Wednesday, April 26, 2017


On Sunday evening we turned on Fantasia while Cory and I ate some Trader Joe's orange chicken and rice, and I started working on something for Ivy for dinner. Ivy popped over to my bowl for a few bites, and then sat down for dinner... and nothing stayed down. Crap. I knew exactly what bite of my chicken was the culprit. I tried pushing water, and she mostly just spit it down her front, and whatever did go down came back up. I tried pineapple juice, and she had a few tiny sips (which came back up) and wasn't interested in any more. So then we hopped in the tub. Usually I tell her not to drink the bath water because it's got icky bottom germs in it, but this time I let her help herself, and filled up her little bath toys with cold water from the sink as well. She drank quite a bit, but it all came up. So we got out of the bath and got in bed around 8, and I tried nursing her; she could get about ten seconds in and then started poking her fingers down her throat and I'd have to quickly push her into a sitting position so she didn't choke on the milk.

So I called the surgeon's office. I knew if nothing at all was getting down, it was time to start worrying about dehydration. The on-call resident conferred with her partner and called me back, saying "wait for a call from the hospital, saying a bed is ready for Ivy, and come on up." I got off the phone and had a tiny tantrum at the foot of the stairs. I couldn't believe I let it happen again. I was SO upset at myself.

While we waited for the hospital to call us, we hurriedly packed some toiletries and I got dressed. We left Ivy in her pajamas and grabbed some clothes for the next day, and a few dolls and books. It didn't take long for the hospital to call us, and we were on our way by 9:30pm.

Cory had gotten up that morning at 2am, as he was working on a presentation for work, so he was super tired by then and I drove us up in the dark and the pouring rain while he and Ivy slept a little. It was actually a really nice drive, just 'cause usually Portland traffic is the pits. But it was nice and light at that time!

We got to the hospital and went up to the pediatric unit, and settled in. The night nurses put Ivy's pulse oximeter on her toe, and set to work putting in an IV (for fluids) while she sat on my lap. She bled pretty good, but they got it in, and she DIDN'T CRY. I was amazed. She barely flinched at all. Kind of cracked me up later to think that she's the one who says "owie!" any time a kid touches her. Silly thing. The on-call doctor who I'd talked to on the phone also stopped by to check in on us and have us sign a consent form. "It looks like [a surgeon we hadn't met] can get Ivy in at 9 or 10, but she might be able to switch her with the 8am surgery." That was great news

By midnight, the nurses had finished taking vitals and let us go to bed. But by that time, Ivy was exhausted and stressed out, and wasn't able to nurse to sleep, so she cried and fussed until 2am, when she finally fell asleep in my arms and I was able to get out from under her and go to sleep next to her. (I didn't even try to get her in the crib they gave her; I knew she wasn't about to allow that to happen.)

At 4:20am, she woke up suddenly, which was actually kind of a good thing because about 15 minutes later the nurses came in to check vitals, which would have woken her up. I got to watch the dawn begin, which was something I did a lot when we were in the NICU, and it was nice. Ivy fell asleep a little after 5am again, as did I, until 7:30 when the surgical team came around to check in. They had decided to give her an x-ray first, before going in with the scope, which was going to mean a little longer stay. The surgeon said "we'll keep in touch," which brought me back to our original NICU stay, when we suddenly realized we were on hospital time, which meant "wait around for forever, and then suddenly things will happen."

We passed the time as best we could, watching a lot of YouTube videos (she calls them "La-La" because this video was one of her first favorites to watch), and reading books, and taking off her doll's clothes, until about 10:30 when a hospital worker came to pick us up and take us down to radiology. He put us in a little holding area while we waited, which was fantastic for Ivy because she wasn't hooked up to her IV or oximeter so she got to run up and down the little hallway outside all the x-ray rooms and get some of her energy out.

And then in we went, and she did a great job lying down on the table and calmly drinking the barium while the radiologist watched the x-ray screen. (Last time we did this, she cried and I had to sing to her to calm her down.) She even asked for more barium when it was all over, the poor little hungry thing. The radiologists were amused.

Then we were put back in the holding area while we waited for our transport back to pediatrics, so Ivy and I ran up and down the halls some more, and once we got back upstairs we hung back a little bit and explored the pediatric ward. We looked out some windows and climbed on some benches and walked around. Our normal surgeon's partner found us in the hallway and let us know that he decided to add her to his caseload that afternoon, which was nice to hear - he knows her esophagus well. We said goodbye to her and wandered the halls a little longer, until Cory texted me to say our nurse wanted to hook her back up to the IV.

Cory ran down to get him and I some food, which we took turns eating while hiding in the bathroom so Ivy wouldn't see us. Anytime anyone came by to ask if they could get us anything, Ivy started asking for "rice?" or "broccoli?" which broke my heart.

I was able to get her down for a nap a little after noon, and then a little over an hour later a transport suddenly showed up at our door, with no warning, to take Ivy down to the operating room. The nurse appeared as we were scrambling, apologizing, as she had only just found out herself. Hospital time strikes again. We were led down into the basement of the hospital, and said hello to the anesthesiologist, who happened to be the same one as for her original repair, which was cool. He was concerned that she wasn't going to appreciate them taking her away from me for the surgery, so he popped something into her IV, and after a few seconds she started having a hard time holding her head up and she started giggling. And then they took her away and we settled into the waiting area.

We always think it's not going to take as long as it does. They have to work on the anesthesia, and then do the procedure, and then she has to sit in post-op and wake up a little before they let us see her, which takes about twice as long as they say it's going to. So we wore down the batteries in our phones trying to pass the time for about an hour, and then the surgeon came out to tell us it was finished. He confirmed it was a piece of chicken again, and that it was stuck because of the lack of muscle motility at her repair site, but he went ahead and gently dilated her esophagus just a tiny bit to see if that would help, even though he didn't think it necessarily would. He said again that chicken and hot dogs are the most common things that get stuck in TEF kids' esophagi, and that we should just cut the pieces smaller. He said he understood us wanting to help her practice on slightly bigger pieces, though.

Someone came awhile later to take me back to post-op, where Ivy was practically climbing up a nurse to be held. She handed her to me, and Ivy immediately fell back asleep. So I sat in a rocking chair and held her for several minutes until our transfer came, and I carried her sleeping body all the way back up to her room, and sat down, and held her for three more hours. Poor girl was exhausted.

At that point, really all we were waiting for was for Ivy to drink clear liquid, and then milk, and have a wet diaper. Her pediatrician called from Corvallis, and said something like "I know you're a good mom..." and expressed concern that the same thing had happened twice now, and suggested maybe we stop feeding her chicken altogether for a couple of months. (I don't think I'll go quite that far, because it had been three months almost to the day since the last time, so holding off at that point would have done nothing; but I do think we'll probably stick to ground chicken for awhile.) Cory went back down and got us some dinner, which we ate, and by then I was getting pretty sore from sitting in one spot while she slept, so I decided to try to transfer her to the crib. And of course she woke right up. So we started in on a sippy cup of apple juice and pedialyte. She slowly drank about half of it and then was uninterested, and just wanted to nurse. So I let her nurse, and ended up pouring out most of the rest of the cup and told the nurse that she drank it all. (Bad, I know, but I knew she was doing OK and I wasn't going to wait a few more hours for her to finish the juice when she was also doing just fine with milk!) She drained me dry, and had a wet diaper soon thereafter, so the next time the nurse came by to do vitals we let her know we were ready to go home.

Ivy did fantastic yet again as the nurse struggled with several layers of tape and removed the IV, and we packed everything up and were out of there. Ivy immediately fell asleep in the car, and I caught a few winks myself. We got home around 10 and fell into our comfy bed.

Ivy has a checkup with the surgeon on the 11th, and until then she can't eat anything thicker than yogurt. This will be an interesting couple of weeks! Luckily she is still eating pouches of fruit and veggie puree, and enjoys yogurt. I'm grateful again for the little food processor/immersion blender that I picked up to make my own puree, it has already come in handy to make fruit smoothies and a macaroni and cheese frappe (ew). And pureed cottage cheese.

The guilt was strong with this one, friends. I was pretty shattered that it happened twice in three months, with the same food. It's so hard to balance being super cautious with helping her practice with potentially difficult foods. And as she's still so tiny as it is, having to avoid a healthy food that she likes is sad. But again, throughout all of this, I'm reminded of how good we have it and how much worse it could be. And thankful that we have such a good surgeon just an hour and a half away.

Monday, April 3, 2017

See ya, March.

We are closing in on two months until Ivy turns TWO! Good gracious, how time flies.

It's kind of hard to update here, mostly because I feel like the milestones aren't coming as furiously as they were during her first year, and they're a little more complicated to explain. For instance, I can't just type out a bulleted list of her words, because her vocabulary is exploding. But let's see if I can categorize some stuff into at least a semblance of an update.

Might as well start here since I just mentioned it above. Ivy's favorite words are "no" and "owie," like any good toddler. She usually takes the last word or two from the things we tell her and repeats them in the form of a question. "Time to get your boots on!" "Boots on?" It happens especially if the words are new. I also can see her struggling to remember words, which is fascinating to watch - before Ivy, I thought that the reason there was a communication breakdown between toddlers and their parents was because they physically couldn't quite say the word yet. But I watch Ivy try out a few collections of letters before she hits on a real word. The one that happens the most often is that she says "doo" instead of "dip."

We are working on words for colors; she's got a few colors sort of figured out but it depends on what shade or what object we're looking at. She can count to ten, though, and has been able to do that for awhile. She's got some of the alphabet as well- and this weekend she started pointing out the letter A on things. Whoa.

Ivy does NOT like it when kids touch her. It's really strange. She is cool with initiating touch herself, but if one of the kids at daycare tries to hug her, she yells "owie!" and seeks out the nearest mama. And if they take a toy that's in her vicinity, especially if she doesn't know the kid very well... bring on the waterworks. Learning to share is hard!

We also have the normal shyness that I think most kids have. It takes awhile before she warms up to new people (or people who she doesn't really remember). She gets friendly relatively quickly, unless we're at the doctor, which she now remembers is the source of shots and strangers touching her, in which case she gets super clingy and wants to nurse.

In all other ways, she's a pretty great kid. She likes to help, she's generally in a good mood (though toddler molars are the pits), but see above for her favorite word. Most of the time it's not a big deal, though when I'm in a hurry and she's dragging her feet I get a teensy bit frustrated.

This girl eats like a bird, still. It is hard to get much into her. I was pretty stressed out about it a few weeks ago until I remembered that she also didn't drink much milk back when that's all she was ingesting. The other babies drank upwards of twice as much milk as her in a day. She only weighs about 20.5 pounds, which is still pretty much off the charts low, and I'm kind of steeling myself for the doctor visit in June. She seems like she has plenty of energy and is happy, so I think in general she's fine, but it takes an hour to eat dinner every night because we're trying to get just one more bite down her throat. Cory has started to make deals with her: "If you eat one more bite of meat, you can have a bite of this dessert!" I usually take the "woo, look how silly I am; oops you got some food in your mouth!" tactic, or sing little songs about eating, or make funny noises or that sort of thing to get her to eat more.

One of the things I really need to do but just haven't yet, is meal planning for her. We tend to not eat a huge variety of things because neither of us is good with meal planning, and I do want Ivy to try lots of new things. But because she's got toddler taste buds, sometimes I bank on new stuff being yummy and it's not. I also want to get as much protein and good fats into her as I can. So I need to sit down and plan out lunches and dinners and snacks for her soon.

Our usual favorites are avocado, tomato, lunch meat, broccoli, chicken, tuna, peanut butter, yogurt, bananas, blackberries, and of course anything sweet. She hates milk (any milk besides mine) and eggs (even in things like Dutch babies).

TEF Update
Things are going really well with her esophagus lately! When we were on our east coast business trip in late February, my mom came with us to watch her during the day and made sure she cut the food extra small because she was worried about Ivy getting things stuck. Since then, there have been very few times Ivy's gotten anything stuck! I'm not sure if it's because she's got four molars now so she can chew stuff a little better, or what, but it's been really nice. We still cut things pretty small, and avoid certain foods, but even things that she's historically had issues with (like tomato skins or chicken) have been fine.

Happily, there is no end in sight to the nursing! I love that Ivy still wants that closeness. She usually nurses first thing in the morning when she wakes up, and then as soon as we get home, and then to fall asleep. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, she needs to nurse to fall asleep, which I think will slowly stop on its own as she gets older. We co-sleep, so it's pretty easy access. The only time I ever feel ever-so-slightly tired of nursing is those nights where she doesn't feel well and hangs on for super long periods of time. It ends up making my back hurt by morning, from sleeping in odd positions. For a few months I had some near-constant SI joint pain, which I realized was from the way I was sleeping, so I've been adjusting my hips just a bit every night and it's much better. But sometimes teething and being sick just make for a rough sleep.

Oh man, it has been the WORST early spring. We actually avoided being sick most of the fall and winter, except for a couple of colds that moved into Ivy's lungs and needed a nebulizer treatment or two. But I think we're on cold number 7 in a row right now. It has been two months of a raw nose and waking up coughing and, this weekend, losing her voice, which is kind of cute but I still feel bad. Luckily, none of these colds have needed a nebulizer, and most of them have been so mild they haven't come with fevers either. Cory has had bronchitis for almost two months, too, which was pretty awful but is finally just about done. I'm thankful to still be nursing so that my immune system is still pretty superpower-y. Allergy season is coming, though, after a very wet winter. Grass is my kryptonite. We'll see if nursing can combat THAT. Anyway, you can leave us alone now, germs, we've had our share of sick.

I don't know why this is suddenly happening, but the last month or so I've been feeling ready to try for another. That always brings up complicated feelings, because I get into internal arguments with myself about why I should be hopeful or why I shouldn't even think about the possibility of it working when it hadn't for five years. ("But I had that polyp removed, maybe that was the biggest problem!" "Bigger than the low sperm motility problem?!") Right now the plan is to not make plans. Cory doesn't want to go through IVF again (interestingly, when we briefly talked about it over the weekend, he was more against IVF because of how physically and emotionally difficult it was, not how financially difficult it was; when finances was the biggest reason he didn't want to try again, last time), and I don't really want to either, but at the same time... I kind of do. We had decided when I was pregnant that we wouldn't do IVF again, and that if it happened naturally it happened. But of course I still have that little niggling wish in the back of my head, or little niggling disappointment in not being able to build a family the way I want to, that I don't think will ever fully go away.

Whoops, this wasn't supposed to be about me. But look, a nice long post! Ha!

Monday, March 27, 2017


When I was pregnant, the overarching theme of those ten months, the focus, the moments that could ground me or send me into a panic, was heartbeats. It was that way from the very beginning. Did the embryo implant? Could we see the tiny heart beating at 20dpo? What about 22dpo? When we saw that first tiny flicker of Ivy's beating heart, it triggered such a confounding feeling of joy and worry, and it took weeks of followup ultrasounds and then Doppler uses before the worry mostly faded. When my heart rate started to go up a short time into the pregnancy, I'd sit as quietly as I could at the beginning of each prenatal appointment, breathing slowly and half-meditating, telling my heart to relax, but in the end it took medication (that I'm still on) and borrowing a blood pressure cuff from a friend to monitor myself every day. And then in the waning days of pregnancy, sitting for an hour at a time in the clinic's recliner, belted with monitors, knitting wool soakers to keep the minutes ticking away, listening to the quick heartbeat of someone I'd never met but already loved, already was so connected with.

Last night as she slept next to me, I spent a few moments (as I usually do) smoothing Ivy's hair and kissing her little forehead. I rested my fingertips on her belly and felt her slow, even breaths. And then I found her heartbeat, silent under my fingers (so unlike the amplified galloping I heard during prenatal appointments), beating delicately under her little ribs, and I realized that it may have been over a year since I last searched for her heartbeat. All of the prenatal appointments came rushing over me as I felt the tiny thump. So did how I felt during what was likely the last time I felt her heartbeat, when she was newly home, her tiny body between Cory's and mine on the bed, when I couldn't sleep for the disbelief and overwhelming emotion of having a REAL LIFE BABY after all these years and treatments and needles and days in the NICU. Every day I'm thankful for our miracle, but sometimes the littlest things are the greatest reminders of that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hospital Visit

We have spent the last few months since my last post being kind of insulated and routine-y, going to work and coming home and doing chores and enjoying watching Ivy continue to develop. I had a post all set to go with a list of words that she could say, but then she had a vocabularial explosion (heh) and I couldn't keep up. She's even started rocking the two-word sentences. So the post remains a draft.

Christmas was also great fun; I loved watching her as she got the hang of unwrapping gifts, and played with her cousins and ate little bits of cookies and things. Oh, and she had a pediatrician appointment last month, where she finally realized that doctor's office = shots and was duly upset, and a routine appointment with her TEF surgeon, where she doesn't get shots but was still concerned that they'd change their minds at any moment. Both appointments were successes; in fact at the surgeon's visit we saw him for a total of three minutes.

For Sunday's dinner, we had some wonton/dumpling things and some stir fry with chicken. Ivy shared out of my bowl, and since I was cutting up individual bites as I went, I cut them especially small and fed them to her.

I sometimes have wondered about whether I cut food up too small, whether Ivy has mostly grown out of needing me to do that extra effort. Sure, things get stuck a little bit, but she has figured out that if she sticks all four fingers down her throat, all the way up to the joint where her fingers meet her palms, she can gag herself and bring up whatever is stuck. It's usually things like tomato skins, or chicken, or various things that she doesn't chew. It scared me a bit at first, and I even asked in the TEF community on Facebook if I should be worried about her new habit. The consensus was that she's pretty smart for figuring out how to get the stuck food out, and I eventually grew used to it. I remember even the other day when I picked Ivy up from daycare, one of her slightly younger classmates was eating whole pretzels. I thought "hm, if other kids are OK eating that stuff, I wonder if Ivy'd be able to work it out?" But the previous week she'd gagged herself and brought up a small piece of ham lunchmeat from 24 hours prior, so I was pretty sure I wasn't being entirely overprotective with my small-cut food and my tomato skinning.

On Sunday night we got ready for bed, and as Ivy was nursing at bedtime she suddenly stopped and stuck her fingers down her throat. She'd only been drinking milk, and had nothing else since dinner, but the fact that milk came up made me wonder if there was something stuck in there, preventing at least some of it from going on. I made a mental note of it, and gave her a bunch of waterwent to sleep. (We ended up having a terrible sleep - she nursed on one side so long that it started to get painful and I tried to pop her off to switch sides, but she was awake enough to fight with me about it. She was wide awake for at least an hour, and I think only half-asleep for lots longer than that. Could it have been because whatever was stuck was uncomfortable? I wasn't sure.)

The next day, we were at lunch when we got a text from daycare, saying that Ivy wasn't able to keep anything down. She'd take a bite and then gag herself, and it was happening a lot more than usual. So we took her home and I left a message for the surgeon - if it was still stuck and bothering her that much, it was starting to seem like a concern.

As I waited for a call back from the surgeon's office, I fed her pineapple juice, which I've read has an enzyme or something that helps stuck food go down, and experimented with giving her purees and very small bites of food. Everything came up, save some of the water and pineapple juice. She didn't act any different than usual, other than the frequent gagging, and that made me feel good - and she had wet diapers so I knew at least some liquid was getting through.

Finally, the surgeon's assistant called back and asked a bunch of questions. At first she'd been leaning towards having us go in that evening, but as Ivy wasn't dehydrated and we were an hour and a half away, she consulted with the surgeon and set up an esophagram (x-ray) for 10:30 the next morning. Almost immediately after the phone call (around 4pm), Ivy fell asleep on me and ended up sleeping for fourteen hours straight. (Hooray!) I took the opportunity to get a few things packed up too, as the surgeon had said there was a chance Ivy would be admitted, depending on what was going on in there.

In the morning, we packed more things (a couple changes of clothes for her and me, in case she puked up barium from the esophagram) on me), some books, a doll or two, etc. and headed up to Portland. Ivy was not excited about the x-ray; she cried a lot as we forced her arms up above her head and pinned her down. But when we were done (it's a pretty quick procedure) I glanced up at the monitor and and could immediately see that something was stuck in there.

We got Ivy dressed and walked up to the surgeon's office to await further instructions. "We need to admit her; we are just waiting for them to get a crib in the room." So we went down to admitting, and then up to the 7th floor of the children's hospital, 5 floors above Ivy's first room in the NICU.

We were third in line on the surgeon's schedule, so we hung out in the (really nice, big) room and tried to play with Ivy a bit and then try to get her to take a little nap. But without being able to nurse, and being in a strange place, she was not at all interest in letting her guard down. It ended up being OK, because it wasn't long before it was Ivy's turn.

We were escorted down to the pre-op room in the basement of the children's hospital, where we talked about the procedure with the OR nurse and the anesthesiologist and the nurse who would be assisting in the procedure. Everyone made sure to repeatedly reassure us that it wasn't a big deal, it wasn't actual surgery, but we really weren't worried - after all, it was being done by the surgeon who did her original esophageal repair. And the procedure was to put her to sleep with gas, put an IV in her hand while she was under, and send a scope down her throat to see what was stuck and pull it out. They would also check to see if she needed a dilation (if the food was stuck because of a narrowing of her esophagus) and do that while she was under.

Then the nurse grabbed Ivy and whisked her away, and we were ushered into a waiting room, where we waited for about 45 minutes, and then the surgeon came out with a little jar of a rather hard-to-identify piece of half-digested food. (And it was a small piece too: about the size of the tip of my finger; easily swallowable by a toddler.) He said everything went just fine, and she had no stricture, but that the food just happened to hit the exact spot where her muscle motility pauses.

I'm not sure how much I've explained that here, from her original surgery, but when the surgeon cut and sewed her up, it meant that the muscles in her esophagus don't move food down in one smooth motion: they stop at the repair site and then pick up again just below.

The surgeon said she'd probably take another ten minutes before we could go in and see her, but it ended up being more like twenty. And then the nurse came in and led us to our sweet sleeping girl, lying on her side with her arms curled up and the sweet little rosebud mouth that she gets when her face is a little squished, just like the day we first met her. Her daddy was the first person she saw when her little eyes opened.

Once she was fully awake (and a little upset), I was able to carry her as we followed the nurse back up to Ivy's room. They took her vitals and we showed her nurses the little vial of what we concluded was likely chicken. (They were all wondering what it was in there!) And then, finally, she was able to NURSE. That was the best part of the day - it was so hard to tell her no when she was in a strange place with strange people and tired and uncomfortable. She nursed for a good long time, and we ordered room service (as a nursing mom, I got a "free" tray and Cory had to pay extra for his) as we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, aside from a tiny vending machine snack while we were waiting for the procedure to finish.

We had to wait for a wet diaper, which was delivered about an hour after nursing, and then we got discharged. The nurse warned us that IV removal was usually not very fun for little ones (I had been dreading it too) but Ivy just sat on Cory's lap and watched the nurse pull it out. And then we were free! Ivy fell asleep at about 7, as we were on our way home, and we were home by 8. (She only slept until 4am, but that's another story.)

Today she's eating and drinking and acting like normal. I did give her a few tiny pieces of chicken with her dinner tonight, after a lunch of soft foods, and she has stuck her fingers down her throat a couple of times which worries me - but hopefully I'm just being overly concerned. Guess we'll see - that would almost be amusing to go up twice in two days for the same problem twice over. Almost.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Last week I started yoga again.

I'd last been in a class something like five days before I went into labor with Ivy, so it'd been almost fifteen months since I crossed my legs on my little blue mat. Once Ivy grew up enough to not need to nurse as often, the next thing I had to get out of the way was the feelings of guilt for being selfish, and figure out how I'd possibly get my evening chores done AND be gone for two hours on a weeknight. But my body, especially my back, had really been letting me know it needed to go back, so I made the decision to just DO it.

On yoga day, work ran a few minutes long, and when we went to pick Ivy up from daycare they wanted to chat with us, so I felt super rushed. The plan was to leave work at 4, pick up the baby and get home by 4:45, change clothes, grab a bite, nurse, and then run to yoga. But we didn't get home until 5, and I had to skip nursing in favor of scarfing down a couple of bites of something, and cursing my way through rush hour traffic on the way back to downtown.

But then I walked in the door of the studio, and stepped into a large airy space, was welcomed by the same teacher and the same two classmates who I'd said goodbye to a year and a half ago (they were in the "normal" yoga class and I'd spent a few of my last months before Ivy taking prenatal classes), and all of the stress of cramming too much stuff into an hour and a half melted away as I sat down on my little blue mat.

I came away from class with a few surprises. One was that I was more limber than I thought, after so long. Muscle memory took over and I was able to drop into some poses pretty easily. And downward dog was way easier than I thought - I credit that to a certain toddler who insists on being carried a lot. But I think the biggest one was that I was overwhelmed by emotion when we were meditating. All of these yoga memories just kept coming up - stopping in with a tiny Ivy to say hello to my teacher, sitting in the window seat watching people go by while waiting for class to start - and the biggest one that I'd forgotten until then was the night before I took my pregnancy test after our last round of IVF. I couldn't concentrate on anything and was so worried about the outcome that I was crying as I went through the poses. That memory kinda hit me in the face and made me a little bit teary, as I navigated past it and through other infertility memories and fragments of feelings that I hadn't felt in awhile. It never totally goes away, I guess.

I went home and an exhausted Cory immediately handed a very upset Ivy off to me and promptly went to sleep. Luckily, so did Ivy, so I was able to sneak away and finish my chores, still on my yoga high.

I think it'll still take a bit of time before I feel totally in control of Thursday evenings, and able to handle chores with an hour and a half less in the evenings. But being able to move my body, and center myself, and work through old emotions - totally worth it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Beach Day

For a very long time, our beach trips have looked like this: drive over with the dog, go down to the beach and walk a little, maybe pick up a few shells and rocks, throw the ball for the dog, pack up the dog, go to Rogue Brewery for lunch, and go home. The only messy bit was the dog and we'd just hose him off if he was really bad.

Now, of course, things are very different! Yesterday I took Ivy to the beach for the "first time." (She has been before, but she was young enough that she didn't even touch the sand, I just carried her - and it looked a lot like our old-normal trips.) I was going to take Linus, but in the end I realized it'd probably be a lot of extra work so I left him home.

It was supposed to be 95 in the valley yesterday, so an escape to the beach was really nice. It was still foggy when we got there at 10am, and when my friend and her kids arrived we loaded ourselves up and made the short trek down to the beach from the parking area at Cape Lookout State Park.

Ocean-blue Eyes

We set up our little shade tent cabana things, managed to figure out how to eat some lunch without getting too much sand everywhere, and it turns out Ivy's favorite pastime at the beach is playing in the surf. I held both of her hands and we'd walk out towards the water, and then when a wave came I'd run backwards with her to a spot where the water would only reach to her ankles. We did this over and over, until my back would get too upset with me and then we'd go back to the little cabana for a break.

In the meantime, we practiced together how and when and where to put on sunscreen, how to keep a hat on, and how not to eat sand. Sorta. Not really the last one. As Ivy started getting tired and punchy, she started to eat more and more sand, and we played the really not that enjoyable game of "try to keep the sand out of my mouth and fail, mama." So as my friend and her older kids (who do not eat sand) played more, I packed up our stuff and got as much sand as I could out from between toes, and Ivy slept in the car as we made the hour trek to Lincoln City to meet some relatives for a couple of hours. And when we got home I was happy to see I succeeded in my attempts to keep sunburn at bay!

I think it's still going to take some practice, but for a first try it was a pretty successful little trip.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Things

Two random things that happened in the last few days:

Cory said he was watching Ivy play alone the other day, and she was talking to herself, and suddenly started laughing. She must have told herself a joke. I wonder what it was.

Also, yesterday I was trying to read to her before a nap, and I pulled a book off of the shelf and showed it to her and she shook her head and said "no." (It sounded like "nah" though.) I ended up going through all of her books, showing her each one and her shaking her head and saying no, until she settled on one. It happened again in the evening, but she was much more amenable to books than she was in the afternoon; I think she was just learning that she could say no to something so she was practicing. If it keeps happening, though, we're gonna have to start hitting the library for some new material!

Bonus thing: this weekend was the pits for poor Miss I, but she was such a trooper. On Friday we went for a little drive up to Mount St. Helens, and partway through the day I noticed her eye was a little swollen and gunky. Turns out it was the beginning of conjunctivitis! It spread to the other eye over the weekend, and on Monday first thing I called the doc and they called in a prescription just based on my description over the phone. Then on Sunday she reached for one of her little walkers and lost her balance and hit her mouth on the handle, and either split her lip on the handle or bit it with her new teethies. I think it was the first bloody injury she's had to deal with. It's still swollen today, but it hasn't seemed to bother her since the initial shock and pain. Poor thing. And her eyes look much better now that she's had a day of antibiotic ointment, but I'll be spending most of the next couple of days checking my own eyes in the mirror to see if she shared her germs with me.

Cory's been making little videos of our travels this summer; here's the one from St. Helens.