Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It takes a village to make a baby

It takes a village to make a baby

As funny as that may sound, in our case it was actually true. Not just any village though, Akumal a small fishing village in Mexico was where our baby decided was a great place to be conceived. 

As easy as they made it sound back in my days of sex education in grammar, jr. and high school, I learned that its not always that easy for everyone to conceive. 

We were so ready and wanted a baby so badly. The months started to go by and still no baby. It was difficult to stay stress free when you know you are doing everything, and I mean everything to make a baby. I was seeing the chiropractor, acupuncturist and massage therapist all on a regular basis. I didn't have instant success from any of these natural treatments that I believe in 100%, but I will say that they kept me sane throughout the process. I read every book out there, ate every food that apparently had magical powers and I developed some serious acrobatic skills. Still no baby. 

I am not a fan of traditional medicine. I have to be on the floor screaming in pain before I will take some over the counter or prescribed medicine. After the months started to build and build, along with our level of stress, disappointment and uncertainty, I decided to follow my doctors advice and start fertility treatments. 

Well, that was a trip that I do not ever want to be on again. The symptoms were horrific! I was so terribly sick that after many discussions with my husband, we decided that these meds could not be doing anything good for me. So I ended my fertility treatment.

Many more months went by and I questioned my decision to give up on the fertility treatments. I felt like a failure and I started to consider going back on. 

Our stress level was over the top. Patrick and I decided that it was time for a tropical vacation. So we booked a trip to Mexico where my dad had been living for the winter season. 

Before we left for Mexico, I had another visit with my doctor. He suggested a specialist to us. The specialist would run a series of more invasive testing, which I knew would come back like all the rest. Our situation was labeled - unexpected infertility. The plan would be to put me back on fertility drugs. Injectables with a much higher dose, and much worse symptoms. 

I told my doc that we had planned a trip to Mexico and we were leaving the following week. If when I got back I still was not pregnant, I was going to make that appointment with the specialist and subject my body to more punishment. 

In the meantime, I had just received a super fancy digital fertility monitor that my cousin had suggested to me. I had been monitoring my fertility- hormone levels on a daily basis. Days and weeks went by, and according to my monitor I was still not fertile. 

It was time to leave for Mexico and I debated leaving my monitor at home since it was making me angry at this point. As angry as I was with my monitor, we had developed a special relationship. Every morning I would have to test on it, and then yell at it when it didn't tell me what I wanted it to. So I took the monitor on a trip to Mexico. I was so afraid that TSA was going to confiscate it from me and I would have to explain my entire story and unexplained infertility to them. Thankfully my monitor made it to Mexico. 

Like myself, my dad is very natural medicine minded. We arrived in Mexico, and the next morning my dad had a fertility massage scheduled for me. It was by a local Mayan. He came to our villa in the morning, and it was one of the best massages that I have ever had. That following morning, I tested on my monitor, and the little egg on the screen told me that I was about to ovulate. I couldn't believe it. 

That day my parents had arranged for us to stay in a beautiful villa on the beach at Half Moon Bay. We checked into our villa and had a lovely day and evening. I will keep the juicy details to myself :)

We enjoyed a wonderful week in Mexico. About 2 weeks after we returned, We found out that we were having a baby!!!!!!

We are over the top thrilled and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little one sometime around December 31st!

Along the journey that it took to get to this point there were not many people to talk to. For most who knew what we were going through, I think that it was difficult to find words of support and encouragement. I can't tell you how many times we were told "It will happen". When you are going through the pain of infertility, something about "it will happen" makes you want to break something. I am grateful to everyone who did their best to comfort and support us along the way. I especially appreciate the women who shared their person stories with me and the ones who were patient with my many tears. 

To anyone who may read this who is going through the pain of infertility, know that I am here, I understand your pain and you can cry on my shoulder any day. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Adventures in Baking - Baking 101

Inspired by my friend and neighbors fantastic baking skills, and another little something ;) I have decided that it is time to build some baking skills of my own. Growing up, I was never really around anyone who baked on a regular basic. In my adult life, I have made brownies, cakes and cookies from a box or pre-made dough a few times and felt very proud of my baking abilities. My husband brought it to my attention that unless I bake something from scratch, it really isn't baking. Patrick is a fantastic cook, and our house is full of all of the fancy cooking and baking utensils that any fine chef or baker could ask for. I of course have never used any of them.

 So last night I decided that a good start to my baking adventure would be chocolate chip cookies. I didn't have a secret family recipe to go off of, so I just went on-line and did some research. In my search for the best on-line cookie recipe I came across a 5 star rated recipe on allrecipes.com titled The Best, Big Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie, sounds good to me. I have always felt that when you are baking or cooking anything, one of the main secrets is in buying the right brands of ingredients. My thoughts are, its all about the chocolate chips or chunks when it comes to cookies. I went with a chip, but I'm thinking maybe a chunk would have given the cookie a more home made look and taste. My next research was to see how different brands of chocolate chips were rated in some rating panels and I found out that tollhouse chocolate chips are the least desired. In fact, tasters really disliked the chips. It has got to be really difficult to find a chocolate chip that tasted bad. Out of ten different brands, the number one brand was Trader Joe's brand. I love Trader Joe's, but I was not about to venture out to Trader Joe's on a Saturday for chocolate chips, it's a mad house on the weekends.

So Patrick and I went to our local grocery store, with my recipe in hand, to buy all of the ingredients on my recipe list. I have definitely never shopped for flour before and I found it pretty entertaining when I was looking at all of the different brands of flour trying to decide which would be the best, what do I know about flour, nothing. I decided to go with Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. I knew to avoid tollhouse, and I have never been a big fan of Hershey's. 

After an hour in the grocery store, Patrick and I were finally home and we still had to make dinner. I just wanted to get to baking, but Patrick felt it was important to have dinner first. Well, after we cooked, ate and cleaned up, I was out of energy. I decided that we would wait until morning to bake our cookies. Well about 5 minuets later I changed my mind again as I started to crave a chocolate chip cookie and I had to have one now! Pat thought that it would be best to talk and walk me through the process. He might have been afraid that I was going to burn the house down, or break his fancy mixer. 

We gathered all of our ingredients and followed the instructions on our recipe. Pat ran the mixer, Pat cracked the eggs and I started to find myself being in charge of reading, and reading only. So I bumped him aside like a little kid and said " I want to do it" He watched me closely with the mixer, and gave me lots of tips and may have taken over a couple of times. I think that my favorite part was adding the chocolate chips into the batter. After the cookie dough was complete, Patrick took a seat on the couch and let me form the dough with the ice cream scooper, and get the cookies in the oven. I watched them for the entire 15 minuets and I was so excited to see them grow and form into beautiful cookies. I was so proud. I got a little stressed at take out time. Are they ready, would they be to doughy in the center, if I leave them in a minuet longer will they burn and be hard.  My recipe said to take them out when the edges are lightly toasted. They looked lightly toasted to me so I took them out. 

They had a great homemade look to them, but not as homemade looking as I would have liked, if you know what I mean. Some peoples homemade cookies look so amazing you can taste them before you even put the cookie in your mouth. They are tasty. The edges have a little crunch and they are soft in the center. Much better than pre-made dough, but I still feel like something is missing. That didn't stop me from having cookies for breakfast this morning! Erin, our fantastic, talented, baking neighbor is going to have to be my taste tester. Hopefully she doesn't spit them right out :) I may just have to get my hands on her secret recipe.