Five

Being 5 is a big deal.

Five would be kindergarten.

Five would be loose teeth and the tooth fairy.

Five might be pierced ears and first sleepovers.

But you’re not five.  Instead, you’re eternal, because you’re not here.  Not with us.  Which is okay and not okay at the same time.  I don’t spend every day wondering what you’d be like or how life would be different if you’d stayed.  But on anniversaries like this, I can’t help but let my mind meander over what I wish had been.

These are the things I wish I could tell you.

On Knowing

For the longest time, I haven’t know what I wanted our family size to be.  I knew I was super happy to hit the 2 kid mark, and very happy to hit 3.  Not that I was less happy to hit 3, but because of all the infertility and loss between #1 and #2, it was just different.  After Jude was born, I was absolutely, positively certain that if I ever wound up pregnant again I’d want to go jump off the nearest tall cliff, but as time went on and he grew (and, quite honestly, as he cried less, although he still cries a lot), my views softened.  Maybe, I fantasized. Maybe 4 is a good number…

A few months ago, I said I was pretty sure we were moving in the direction of being done.  And then a funny thing happened.  So says I.  My husband might view it as less funny and more terrifying…

I’d been having strangeness with my cycle each month, so I set up a few appointments to investigate.  (Aside: no, this story is not going to end with a surprise pregnancy announcement.)  At one of those, a fancy ultrasound, I asked the tech if she’d mind just swinging by my ovaries to count how many antral follicles I had.

For the uninitiated, antral follicles are basically eggs in your ovaries that are resting for a few months before possibly being used.  In what is a gross oversimplification, resting antral follicles are eventually recruited to be developed to potentially ovulate, and of the eggs that are ready to potentially be ovulated, one is chosen as the winner.

Sort of like the Biblical story of Esther, except on a cellular level.

Anyway…

The long and short of it is that the more antral follicles you have, the more eggs your ovaries are likely to contain, and, therefore, the more fertile you probably are.  Declining antral follicle counts have been an excellent predictor of many fertility-related issues, including things such as poor response to ovarian stimulation medications and decreased likelihood of pregnancy.

When I did ivf, I had 14 antral follicles.  This was considered borderline, and I wasn’t eligible for cost-sharing opportunities because my antrals were on the low side.  After I miscarried, my antrals had dropped to 8 or 9, and they told me if I wanted to do ivf again with my own eggs, I needed to move on it asap, because my window for using my own eggs would probably be closed within about 6 months.

Of course, in 6 months, I actually defied the odds and got pregnant on my own, and when I had an ultrasound after Isla was born, my antrals were counted to be in the mid-20s.  This is completely and totally crazy; antrals don’t typically go up.  It was also one reason I felt good about trying for baby #3.  Somehow, my body had rebounded a bit, and I hoped everything would run smoothly one more time.  Thankfully, it did.  We got pregnant with Jude within about 6 months.

Back to the funny thing.

The sonographer, the same one who’d found my 20+ antrals after Isla was born, obliged and did a quick antral count.  There were 7 on the right, and I started panicking a little.  Seven? That’s not a ton.  Maybe the left will be better.  She headed over in that direction to a whopping 2.  Two antral follicles.  That was it.

So, apparently, I have a grand total of 9, which is a remarkably poor predictor for future fertility potential.  Of course, I got pregnant with Isla with this many so it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  But it’s not as promising as it was after I had her and had so many.  It’s much less likely.

The funny thing?  How I reacted when I felt like the choice was being taken away from me due to apparent decreased fertility.  It was very much an anxious NOOOooo!  I wanted this to happen!  Honestly, it caught me off guard.  I mulled it over for several days, and realized that yes, in fact, I do want another baby.  Huh.  It’s nice to know what I really want.

However, even though it’s what I want, I still haven’t decided if it’s a risk worth taking.  Preeclampsia was no picnic, and with the increased risks to me and my health, I’m not sure it’s fair to the rest of my children to put myself in that position.  I have more thinking to do in light of those potential issues.  I spent a good deal of time talking to the doctor about them.

The good news is that if we were to decide to go for a #4 and successfully got pregnant, the doctor said I’d be eligible to attempt a vbac.  This is contrary to what I’d been told earlier, when a different doctor told me I wouldn’t even be eligible for a trial of labor.  I’m not opposed to either option, actually, but, again, I like having all my options open.  So that was a reassuring bit of information.

Project 365 Update

I started a Project 365 photography experiment at the beginning of this year.  Although I didn’t expect I’d be able to completely keep up with it, I’m in more of a lull right now than I’d anticipated.  So I thought a little update of a few of my favorite pictures thus far might reinspire me to continue.

Here are a few of my favorite images since my last update:

birthdaygirs

I know – I technically didn’t take this one.  But I arranged for it to be taken.  That counts, right? 😉

bridge

Covered bridge. I had no idea if this one was going to turn out. It’s hard to read the LCD screen in daylight.  But I was so happy once I saw it.  I want to bathe in that sort of light!

drinkingflowers

Isla had picked these flowers.  I was trying to take a picture of them, and the next thing I knew, this was happening.messyjude

 

Nutella FTW!

pickingflowers

Spring is coming!

reading

Gabe was reading Jude’s favorite book, Little Gorilla, to them.

somber

Attempting a contemplative self-portrait

superheroisla2

I love every single thing about this photo.  Except the tag.  Oh well!

techie

Because a baby using an iphone is totally normal…

teenager

She looks like a teenager to me here!

tulips

 

Spring tulips

 

Can you tell which one of my children doesn’t like having pictures taken? 😉

And here’s my PSA for the day – pick up your camera! The pictures don’t have to be perfect or even lovely.  Some of my favorite images are technically a wreck.  You will not regret having them.  You may regret not having them.  Just start – or start again – where you are today.

(<ahem> note to self…)

Bits and Pieces

I think this one is the ellipses edition…

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taxes

So this is, quite possibly, the latest I’ve ever waited to file my taxes.  Living on the edge!  It wasn’t exactly my plan.  I had them 85% done in January until I was informed that one of my tax forms contained an error.  It took from January until April 8 to get it straightened out and delivered to me.  I have no idea why.  It seemed like one simple error to me.  But apparently it was more of a 2 or 3 month error.  Then we went away over the weekend and I’d wanted to do it on Monday but I stayed up until 3:30 AM working on several other jobs I needed to complete and I needed a login to one of Tahd’s accounts to finish it and he’d already gone to bed on Tuesday night, and here we are on the 15th just before midnight…

Maybe next year I should wait even a little longer…11:47?  We’ll see…

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Tahd’s away again.  I’d forgotten this trip was coming up.  I think I blocked it out because it’s a short one and I figured it’d be no biggie.  Heck, I should be well practiced after the March he had.  You know…the eight whole days he was actually at home.  (I’m totally have a great attitude about it…)  And yet…I wasn’t.  I totally cried while we said goodbye.  Like, ugly, face-scrunched-up, totally defeated crying.  I didn’t even know it was coming.  I was just suddenly in tears.  Which was decidedly unawesome because I’m pretty sure it made him feel like a heel, which I completely didn’t intend, and I hate sad goodbyes.

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Movies I Want To See (please prevent me from wasting 2 hours of my life and tell me if they suck):

films

Big Eyes
100 Foot Journey
About Time (again…I’m sure this one is worth it!)
Wild
The Imitation Game
Into The Woods
Maleficent
Theory of Everything
Woman In Gold
Anchorman

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Do you know how hard it is to go to your annual exam with 2 toddlers?  And have to strip down naked, wear a floppy, sloppy gown that doesn’t close and have to chase a 1 year old around the exam room?  And not sweat buckets and feel totally mortified?  I’d wanted to talk to the midwife about what sort of risks I’d be facing if we decided to have another child.  I’m pretty sure she left and laughed and/or shook her head.  Or both.  Because, hello!  Crazy naked woman with the busy babies who don’t stop screaming might want another child?  #coughbadplancough

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Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with the Duggars?  It’s not a closet obsession, per se, but I do think it’s highly incongruous with all the other areas of my life.  Like the fact that I have three kids versus 19 and I use birth control and I wear pants and short hair and am moderately liberal.  But I do love their show, and I love the idea of their jurisdictions and I’m going to figure out how to do it with a smaller family.  Why am I the one doing all the cleaning while everyone else plays, hm??? I need some help! And my kids need to learn how to do these things!

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I’m going to bed without putting supper away.  Again.  Living on the edge.

What I Learned in March

Okay – full disclosure.  I read some of these things in other months but haven’t gotten around to this post.  So it would be more aptly titled, “What I Learned in March-ish.”  Is that workable for you?  There were a few super interesting things, at least to me!

siblings

Some fascinating thoughts on adult sibling relationships – “The literature on sibling relationships shows that during middle age and old age, indicators of well-being — mood, health, morale, stress, depression, loneliness, life satisfaction — are tied to how you feel about your brothers and sisters.”

This is quite possibly one of the sweetest videos I think I’ve ever seen!

tulips

I learned so many things in this post about tulips.  Like, did you know the stem of tulips keeps growing in the vase?  I had no clue!

schoolschool

so loved this article on educating kids. Alfie Kohn is one of my favorites!  I really think the state of public education is in disarray.  I thought that when I taught school 12 years ago (gulp!  has it been that long), and I think that even moreso today as a parent of a child in public school.

cardboard

Did you know Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes?  That are supplied by the government?

What did you learn in March? Anything interesting?

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