Saturday, April 27, 2013

National Infertility Awareness Week

This past week was National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).  I've been struggling with whether I wanted to write something about it or not.  You see, to most people, I have a child and therefore I've beaten infertility.  While that is correct, there is still a lot more to it.  I may have finally gotten my miracle in my snowbaby daughter, the big question now is, "What next?"

Drew has always said to me that he wants five children.  I don't know if he says that to make my eyeballs bug out of my head, or if he actually does want five kids.  But I do know that he would like more than one.  I always said that I wanted two or three children.  I understand that it's all up to God and He gets to decide how many children we are blessed with.  I would like to have more though.  So, the big question remains.  Am I still infertile?  Or am I now considered fertile since I have a child?

I think that the definition can vary for different people.  I was infertile because of my endometriosis.  There are many other reasons that a person can be infertile, and there is also unexplained infertility.  It's a very complicated matter!  I was told prior to getting pregnant that I had a good chance of my endometriosis going away, or at the very least stop growing while I was pregnant.  Unfortunately, my endo did not go away while I was pregnant.  Now that my periods have returned, I still have the same pain.  Bummer!  Since the pain has come back and I know that my endo is still there, the big question remains.  Will I ever be able to get pregnant on my own?

Frankly, I don't know.  Drew and I decided that we are going to give it a try.  We aren't in the position at this moment to do another frozen transfer, so we certainly aren't hurting anything by trying again.  I can tell you this though, all of those old infertile feelings of insecurity and pain have definitely resurfaced.  I think that once you struggle with infertility, it's something that stays with you for your entire life.  I will never forget all of the pain and tears and struggles of the long year and a half that we struggled to conceive.  To me, I don't think that I belong in the fertile category now.  I still have endometriosis, which put me in the infertile category.  I think that I won the battle at the time of infertility, but I still think that infertility is a war that is made up of a bunch of battles.  Infertiles battle with their own feelings of inadequacy every day.  While some may have their children, it's still not easy to see others achieve that dream so easily.

I was always very open with my infertility journey.  I wanted to be a voice for those struggling in silence.  Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility?  Chances are someone you know has suffered or is suffering.  I will continue to be a voice for those who suffer.  Just because I may have a child, doesn't mean that I'm cured, or that I've forgotten where I was.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

You Are My Sunshine

Today, we celebrated Annelise turning one year old!  The theme to her party was "You Are My Sunshine".  I racked my brain for weeks trying to come up with a cute theme and fell in love with this one.  I immediately started pinning ideas.  I seriously pinned ideas for months!

We had such a great day and are so blessed that so many people came to celebrate with us.
Annelise's smash cake for the party.
I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was adorable!  Not that many people participated, but I love that some did and that I have something to give her to when she turns 18 to see from her 1st birthday party.
Drew made the wreath for the door and he is incredibly proud of it.  It was super easy to make and I think he did a great job!
Annelise and I wore matching shirts.  Mine says "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine" and Annelise's says "You make me happy, when skies are gray".  I ordered them off of Etsy.
We are so thankful to everyone who came to celebrate with us and were so generous.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Smash Cake Session

A few days before Annelise's 1st birthday, I decided to take some smash cake photos.  I figured that the practice with the cake would be a good idea before her party.  Drew and I haven't really given her much sweets to just chow down on her own.  We'll give her small bites if we're eating something, but for the most part, she hasn't had much.  This cake was the first time that she really had a treat all to herself.  She was a little unsure of it at first.  But, after a few minutes, she dug right in!

Before I gave her the cake, I wanted a few nice pictures of her.  She is terrified of my seamless paper backdrop, so it was quite the struggle to get these two.
I think the two that I did manage to get turned out pretty cute.  I just can't believe how grown up she is!

Sneak peak to the theme of her party!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Twelve Months

Dear Annelise,

Well, my darling, we've made it!  We have made it through your first year and I seriously cannot believe how fast this time has flown by.  You are a toddler by everyone's standards now.  Some people consider it when you start walking, which you are doing, and some people consider it when you turn one.  I can't believe that I am a mother to a toddler.  It's so surreal to me.  I always pictured myself as a mother to a baby.  It's so hard to imagine you so old.  Please stop growing so fast!!

It's actually so funny that I tell you to slow down growing, because I have pushed you to grow up also. You have been walking since you were about ten and a half months old, but not really consistently until you were eleven months.  I prompted you and worked with you so much to teach you how to walk.  I knew that you would be happier, so I tried so hard to work on teaching you how to do it.  I was right, you are happier now that you can walk.  You have started to walk a lot faster, practically run places.  You get up from the ground without holding on to anything.  You put your feet underneath you, put your butt in the air, get your balance on your feet with your hands still on the ground, and then stand up tall.  It's amazing how fast you've gotten at getting up.
I am so excited because you have started signing!!  I've been signing "milk" to you consistently when you nurse since you were about four months old.  I knew that you would eventually understand what it meant.  It is so cute to watch you squeeze your little hands into fists.  You do it so excitedly.  And, if I don't move fast enough to give you some milk, you just stick your hand down my shirt.  You tell me one way or another.  You have also signed "more".  It's not the proper sign of more, but I know what you mean.  You will either clap, or point one finger of your hand into the other palm.  You also sign "eat", but again, it's not the fully correct sign, but we definitely know what you mean.  You will use one finger to point to your mouth.  "Please" is usually you swiping down the front of your chest.  I am so, so proud of you picking up the signs.  Mommy and Daddy plan on working with you so that you understand them more and use them consistently to tell us what you want.  You are very good with using them when prompted.  "Milk", however, needs no prompting!!! :)

You have sprouted more teeth this month.  You got the other two on the top.  So now, you have four on the top and the middle two on the bottom.  I love, love, love seeing your little toothy grin!  Teething hasn't been too bad with you.  Thank you amber necklace!

We took you to visit the Easter bunny.  I was a little nervous about this trip because you are definitely at a stranger danger phase.  But, you surprised me, and sat on the bunny's lap and didn't cry at all.  We even got an adorable smile out of you.
Mommy and Daddy also took you to the Shedd Aquarium this month.  You really liked to look at all the fish tanks and see the colors.  I think that your favorite thing was the penguins.  You even pointed at them, and you rarely point.  I can't wait to take you to do more fun outings.  This summer is going to be such a blast with all the fun things we can do.

You still continue to eat so well.  Sometimes, I swear that you would eat all day if we let you.  You are definitely your father's daughter, and you LOVE cheese!  You have water with your meals and you love it.  You will even search for your cup to have a drink between meals.  I'm so glad that you like water so much.
I don't think that I've mentioned it in any of your other letters, but you have been taking a Kindermusik class for a couple of months now.  You love going to class.  You love to interact with the other kids, and play with the fun different instruments and sensory activities.  Sometimes you get a little feisty when I try to hold you to do some of the dances.  You just want to run around and play with the other kids.

You are 19 lbs 5 oz (22nd percentile) and 28.5 inches (32nd percentile).  You have grown two and a half inches since your nine month appointment.  That's crazy!!  You are still in a size 3 diaper and 12 month clothing.  Daddy and I have bought you all 18 month stuff for summer, so you'll be moving into that size then!

My girl, I cannot believe that you are a whole year old.  You are so much fun right now.  We have our challenges, and you are trying to exert your independence.  I know that you are learning what you can and can't do.  I know that you won't always be in this stage and that it's something that we need to work through.  All of your fun moments make up for the challenges.  I get so much joy out of hearing you dissolve into a fit of giggles.  I will never stop trying to make you laugh.  I wish that you knew just how much I loved you.  I can't possibly write it here with words.  I can't wait to continue to watch you grow!

Love you forever,