Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

On this Christmas Eve, the best and brightest in a long time, I am thankful for all of my blogger friends and readers who have walked with me through 2010. Merry Christmas and may God bless all of you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You know you're behind in blogging when...

On Faceb.ook, I asked a friend where she got her peppermint bark recipe.  She told me it came from my a wonderful commenter on my recent blogpost.  Oops.  I'm on a lot more now because I can read it onehanded via my ip.od t.ouch.  But my laptop is a bit harder to manuever around a baby.  So many thoughts have simmered over the past few weeks, especially as Christmas approaches.  :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shutterfly Card...

I'm coming out of the blurr briefly to pass along my pick for the cutest card from Shutterfly.  We plan to send out copious birth announcements/Christmas cards with a Shutterfly card as well.

My favorite is this one: the Good Blessings card.  The combo of Christian graphics and simple pictures really appeals to me.

Shutterfly is offering 50 Free Cards if you post about your favorite of their new Christmas Card designs.  Thanks to the bloggers who gave me the heads up about this!!

p.s.  Now if only someone could find a way to convince Willia.m to lower their exorbitant price of $26 for a pound of their addictive peppermint bark.

post p.s.  It's been a tough week home and the baby has been cranky.  Will write more soon.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Belated Birth Announcement & Coming out of the blurr

Many, many thanks for your loving comments and prayers in my last post.  Quite literally, I felt as if my hospital room and operating room were bathed in prayer.  From the beginning of my birth experience, starting with the midwife telling me to go to the hospital instead of my house to the C-Section, to having to give up nursing (hence, the blurr of this week), it's been clear that things have been outside of my control.  Infertility definitely taught me that concept. 

I felt very priveledged to pray for you and your intentions.  There were plenty of opportunities beyond the IV.  Even the epidural caused its share of pain and I wasn't even in labor to appreciate its benefits. :P  After the picture below, I'll share some of the brief highlights and lowlights of the birth and subsequent week.  So if this is not a good day to read about such details, now is a good place to stop.  Thanks for your prayers!

Kath.erine Eliza.beth, aka K.atie, was born safely via C-Section on 11/11/10 at 5:25pm.  6lbs, 10 oz.  Here's one of the pics from the hospital.

Most surprising moment: "You're going to have a baby in the next couple days." -the midwife.  Second most surprising moment: the hospital had incredible food.  Really!

Most uncomfortable chairs on the planet:  The recliner my husband slept in next to my bed.

Most ironic decision: the C-Section:  After spotting very, very dangerously low amniotic fluid in my ultrasound (indicated that the placenta had shut down), the midwife gave me two choices: C-Section or endure a full day of induction, followed by another day of labor, which could still end up in a C-Section.  I knew that my baby wasn't ready to come out yet; that day the midwife found out I had dilated to 1 cm.  No contractions.  My husband and I were afraid of the stress labor would cause to the baby. 

Most confirmation that it was the right decision: During the C-Section the doctor discovered that the baby had the cord wrapped around her neck 2 times.

Most random comment during surgery: (as I lay on the table, somehow coherent) "I've heard some animals eat their placenta."  The doctor answered, "I hear there's a recipe book for making food items out of placenta, including a recipe for placenta pizza."  A collective "GROSS!" rose up from the room of doctors and nursers.

Most motivation during painful moments: thinking about all of my IF friends and getting the baby out.

Most touching moment: hearing the baby's first cry.  Also, the hospital photographer took some cute photos of the baby and put them in a power point slide show along with background music.  The pictures caused me to start crying, because they made me realize fully the extent of this little miracle.  My husband started to cry too.  In disbelief, the photographer asked, "Oh no, is it because you don't like the photos?"  We assured her that we did and that our tears were happy ones, due to our long wait for a baby.  If that didn't convince her, the fact that we bought a photo package did. :)

Most numbing drugs: OK, this is really hilarious, but the anesthesiologist at this particular hospital is known for his VERY numbing epidurals.  He even gave me some medicine to relax after the baby was born, so much so that I slept through the last 45 minutes of surgery (probably a good thing).  The nurses call his epidurals by his last name.

Most awesome support: All the labor/delivery nurses and mother-baby nurses were incredible.  They enjoyed the candy that I brought for them. Also, my midwife who has been working with me the past 9 months participated in the surgery.  She even held my shoulders and hands while the doctor did the epidural.

Most missed people: my parents in California.  We sky.ped with them after the birth/recovery, but they were missed. 

Biggest surprise:  Recovering from the C-Section went very well.  I was able to walk around 2 days after the surgery.  By the time we went home I felt strong enough to walk around.  The pain pills helped tremendously.

Biggest letdown: I had hoped to nurse from the get-go.  But our baby did not gain enough weight and my milk came in slowly.  We had to supplement briefly with formula.  But even before that, she began to have issues with nursing.  I've had the lactation consultant at my house two days in a row! From what we can gather, my positioning etc. is fine but the baby just doesn't want to nurse.  She screams and fights me every single time.  This had been a long-time wish of mine to do and it was CRUSHINGLY painful to have to give it up after a week.  I'm still pumping but we have to supplement.  I'm not going to get into the arguments of formula vs. nursing (both are worthy options and a personal decision); once again, it's hard to have a deep plan or desire and have to give it up.  Do we see a trend here?

This past week has been very difficult, full of adjustments and loss of sleep.  Despite all of that, we are in awe of our precious little miracle.  The fact that we had to wait so long makes her arrival that much sweeter.  I hope and pray for this moment to come soon for all of you.

Here's me on the front porch sporting the hospital bed hair look.  Yes, that is a St.arbucks cup in my hands; can I help it that my pain pills prescription was filled at a drugstore near my favorite coffee joint?  Don't worry, it's a carmel apple cider.

And finally, this was my favorite picture from the hospital.  If you've made it this far without suffering eye strain from my copious text, kudos to you!! :)

Thanks again for your prayers and encouragement!!  What an awesome community this blogosphere is!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blog post from the hospital

Well, it appears that I jinxed myself in the previous post by proclaiming KB's late arrival.  During a routine doctor's appointment yesterday, the midwife saw severely low amniotic fluid.  So instead of heading home for the evening, she sent me right over to the hospital.  (Grrr.)  There have already been many opportunities to pray for all of your intentions (try having 5 IV sticking attempts).

By the way, it's super cool that our hospital has free wireless.  How appropriate to post from here. :)

So we were faced with 2 difficult decisions: have a C Section or induce labor.  Because I had only dilated to a mere 1 cm, the latter choice meant a potential for 1 day of induction plus 1 additional day of labor.  After some prayer and consult with each other and my mom, we decided to go for a C section.  That will happen late today, so any prayers are welcome.  I will ask my hubby to post a pic of the baby when things settle down. :)

Thanks for your encouragement and many prayers!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Send in the Petitions!

Arrg, another gap in posts.  No arrival of baby yet, but at least the "to do before she comes" list has been whittled down considerably. Add extra events (a friend's confirmation, All Soul's Day, Christmas shopping, doctor appointment, etc.) to schoolwork and time disappears quickly.

But now for the important part.  With my labor and delivery right around the corner, I would like to use the painful opportunity to pray for any and all prayer intentions you may have.  Other bloggers have done this in the past and I want to follow in the tradition.  Of course, I'm not as brave as some of the other bloggers who endured non-medicated labor; mine will include painkillers and an epid.ural.  But there are still fears of needles, a long labor, the painful after effects....not to mention my cluelessness about taking care of a newborn.  Fears about motherhood and if I'm really ready.  See, there will be plenty to offer up.

Catholics hold a great belief in the redemptive value of suffering. However, my tired brain is not up to writing a concise treatise on this matter, so I'll refer you here.  Suffice to say that offering up suffering while praying for others is akin to a child's painful cry piercing the heart of his mom or dad.

So, feel free to leave any petitions in the comment box, on Facebook, or email them to me.  And remember that as always, all you ladies still traversing IF remain in my prayers.  I will never, ever, forget. 

p.s.  Baby KB seems rather content in the womb, so it's looking like she will arrive past the Nov. 13 due date.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thoughts from the not-so-home stretch

Greetings from your intrepid blogger.  I'm loving the fact that my local weather still hovers in the 70s, meaning I can wear my beloved FitFlops without worry of cold weather.  As luck would have it, I'm attempting to get some advanced planning and schoolwork done before D-Day only to find blogging a more desirable alternative.  Obviously, the baby hasn't arrived yet.  She hasn't even caused a contraction, so I'm beginning to think she has inherited my tendency towards procrastination.

We had a scare last week at my weekly appointment.  The ultrasound revealed low (but not dangerously) amniotic fluid.  The doctor ordered me to cease all intense activity and drink about 80 oz of water a day.  So last week became more low-key than originally planned.  It nearly drove me crazy, but the possibility of total bedrest (not my favorite option) loomed as the next step.  Thankfully, this past Monday's ultrasound revealed that the fluid had increased to a safer level.  Deo Gratias!

One of the major struggles I've had during this pregnancy is accepting the normal fears and anxieties as normal.  Instead, the effects of IF chastise me constantly: "Come on, this is what you always wanted... There are many other people that want this more than you..."  Many of pregnancy's crosses (heartburn, loss of sleep, achiness, etc.) have been harder to endure, as if there is something inside preventing these normal feelings of anxiety.  And don't get me started on the thoughts of "Am I really ready to become a mother?  How in the world will I care for a newborn?  What if my baby hates me?"  Again, according to the preggo books, such thoughts are normal.  Yet for an IF survivor, it's hard to give yourself permission to acknowledge their normalcy.  Does that make sense?  I say this often and will say it again: when the various pregnancy unpleasantries do occur, I pray for my IF sisters who are still waiting.  That will never change. 

This past Sunday our dear pastor gave me the Anointing of the Sick to help me prepare for the upcoming labor and childbirth.  All I can say is WOW!!  What an incredible sacrament.  The burdens that weighed so heavily became lighter.  Truly, I felt the strength to endure the days ahead.  I'm so glad that the Church allows people to receive the sacrament before surgery, etc. instead of only just before death as in years past.

In my next post, I will ask for any prayer petitions that you would like me to intercede for during labor & delivery.  So get those lists ready!!

p.s.  I hope to wear flip flops in November!! Ha.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

That looks like a medieval device...

The more he compassionately witnesses my bouts with AF, various OB procedures, and the like, my husband has always asserted how glad he is to be a man.  On Monday while at the OB/GYN office for the now weekly exams, the nurse assistant pulled a out of the drawer.  "Honey, that is the evil device known as the speculu.m," I pointed out to my husband.  He's never seen one until now.

His eyes widened in horror and he replied, "That looks like medieval tor.ture device!"  The nurse and midwife chuckled, and agreed with him. Chock one more reason why he's happy to be a guy on the list.  As for me, I felt satisfaction in him learning about yet another aspect of womanhood that is invasive and painful.   A small victory! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick (Photo) Takes Friday!

Since my posting has been rather spotty lately, I thought it would be fun to post pictures for the 7 Quick Takes Friday...

1.  Last month, some dear friends threw a wonderful baby shower for me.  Among my many favorite memories, I was most touched by the fact that several friends from the IF support group came to celebrate.  Talk about true friends!!  Baby showers were always hard for me while enduring IF, so my IF friends' presence meant so much.

My friend and fellow local blogger Kerri!

The lovely hostesses!

2.  A huge event took place in my home state, the World Equestrian Games.  My Irish Dance group was invited to perform along one of the walkways leading towards the event areas.  To my pleasant surprise, I was still able to dance some of our routines by toning things down a bit and wearing sneakers.  I even turned a maternity dress into an impromptu costume!

3.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we finally FINALLY found & purchased our first "family" car.  My hubby and I both have driven sedans for a long time, but needed a car with more space for baby gear.  We were pleasantly surprised to find this model; it's big enough to haul baby stuff but not too large for me to maneuver around town.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get the blue tooth to make phone calls through the radio....  A huge bonus/nice providence was that the car salesman didn't give us any B.S.  He had previously lived in Southern California, so he and I reminisced about InNOut Burger, L.A. traffic, and the like.

 3.  I've been washing all of the blankets, linens, tiny outfits, etc. for the baby.  Finally, we can put all of those things in the nursery.  I should mention that this room has always been our guest room.  The previous owners painted it pink.  When we found out our baby was a girl, we decided to keep the color.  Yea for (slightly) less work!

 Our new glider/recliner.  I've slept in it one night already.

4.  Last weekend, my hubby and I went on a "babymoon."  It's a trip that a couple takes as their last hurrah before a child arrives.  We've had more than 4 years by ourselves, so we enjoyed savoring these last moments of togetherness while our child is quiet and portable. :)  Also, I was rather emotional about missing my brother's wedding and stressed about completing baby tasks; this getaway really helped me relax.  We had a very laid back, low cost trip to Cincinnati.

It may look like a tropical getaway, but this waterfall graces the tropical room at a local conservatory.

5.  I saw this ridiculous sign in our hotel bathroom.  Would you pay $15 for one of those bath towels? 

6.  I LOVE cats.  I actually invited  my friend's cat, Willow, to the baby shower.  She is the friendliest cat in the world.  At this point, our house is pet-free, so Willow is my "vicarious" cat.  My husband loves this because she lives at someone else's house.

7.  Finally, besides the coffee shower favors that I gave out, I also gave each guest one of these.  I'll never forget my IF journey, and I hope these little flowers will remind others to pray for those affected by IF.

Have a blessed weekend!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blogger MIA returns AND a Cool Gospel Passage

Remember me?  Suddenly 2 weeks have passed without so much of a blog post.  Sure, a few ideas floated around in my head, but no words made that critical journey from the mind to the fingers to the keyboard.  Before going further, I want to clarify that (1) The baby hasn't come yet, (2) We've had a lot of baby stuff to get done, (3) We are so relieved to have bought our family car, despite the fact it took 6 HOURS on a Monday to complete everything, (4) Pregnancy has brought on severe sleep apnea and I can't sleep, and (5) I'm starting to view labor, delivery and the care of a newborn with anxiety (aack!) and guilt ("you always wanted this, why are you freaking out?").  More about that in a later post.

In other news, my brother got married in Oregon this past weekend.  Since I'm 35 weeks pregnant, I didn't want to take the chance of something happening while there.  Not to mention a 5-hour cross country plane flight would be the ultimate discomfort.  Still, myriads of mixed feelings remained at having to miss his wedding.  We got pregnant after my brother announced his engagement.  At that point, my husband and I thought adoption was our path and figured that our attempts would never amount to a pregnancy.  Of course, my brother and the rest of my family were very happy and understanding of the circumstances, but I still felt guilty.  The day felt rather emotional, although my wonderful husband took me to Cincinnati for our "babymoon," which help assuage the sadness.  It occurred to me that missing of the wedding is one of many, MANY sacrifices on behalf of our child that will come in the future. 

Two weeks ago my parish celebrated its patronal feast, Our Lady of the Rosary.  That meant special readings proclaimed at Mass, including a Gospel that one normally hears around Christmastime or the Annunciation.  I couldn't help but get teary-eyed as the words were read about my patron saint, Elizabeth:

"And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." (Luke 1: 36, 37) 

In the last 3 years, I had the same reaction upon hearing the Gospel, except with tears of sadness.  This past Christmas, however, something in my heart stirred.  One day I'll hear this passage while holding a baby in my arms, whether from my body or from adoption.  One day.  All those previous years of wishing and waiting were made so very sweet in the reading of that part of the passage.  My husband smiled too, knowing that as Kati.e Bet.h kicked me in the womb, we echoed the same words: Nothing will be impossible for God. Nothing.  Even something like this happening to someone like me...

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's in a Name: Part Deux

As the weeks towards our baby's arrival continue to become shorter, I wanted to write about the name we have chosen for her.  Post-birth, I'm anticipating (a) the loss of brain cells (b) the loss of time (c) the inability to sit at the computer (d) excessive grogginess and grouchiness due to lack of sleep.  Not very ideal conditions for writing, let alone about such a special topic.  One of the many things I have always looked forward to was selecting names for future children, making sure the first and middle names had special significance.  Both my husband and I strongly believe in selecting names in which you can easily tell the gender of the child (those of you who have taught school know what I mean!).  To have waited so long for a child makes this naming effort even more special!

Some of you may remember that during our adoption process from South Korea, we had hoped to name a son Andrew.  We are saving that name if we do adopt from there someday.  For some time, we have had a girl's name picked.  Thanks for indulging my little explanation.  So without further ado, our little girl will be called:

Kather.ine Eliza.beth, with a nickname of Ka.tie B.eth

Kath.erine's patron saint is St. Catherine of Sienna, a dynamic, passionate woman who was madly in love with Christ yet also not afraid to stand up for the truth.  Of course, our many Dominican friends are very pleased with this selection and have already told us our baby is "Dominican."  Don't know how the Poor Clares will feel about that one. :)

Kat.herine is also the name of my husband's grandmother's little sister, who died of tetanus at age 3.  His grandmother's middle name was Cather.ine.  So the name has familial significance as well.  As for spelling the name with a K, well, that was a bit of vanity on my part because that's my first initial too. :) Until Kati.e gets married, we will have the same initials.  So we can share all of those cute monogrammed items!! Bwa  ha ha ha!

The middle name, Eliza.beth, was rather easy.  That is my middle name and several women in my mom's side of the family share the middle name as well.  It's my sister's first name too.  I have long wanted to pass along my middle name to a future daughter.

It took a while to decide on which St. Eliz.abeth to pick.  We finally settled on my patron, Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist.   My parents gave me her as my patron after it took them a long time to become pregnant with me (funny how history repeats itself!).  We know St. Elizabeth has prayed for us during our infertility journey, so it only seems right to honor her in this way.

Just a disclaimer: As Catholics, we ASK saints to pray for and guide us, but we do NOT worship them. :)

Kati.e's nickname just sort of happened.  Some friends asked if it was due to our residing in the South.  Nope; we have both liked some of the 2-name combinations (Mar.y Kat.e, M.ary, etc.).  So there you have it.  We look forward to someday telling our daughter the significance of her two names.  It feels so surreal that a child will actually receive these names; for so long this has been a faraway dream.  

By the way, heartburn has been my constant companion lately.  I'm using it as a chance to pray for and offer it up for all of you still waiting....

Monday, September 20, 2010

10 Surprising Things About Me (a bit late)

Last week, several bloggers put together a "10 Surprising Things About Me" list and tagged other blogs to get in on the fun.  Thankfully, Faith and Family Live blogger Danielle Bean took the initiative to tag anyone who had not yet made such a list.  After a week of severe fall allergies, hectic schedule, and a huge amount of pregnancy-induced fatigue, it's a miracle that this list came together!!

1. Green Beans are evil. No matter what delectable sauce or bacon grease is used to enhance the flavor, I will never EVER like green beans. They still make me gag!

2. I can remember obscure dates: wedding anniversaries, birthdays, dates of death, my sacrament dates, and sometimes random events. But when it comes to remembering where my sunglasses or cell phone ended up, all bets are off.

3. Since childhood, I have loved to read voraciously (thanks, Mom). In fact, like my grandpa, I will be so absorbed in a story that someone could talk to me and I never hear them. My husband has discovered this to his chagrin, so if he’s trying to say something, he’ll tell me, “All right, Grandpa K, time to listen!”

4. While we’re on the reading track, my favorite genre is historical fiction. My 2 favorite authors are and Bo.die & Theon.e. These authors have put together books that help me delve further into history. I love it when a book impels me to look up locations and historical events online to provide a better context.

5. My BA was in journalism. After college I did youth ministry, which lead into teaching. Should have been an education major. Hindsight is 20/20. The one talent retained from my degree? Completing a 5-page paper in record time. Remembering random things from the AP stylebook.

6. Take a look at my DVD collection and you will find quite an array of Dis.ney and other kids’ movies. The collection did not transpire in the hopes of having kids someday; I truly enjoy these movies! And I score brownie points when friends bring their kids over to my house. One of my favorite kids’ movies to quote is The Emper.or’s New Gro.ove.

7. I’ve been blessed to see Pope John Paul II in person 3 times (Mass in the L.A. Coliseum, World Youth Day Rome, World Youth Day Toronto), and Pope Benedict once (papal audience). Each time was a thrilling experience. For our honeymoon in Rome, we had Sposa Novelli (newlywed) tickets which gave us a 2nd row seat. When the pope came by, he was very very close.  (I'm the second person dressed in white from the left)

8. Winter is yucky. Love Fall and Spring, albeit the allergies. Love most of summer. But winter is grey, mundane, and cold. This is not just because of my California roots.  Maybe it's because my favorite color is blue.

9. My husband and I met on in 2002. After dating long distance for 2 years, I packed up my blue car and drove across the country to live closer to him. Many people are surprised to learn this idea came from my parents, who also chose to live closer to each other prior to becoming engaged. Obviously, things worked out very well. We truly got to know each other through every day contact instead of visits every couple months.

10. I do not have graceful arms. That’s why Irish dancing works so well for me; the arms stay down at my side except during dances with other people. In other dance forms like ballet and Scottish, my arms never look nice and rounded.

Well, as part of this list effort, I will tag anyone who has not written a top 10 list, including these lovely ladies:

K at Journal of a Nobody
M at H Family Happenings
D.C., Baby!
RyanAnn, who doesn't have a blog but should post something like this on

Friday, September 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes...Yep, I'm on the Bandwagon

OK, I finally did it.  I gave in.  A thoughtful blogpost became lost amid the first week of school.  However, coming up with 7 random things makes it easier.  Perhaps the writing juices will flow more!!

1.  Faith and Family Live (a popular Catholic blog) recently had an excellent post on reaching out to women dealing with Infertility.  It's worth reading the many heartfelt responses

2.  Half of our driveway looks like a rock pit.  The city installed a backflow valve so as to help us avoid the nasty sewage seepage that invaded our house this past May.  They only tore up the part of the driveway for which the city is liable; we have to cover the rest.  I will post a picture soon; the driveway looks rather funny.

3.  In the first week of college football, both of my favorite teams won!!  That trend will most likely not continue, but at least the season started on a good note.  Go FIGHTING IRISH and UK Wildcats!

4.  We assembled the crib and picked out a glider last weekend, both of which were on our list of "Things We Can't Do After the Baby Comes."  The next rather painful task is selecting a (newer) family car.  My husband keeps bringing up a 1970s wood panel station wagon.  Yeah, right!  I answered that HE would have to drive it to work.

5.  Last night I had horrible, tightening pains which caused a phone call to my midwife (she gave me her cell #; how awesome is that!). Thankfully, the pain was muscular, not labor.  It was a bit scary to think that the baby could be coming right then.  All You Who Hope alluded to this in her recent post, but buying/receiving all this baby stuff still feels very surreal.  In my particular case, I packed away all hopes of pregnancy in order to cope with IF.  Then when this miracle happened, I've had to unpack those feelings and hopes, as well as convince myself (again) that this is actually happening.   

6.  I neglected to point out in my last post that a "novena" is typically 9 days of prayer for a specific intention.  It hearkens back to the apostles praying in the Upper Room for 9 days between Jesus' ascension and Pentecost.  One of the advantages of a novena is that it brings the intention more to the forefront of your mind.  There are about 15 women in my local area participating in this novena, and so many of you have been included in this prayer effort. :) 

7.  On Wednesday during Latin class, I pointed out to the students that Star.bucks used one of our vocabulary words (via, meaning road or way) as the name of their instant coffee packets.  I'm sure they'll impress the baristas.  In case this looks like a plot to receive Star.bucks cards for teacher gifts, the entire student body knows of my addiction, I mean, affection, for Starbu.cks.  So it's nothing new....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Photo, Spiritual Bouquet, and New Look (Part II)

It seems as if the summer heat has zapped any creativity for blogging!  Sometimes post ideas mull in my mind at non-computer locations (e.g., the shower).  But then the thought of putting the words onto the screen convinces me to procrastinate yet again.  At least my lesson plan updates are getting done.

Recently quite a few of the Catholic IF bloggers have posted a spiritual bouquet for pray for our sisters still struggling through the difficult IF journey.  I'm not sure how to officially join...However, it's a wonderful, providential coincidence (or "Godcidence") that a friend/SHE member organized a group novena (9 days of prayer; in our case we are doing 9 days of petition + 9 days of thanksgiving) to St. Gianna Molla.  So we will join our prayers to all of those participating in this prayer effort.  And even if you're not Catholic and still a blog reader, consider yourself prayed for anyway! :)

This is for all our sisters in Christ who are in the midst of their journey with infertility, loss, and adoption. Know that you have our continued support, love, and prayers.

Thanks for the many birthday wishes.  RyanAnn wins the virtual prize for immediately recognizing's famous "Club 33." :)  And many thanks for the suggestions of making a new header in; it took a few tries but I'm pleased to finally have a better look!!

In other news, I have officially "popped" out.  If today is not the day to look at a pregnant photo, (I've been there), you will want to quit reading after this paragraph.  At 29 weeks, my belly finally decided to pop out.  I was rather thrilled about this, as the thought of needing a wheelbarrow to support a big belly did not sit well with me.  So I was in no hurry to "look" pregnant.  I had no idea until preparing for Back to School Night last week and saw my new look in the mirror.

And just to show the far-reaching effects of IF, I still am in a transition stage.  With under 11 weeks to go, the reality of a baby is setting in more clearly.  Fears of the coming changes and sleep deprivation have attacked.  Feeling guilty that the changes scare me after longing for a child for so long.  Anyway, I'll explore the feelings in another post.

We plan to have a true "Labor Day" weekend: putting together the crib, shopping for a glider, fixing the bathroom baseboards, sorting through clothes, and the unpleasantness of car hunting.  I hope that no matter your plans, you have a blessed weekend.  To all of you folks on the East Coast, stay out of Earl's way!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Look, New Year, Random Stuff

Greetings, blogosphere!  I've been lacking in the inspiration department lately, so that's the lame excuse for the lack of posts as of late.  Additionally, school is about to start.

After watching several blogs undergo beautiful transformations, I started hunting for a fresh, updated look for this blog.  While I did find a sweet template, quite a few of my photos were thrown off.  And I still want to make a header with multiple photos...can anyone enlighten me because Googl.e hasn't. :)

In the Baby News Department, Baby Girl continues to grow and kick.  She is definitely dancing inside!  To my disbelief, I have officially entered the final trimester.  My nerves continue to grow.  The baby's room is finally getting organized.  One of the stressful details has been sorting the clothes.  I found a wonderful do-it-yourself idea on a blog, speedily went to Michael's, and copied and used it to separate Baby Girl's ever growing wardrobe.  Ah, much better...

In the Random Useless News department, my dear hubby took me to our state fair on Saturday.  Having gone many times to the Calif.ornia Stat.e Fair, I wanted to see how Ken.tucky compared.  Unfortunately, I have to cast the vote for my home state.  But the Ken.tucky fair had its share of weirdness.  The "big food" item this year is a Krisp.y Bur.ger.  Ugh.  The photo below probably doesn't do it justice: think of a regular cheeseburger, except instead of buns, there are 2 Krisp.y Kr.eme Doughnuts holding the heart attack (I mean burger) together.  There was quite a line in front of the stand!

Today is also my birthday.  The past few years have felt bittersweet due to infertility.  Strangely enough, while my heart feels joy at the new life inside, relief seems to overshadow everything.  Last year I thought my first birthday as a mother would feel more complete, more right, etc.  Instead, there is relief that the IF chapter has been solved (for now) mixed with a bit of apprehension of what next year's birthday will be like ("come on, hubby, we need another diaper before we go out for my birthday drink at Star.bucks!").  As always, every birthday reminds me to thank God for another year of life.  We have known friends and even family who have died young, so I try to look at that side of the coin rather than my wrinkles.

To see just how old I really am, check out the hidden clubhouse at that I must see before kicking the bucket someday.  RyanAnn and Jeremiah should know what this is right away:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Praying for "Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry..."

This summer a large number of bloggers did a "Prayer Buddy" campaign, and I had the privilege of praying for Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry.  She is an amazing, courageous woman who has endured multiple failed adoptions and the pain of infertility.  A couple weeks ago, she adopted a precious baby girl!  I've relished all of the pictures of her holding her long awaited daughter.  What a blessing to see the painful wait ended and the joy begun.  Of course, many people have been praying for PHDW and her husband for a while (heck, her sister-in-law is a Poor Clare nun!), so I'm glad to have added my little prayers to all of theirs.  PHDW also exemplifies a hard lesson we all try to learn: never give up, trust in God.

God bless your new journey as a mom!  (By the way, I will mail your package this week.  Sorry it's a bit late!)

Thanks, TCIE and JBTC for organizing the prayer buddy effort. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again...

Thanks for the anniversary wishes!  I had a whirlwind trip to the West Coast and enjoyed catching up with family and friends.  Jet lag, which normally doesn't affect me much, had nearly pounded me to the floor the past couple days.  So lest my words come out unintelligible, here is a photo essay of my trip with a few pithy captions.  Fellow ex-Californians may recognize some of the food joints.  Warning: some baby shower photos at the end.

In honor of Jeremiah, I begin with a shot of food from our favorite eatery.

(I just had to snap a picture of this tool!)

This place has the best chocolate dipped cones ever!  Also, it used to be a gas/service station before the new owners converted it into a restaurant.

Here are the baby shower photos.  My mom and sister hosted the event.  It was awesome to catch up with family and friends that have been a part of my childhood and beyond!

This gorgeous shot displays the decadent awesomeness of the shower cake.  Four years ago, my hubby and I ordered our wedding cake from the same local bakery.  Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to eat much of it due to the large party.  Also, our favorite layer (which looked just liked this) was the first to be eaten.  So having this cake at the shower was a very special treat!  And yes, I am the type of sweet lover to photograph the inside of a cake and gaze at it longlingly.

Last, but not least, here is one of my shower favors.  I just love coffee and was so excited to incoporate it into a shower favor!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

4 Years Have Passed Quickly...

I'm composing this post on the eve of my 4th wedding anniversary.  Most of tomorrow will be spent on a plane headed to the West Coast, so time to celebrate now!!

The past 3 years have felt a bit frustrating to celebrate each anniversary childless.  However, this year, those feelings seem more like battle scars that we can say, "We got through it."  I don't feel more "complete" per say; just more grateful.  Last Saturday we saw our friends who recently adopted their adorable boy from South Korea.  I told my hubby that IF had been worth it; God used our struggles to push us towards adoption, which made us recommend it to our friends, who are now parents.  And I can't begin to list the many graces and friends that have come forth as the result of IF.

I continue to think back to that pivotal question during the C.atholic Rite of Marriage: "Will you accept children..."  The short question holds within itself a multitude of "ifs."  Will you accept children if they take a long time and much effort to conceive?  Will you accept adopted children?  Will you accept a child of another race or ethic background?  Will you accept the long, long wait?

Throughout the past 4 years we've had our share of ups and downs. By far the biggest burden has been infertility.  From day 1 my husband has held me while I cried about the latest pregnancy announcement, another failed test, another round of uncomfortable meds, a misunderstanding OB. I agree with many of the other IF-bloggers: IF made my husband and me stronger as a couple.  I thank God every day for the gift of the love of my life, and I'm grateful He brought our lives together.  My hubby never ceases to make me smile.

Here are some pictures from our wedding.  Yes, blue is my favorite color.  The church just happened to match my color scheme! 

I carried pink roses in my bouquet in honor of St. Therese. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Miracle in the IF Blogosphere

This quick post comes after a tiring week of putting our bathroom back together (remember the pathetic toilet leaning on its side on the garage floor?) in time to get our house appraised for a Re-Fi.  Additionally, I leave for the West Coast on Thursday.  What timing.

Anyway, I am jumping up and down to report the exciting adoption news of a fellow blogger.  She has endured failed adoptions and years of IF heartache.  God has turned her sorrow into joy!  Her baby girl is absolutely adorable. :)  Congratulations, R!

Friday, July 16, 2010

An Interview & the return of BOOs and YEAs

About 6 months ago, Lisa of interviewed me about infertility and the SHE group.  I knew she would post the subsequent article when she had a chance; thus, the interview completely slipped my mind.  Well, to my surprise the article was posted today on the website!!  I feel so touched and honored that she would make more people aware of infertility.

BOOs of the Week:

1.  Back to School sales.  Even though I work as a teacher, these sales hearken the end of summer.
2.  My city has decided to embark on numerous construction projects...simultaneously.  On most of the busy roads.  Great timing.

YEAs of the Week:

1.  The priest who officiated at our wedding came to visit us on Wednesday and Thursday.  He offered Mass in our home on Thursday morning before leaving...WOW.  Completely awesome! 

2.  Spiritual direction: what a difference a meeting makes!

3.  I couldn't keep my nose out of The Boylen Inheritance, a historical fiction novel by Philippa Gregory.  Although some risque and inappropriate scenes appear in the book, the overall plot is fast-moving.  One theme really struck me: the desire for a child, specifically a son.  Two of the women in the novel (Ann of Cleves and Katherine Howard) were under tremendous pressure to provide an heir to the throne.  Any failure to do so was considered the woman's fault, no matter the age of the husband.  I think of the stresses of the IF journey; how horrid it must have been to endure IF and the demands for a child.

Our baby girl moves (when I can feel her) about twice a day.  Sometimes she makes me a little seasick.  Still, I'm grateful for these movements, as they help reinforce the fact that this pregnancy is not a dream.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts On Finding Out...

Some time ago I meant to write a post about this topic, but like many blog post topics, it fell by the wayside. At least this week I can claim the excuse of a catching a sinus infection just after the 4th of July.  And just a disclaimer: I composed this post 2 hours ago before reading Wheelbarrow Rider's excellent post on her little one on the way.  This is not a response, just my musings.  As an added bonus, today I got to have caffeine, which always helps the words to flow more freely. ha!

I haven’t posted any pregnant belly pictures yet because there really isn’t one. Prior to pregnancy I had dropped some pounds, but not enough to make my tummy flat. Now at 21 weeks, I don’t look all that pregnant. The PA at my doctor’s office even asked me yesterday, “You’re pregnant, right?” Still, I’m sure the belly is coming one of these days, so I will post a picture when that happens. My appetite is slowly returning, which ought to help my hubby, who has been heroically finishing my meals!

One of the questions we have been asked frequently is, “Will you find out the gender of the baby?” Every couple needs to answer this question on their own. I definitely admire the couples that choose to wait.  For my husband and me, we both agreed the answer was YES. I personally wanted a deeper connection to the baby by knowing its gender and calling it by name. The control-freak, planner side of me also liked the idea of knowing which colors to buy (not just pink, but colors that coordinate with it).

Something else that surprised me was an instant bond that formed upon finding out about our little girl. I had approached the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with caution, fear, and a bit of distance. Yes, joy became mixed in there, but fear was ever prevalent. The pessimistic and control freak side (see a pattern here?) wanted to be ready in case of miscarriage, since I had assumed I would never get pregnant. Again, these feelings are common in women who get pregnant after IF. However, something changed upon seeing our baby girl on the fuzzy ultrasound screen. I felt more like she was mine. Recently she has started to kick a bit, which makes it even more real.  Like I said, this is my personal experience.  As any pregnancy book will point out, each pregnancy and baby is different.

And with every kick, please know that I am praying for my IF friends. :)

p.s.  Here are the cupcakes I made for a 4th of July party.  I love experimenting with frosting colors.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Photos, BOOs, and YEAs!

Thanks for your encouragement in my last post about the Catholic Radio show.  Everything went well and my NaPro doc and Creighton Instructor were very articulate.

A couple of bloggers have commented lately on the fruits that came from years of Infertility.  While I hope to devote a future post to the topic, let me say that I wholeheartedly agree.  At the top of the list is a definite closeness to my husband.  Further down the list is my diminished fear of blood test needles, although the very thought of an IV still fills my veins with fear.

This past Monday I had a 20-week ultrasound.  My belly was so sore afterwards, as the tech had to press VERY hard in order to get the baby on camera.  It also didn't help that our Baby Girl spent the majority in the time in the fetal position (ironically, my favorite position for sleeping!) turned towards my backbone.  Shyness?  Maybe.  Stubbornness?  Maybe. Thankfully, everything looked OK.  We had been warned by a couple friends that at some 20-week ultrasounds, the doctor will tell you absolutely everything that could be a problem.  Praise God that this didn't happen.

3 Random BOO!s for the week:

1. The droning sound of vuvuzelas at the World Cup.  While muting the TV could work, I would also miss the commentary of those reporters with wonderful Scottish and British accents. :)

2.  For the past 4 years, only two people have lived in our house: my husband and me.  However, if you look at the massive amounts of junk we have accumulated over the years, it looks like we have a basketball team living under our roof!  My job this summer is to purge and make room for all the forthcoming baby items.

3.  A local movie theater charged $9.50 for a matinee!?!  Good thing I really wanted to see Toy.Story.3.

3 Random YEAs for the week:

1.  Better photos of our Baby Girl!

2.  The kindness of a friend who will accompany me tonight to register at Babies.R.Us (translation: el grande labyrinth of baby necessities and frivolity).  Seriously, I have no clue what to put on the list other than a Boppy and a Starbuc.ks onezie.  My friend has 2 kids with another on the way, so her opinion will really help a rookie like me!

3.  Here are my "bibles" as the pregnancy continues.  Fertile Thoughts talked about how much she loved her 40+ pregnancy planner and now I see why.  Of course, I had to add a West Coast touch to the cover (pink flip flops).  What to Expect is a comprehensive book that tells absolutely everything about pregnancy...I'm saving some chapters for later as my stomach can't take them right now.  Finally, Baby Bargains (thank you, Lori!) has become the "bible" for registering.  The book's authors (husband & wife as well as parents) write about the best and worst of everything from car seats to diapers.  The recommendations are based on comments of parents around the country and quality tests.

Happy Canada Day to our neighbors in the north and Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NaPro on Catholic Radio!!

I'm thrilled to share that my esteemed NaPro doctor and Creighton Method Instructor will appear on our local Catholic radio station TOMORROW (Thursday) from 5:00-6:00pm EST.  If you would like to listen live, go to this website (look for the red box on the right side that says "listen live").  Feel free to call in with any questions. I'll be in the studio as well to speak briefly about my own experience with NaPro.  I hope and pray the word gets out, particularly to women whose doctors never seek to fully solve their reproductive problems.

P.S.  Thanks again for your sweet congrats on my last post.  Our baby girl has decided to press on my stomach, so I've lost my appetite and now my husband is the one eating for two.  :)  Isn't that crazy?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Baby is a...

We had the gender-only ultrasound today so my parents could be there for the big news.  Drumroll, please!


IT'S A GIRL!  Yes, that is a pink "UK" newborn hat that I'm holding.  And we all have chocolate "SeeGars" (made by the west coast favorite, See's Candies!).  What a gift!  We are so thrilled to call the baby "she" instead of "it."  More later!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


 Amazingly, June has arrived.  School ended last week, although it feels like eons ago.  Teachers are always trying to get a myriad of things done before the last day of school.  But then the last day arrives and in the snap of a finger, everything is over.  I had a particularly hard time transitioning into non-school mode this year, especially due to my phenomenal 4th graders.  I really miss them!!  One of my Latin students gave me a Babies.R.Us gift card in lieu of my usual Starbucks card as a gift.  He reminded his mom that I was supposed to stay away from caffeine.  So cute!

Just as things began to calm down, both my hubby and I came down with a hideous stomach bug during the holiday weekend.  Yeah, lovely timing.  Actually, my poor hubby got the worse end, having to endure fever and other intestinal unpleasantness.  The unexpected couch time allowed me to process some of the tragedies that have happened lately- our former pastor sent to prison, my friend's miscarriage, the hurtful words of a someone who is going to outwardly treat me as a leper due to my pregnancy, the doubting that I can actually take care of a screaming newborn... the list goes on.  Thus, I really haven't had the heart to write any blog posts.  It's been hard enough to pray.

One of the mystifying aspects of this pregnancy after IF has been the "In-Between" stage.  I feel like an outsider with my fellow IF friends (even though the solidarity and prayers for them always remain) because of getting pregnant.  They don't make me feel this way ; I just don't have the same current experience.  Yet I don't feel like a part of the Mom group either.  I've desired motherhood ever since getting married and before, yet it looks especially daunting and scary now.  Sometimes at church I become stressed or agitated when hearing lots of babies crying.  "See, I won't be able to handle that," I tell my hubby.  This whole puzzle seems quite ironic.  During the throws of Infertility, all I could think of was the end goal of becoming a mother through pregnancy or adoption.  Sure, the thoughts of diapers and inconsolable infants crossed my mind a time or too.  But now, this is real.  I really feel like a ship between two harbors, with no safe landing yet. 

And a constant fear of miscarriage always nags my heart, every time I wait for the doctor to find the heartbeat on the Doppler.  I remember crying for my friend K when she lost her 2nd baby at 22 weeks.  However, when she lost this most recent child at 11 weeks, I cried harder, knowing now what she had inside of her.

My mom declared me in the "In-Between" stage when I wore both kids and junior clothing, making shopping rather laborious. :)  This is a bit different.

Had I known this conflict would occur, I would have tried to prepare more in IF.  Living Advent, who just had her baby girl (yea!) sent me a helpful link that showed my feelings were normal.

My parents and sister arrive tomorrow for a 10-day visit, so I will not be able to post as much.  On June 14th we will have an ultrasound to see if Baby "Buford" is a boy or girl (I am not patient like Fertile Thoughts!) and will announce it to the blogosphere!