What’s old is new

I never know how to start these things so I’ll just start by saying HAPPY SUNDAY!!!

I bought a DSLR camera maybe 4 years ago and the pictures always came out grainy so I put the camera off to the side…until now.  I’ve been practicing with the camera and my first photos came out like this (and this was AFTER editing!!!):

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As you can see, they are super grainy!!!  Ugh.  So I took to Dr. Google to try and figure out what I’m doing wrong and I’ve discovered that part of the problem is that my ISO was way too high.  So I lowered the ISO and took the camera out again:

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I still have some work to do but it’s so much better, amiright??? 

While it’s nice to get out with the family and take pictures with the fancy camera, I still use the iPhone the majority of the time.

Let’s be real, the iPhone does take some pretty good pictures (not to mention you can fit it in your pocket)…

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Anyway, for those that are curious, here is a health update: I got pretty sick for about a month after the hurricane hit – doctors actually thought I had mono but I tested negative for that.  After feeling better from my illness, I began having a really scary rapid heart rate.  When I would wake up in the morning, my resting heart rate would be about 100 (normal for me is 65) and it would go up to about 115-120 once I stood up; talk about being uncomfortable and scared!

I went and got blood work done but the doctors couldn’t interpret my results (my red blood cells were shaped all crazy and my bone marrow was releasing immature red blood cells) so they suggested I see a hematologist.  The hematologist diagnosed me with iron deficiency anemia and after taking the iron supplements for about a month, I am feeling MUCH better.  I still get bouts of dizziness/vertigo, but overall I’m on the up and up.  Meanwhile, my IVF had been put on hold so I could focus on feeling better but I’m back on track with that too (currently doing the daily injections, fun!).

Hope you guys have a kick ass week! 🙂

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A disappointment and a revelation

It seems Hurricane Irma swallowed up about 2-3 weeks of my life.  Once that baby started pointing towards us, it was ALL I could think about…there was no way I was getting a thing done, work or otherwise.  Then, once it finally hit, it was  the slowest storm ever, it took like 3 days to remove itself from South Florida.  THEN, we lost power for a whole week, guys.  I don’t know how people back in the day lived without air conditioner!  Waaaaah!

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Irma really screwed things up for me in terms of my IVF cycle.  The Thursday before the storm hit, I went to see the doctor.  I had been on the stimulation drugs for about 6 days and I was responding so well that my doctor was worried about OHSS (basically where your ovaries get overstimulated and it can be life threatening).  Considering the fact that there was a huge storm looming over me, I didn’t want to risk having to take a fun trip to the emergency room right in the middle of the hurricane; so we decided to cancel the cycle.  It was a really hard decision because 1) the freaking MONEY (those drugs are so expensive and I injected half of them for nothing) and 2) TIME…I have to wait 4-8 weeks for things to calm down (i.e. for my follicles to shrink back to normal) before I can start the whole process over again.  My doctor’s office ended up being closed for a solid 1.5 weeks so it was definitely the right decision but still.  Talk about a disappointment.

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[Oliver’s face sums up how I felt pretty nicely.]

In other news, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been seeing a functional doctor and she ran a ridiculous amount of tests on me and boy, did she find out some things about what’s been going on with me.  For starters, I have what’s called an MTHFR gene mutation (for those in the know, I am heterozygous for both genes).  I won’t bore you will all the details but it basically means that my body has a difficult time ridding itself of toxins and I can’t absorb certain nutrients very effectively.  In addition, this mutation has been linked to recurrent pregnancy loss (HELLO!).  The issues with pregnancy happen because a) you can’t convert folic acid into a usable form, which is needed in pregnancy and 2) people with this mutation have a tendency to develop blood clots and this is of particular concern in pregnancy.  If you want to read more about it, this website gives a nice summary of MTHFR in general and this website explains the miscarriage thing.  Quite the revelation!

All the tests also found that I have high levels of mercury and I am deficient in so many things (vitamin C, glutathione, testosterone, all the B vitamins, the list goes on and on).  So, I’m on a whole regimen in an effort to get everything back to normal.  For starters, I am now taking a new multi-vitamin that is MTHFR gene mutant-friendly (yes, I am a mother f*cking gene mutant).  And now my diet has gotten ridiculous because I really want to try to fix everything naturally.  So, what’s my diet looking like?

  • Gluten free (still)
  • avoid dairy
  • absolutely NO processed foods
  • eat at least 1-2 servings of cruciferous veggies a day
  • more celery, parsley, and cilantro to help remove the mercury
  • Eat more papaya, kiwi
  • Eat gluten free oats that are fortified in vitamin B
  • Change my omega-3 to a brand that removes mercury
  • one other suggestion was to add wheat germ to my diet but it has gluten.  I did try it to see what would happen and I felt like death after eating it so I won’t be doing that again.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I even need to do IVF now that I know about this MTHFR gene mutation and my answer is yes.  For one, I’ve already paid for most of the treatment so I am in too deep, so to speak.  But also, after having 4 miscarriages, I am not taking any chances!  I am going to do everything possible to help me have a healthy pregnancy and I think that IVF improves my chances immensely.

I mean, who wouldn’t want one more of these guys, right???

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Where do I begin?

Wow, so I haven’t posted on here since FEBRUARY!  I haven’t posted in so long because there has been a lot going on with me…but, where do I begin?  From the beginning, I suppose…

First, I want to say that I’ve debated about sharing this much of my life on here but then I figured that maybe it will help someone else who might be going through something similar to know that they are not alone.  If you know me personally, you know that I’ve been very open about what I’ve been going through this year and it has actually connected me to other people who also have similar struggles; it has been nice to talk with others who fully understand.

It all started in January where I suffered my 3rd miscarriage, followed by a 4th miscarriage in April.  I was about 11 weeks along for the one in April and it was extremely difficult on me both physically and emotionally.  As it turns out, that was easy in comparison to what I was about to go through less than a month later.

                                                         [So thankful for these two]

In May, I began to have some very scary symptoms including: extreme lightheadedness/dizzyness, chest pains, numbness in my arms and hands, and headaches (NASTY ones).  At one point it got so bad that I ended up in the emergency room.  I was missing so much work and was really worried about my ability to continue to hold down my job.  I saw so many doctors and underwent SOOOOO much testing and everything came back NORMAL!  I couldn’t even walk from my house to my car without feeling like I was going to pass out and die, how could everything be normal????

After seeing about 5 traditional doctors, I decided to see a doctor who specialized in functional medicine (read more about that HERE).  Prior to making the choice to see this doctor, I started to experiment with my diet and found that when I ate foods that had gluten in them, I felt so much worse.  I really started to focus on eating a ridiculously healthy diet and working out 4-5 times a week and I definitely started to feel better but still not great.

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[putting on a happy face]

After seeing this new functional doctor she put me on a whole regimen that includes: no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, exercise 5x/week and taking a multi-mineral supplement every day (on top of the other vitamins I am taking).  After starting the multi-mineral, I began to see a noticeable difference the very next day!  Based on my conversation with the doctor, I believe that the miscarriages robbed me of my nutrients (particularly calcium) and caused me to develop an intolerance to gluten.  I am happy to report that today I am about 90% of my normal self.  I still get the bad headaches but I think I need to focus more on being better about eliminating sugar from my diet (that gluten free granola is SO GOOD!).

In terms of my fertility issues, I have had every test under the sun and all those came back normal (“unexplained infertility” is what they are calling it) so the next step is IVF.  Thankfully my insurance covers a large portion of the cost so I don’t have to stress about that piece but I’ve read horror stories about the process so I’m a little scared but also very excited!  The first stage is to take birth control for 10 days; which I started last week.  The next step will be to take hormones that cause me to develop a boat load of mature eggs at once.  Hopefully it works!

In other news, since February here’s what we’ve been up to…

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[Chicago]

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[Chicago]

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[Charleston]

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[Charleston]

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[Charleston]

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[Charleston]

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[trying to stay cool during our first summer in Ft. Lauderdale]

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[Family/girl time]

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[trip to LA]

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[trip to LA]

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[trip to LA]

A New Life

Wow, it has been a real long time since I posted anything here.  That can be explained by the fact that in the course of 10 months, I’ve had a baby, sold a condo in Chicago, quit my job, moved across the country to South Florida to live with my mother for 6 weeks (ALL FOUR OF US),moved again to our permanent residence and got a new job.  Whew, that was a lot in 10 months…basically a new life!

And although I really, really miss Chicago and all our friends there, life here has been pretty sweet here, too.

I mean, this was me in February of this year versus February of last year:

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Look! I was even cold inside!

The move has been a big adjustment, I went from almost never driving to driving at least 1+ hour everyday.  Let’s not even talk about how crazy and awful the drivers are down here…in my first 2 months of living here, I got into a car accident.  So typical.

But overall, life is easier here with 2 kids.  Living with 2 kids in a big city has it’s challenges.  And of course, we see our family all the time which is priceless.

Examples:

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Now that I’m all settled, I am going to work on updating this space more often.

Until then, have a great week!

Penn turned 2 & Ollie’s newborn shoot

Hi friends!!! Last weekend we had Penelope’s 2nd birthday party.  We originally planned on having it at the playground but the weather was unseasonably cold for May so we made the call to have it at our house.  I am glad we made that decision because several people were very glad to not have to spend the afternoon outside in the cold.  We actually had a wonderful turnout and I am so thankful that most people could come.  Here are some photos from the day…

My mom and her husband came to visit Chicago for the party and to meet Oliver for the first time!

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Instead of a birthday cake, we did donuts (among other little treats) and it was a huge hit!  IMG_2171IMG_2173IMG_2176IMG_2178IMG_2184IMG_2192

Since there were only going to be a handful of kids at the party, I was able to splurge a little on the party favors…I did a little herb planting kit.IMG_0386

Penny and the other kids seemed to have a real good time so I think the day was a great success 🙂

In other news, Oliver got newborn photos taken.  The photo shoot was a complete disaster; we wanted to get pictures with Penny in them but both kids were NOT having it.  The whole ordeal took 3 hours and we didn’t get a single one with Penny so that was very disappointing.  At least the ones with Oliver came out nice, here are a couple:

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And here is a picture of the kids together:

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Classic.

And then there were two

Every morning, after Oliver has kept me up all night, I emerge from the bedroom to greet the day like this:

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Facing another day by myself with a toddler and newborn is scary!  Especially after not sleeping!

Chase has wonderful benefits, including 16 weeks of maternity leave, which is wonderful but being at home with these kids alone all day is HARD!!!  It takes a lot for me to not reach for a glass (or FIVE!) of wine every night.  I applaud all you stay at homers out there, it is so much harder than going to an office every day.

Despite it all, I am really cherishing this time with my babies.

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Anyway, it has been over a month since Oliver was born and in case anyone is interested, here are the details…I was scheduled for an induction for 1am on March 29th (at 39 weeks) because I was so uncomfortable and my body was already showing signs of labor so my doctor gave the green light.  When I got to the hospital I was already having regular contractions so the little mister would have come that day or the next, regardless of the induction.  Once I was started on pitocin, it would only take 5 hours for Oliver to arrive!  Here are a couple pictures from the day…

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Here is the last picture of me pregnant:

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Woof!  Before giving birth, the nurses asked me “how big does he feel to you?” I responded that I felt like he was slightly bigger than Penny (but I was far more uncomfortable this time around so I should have known better!).  Well, he was a whopping 8lb, 12 oz (Penny was born at 41 weeks and was 7lb, 1 oz)!

Going from 1 kid to 2 has been pretty crazy, hence the delay in writing this post.  I will be home with the kids until mid-July and the 3 hardest things are 1) figuring out what to feed Penny all day, everyday; 2) figure out how to get these kids out of the house; and 3) listening to one or both of them cry all day!!!!  AHHH!

There are a variety of activities we’ve been doing to keep momma’s sanity and, in addition to taking advantage of the free neighborhood events (Barnes & Noble story hour, Whole foods dance/music class) we’ve been doing the following:

Sensory bins

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Park time, lots & lots of park time

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Arts & craps

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Story time

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Long walks

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And snuggling this guy

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I am very grateful that this kid was not born in January!

Until next time 🙂

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35 weeks and throwing it back

35 weeks!!!! Everyone tells me “you are so close!!!” but I have to admit, 5 weeks feels so so so so far away.

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This pregnancy has been giving me a run for my money.  I’ve felt crappy pretty much the entire time and my new thing is that I have frequent spells of lightheaded/dizziness and heart palpitations.  The worst is when I ride the train.  The train line that I take to and from work everyday is so crowded that I am lucky to even get on, let alone get a seat.  I told my doctor that I often feel like I’m going to faint on the train and she suggested that I work from home for the rest of my pregnancy.  Thank goodness my boss was cool with that!  Working from home is not the most ideal situation (I get lonely here all by myself all day!) but it beats fainting on a crowded and VERY dirty train!

Anyway, being so close to the end has me excited about having a new baby around which obviously led to me looking at pictures of Penny when she was super tiny and I thought I would share…

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And look at her now!!!

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Let’s just hope that she quickly adjusts to having a new baby around!

Happy almost weekend 🙂