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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Journey Infertilty

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There are a lot of things that absolutely suck about infertility.  Not everyone experiences infertility the same way, so I am not about to pretend that I can speak for everyone who has traveled down this road, but there are some universal things that I think pretty much everyone who has been there would agree with.  The following is by no means a complete list, and are in no particular order because I think everyone would put these in a different order of which ones were the toughest for them.

~ Loss of Naivety ~ When you are under the care of a reproductive endocrinologist, you will know every single step of your pregnancy.  And everything that goes wrong with it.  You will know more than you ever thought possible about reproduction and how it actually works.  I will let you in on a little secret, it is actually more complicated than egg meets sperm equals baby.

~ Nothing is Simple ~ This tags along with the previous one.  If you are an “infertile”, your path to baby is not simply removing birth control, giving it some time, celebrating your pregnancy, and meeting your baby.  It is now, blood work to determine when your body is ready, some sort of medication (oral, injections or both), followed by constant monitoring (I will spare the details), and then either one of two things… 1) You HAVE to have sex at scheduled times on scheduled days or 2) You get to have some sort of uncomfortable medical procedure.

~ Decision Making Becomes Very Complicated ~ It’s not just about deciding if you want more kids and seeing what happens.  No, you have to determine if you have the finances as none of these treatments are cheap and despite most people having a medical condition causing or contributing to their infertility, insurance for this sucks.  You also have to decide timing because you likely have to do some sort of medical testing or medications before starting.  Then you get to decide, with your spouse, how you feel about possible multiples, deal with public (and sometimes family) opinion about what you are doing, and then even if you are lucky and end up with frozen embryos, you now have to decide what to do with them.  Things like… what happens to them if you gets divorced or if both of you die.  Weird, huh?

~ No One Talks About It ~ I would love to see this one changed.  It seemed almost everyone in my life, who was not living their own fertility struggles, either dismissed my problems or avoided them.  And it’s a double edged sword.  Because no one wants to talk about it, those going through it suffer in silence and feel like failures.  And because they feel like they are somehow damaged, they don’t talk about it either.  If people reading this take anything away from this particular post, I want it to be this.  Infertility is a disease.  People struggling with it do not understand it and are helpless to change it.  We are afraid, depressed, and at the mercy of modern medicine.  We are consumed by it, but not defined by it.  We WANT to talk, but not if our worries, concerns and sadness are going to be dismissed.  We know that our problems can’t be solved by simple solutions.  We don’t need you to fix it for us.  We just need you to listen and be open minded.

~ It Becomes Your Relationship ~ For some this makes them stronger, for others, I have seen it tear them apart.  But, unless you take a break from fertility treatments, it is your life until it works or you give up.

~ Side Effects ~ All of the medications are rough in their own fabulously different ways.  They make you hot, sick, bruised, sore, hormonal… I could go on.

~ No Guarantees ~ It hurts my heart that not everyone gets that dream baby at the end of their journey.  You could realistically shell out thousands and thousands of dollars, time, energy, emotions, etc… and still leave empty handed.

I can still acutely remember the pain I felt with both of the miscarriages I suffered and I can still remember how out of control and alone I felt while going through every step of my fertility treatments.  But, I know that I am one of the lucky ones.  Every day, I count my blessing as I think most parents do… in this we are all not so different.  I will share the details eventually as I do think it is important for women to know they are not alone in this.  But, it will be a story for another day.

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Books for Little Girls

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I love reading.  I want my kids to love reading.  I have wonderful memories of my Mom reading chapter books to me and my brother before bed when we younger and I am so excited to start this tradition with my girls in a few years.

Until then, we read the more appropriate children’s books before bed every night.  I try to introduce them to the classics from my own childhood, but there are also a few new ones that we have discovered together and I have fallen in love with.

One of these is Betsy B. Little, by Anne Mcevoy.

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I am a little embarrassed to admit that I actually teared up the first time I read this book.  I LOVE the message behind this story.  It encourages embracing differences and overcoming obtacles in a way that exceeds any and all expectations.  And it is told in such a cute way.  I highly recommend this to all parents, but especially those with young girls.

Another more recent find is The Monster Princess, by DJ MacHale.

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This one also has a good message about accepting yourself as you are and finding the light you bring to the world because you are you.  But, I mainly like this one because it’s a cute little story that combines two things my girls are obsessed with, princesses and monsters (don’t ask).  This one will have to go back to the library soon, but I might have to add it to our permanent library because of how much fun we have reading it together.

I love that my kids give me an excuse to explore the children’s section in the library.  It warms my heart.

A New Day, A New Adventure

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Today we headed out to Sharon Woods.  We were planning to check out Adventure Station which is an indoor play area (admission $2.50 for kids over the age of two).

http://cincykidsapprove.com/reviews/index.php/parks/sharon-woods/

We don’t typically venture to this part of town as it’s not exactly a short drive for us, but it ended up being a really fun day and we enjoyed exploring other parts of the park as well.  Just me and the girls.

The indoor playground is a lot of fun.  Tunnels, slides, a “birds nest”, and a ball pit for kids ages 2-5.  The ball pit was Meredith’s favorite part of the day.

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There is also a nature center that the girls ran around in for a while checking out the turtles, snakes, and other small animals that live there.  We played outside for a while as well, where there is a typical playground and swings to play on.

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We then explored the grounds a little bit.  We didn’t take advantage of the trails, but did find a bridge and then Nora’s favorite part of the day… we discovered a waterfall.  You can tell by how excited she is that this was a treat for her.

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And honestly, sitting there by the water with my girls, I was pretty content too.

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Little Artist

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Art has been a part of my life forever.  I grew up sketching and drawing… eventually evolved into charcoal and a little water color.  Finally ended up immersed in the darkroom and photography.  To this day, my college art thesis is one of the best things I have ever accomplished.

I want my kids to have things like that in their lives… things that brings them joy, grows to help define them and give them a sense of accomplishment and pride.  I don’t really care what those things end up being for them, but I am not going to lie… I would be very excited if one of them became an artist.

Nora has thus far not shown a very strong interest in the whole art thing.  She does not even really like coloring books.  When she does do “art” she often colors or stamps a small part of the paper and moves on.  Meredith seems to enjoy the act of coloring a little more, which is ironic because she is proving to be slow in actually learning which color is which.  But, the other day Nora painted this:
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She had a whole story about it.  The thing in the bottom left hand corner is a snail – a pretty good one too if I do say so myself.  I think the dots behind it were lily pads or stepping stones or something along those lines.  I love that she used so much color.  And that she used the whole page.  And that there was a creative plan behind what she did.  I love that it’s official art.

She may not become an artist or even end up getting the joy from art that I do, but that won’t stop me from savoring this particular creation as much as I can.

Road Rage Kind of Day

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Things have been relentless lately.  The girls have been a little under the weather and my husband and I are knee deep in home renovation projects.  When I am not at work, I am solo parenting so my husband can try to knock out some of the major projects we have going on around the house that he can’t do when the girls are under foot.  Never mind that I also have painting and things that still need to be done around the house.  I can’t even think about that right now.  The house work is piling up and it feels like every time I actually get something picked up, put away, washed or organized, the girls have managed to completely demolish a different area of the house.  To be honest, I am exhausted.

It was one of those days where I finally had to jump ship and tell Dave that I needed a break to run errands by myself.  Most Moms (and probably Dad’s too) can understand that sad feeling when going to the grocery store is like a freaking vacation.  That was me today.  I spend 3 hours running things to Goodwill, browsing the aisles in Target and picking up hot dog buns for dinner.  It was a much needed break… not perfect because so many adults in society are as bad or worse than my toddler and preschooler, but it was still luxurious to not have to lug the kids in and out of car seats and to be able to quiet for a while.  I didn’t even have the radio on in the car.  Just quiet.

In my efforts to become a “better me”, I am trying really hard to live more in the moment and not let the bad moods and stress take control of me and my life.  This is harder to do when things pile up like they have been, but I am really trying.  So, after my break, I threw together a very simple cookout to welcome a good friend home from his year in Poland and enjoyed a couple beers, some good food and outside time (on the newly refinished and sealed deck) with my friends and family.  The girls even decided to be on their best behavior.

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And in the spirit of trying to be more positive, when I start getting depressed and overwhelmed, I try to find a few things I am grateful for to help spin things in a better direction.  During tonight’s dinner, I decided that I am grateful that Meredith is such a great eater.  Check out my little rabbit munching on her salad.

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Simply adorable.

Friendship

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I have never been one of those people who have a huge group of friends.  I have always been much more comfortable with a smaller group around me.  I like KNOWING the people I am friends with and I love them intensely.  I have always preferred the more in depth relationships to the surface ones.  And because of this, I do tend to get hurt easily if I feel like that love isn’t returned.  But, I do consider myself lucky.  I am not one to require constant companionship, but over the years I have made some wonderful friendships that I know will be around forever.  And I know that they love me as intensely as I love them.

To me friends are those who know you and love you anyway.  They are the ones that you can feel crummy around and they don’t need you to entertain them or even change out of your pajamas if you don’t want to.  They will come visit you in the hospital (and offer to bring you stuff to color). 

They love your kids as much as they love you. 

They celebrate with you and listen to you when you need to vent.  And when you are at the lowest point you can think of being – they say that one thing that makes you realize just how much you are loved. (I don’t even think this particular friend would know what I am talking about because when she said it, it was genuine and not self-serving in any way, shape or form.)

They listen without judgement, but are honest with their opinions.  But, regardless of those opinions, they support you.  You can “disagree” on politics without it impacting the relationship.

You can go months (literally) without seeing or talking to them and pick up right where you left off.  Or in some cases, you can go years before you actually get to even meet them, but know that you have a soul mate sight unseen.  Yes, I have been blessed to have some of the people in my life that I have. 

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I am also fortunate that I have grown to become really good friends with my sibling.  The one person in life who knows everything and has weathered the storms and the fortune side by side with me literally from the beginning.

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And my husband.  We are partners and actually enjoy each other’s company.  He drives me crazy, but he makes me laugh and I love him.

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Anyway, these people (those pictured and those not) make my life amazing… I love you all.

Membership Insanity

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“Do you have a pass to everywhere?”  This question was posed to me by a good friend today while we sat poolside at the YMCA… where I recently signed our family up for a summer only membership.  And the answer to this question… is (somewhat embarrassingly), yes, I do.

But, I have a good explanation for this and it is more than an unhealthy compulsion to feel like I belong.  For most places, the price of the membership pass is equal to (or sometimes even less than) the cost of two general admissions.  So if you go more than once, it makes more economic sense to buy the membership.  And you often get other added benefits, such as free parking and discounts on food.  So, yes… a lot of wallet space is now taken up with family memberships, but really, is it my fault that Cincinnati is actually a city that has a lot to offer it’s families?

But, not all memberships are created equal, so here are my reviews:

YMCA – Not all of these facilities are the same, so I highly recommend getting a tour before signing on the dotted line.  But, the one I joined is a nice facility with a great baby pool area and I plan to use some time this summer to teach my kids swim lessons on my own.  So, $299 for a summer membership (which does include the exercise facilities as well) is worth it.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens – Almost everyone in Cincinnati has this membership.  The highest level of family membership is about $130 and includes the rides (train, carousel), parking, 6 free tickets to the 4D movie experience, 1 free guest per visit, 20% off of all purchases (food and stores) and you earn zoo bucks with all purchases as well which can be redeemed for money off down the road.  This is the best membership by far if you ask me and our zoo is amazing.  Zoo Blooms, Zoo Babies, Festival of Lights, Penguin Days, Zootini, Zoo Brews… amazing.  http://cincinnatizoo.org/

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The Cincinnati Museum Center – This one is also about $130 for the basic family membership and includes admission to all of the museums (otherwise each has it’s own admission fees), free parking and discounts on admission to the omnimax theatre.  It is also worth the expense if you ask me and is a great place to go on the rainier/colder days.  http://www.cincymuseum.org/

Kings Island – This one is pricey (about $90 per person), but still, if you plan to go more than once the pass makes sense.  We actually got ours last Fall, which let us in then and all of this year as well.  If you get the gold pass, it does also include parking.  I was a little leary of getting passes because my kids are so young and this is a full on amusement park, but we have been 3 times already this year and the girls LOVE it.  They have the regular park as well as the water park, which makes the price seem a little more worth it.  I think the girls actually like going to the pool at the YMCA better than Soak City, but they love the kid’s section at the park and there are a good amount of rides for them there.  I was surprised they were so into it already.  And since the grandparents typically give this as a Christmas present to their kids and grandkids, why not?  https://www.visitkingsisland.com/

The Newport Aquarium – This one is by far the biggest rip off as far as money goes.  There is no such thing as a family pass here, so you have to pay a pretty high price for each individual to have their own.  An adult pass is about $50 per person.  Again, if you go more than once, you are better off getting the pass, but next year when we have to pay for all 4 of us separately, I may have to think long and hard about this one.  It is nice for those rainier/colder days as well and it is always fun to run around Newport on the Levee, but you still have to pay separate for parking in the garage and even the 20% discount in the store and food court do not necessarily make up for that.  They do have Scuba Santa though.  http://www.newportaquarium.com/

Highfield Discovery Garden – This annual membership is $40 for the family.  This is one of the few Hamilton County parks that you have to pay additional (beyond the annual parking sticker) to get in to.  But, it is such a cute place and they have nice interactive educational classes in the morning and afternoon most days and the grounds are beautiful.  It’s just a different type of play area, which includes a giant tree house to climb in, a butterfly garden, a frog pond, a bridge and tiny little fairy village and more.  Plus, I feel good about giving my money to the park.  http://cincykidsapprove.com/reviews/index.php/parks/highfield-discovery-garden/

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So, there you have it – a little information on many different membership options.  I am sure there are others, but it’s probably best if I don’t know about them.