the way our bodies are built and I don't think people who are not familiar with CF understand it. Yes, I look pregnant, but it's all CF belly. That's where I gain my weight (and in my face) and I also have a distended belly because of my digestion issues. CF patients frequently have bowel/digestion issues, extra gas and bloating which all shows in that area....just an extra lovely perk of the disease. So for those of you who keep looking at me funny...please stop. :)

Overall, I had a great appointment. The doctor was very please with my increase in weight and lung function. She wants me to up my treatments to help kick this cold or whatever is developing. Hopefully it'll disappear by next weekend when I'm running in the Turkey Trot! I'll go back in January for a follow-up (she said unless the weather is bad, then we can wait til February).

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Anna - 2 1/4

Anna, Anna, Anna....

You've been keeping me on my toes lately, little one! I know a lot of people don't like the age two, but so far I'm really enjoying it...most days.
  • You're a negotiator! Everything that we say, either you say the opposite, or some different version to try to get your way. If I say that we can read two books before bed, you'll say we can read three. If I say, first we read, then we go to bed - then you'll throw an extra step in there like "read, THEN snack, then bed" or anything to add your little twist onto it...
  • Going along with the above trend - you don't like going to bed! Naps on the weekends are usually fights, and you're getting excellent at coming up with stalling tactics at night. For a while you'd scream that you had to poop. So, I'd bring you to the bathroom where you'd strike up a conversation with me while sitting on the toilet. When I'd tell you it was time to go back to bed, you'd say, "No I pooping." When I'd remind you that we've sat there for five minutes and nothing's come out, you probably don't have to go, you'd try to force yourself while saying, "It too hard! Help me, Mommy!" I hope those days are over, because they sure were frustrating!
  • Along with some challenges though, you sure have some adorable qualities about yourself! You love to be silly! You even said one day in the car, unprovoked, "Hahaha, I so funny!" You really are!
  • You're learning how to play pretend which is so fun. You're getting more interactive and actually playing with your toys the way they're intended to be used. You make play food, have a picnic with your babies, change their diapers, pretend that they're crying or hungry, you "make" things out of your blocks, make a zoo with your animals, etc. It's so fun listening to you play and the things you come up with. Just last night you put a blanket across your shoulders and started running saying "I a superhero! I super Anna!" 
  • Potty training is going....some days you have no accidents at all, and other days you'll have up to three. One day at Grandma's you told Daddy, "I not poop in my undies anymore!" and I don't think you have. Your problem is not wanting to stop what you're doing to go pee...which I'm sure is common for this age. Or you have to take everything off before you go, and you can't hold it that long. You also had a week when you wet the bed 3-4 times, so that was a bit frustrating. We're trying to reward you with your Halloween candy and remind you more often, eventually you'll get it.
  • You're so smart :) I know every mom probably thinks their child is so smart, but I really am impressed with how quickly you absorb things. You love the show Super Why and I'm totally okay with you watching it because you're learning your letters faster from it than me! I think you're up to about ten capital letters and it makes me so proud :)
  • We have preschool orientation in January to get you on the list for school in the fall. I'm so excited for you to go to school because I think you'll do wonderful and I'm excited to see how much you grow up!
  • You're becoming a better eater, you love to be outside, you like to read, you still want me to do everything for you instead of Daddy, you love to color, and of course, be silly! :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A/C, Cipro & No Bo.

It's been a couple of weeks since having Fredrich in our classroom, and he seriously has been a life-saver! The last two weeks have been unbearably hot and having the A/C unit in my room has helped a ton with removal of humidity! It typically kept the temperature somewhere between 73-77*F which was really nice, but the amount of humidity in the hallways and other classrooms compared to mine was SO noticeable, and it really made a difference in the ease to breathe! It has cooled off this week, so we're giving Fredrich a break since he's worked so hard lately. :) My class has been SO good about having the air. They don't really know why I have it, but we've discussed not bragging about it and especially not complaining how hot it is when we go into the hallway or other rooms in the school, because we're very fortunate to have A/C. I did get Fredrich a few days before our Open House, so the families who came were able to see/feel the difference. Many parents just mentioned how cool it was, but not many really asked why. I did have this disclaimer on the board:


One parent read it and said, "Wow, you have CF?! I had no idea! I couldn't tell by looking at you. Some of the people I see (she's a surgical technician) are in bad shape." She was so sweet about it, and we talked about my health for a few minutes. It was a nice way to connect with her on a different level than just teacher/parent.
I don't like to wear a sign on my forehead saying, "I have CF", but at the same time, I don't mind share when it comes up. I figured the parents would be wondering why only our class had air and ask, but they really didn't! I think they were so overwhelmed by the heat they just wanted to get out of there! :)

A couple weeks ago, I also started two things: Cipro and "No Bo". I wasn't feeling terrible, but I wasn't feeling my greatest either. With the week of heat before getting A/C in my room, combined with my lower lung function results from my last doctor visit, I could feel it all catching up to me. I was getting exhausted quickly, so I realized I just needed a boost. I got in contact with my doctor and nurse and asked for a round of Cipro to help me out of this funk. Between that and the air in my classroom, I could slowly feel my energy coming back and I was starting to feel back to normal.

Unfortunately, I was on Cipro when we went camping, and completely forgot about the sun sensitivity, so I ended up with sun poisoning on top of my head (where my part is) and on my legs. Thankfully it didn't hurt too bad on my legs, it just looked bad. I was able to keep myself in the shade for the most part during recess duty and avoid it getting worse or spreading.

And finally - What is No Bo, you ask?! It's a running group called "No Boundaries" through a local bike and fitness shop. It's a 10-week program that helps runners of all levels. I'm in No Boundaries One, so our end goal "graduation" is the Turkey Trot in November. I decided to join this group with a mom-friend I met through Baby Talk, and I even got my next door neighbor to join with us, too! I really wanted to get myself back into an exercise routine, but I was struggling to motivate myself and hold myself accountable. With No Bo, I have the routine and accountability that I need. We have group work outs on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with homework in between. I just finished week three of the program and I can already notice a difference!


Not only can I get through the warm-up without my legs feeling like they're on fire, but I decided to run a 5K with Tim and some friends today! Chris, his girlfriend, Sammy, Tim, Chris's family, and I walked/ran a 5K benefiting CASA of Will County. Chris's sister is doing a marketing internship with their organization, so we helped her out by joining the race. Since signing up for No Bo, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get my "homework" in for the day by doing some walk/run intervals. Thankfully, I had Sammy there to motivate the heck out of me and I was able to run almost the entire first mile (~12 minutes) without stopping! That's a huge improvement from where I was three weeks ago! I'd guess we probably ran about 2/3rds of the race, with some walking in between. But I know I would have walked a whole lot more if Sammy wasn't there with me! Of course Tim flew right by us - even pushing Anna in the stroller - and beat us by about six minutes! But hey....we beat Chris! :)


Anna even (somewhat) participated in the Kiddie Run afterward. She was a little intimidated by all the other kids running, and the adults yelling cheering her on, but she tried!
This was before the Kiddie Run started!
She was at the bottom of her age group (2-6 year olds)
I'm really looking forward to the Turkey Trot in November! If I could almost run the whole 5K today, I'm positive I'll be able to run the entire thing by the middle of November! I've been run/walking two-three days a week and I love the way it's helping me clear my lungs. I'm really looking forward to my next doctor's appointment (which isn't until November) because I'll have been in this program for two months, completed a round of Cipro and I'm starting Cayston tomorrow. I hope the combination of treatments and exercise will really help me get my lung function back up where it should be!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Meet Fredrich

Please help me welcome the newest member of my classroom: Fredrich
(or as some students suggest: Jimmy John Jones, Burrito, Chimichanga, or Aries...we might have to hold a vote later)


This is our new "spot cooler" - aka: air conditioner, that was installed last night and surprised me this morning!!!! I have to say I was very, very doubtful that this would ever happen, but I am SO happy and thankful! Everyone at work was so surprised, too! The custodian even said he was shocked and that I proved him wrong! :) So I apologize to my coworkers, I'm not keeping my door shut to keep you out, but I'm going to keep my cool air in as long as I can!

It was very difficult for me to put in Americans with Disabilities Act paperwork because I felt like I was putting a huge label on my forehead marked "disabled", but after the summer of mold and the huge drop in my lung function, I had to do something. I want to teach for as long as I possibly can, and Freddy is going to make my classroom environment so much healthier for me, and for my students.

I cannot thank my principal enough for helping me through this process, backing me up on this decision, and following through with everyone. I also am thankful to Tim for encouraging me to do this and supporting me through my extremely frustrating summer of mold. And of course, my school district for providing this accommodation for me to remain in the building I love and to be able to teach in a much healthier environment!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

CF In Real Life

*Raw feelings ahead:

A couple weeks ago, I had my routine clinic appointment in Chicago. The appointment previous, at the end of April, was probably one of my best appointments I've had in many, many years. My appointment a couple weeks ago was not even close. 

I went in expecting to be in the high 80s, maybe still 90, because I was just beginning Cayston which always makes me cough a bit more when I start it. I knew my weight would be up a couple pounds because I hadn't really exercised all summer and I could tell things weren't fitting the same. 

First came the scale, and boy was I surprised - 132.4lbs! What?! That's more than I ever weighed, even when I was pregnant with Anna. No wonder my clothes weren't fitting...Then came vitals, which were fine. I felt like I had to wait forever to get my PFTs done. I saw the nurse first, quickly, who I told that I was feeling really well all summer and expected some good numbers. She mentioned that my insurance was being picky about me getting an Afflo-Vest because they wanted proof that what I have now isn't working, so she was going to "add a note to the bottom of my papers today" saying my numbers weren't the best and recommend that I get it. We both giggled a bit at being rebels, haha, but she knew I'd been asking for one for a long time, so she was trying to help me out.

Then finally the PFT machine comes rolling in. I stand, plug my nose with my fingers, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I give my biggest, best puff of air and blow as long as I can. When she tells me to take a deep breath in, I do, take the mouth piece out and stare at the screen - FEV1: 81%. That can't be right. So I cough a few times, give them a sputum sample, make sure my airways are nice a clear for another test because that score just cannot be right. I tried even harder on the next one and ended up with the same sad number, I was so confused! What was worrying me was that I felt fine. You'd think if your lung function took an 11% hit, you'd feel pretty crappy, but I didn't feel a thing. I just got done telling the nurse how I'd been feeling great all summer. The RT had me do another test, but she hit the button at the end too soon, so that one wasn't correct. She asked me to do one more. I coughed out everything I could before doing it, to make sure nothing got in my way....same, if not a little lower (can't remember for sure) because I was exhausted. 

I wanted to cry. How could my lung function go down so much in so little time without me realizing it?? I didn't know what to say. I had no idea what my doctor was going to say or how she was going to react. Thankfully, she was so level-headed and calm. I told her how I just started my Cayston and wondered if that was it. Then I told her about my classroom...

See, my school doesn't have air conditioning. It also has carpet everywhere. Over the summer, our custodian cleans all the carpets in the building. He uses as many fans as he can find to try to help the carpets dry quicker, but between the heat, humidity and moisture, almost always some mold grows in some or all of the classrooms. This summer, it happened to be only in my room, and it was EVERYWHERE. I discovered it when I went into school over the summer to drop off a few things in my classroom. It was covering all of my bulletin boards (which I covered in fabric last summer), on my books, shelves, desks, etc. I took pictures to show my principal and got out of there. I was so frustrated! I couldn't work in that environment! 
After talking with Tim, we decided that it needed to be taken care of, and no one s really doing anything about it. So Tim bought me a respirator and we sent Anna to Grandma's one day the next week. Wearing my respirator, I tore down all ten of my bulletin boards' fabric and borders and threw them away. Apparently wearing a respirator finally got the custodians attention and he called his boss to try to help me out. He got me a new dehumidifier for my room and used an entire gallon of mold killer to spray every surface in my classroom (I even asked him to spray my books). He decided to keep the windows shut, shades drawn, and lights on for days to make sure the mold didn't grow back. 
Fast forward to the next week no there was no sign of mold growing back, so I went back in for an entire day in the heat and redid all ten of my bulletin boards with the help of one of my teacher friends. 

This was two days before my clinic appointment. When I told my doctor about all of this, she said, "Don't ever do that again." I felt awful, but I knew no one else was going to do it for me. She said that even with a respirator, it still wasn't good for me to be in there. We wondered together if that could have had such an impact on my lungs. It was obviously airborne because the bulletin boards were never wet, so the mold had to come from the air. My doctor said she'd check my sputum culture for mold, told me to increase my treatments as much as possible before school started in a few days, and talked about writing a letter to get me an air conditioner in my classroom. That was it. She wasn't putting me on antibiotics or anything extra because I was already on Cayston and she said my graph looked proportional despite my numbers being low. It was kind of a mystery. She wanted to see me back sooner than three months to see if my numbers stayed low, or if it was just a fluke.

That whole night and the next day I was so, so defeated. I was confused. Should I go back to work? Is it worth risking my health to do my job? I'm too young to stop working! School starts in three days, how am I going to find another job in an air conditioned building? What do I tell my boss? I had no idea what to do or if I should even go back in my school. My doctor and I texted back and forth the next couple days, and she agreed to write a letter to my district to try to get A/C installed in my classroom.


That brings us to today... Yesterday was the eighth day of school and all of my ADA paperwork has been submitted to HR to try to get me an A/C in my classroom. Unfortunately being in an older school building, I hear the eletrical isn't enough to hold one, but we'll see. I have a feeling they'll make their decision by October when it's not relavant anymore....or try to send me to another building which I will not do. 
I've been feeling okay the last couple weeks. Not the best, but not awful. It sucks working in the heat, but we're all in the same boat at my school, so I feel bad complaining. I absolutely HATE using my CF as a crutch/excuse. I hated filling out ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) paperwork. CF is not a disability. I hated writing that I have limitations because of CF. Unfortunately, I have to realize that I do have limitations. I can't subject these lungs to the heat and humidity if I want to keep them in tip top shape. I have to keep myself healthy to be the best teacher, mom, and wife that I want to be.

We'll see what the district decides. ***Oh, and my culture did NOT show any mold in my lungs, so that's good. Even though I've been breathing it in, its not not making a new home in my sticky mucus-filled lungs! I'm almost at the end of my Cayston cycle and still feeling just okay, so I might be asking for some Cipro in a couple weeks to give me that extra boost. I'm also planning on joining a ten-week running club with a friend, so that should really help keep these airbags moving. 

I'll keep you all posted. High-five for you for reading all the way til the end... :-)
PS - My class has only 14 students this year. It. Is. Amazing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

730 Days

Today (when I wrote this) you are TWO! I cannot believe that is has been two whole years since you came into this world. :)


You are such a happy and silly little girl! You've grown a tremendous amount in this last year - one to two has been so much more fun (and faster!) that zero to one! You're now 33" tall and a whopping 21lbs 9oz.

Small, but mighty!
Things you love:
  • Your babies (and after your birthday party, you have at least seven)
  • Daniel Tiger & Super Why
  • Being outside
  • Liam (and all of your cousins, but mostly Liam!)
  • Singing songs with us
  • Swimming/anything with water
  • Foods: Chinese (especially the crab rangoon), beans, tomatoes, PB&J, strawberries,  
  • Coloring, especially with markers

Things you've learned this year:
  • How to use the potty!!!! You decided to potty train about two weeks before your second birthday. You were using a diaper at night for a few days, but quickly refused and demanded undies. You've been doing an excellent job keeping them dry at night! You've quickly learned how to go all on your own, even on the big potty, we're SO proud of you!
  • Talking - you're talking so much! You're starting to put 4-6 words together at a time, but  sometimes you still like to talk like a caveman. Your receptive language is amazing, when you want it to be...you definitely have your Daddy's ignoring capabilities :)
  • Vocabulary: You've learned all of your colors; you're very close to being able to sing your ABCs (you get messed up at L, M, N, O, P);  you can identify letters Aa, Oo, Ss, Nn and sometimes W/M; you try to count up into the 20s, sometimes skipping some numbers.
  • Independence: "Anna do it" & "Me do it" have been very frequent phrases in this house and most of the time it's music to my ears *unless we are on a time crunch!* I love that you want to do things yourself. Isn't that my whole purpose as a parent - to raise an independent, self-sufficient productive member of society? Now we've got a ways to go on the self-sufficient & productive part, but you're well on your way little lady, and it makes us so proud!
  • How to go up & down stairs independently
  • You're learning how to dress & undress yourself - bottoms are much easier for you than tops. You can also put most of your shoes on all by yourself, and 90% of the time they're on the correct feet.
  • Negotiating: You and I sometimes butt heads when I tell you to do something you don't want to do. For example, when I say "get your feet down" you reply with "one foot". Or if I tell you that you can bring one baby with when we go somewhere, you say "two babies". Along with this, you've also learned how to take a time-out....which you also try to negotiate by sitting on the opposite all where I sit you...you keep me on my toes, little one :)

Things you dislike:
  • Not getting your way.....surprise, surprise
  • Onions - even though you insist on taking my onion rings & just eat the outside, of course 
  • When your babies aren't in bed with you and tucked in correctly
  • When you're not tucked into bed correctly (it has to be covering your feet & all the way up to your chin) - OCD much?!

I love your silly, imaginative and independent personality, and I'm so excited to watch it develop even more over the next year! :-)


Love you so much!! ~Mommy

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm Still Here!

I haven't posted a blog in over two months...oops! I'm kind of glad though because it means I've really been too busy enjoying my summer! :)

Unfortunately, there's only one more week of summer vacation left for this working mama. I go back to work on August 15th and the students come back on the 17th. But I'm getting ahead of myself...you must be wondering what I've been doing all summer...

Anna and I have been keeping busy! We have been trying to get out and do something everyday. We've spent many hours at two local libraries, completing the Summer Reading Program at each of them. We also started "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" through one of the libraries and are currently on 188 since starting at the end of May. (I wish I would have learned about it sooner because I'm pretty sure we'd be close to done by now!) We've attended many play groups and made some new friends. We've been in many, many pools and Anna is becoming quite a confident little fish.

At the end of June we took our first family vacation with Tim's sisters and their families, and Tim's Aunt & Uncle. It was SO fun!! It was our first family vacation, and Tim & I's first vacation since our honeymoon almost six years ago.

July flew by filled with more trips to the libraries, pools, parks, museums and play groups. And now, unbelievably, it's August already! August has mixed emotions for me. It's a little sad because it's the end of my time with Anna, but the excitement of starting a new school year balances it out a little. August is also an exciting time because we celebrate Anna's birthday! I cannot believe she is going to be TWO next week! She's grown up and changed so much just this summer! I'll be doing her two year post next week, so I'm not going to put too much in here, except to say that she is potty trained!! I'm so proud of her and I love the little person she's growing up to be!

Health-wise I've been feeling really good this summer. I haven't had any chest infections. I'm just starting up my round of Cayston today, so that should get my lungs in tip top shape for my CF appointment next week and the beginning of the school year. I definitely haven't exercised as much as I could/should have this summer, so there's always that to improve on, otherwise things are going really well here.

Well, that's all for now. We're really busy at home right now preparing for Anna's "blue birthday" party tomorrow! :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

X-Rays. Compliance. Kalydeco.

 
 
On the left: Chest x-ray from January 2013             On the right: Chest x-ray from January 2016
 
What's the first thing you notice? Be honest...
 
Fat! And that's a good thing for a CFer. Let me fill you in on the huge difference in these photos.
 
January 2013 - I was half way through my first year of teaching. I weighed 109lbs, although my lung function was 88% at the time, it wasn't consistently that high. I was showing signs of pre-diabetes, losing weight quickly and not compliant with my treatments. This x-ray is pretty good for a CF adult (24 then). Lungs are pretty clear with mild issues in the upper area of my right lower lobe.
 
January 2016 - I was into my fourth year of teaching, on Kalydeco for a little over two years, a mommy, 124lbs, and a steady lung function of 88%. I had a normal A1C (aka: no diabetes!) and had been compliant with my treatments for a couple years now. The lung damage was very similar, which is key. Typically, adults with CF slowly lose lung function over years, but that fact that my lung function is even better (now) is quite amazing.
 
 
 
There are two giant factors: Kalydeco and compliance.
 
When Tim and I got married and talked about starting a family, I became very serious about my health. I didn't want to sit back and let CF slowly destroy my body as it was. I finally took control and started being complaint with all of my medications and treatments. It was only fair for my husband, and then daughter. To this day, I remain complaint with my treatments because they're what keep me alive.
 
Looking back at blog posts from right before I began taking Kalydeco, I remember that I really didn't want to start it. I didn't want to rely on another drug to keep me healthy. But after realizing, 'what's another pill?!', I figured I'd give it a go. I started Kalydeco August 30, 2013. My lung function the month prior was 77% and I weighed 109lbs. Today, my lung function is 92% and my weight is typically between 124-127lbs. That means, since beginning Kalydeco 2 1/2 years ago my lung function has gone up about 15% and I've gained 15-20lbs! Now if that's not amazing, I don't know what is!! From two little blue pills twice a day!
 
I plan to continue taking those little blue pills and doing ALL of my treatments every single day...well, until there's a cure!