Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Infertility - When Pregnancy Doesn't Happen When I Want It To Happen Part 1

2-29-12 The day I started writing this;
December 13, 2010 - B got his new position at Cardinal Commerce, which meant that we now have maternity coverage on our insurance. This is a good thing as we had a "whoops" moment this month and didn't use birth control one time during ovulation. 
September 2011 - After seriously giving it a try for 9 months, I decided that we should just go with the flow and try to be relaxed about getting pregnancy.
Between Sept 2011 and February 2012 something stressful has occurred during ovulation; car catches on fire, family drama, more family drama, even more family drama, and again and again and again. Oh and let's also add that B goes to the ER with chest pains. And our 3 yr old takes his own trip to the ER.

Back up a little's a little of our history;
B and I were married March 8, 2003. We are a Christian couple and abstained from intercourse until our wedding night. We used condoms as birth control once we were married and having sex. I was in the final semester of my college degree (BA or was it BS in Psychology).
In April 2003, I went to see a GYN who set me up on birth control. She mentioned that my eyes were bloodshot and we both chalked it up to allergies. 
A few weeks later I had a severe sore throat and then developed white spots. I went to urgent care, strep test was negative. The doctor wanted to do a blood test to test for mono. I freaked out and declined the blood test, doctor sent me home with unofficial diagnosis of mono. 
The birth control pills were making me crazy and mean, after taking them for 2 weeks I quit them. Called the doctor to notify her, and got a lecture. Oh well, in hindsight I really didn't need to call her. Also, I now know that I don't stop BC until I've finished the full month of the pill (AKA period from hell!)
May 2003, I finished my degree and started focusing on my job full time. 
June 2003, my period didn't come. Took a pregnancy test and it was negative. 
July 2003, finally got a positive pregnancy test. My due date would be February 24, 2004. Two days before my Father-In-Law's birthday and during a leap year. And now looking back and knowing that babies come when they want, we could have had a leap year baby. Between July and my miscarriage on Sept 12, 2003 it's a blur. So many other girls I worked with got pregnant. Our office had at least one baby due every month for the next year and a half. 
When scheduling my appointment with the doctor I was a little freaked out that my appointment was on Sept 11, 2003. After 9-11(01) that day was starting to feel like it held a curse. I tried not to think about it. The doctor was late with my appointment because she had an emergency, we waited for almost 2 hours in the waiting room. I was excited for this appointment because it meant we were going to schedule our big ultrasound and get to find out what we were having. Brandon says the doctor knew we miscarried even before she came into the room, she was doodling instead of taking notes. He thinks they could tell from my urine tests that my HCG levels were down. I don't think that's true. Maybe someone can clear that up for me? She was just hoping that her questions would lead us to make a connection? I had no spotting, no cramping. I had no idea that I had miscarried. We were sent home to get our things and instructed to go to the hospital. I don't feel like sharing the details but here are a few; I decided to deliver instead of have a D&C. The doctor on call (not my doctor) threw our baby onto the table and announced that it was a boy (we didn't want to know but now I'm glad I do) and then stormed out of the room. After having our son E in May 2009, B finally told me that he had a word with the doctor from our miscarriage while the nurses were cleaning me up, back in 2003. 
The miscarriage changed me. I always loved children. I was once called "the bridge" in reference for my ability to bridge the gap between the younger kids and older kids and my church. I thought about having children but I didn't think it would happen so fast after getting married. B always makes fun of me when I say this and tells me I must not have been paying attention during health class. After miscarrying, I realized that I wanted kids now. And I was desperate to get pregnant again.
Back then I thought I was managing ok, looking back now I realize that I was depressed after the miscarriage for a long time. After the miscarriage we kept trying and when B took a new job and then we moved in May 2005, I went on birth control. 1) Because we wouldn't have health insurance for a while 2) We were living with friends 3) I needed a break.  I don't remember when we started trying again. I think I was on birth control for a year.
Since I quit my job so we could move in May 2005, I was left unemployed during this time. I did "nanny" from the fall 2005 to fall 2006 while going to interviews for a "real" job.  In October 2006, I was hired by a bank and it was a wonderful job where I worked until just before my son was born May 2009. So to sum it up between approximately May 2006 and August 2008 we were resumed trying to conceive and were finally successful in August 2008. So that's 26 months that where I was hopeful for a pregnancy and then devastated when my period arrived. 

Getting pregnant with E, our Rainbow baby, Infertility Part 2

During the winter of 2007 I was really starting to get upset that we hadn't gotten pregnant. It was then that I started really seeking God. I mean, all this time I had been praying, crying and begging with God about it but somehow the game changed winter 2007. There was something expectant stirring in me like I wasn't trying anymore, I was just waiting. During a woman's brunch in February 2008 a woman prophesied over me that I would be pregnant within 9 months of that day. Sometime late spring/early summer I was driving in the evening. I hate driving in the dark and to help keep me calm I pray. All I remember is driving home praying; beating my fists, screaming pretty much throwing a huge temper tantrum to God asking him for a baby. And all the while thinking I've got to get myself together, my mother in law and sister in law are at my house for a visit and I don't want them to know I was crying. August 22, 2008 I hadn't missed my period yet, I just woke up feeling strange. I stayed home from work that day and while watching the news I started bawling my eyes out. That was my "ah-ha moment" and off I went to pick up a pregnancy test which I took that afternoon and within seconds I had a positive test. I could write about my pregnancy but I'd like to stay on the topic of infertility. I spent the first 16 weeks holding my breath worrying that something would go wrong but all the while feeling confident that my baby was healthy. At 41 weeks I gave birth to my son via emergency c-section. I was not happy that I had a c-section, I didn't want to be induced but I also wanted my little boy to arrive safely. And this part of the story is a whole different topic. 
During my first follow up with my doctor, the one I saw my entire pregnancy but didn't deliver my son, I asked her how soon I could get pregnant again. And she recommended 6 months. 
I had another follow up at 6 months, probably because it was time for my annual exam. This time I went to the doctor who delivered my son. I had time to think about my previous doctor and decided that the doctor who delivered my son made me feel much more comfortable.
Anyhow, I went to visit the second doctor and we discussed any future pregnancies. She suggested I wait until my son is at least 18 months to give my c-section time to completely heal. We also went over the reasons for my emergency c-section and my disappointment with the experience. The doctor told me that I was an excellent candidate for a VBAC but I would have to find another hospital as hers doesn't support them. So "waiting until E is 2 for #2" became my mantra until December 13, 2010 when we finally decided that we were ready to try again. It is now February 29, 2012. We have been trying for 14 months.
I'm currently playing that "waiting" game of am I pregnant? My boobs hurt, is this because I'm pregnant or because my period is on it's way. I took a pregnancy test today. The little calendar thing on my phone says I won't start my period for another week. But as I previously mentioned we had a stressful fall of 2011. So my periods were off (another annoyance when TTC) and I basing my expected period date on my body's signals instead of the date on the calendar.  
Again this past fall I had expectancy feeling like I wasn't trying anymore I was waiting for something. And since Christmas I have felt like a magnet to it's match. I feel a pull and like I am so close but not quite there yet. And part of me feels depressed about it all over again; upset that it just hasn't happened already! Concerned that it will never happen. Annoyed that B doesn't seem nearly as bothered by this "struggle". Dates keep passing by and I think if I got pregnant this month we would be due around B's birthday. If I got pregnant this month, we could announce it at Easter dinner. If I got pregnant this month, I would have the whole summer to be pregnant and active, but not huge, and hopefully prevent me from adding on too much pregnancy weight. One more month of trying and that means no baby for us in 2012. I look for patterns like we got married in 2003, adopted our cats in 2006, had E in 2009. So 2012 has to mean another baby right?!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not-So-Refried Beans

After reading the ingredients on the back of refried beans, I decided to lighten it up!

In a sauce pan, combine:

1 can of beans, drained and rinsed (we usually use pinto beans but I've also done white kidney beans)
Enough water or broth to cover the beans

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or so: just enough time for the beans to soften up.
Then mash them!

Mexican Lasagna

I discovered this recipe a few weeks ago and it has become a huge hit in our house. I found it on the Marathon Mom's blog,

Mexican Lasagna

1 pound browned hamburger meat
1 can black beans (drained)
1 pound grated cheddar cheese
one batch homemade enchilada sauce (super easy)
1 small can green chiles
12 corn tortillas

Brown hamburger meat and drain grease. Set aside.
Prepare enchilada sauce, then place just enough sauce into 9×13 pan to cover bottom.
Place four tortillas into pan.
Begin layering ingredients, alternating as you go. A bit of meat, some beans, some cheese.
Place four more tortillas, then more sauce.
Continue layering with meat, green chiles, beans, then cheese.
Add remaining four tortillas, cover in sauce, then place remainder of cheese on top.
At this point, you can either cover tightly with foil and freeze OR
Bake at 375 to 400 til cheese is melted and edges are nice and bubbly.

*Heather's varation, we skipped the green chiles - I didn't want this to be too spicy for our 2 year old. I also made my not-so-refried beans (we didn't have black beans) and layerd it in.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Ok, I'm not sure exactly how to do this. I found a couple recipes on the blog Marathon Mom that I've come to love and would like to share. And if you make this enchilada-sauce, make sure to use it in the Mexican Lasagna recipe, which is also from her blog

Enchilada Sauce

1/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In saucepan, combine oil, flour, and chili powder.
Over low heat, stir constantly until bubbly and thickened. (About five minutes or so.)
Whisk in water.
Add tomato sauce and whisk til well blended.
Add spices and stir.
Cook until thickened, ten minutes or less.

Credits: The Marathon Mom,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

Whole Chicken
Onion, quartered
Bay Leave
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 cup water, depending size of chicken.

Rinse chicken, remove giblets and neck (if included inside chicken cavity), pat dry.

Place 2 stalks of celery in the bottom of your crockpot and position the chicken on top of them. Stuff cavity with onion quarters and celery chunks.

Add water. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto chicken according to taste.

Cook in crockpot, low 10-12 hours, high 6-8 hours.

Gram's Chicken Noodle Soup

3-4 chicken breast bone-in skin-on (more of the good stuff that helps fight colds)
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1-2 stalks of celery cut into pieces
1 onion cut into thick slices
2-3 small carrots, peeled and slices into rounds
3 packages of Herb-Ox chicken bouillon
Noodles of you choice (I prefer Reames noodles, found in the freezer section)

Wash and pat dry the chicken.
Put in large pot, cover with water. Add salt, bay leaves, celery and onion. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken and let cool, just enough to keep from scaulding your fingers. Cut chicken into small pieces, discard the bones and skin. Strain broth then return chicken to broth. Add carrots (I also add more celery, cut into thin slices), noodles and Herb-ox chicken bouillon. Cook until noodles are done and carrots are soft.

Heather's Crockpot Quick Cooking variation

I find that chicken noodle soup is a good meal to make the day after I've made a whole chicken in the crockpot.

Make your chicken in the crockpot, follow the recipe here:

Strain and save the juices for the next day's soup. Place leftover chicken in the fridge overnight. The next day, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the chicken bouillon. Finish de-boning the chicken. Once the water is boiling, add in chicken, carrots, celery, bay leaves and noodles. Cook until carrots and celery are tender and the noodles are cooked.

Mimi's Dumplings

Boil salted water in a large pot

3 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups of milk

Mix together until an oatmeal consistency. Scoop a small portion on a plate. Dip your spoon in the water and scrape mixture into the water by 1/2 spoonfuls. The dumplings will begin to float when they are done.

To add additional flavor to the dumplings, add bouillon to the water before bringing it to a boil.

1 cup water
2 tsp bouillon
- Bring to a boil and add flour by the tbsp over heat until thickened.


How to pick a ripe avocado perfect for guacamole: The avocado should fit in the palm of your hand and be slightly soft to touch. You could also pull the stem off the top and if it is a bright green, the avocado is still ripe. If you know you are making guacamole in a few days, you can buy a not-so-ripe, firmer avocado. Place the avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple, tomato or banana. The apple, tomato or banana produces ethylene gas which helps ripen the avocado.

4 avocados
1 small red onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lemon, cut in half (save to squeeze for juice). Cut the other half into thin slices
garlic salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Cut the avocados in half, remove pits. Slice lengthwise and then cross cut, scoop flesh from the skin. Mash with a potato masher or fork. Mix in onion, garlic, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. Cover guacamole with the thin slices of lemon until you are ready to serve, and to cover any leftovers (if there are any) to help prevent the avocados from browning.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

This is basically a "find the ingredients you like/want and dump them into your crockpot". There are so many options available for this recipe. I obtained it from a message board a few years ago.

1 package of boneless skinless chicken (we use boneless skinless thighs for variation and their lower price)
1 jar of salsa
A can of corn or 1 cup of frozen corn

And depending on if you like additional heat, you could also add a 4 oz can of chopped jalapenos or chilis.

Throw it all in the crockpot and walk away. Low 6-8 hours, High 4-6

Serve over rice, with cornbread, scoop it into soft taco shells.
Add cheese, sour cream, sliced/diced avacado, fresh salsa etc to taste before serving.