Dear Gus: Three

Dear Gus,

The details are starting to get a little bit fuzzy, but here’s what I remember about the day you were born: the drive to the hospital was excruciating, the nurses were lovely, the anesthesiologist was eating a sandwich while I was demanding some drugs, and then the next thing I knew it was 3:57 AM and you were here — and we were parents.

You looked like this:


Now, you look like this:


In the last year, you have changed so much. You use the potty, like a big boy. You can walk up and down the stairs (all by yourself!) giving me a small heart-attack every time. You can sort of swim. You can do somersaults, and walk on a balance beam, and bounce all the way down a trampoline. You can run, and you jump on EVERYTHING.

You go to school now, and you LOVE it. You have friends from your classes, and in our neighborhood, and you ask to play with them all the time. You love your cousins, and you talk about them all time.


You’d still rather play than eat (a choice I’ll never understand) but when you do want some food, you prefer pretzels, French fries, more pretzels, and cheese.

You never. stop. talking. You are so imaginative, and hilarious — the things that come out of your mouth are unbelievable, including:

“Mom? What happens if the moon pops?”

“Surprise! I’m in your birthday cake!”

“We have an emergency! I saw an ant!”


And let’s get this out of the way: The Terrible Twos have a well deserved reputation, for being, well — terrible. And you sir, can be terrible with the best (worst?) of them. Usually, it was because you were sick, or teething (molars are the devil’s teeth) or we had just spent large sums of money on fertility treatments trying to make you a sibling, and God just has a sense of humor. Thankfully, those moments were few and far between, because when all those unfortunate things aren’t happening, you’re really a pleasure to be around.

Your counting skills, which used to include the occasional letter and color, are legit now, and you know your fair share of letters too. You also know your full name, and our names (this year you went through a “what’s your name?” phase, in which you asked everyone their names, including total strangers at the grocery store.)

You have names for all of your grandparents now: Nan, and Pop, and Grandma & Pacha. We have no idea what Pacha means, or how you came up with it, but it suits him.

You still LOVE Curious George, and now we can add The Incredibles, the Lion Guard, the PJ Masks, Daniel Tiger & Co., and the Paw Patrol pups to that list. You love to build planes, and towers, and animals with our blocks and duplos, and you love to sit at your train table and play with trains and cranes and cars.

You still adore all animals, and our nighttime routine now consists of pretending to be dogs, or sharks, or gorillas, or tigers, or elephants, or various members of the Lion Guard. If we’re not animals, than we’re race cars and a tow truck, or a train, or we practice gymnastics.

You’re still sleeping in your own room (thank you baby Jesus) unless you’re super sick, only now your menagerie of animals has grown to include: George, Duck, Mickey, Little Appa (the elephant), Cornelius the crocodile, Cow, and Big Appa (another elephant) — not to mention whatever little toy you ask to bring upstairs every night.


You are not shy, at all. You talk to anyone and everyone, and the second anyone sets foot in our house, to ask them if they want to see your room, or play with your trains. You continue to charm older ladies whenever you get the opportunity to do so.

We finally found a place that can give you a decent haircut, without any screaming, or thrashing, or crying. I think the 1) prettyย ladies who work there, and 2) lollipops and toy cars they give you help tremendously.

You are super affectionate. You hug all of your friends and cousins goodbye. You smother us with body slam-esque hugs, and huge sloppy kisses. Sometimes you’ll just take a break from jumping on the sofa, to hug us and say I love you, or lay with us to watch something.


I swear we just planned your second birthday party, like three months ago. Time is flying, and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse.

You’re so sweet, and so funny, and so smart. You’ve learned so much in the past year, and we’re so proud of you.

Love, Mom and Dad

Back in the Saddle.

As we get ready to start another FET cycle, I’m trying to get as healthy as possible.

And along with that comes (or goes?) all the usual suspects.

Artificial sweeteners.
Refined Grains.
Good ole’ gluten.

Goodbye old friends. We had a good run, didn’t we?

And, unfortunately for me, since our last loss I have just been eating my feelings (they taste like pizza and ice cream!) for months. Then, that rolled into vacation eating.

And so all that had to stop.

And then I did something unthinkable.

I started going to the gym again. On purpose! Repeatedly! It’s not as often as I’d like, and I can’t work out as hard as I used to (who remembers when I was thin?!) but it’s better than never, ever going to the gym, which is what I’ve been doing for, ohhhhhhhh, six years?

And after all these years of infertility treatments, and pregnancies, and breastfeeding, and going dairy-free, and then eating ALL THE DAIRY, I honestly cannot tell you what my pre-pregnancy weight was.

The good news is, I’m not focused on being a certain weight, or a certain size. This body of mine will never be perfect, but it gave me Gus, and that’s a body worth celebrating as far as I’m concerned, even if it doesn’t look perfect in a bathing suit. But leggings and tunics seem like they’re here to stay awhile, so amen and hallelujah for stretchy pants!

My goal is to lose as much weight as I can (healthily) between now and our FET, while getting stronger and eating these things called “vegetables” I’ve been hearing so much about.

So far, so good.

First Day of Preschool


His shark bag is all packed, and my baby is off to preschool!

Classes technically started before Labor Day, but today was his first time going solo, the entire time, and with the whole class. He loved it.

Other kids cry when their moms drop them off — mine runs into class without so much as a glance over his shoulder in my direction, and sobs uncontrollably when I show up two hours later to take him home.

And I went *TO THE GYM*ย (what?! I know!) for the first time in, ummm, what year is it? At least five years? Holy crap, maybe longer. It felt good to get back on an elliptical and listen to bad pop music for an hour. I’m looking forward to doing it more regularly.

After our last loss, I’ve been eating my feelings — because they taste like pizza and ice cream. I’ve been trying to get back on track the last few weeks so I can get as healthy as possible before our next FET in a few weeks.

I’m so happy and relieved that Gus is enjoying school. And I’m excited to have a few hours to myself every week. And now THIRD birthday planning is in full effect!

A Vacation From Our Vacation

We’ve had a series of unfortunate vacation-y events over the last few years.

One year Mike dislocated his shoulder in the ocean, which ultimately required surgery to completely repair.

The next year our basement flooded the night before we were supposed to leave.

A few years later, Gus was a baby, and still nursing around the clock, and we were still co-sleeping, and the bed was awful, and I was miserable. The year after that, Gus got bronchitis, and we had to head home early.

So this year when we made it to and from the beach without any major disasters, I was pretty excited about it. And as Gus gets older and more independent, vacation becomes minimally more like an actual vacation year-by-year.


Turns out though, we did NOT escape vacation unscathed. A week after we got home, Gus’ runny nose turned into coughing and wheezing, and before you could say “nebulizer,” he had pneumonia!

Another week later, and he’s finally back to his old self, and we have one whole year to relax before our next vacation.

PGS Results

We had 10 remaining embryos on ice, and after our last loss, we decided to have them all PGS tested.*

Before our embryos could be tested, they’d need to be thawed, biopsied, and re-frozen. We also needed to participate in a consultation with the lab that would be doing the testing.

We were told since we (me, really) were both 31 when our embryos were made, we could expect around 60% of them to be normal, and the rest, obviously, abnormal. I knew that all my embryos had made it to Day 5 before they were frozen, but I’d never known what they were graded.

They were ALL 5AA.

If you’re blessed in the fertility department — this is exceptional. If you’re currently undergoing IVF — I don’t need to tell you how amazing that is.

So, two weeks ago, all ten were frozen and biopsied. Nine out of the 10 survived the process and were re-frozen.

Yesterday we got the call from my nurse, and EIGHT of the nine are chromosomally normal!

I know that a PGS diagnosis of “normal” is no guarantee, but I’m very optimistic about moving forward with a frozen cycle this fall. I also can’t help but wonder if we really DID hit the 60% mark:

1st transfer — Chemical Pregnancy, one embryo
2nd transfer — early loss, one embryo
3rd transfer — healthy baby, two embryos
4th transfer — early loss, one embryo

So we’ve used 5 of the original 15. Assuming the ones we lost or didn’t take were abnormal, plus the test results we have now, that means 9/15 (60%) were/are normal.

We’re on schedule to try again in October. Now if only I could stop eating and drinking like I’m still on vacation. 

*Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is a powerful genetic test that may be performed on embryos during IVF treatment to screen for numerical chromosomal abnormalities. PGS is performed on a small embryo biopsy prior to transfer and identifies which embryos are chromosomally normal.

Two Days, Three Nights

It’s been an unpleasant weekend for all of us here. I’ll spare you all the details, mainly because we’re all so sick and tired I can’t keep them all straight.

I have a terrible cold. Mike has a slightly better, but still terrible cold.

Gus is sick. Well, he has zero symptoms of being sick, but he is cranky and irrational (more so than your standard toddler irrationalness), and he’s waking up screaming all night long.

All fun toddler traits aside, that is not my child. He might whine a little about going to sleep, and refuse to leave the library on occasion, but he’s typically a very sweet, agreeable child, who blissfully sleeps through the night.

The only time he acts the way he’s been acting, is when he’s sick. Nine times out of ten, it turns out he has a double ear infection. Only this time? He doesn’t have a fever (and he always gets a fever).

And a week ago he actually was diagnosed with a double ear infection. He took a full course of antibiotics until the middle of the week. So now I’m wondering if it’s something else? Or maybe he needed a higher dose, or a longer course? Is it nightmares? Or molars? Or God forbid he’s not sick at all and this is just my life now, and Jesus take the wheel, because I’m gonna get a drink.

But despite being miserable (we’re all for sure miserable around 3 a.m.) he still says and does hilarious things.

The first night he rolled over, put his hand in mine, and laughed in his sleep for five minutes.

He brought me a can of whipped cream from the fridge and told me that he thinks it’s his favorite (and could he have some for dinner?)

He also baked me an imaginary pie, and when I asked him what he used for ingredients, he told me, “Sugar. Salt. And cake.”

And this afternoon he woke up from his nap, looked at me and said, “let me see your big booby.” (I politely declined)

12 more hours before we can get an appointment with our pediatrician, and hopefully get this poor child (and let’s be honest โ€” the rest of us) some relief.

Next Steps

After our last (failed) IVF attempt, we’ve been talking about what our next steps are.

I’m definitely planning to try again, but the more I think about it, the more I’d like to take a few months off before starting again.

For starters, we’ve decided to have our remaining embryos genetically tested. While it doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly increases our odds (and the odds have not been in my favor). And despite the extra cost, the price is significantly less than it was four years ago when we started this process, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Then we have our annual family vacation coming up, and I would love to run, and jump and play in the ocean with Gus. I’d also like to take him on rides, and to splash parks, and eat (and drink) at all my favorite restaurants and bars.

After that, we have a destination wedding coming up in September, and making either 1) a long car ride, or 2) a plane ride with a toddler while pregnant and taking blood thinners was not something I was looking forward to. Now I just have to deal with the joys of toddler traveling, and I can drink away my feelings if that’s what it comes down to.

After THAT, my oldest, and dearest friend is getting married in the spring, and her bachelorette party is possibly happening in Vegas, in the fall, and now I can go and not be the sober party mom, and instead I’ll be the least drunk party mom. (Once the party mom, always the party mom.)

I don’t actually drink that much — despite my last three points being mostly alcohol related — I swear.

Our new house is pretty great, on the inside. But the outside? Needs some work. Like chopping down trees, and clearing overgrowth, and horrible gross outdoorsy-type work. Work I despise, but would like to do as cheaply as possible, and that means getting out there and doing most of it ourselves. I can’t really whack things with an axe on my best day, let alone when I’m super high-risk and pregnant.

And can we talk about Zika for a minute? Because it scares the bejesus out of me. I live in an area they’ve classified as low-risk, but those little bloodsuckers are nearby, and guess who has two thumbs and a giant reservoir in her back yard? This girl. So I’m ok with waiting for mosquito season to end.

And, maybe most importantly, I’m excited to spend a little more time with Gus โ€”  just us. We’ve got a lot of things on the horizon for our little man in the next few months, and I had a lot of anxiety about how a new baby would change things for him.

We just started potty training. He’s starting preschool at the end of August. He’ll be a threenager, and probably transitioning to a big-boy bed in the fall. That’s not so much for you and me, but it’s a lot in a few months when you’re under the age of three. Add all that together, I’m ok with waiting a few more months.

Physically, waiting gives me more time to keep getting healthy. Selfishly, it lets me go on vacation and drink. Financially, it lets us save for the next cycle. And mentally, it’ll be nice to take a break from needles, and medicine reminders, and worrying about all the what ifs.