Friday, September 23, 2016

8 Months & Killing It!

Matt-moo, the miracle man is 8 months old now.  It is crazy how fast it has gone, and crazy how much more excitement there is to come!  BJ and I are still enamored with everything his little self does.  He seems to be turning into quite a playful little thing.  He seems to think he's 8 months going on 18.  He's pretty sure he should be doing whatever we are doing.  Whether that's drinking wine, eating the remote control, operating an iPad, or studying with a laptop for an online pharmacology  or community banking exam, he will attempt to duplicate your actions. I'm sad his parents are so boring, lol.

Grampa teaching Matt the lyrics to Rocky Top. 
He's had another healthy month.  No shots or exams or anything too exciting.  Well, he did have a 2nd flu shot, and he handled it like a champ.  He was more mad that he was being held down than anything.

His Grammy did say, that he's the worst diaper-change of all the babies she has ever cared for (which has been a few more than just Brother Matt and myself).  It truly is a wrestling match.  You put him on his back and he gets a message to turn over and crawl away, NOW.  He doesn't care if his full of poo diaper is halfway hanging off, he must exit the situation immediately.  We try laying toys, diapers, wipes, oversized coffee table books that weigh more than him (I'm kidding!) on his chest to distract him, and this has approximately a 17% success rate.  Mostly, I change his diapers with him standing as if he's about to get frisked and moderate success.


He is cruising pretty successfully now.  I hope he doesn't walk too soon, although, I don't really know what difference it will make as he's already into EVERYTHING.  He has turbo crawl speed which I can hear him go into anywhere in our house. His little palms go slap-slap-slap against the hardwood.  The cats are not very excited about his new-found speed.  But it's also amazing because he'll be at your feet. You'll look at the TV b/c Brangelina divorce news and all the sudden he's in the kitchen with both hands in Emma's water bowl, which happens to be one of his favorite past times.  Oh, and he's not picky...he'll happily stick his hands in your drinks, too.  So basically he's a beverage ruining Ninja.  As I'm typing this, he's figured out how to stand up and scoot his Sit to Stand walker thing...I don't think he's going to be like his Mama and not walk until he's 15 months old.  You're welcome, Grampa. (My dad is still embarrassed for me because of how old I was when I started walking.)

Matt's other favorite activities include toe-sucking, chit-chatting, and yoga...Well downward dog position while making strawberry noises...

Matt Facts
Height:  2'3" give or take. He won't be measured again until his 9 month appointment
Weight:  Just under 17 lbs according to our scale. So about 14th percentile.
Toofers:  0 and holding
Fave Food:  Boob juice, Bananas, Arrowroot cookies, and She-Crab soup (I know...BAD MOM)
Fave Toy: The one in his hands.  He's pretty sweet about it, actually. Ok so sometimes it's the one in your hands...even though he has another one...
Fave Comfort Item:  Mama and Dada - Wubbanubs are kinda out at the moment.
Sounds: Mama, Dada, Bah-bah, la-la, nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, ha, blub-blub, Ah, Deeb-ah-deeb. 
They don't have meaning to us, yet, but the nuh-nuh-nuh is his fussing word. So he associates meaning to some I think. 
Mad Baby Skills: Cruising, Speed Crawling, Climbing stairs, Pincher grasp, splashing, 
Future Career:  Yogi - Maybe a comedic one. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

7 Months of Gooberishness

Um, who stole my infant and replaced it with the cutest hob-goblin, ever? I have a legit crawling, cruising, thieving, jibber-jabbering, incontinent mini-adult. He's cute and he knows it.

So baby-proofing is happening. We may end up looking like Nerf sponsored our house, but everyday, Matt seems to have a new scratch or bump on him. He mostly seems to tolerate it well. He seems to cry out in frustration more than pain. He will fall and get upset, or it will sound like he had a skull crushing bop on his head, enough to make me jump, and just be like "what's the big deal?" I'm so blessed in so many ways, so to have a pretty even keel babester is just beyond what I ever deserved.

His favorite word of the moment is tongue clicking. I'm not sure where he learned Kiswahili, but he's very adept at it. He may be telling us very important things in tongue-clicking, strawberries, and La-la-la's. Although he kinda sounds like he's mocking us when he says it..."Hey, Matthew, how was your day?" "La-la-la click pffffffft." "Oh, really?" "Hee." So basically he's already pretty sure we're full of it.

I'm just unpacking this bowl for you, Mom, no big!

I love this little mischief maker. I'm just so happy this little soul ended up in our care. I'm loving all my moments with him, and I can't wait to see what he does next. 

Our animals are still petrified of this little tyrant. He wants to "love" them so bad, but they panic and run for the hills. Love to Matt is pulling your hair/fur, so I get where they are coming from, but it's still a little exaggerated. We are working on soft hands, but that grasp reflex is still so strong!!!!

We are still primarily breastfeeding and eating purées, except when he steals food out of my hand. 

He still spits out anything solid, and occasionally thicker purées, but ice cream is fine...OMG... I should probably be all upset about this, but as a "more mature parent" I'm like "meh". Plus just getting it away from him to take his shirt off ruptured the eardrums of everyone in a 10 foot radius...I'm gonna be such a bad, mom...*sigh*. 

Whatever...I could be worse. He still hasn't been to prison...yet...

Peace, love, and hobgoblins,

Mary Katherine & Matt

Height (Or lack of):  26" 10th percentile...He shrank...not really...but oops
Weight: 16 lbs. 5 oz  19th percentile..shrimpin' up.
Head: 16 7/8" 23rd-ish percentile...
Fave food: Boob juice, mangos and BANANA!
Fave Hobby:  Crack cocaine. We aren't sure who is supplier is, but when I find them, I will kill them.  Seriously...his favorite hobby is becoming wild man at 10:30 pm.  He laughs, giggles, rolls all over the place until he crashes.  I thought babies slept...
Fave sport: Graeco-Roman diaper changing. I need at least 4 hands to change his diaper...and we never do it on a raised surface anymore. But he is  super good at this sport. As soon as he hears the first Velcro tab, he's off!!! And he always wins points for riding time as he manages to spend more time above your hands. I've gotten pretty good at blind Velcro-ing diaper tabs. 
Fave Book: all the edible ones
Fave Toy: rattles and things that go bang when you whack them!
Fave comfort item: Mama or Dada
Predicted career: demolition specialist

Monday, August 1, 2016

6 Months of Matt-moo

*sigh* This kid...aside from being in that adorable, chatty, toe-sucking Gerber stage, he is just amazing.

How did he become 6 months old?  Six months was an eternity in fertility treatments and yet, it seems to be going so quickly now.  I love it, cherish it and hope that my Matt continues to allow me to snuggle him for a little while longer.  "They are only little once..." is pretty much the theme to my parenting.

He reaches for me now, and that my friends, has sealed the deal. Any doubts about how I was doing, who I was to him, and even genetics...GONE. *POOF*.  The only thing that matters to Matt is that I reach back for his outstretched arms, and believe me, I do every.single.time.

Seriously, I didn't think I was having any issues with the egg donation situation, but now I understand how it simply doesn't matter. I get it, now.  Those little hands pointed toward me make my world go around.  He reaches out to me not caring about the number of genes we do or don't share.  He just simply needs his Mama, and that person is Me.

I finally understand what my mother meant about not understanding how much she loved me until I had kids of my own.  But, I also had no idea what it felt like to be loved back. The way his eyes light up in the morning, just because I'm there.  The way he smiles those gummy little smiles. I am just smitten. Those things are the superglue that put my heart back together after so many disappointments.

Seriously, to think I could have missed out on this over my stupid ovaries, I cannot even imagine living out my life with never getting to experience this. It makes my heart hurt even more for my sisters in infertility.  I hope they know how hard I pray for them, and that I don't take any of this for granted.

We enjoyed having him with us at the beach.  He loved the sand and the water. I think I do have a little water bug, which is exciting to me, because I loved water as a child. He just kicks and bats his hands while smiling. Super cute! Maybe he'll be a swimmer?

It is serious work shoveling sand up your bathing suit!

The eating thing is going okay.  We are still super into puree's and not much for the baby lead weaning thing.  They need a lot more dexterity than Matt has at this point. I still hand him chunks of stuff to suck on or chew on, but he seems to choke when he manages to get it in his I'm like "NOPE".  So I continue to make his baby food purees and for the most part he seems to like it.  Especially bananas!

We are seeing glimmers of his personality.  For the most part, he's pretty chill about new things, places, people.  He is, however, busy. Very busy.  And he still makes up his schedule on the fly, and I don't understand.  Sometimes he'll take 15 to 20 minute naps and crash all night, other times he'll take a 2 hour nap and party like it's 1999 from 3 am on.  He's so much fun to play with now.  He loves to do whatever you are doing.  He finds new features on my phone everyday.  He loves books, especially their taste.

He also loves his pets. Unfortunately, the feelings aren't quite mutual yet.  Emma does like purees so when one goes splat, that is a help, but she doesn't really associate Matt with those yet.  Matt loves to "pet" aka grab with baby vice grip the kitties and Emma.  Emma just gets her feelings hurt and runs away looking at us like, "how dare you let it hurt me?" Lucifer is kinda like "oh, crap" but yet his curiosity keeps him coming back for more.  Gaius is actually the most "warm" or lazy...however you want to interpret it.  He just looks at me like "how dare you let this disgusting floor troll touch me. I will show both of you by standing my ground!" None of them have shown the slightest bit of aggression which is surprising because, you know, cats.  But Matt is just infatuated with everything they do...and the cats are a bit fascinated with him.  But until Matt can be trained to open a can, he's somewhat useless to them.  Emma licks Matt because she gets positive attention for it.  We know, Emma.  You aren't fooling us...

"I earned this vacation!" 

First time eating carrots.

Matt Facts:
Weight:  16lbs and some change on our scale
Height:  Itty (we couldn't get in to see his pediatrician until 8/8 for his 6 month appointment).
Fave Toy:  Sophie the Giraffe is taking a slight lead which is better than Tim the Lazy V-Tech Truck Driver who stops to make friends while on the job...Don't worry, we tell Matt that isn't realistic.
Fave Comfort Item:  Any of his WubbaNubs, and Mama
Fave Food:  Boob Juice and BANANA!!!
Fave Book:  The one in his mouth.
Least fave food:  Green Beans are Yuck!
Teeth: No teeth...I saw them on a 32ish weeks ultrasound, so I'm pretty sure they are there...
Future Occupation:  We've gone from teeth to an interest in noses as well, so I'm thinking otolaryngologist.

Peace, Love, and Sand Monsters,

Mary Katherine & Matt

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

5 Months and Some (BIG) Change

There is a huge picture window at the end of the hall I work on.  So every time I walked down the hall while I was pregnant and saw myself with an expansive belly I'd just smile like a goober.  So now, with everything except my boobs back to normal, I am still overwhelmed at my reflection...there was a baby and now there IS a REAL baby! And now my baby boy totally flashes these uber goober smiles at me all the time.  Nothing but gums, cheeks and squinty eyes.  And I am so in love...

I can't believe Matthew (Matt-moo) has been with us for 5 months.  It is still so completely surreal.  I would never wish infertility on anyone, but I wish you could see Matt through my eyes.  He's an absolute gift. I cherish him maybe a little bit differently.  I don't take any moment with him for granted because he shouldn't be here.  I am so blessed.  There is just a level of appreciation and gratitude that I know I would never have had if I'd "just gotten pregnant".  He is my miracle.  He's amazing.  He's MY son that I honestly never knew I would have.  I think that's the first time I've said that...'My son'...I have a son, and he is just the best thing that's happened to me since BJ.

But I do think it is different.  Like a second chance at life, only a deeper gratitude for the ability to parent.  So when he's screaming bloody murder, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS whisper "I love you" into his ear. I hate that I can't fix his problems, but I'll always be there for him.  And I feel so privileged to get to be the Mama that tries to soothe him. The level of adoration I have is intoxicating.  I can't wait for that next snuggle, that next tuck of his head beneath my chin, and that moment he lets his body relax in my arms.  I'm just love-drunk over this baby.

BJ had his first father's day with Matt, and it was awesome for me.  I think I liked it better than Mother's Day.  I don't have to feel like the reason BJ will never be a father anymore for one thing.  And Matt's a pretty sweet baby.  We went out to eat with BJ's parents and just enjoyed each others' company. It's nice to feel included in these parental unit celebration days!

Matt also stayed with his Mimi and Papaw for a weekend.  They did great with him, especially my niece Makayla...who probably has better baby skills than I do.  She is just devoted to His Royal Mattness, and I just love watching them.  Seriously, if it weren't for child labor laws, she'd by my #1 choice for live-in Nanny.

So Matt at 5 months wants to stand ALL of the time.  He's of course nowhere ready for that, and his feet still don't touch on the exer-saucer w/out pillows, but we do manage.  Meanwhile, I'm seeing some more definition in my biceps.  When he allows you to bend him at the waist, which seems less frequently than other babies of similar age, he can sit with minimal support. And he rolls all of the times. You put him down on his tummy, he's on his back, you put him down on his back and he's on his tummy. You put him on his side and he's confused for a few seconds before figuring out which way will be the way you least desire him.

He's also decided he is ready to eat.  I dropped a cracker and he went to town on it.  It was a saltine and it was the last thing I would have wanted him to have, but then I thought well, hell, baby-lead weaning and all that jazz.  So he ended up slobber-dissolving a 1/3 of it.  The goal had been 6 months of exclusive breast-feeding, but he had all of the physical milestones down if not super-ceded.  He's a pretty neat eater for a baby.  He doesn't spit stuff out, so I guess he was ready.  As of now he's had avocado and sweet potato prepared by me. I wish cooking for adults was this easy. Peel, Steam, puree, DONE... I still think it's fun to spoon feed a baby. Matt wishes I'd let him have the spoon, but he just gags himself on it...So while I can, I'm just gonna stick w/the puree's.  I'm sure we'll convert to more baby-lead weaning as his dexterity improves, but for now, I'm enjoying this...and I have nearly 70 servings of pureed baby foodsicles in my freezer...

So Matt Facts:

Height: Wee (Haven't measured him since 4 mos...)
Weight:  According my scale he's just over 16 lbs...
Fave Food: Boob Juice w/sweet potato a close second
Fave Toy:  Sophie the Giraffe has taken over...much to the disapproval of dogs EVERYWHERE. "Why is that bald puppy chewing my toy?" They say with their eyes while simultaneously expressing betrayal and hurt.
Fave Comfort Item:  Mama and the Wubbanubs are on equal ground right about now...
Teeth:  None, but I'm hoping I didn't create an infant Tylenol addict over nothing.  He's been fussy, drooly and finger chewing off and on for a week, but I can't feel anything....Isn't that teething?
Future Career:  Dentistry.  He's currently giving free dental screenings to whoever allows him to stick his fingers in your mouth.  *Please Note that this should not replace your biannual dental cleanings and exams at your preferred, licensed dentist.  Matt hasn't been to preschool, yet, nor does he have a firm grasp on English at this point...He will have a firm grasp on you lips, so do be prepared...

Peace, Love, and Gummy Smiles,

Mary Katherine & Matt

Sunday, May 29, 2016

That Phone Call...

A year ago, yesterday, I laid in bed quietly crying into BJ's shoulder awaiting "the call".  The same
one I get every single time.  The one every infertility patient dreads because you just know.  You know 'it's not meant to be', 'it just isn't your time', 'maybe you should look at other options.'  You sit there and let all the comments and "helpful advice" run through your head and you wait.  You wait painfully, tearfully, all the while simultaneously begging for just a little bit more time being the most pregnant you've ever been.

You've changed your diet, your lifestyle, given up your savings account, stabbed yourself with gargantuan needles and bargained with God to just help you get through the cycle no matter the outcome because you've convinced yourself you've given up on your miracle.  You tell your partner you just aren't ready to hear the bad news.  You wonder how many people the phlebotomist told about the crazy girl that sobbed through her venipuncture because you were "not ready to hear bad news".  

All this emotional, medicinal, financial and spiritual investment is pent up in this one phone call.  As you bury your face into your partner's shoulder your phone begins to go off.  You contemplate not answering it, because if you don't know just yet, you get a little more time with that precious embryo or two.  Just a few minutes more loving that should be baby you've poured your soul into.  Just a few minutes more pretending your miracle has come, and that you don't have to hurt like this anymore.

But you know.  Deep down, you know, so you answer that phone call.  "I'm so sorry, Mary Katherine..."  That's what you always hear....I can't tell you how the rest of those phone calls go because all the air is sucked out of your lungs, and you don't know how your shattered heart continues to beat. You look at your partner, your face scrunches in pain, the air is stolen from your lungs, yet you muster a "thank you" to whoever has the burden of telling you what you already knew.  Telling you your greatest fear has come to fruition.  You feel the searing pain of your heart breaking.  It feels like the air you manage to suck in is 1,000 degrees Celsius.  You hang up and you don't know whether to scream, curse God, or just let yourself waste away since it feels like all the important parts of you died with that embryo.  And that embryo was everything...

You know all of this pain is waiting for you as soon as you hit that green button on your phone.  But you do it.  You do it because you are brave.  You do it because you have to start the healing process.  And you do it because despite knowing the answer, there is a tiny, tiny voice in the back of your head that thinks 'just maybe'.  The one little part of your spirit that evades the protective wall you've convinced yourself you've built. The thing we call hope...

That wonderful part of your spirit that just can't be broken no matter the beatings it takes.  The hope that gives you the strength to endure another month of heartbreak.  Another month of telling all the people who knew what you were going through that it did not work.  Another month of convincing yourself it was worth it. Such a tiny, tiny voice, yet the one that gives you the drive to put yourself right back in the same position, waiting for the same phone call all over again. 

Because sometimes...miracles happen.

"Mary Katherine, have you gotten your lab results?" 
"Well, you're pregnant."
"No I'm not."
"Yes, you are pregnant..."

And your entire world changes with just 3 words...

James Matthew Roberts, thank you for being my miracle.  Thank you for being my little embryo that could.

Peace, Love, and Miracles,

Mary Katherine & Matt

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

4 Months!!!!

My little Goober is 4 months old!!!

He's such a sweet little guy, and I can't imagine life without him.  He's cute as a button, darling, smiley and very curious about what is going on just outside of his bubble. As in please move me so I can see what's going on over there, ok now back over there, ok I don't want to be here, either...I'm really just Matt's minion, but it's the best job in the world.

He laughs...this deep, almost can't tell he's not grumbling laugh, and it cracks me up. His hair seems to be blonding up and he's still got these gorgeous blue peepers...
He drools like a champ.  He smiles like a cherub...He's simply just the best.  I look back and cannot imagine not having him.  I am soooo lucky, so blessed, so thankful to be this baby's Mama!  I just want to drink in every precious thing about him all day, everyday, but alas...that doesn't put much food on the table.

Matt is thriving on the boob juice.  He's 14 lbs 7 oz at 4 mos and 2 days.  He's 24.75", rolls from front to back in either direction, and rolls from back to side if there is a chance that my boob is a magnet.  If i'm not there, there is no desire to roll in that direction...I mean why do more tummy time when that is the actual worst thing in his life, right now?  He can sit in his Bumbo seat, and LOVES to stand up.  He was a total champ at the doc's today.  Toe prick and he didn't even flinch, cried only a little bit when he got shots, and nursed right away.  He's meeting all his milestones, and we are pretty impressed with him. He's loving the 25th percentile.

I'm trying to learn how to balance motherhood, wifedom, working, and being a grind when it comes to studying.  I'm mostly flailing, but somehow (thanks mostly to BJ) things get fed, loved, we have clean clothes, and our house isn't in total least my definition of shambles...which means we don't count Emma Grace tumbleweeds...

BJ and I are starting to get questioned about what our family building plans are which I guess is always a natural curiosity.  We'd love to have more children, but we want to put our efforts into raising Matt at the moment, and maybe finish a graduate school program or 2...or 3.  I want to love on just Matt for a bit. We will never get to relive his babyhood, or toddler-hood again, and I'm not sure I want to miss any of it because I am jumping back into the vortex of infertility.  I can't imagine missing such important milestones because I'm crying myself to sleep over not giving him a sibling...which I'm pretty sure if I could explain the concept of sibling to Matt right now, he probably wouldn't be up for it, anyway...I'm not going to let infertility steal my time with the baby I do have right now.

Nothing is guaranteed for us, so we don't know that this will even work the next time.  That's another reason I want to relish every single moment of Matt.  Even if we go back for more children, doesn't necessarily mean we will get them.  So BJ and I have been asked "Why would you put yourself through all of it again?"  Well, we wouldn't be exactly.  We've gotten over the hurdle that tripped us up the most. We have 14 snow babies waiting on us to decide what to do, in fact we just paid their tuition for Freezer U.  Other people have commented on my/our age... Yes, I'm an older first-time mother, thanks for reminding me on the daily, but I'm not the oldest, and though I will most likely be over 35 the next time, I would technically not be an advanced maternal age patient because all our embryos are the same age as Matt. Anyway, I just love it when people ask me what our plans are then scoff at us.  If you ask and don't like what you hear...just remember they aren't your plans, they are mine!

Matt Facts:
Weight:  14 lbs 7 oz.
Length: 24.75 inches
Favorite food:  Boob Juice!!!
Favorite Toy:  We've moved on from Eric the Horse to this little Atom model looking thing with lots of tubes that he can stick in his mouth (Thanks, Mamaw Theresa!)
Favorite Comfort Item:  Any of his 3 Wubbanubs.
Favorite Activity:  Standing - nothing he can do by himself, of course :)
Favorite Pet:  Lucifer...even if he tries to kill Matt, he's the most interested in his ongoings and occasionally snuggles with him, if even on accident.
New Skills:  Standing (w/support), laughing, putting things in his mouth, sitting up w/support, mastered head control, and finally mastered only took 4 months!!!
Predicted Future Occupation:  Journalist...must know everything that's going on around him when we are in public.

Peace, Love, and Savoring all the moments,
Mary Katherine & Matt

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dear You Don't Think You Count, Mama

Dear You don't think you count, Mama,

First let me wish you a Happy Mother's Day.  Because indeed, you do count. You are a mother.

You know what it is to sacrifice everything for your child that you do not even have yet.  You know how to sacrifice financially, emotionally, and even spiritually.  You've sacrificed your body with large bore needles and drugs that cause bizarre side effects.  You've sacrificed your dignity with every other day transvaginal ultrasounds. You've sacrificed your sanity, because when everything is telling you it won't work, you have to try one.more.time.  And you know grief like no other.  You've grieved month after month for the child that will not be.  You've grieved the 2nd pink line that faded too quickly.  You've grieved the baby whose heart remained quiet.  You've given birth to a sleeping angel.  Or you've lost your baby way too soon. Yes, Mama, you've got grief covered better than most mothers.

You are nailing all the most difficult parts of motherhood, and yet have not received a single reward.  No tiny hand has gripped your finger.  No beady eyes have stared back at you.  No tiny lips have curled into that oh, so sweet smile.  No little bellies have quivered with baby giggles at your provoking. You are not even awarded for the amazing amount of fortitude you demonstrate when you get out of bed each morning. Yet you do and you keep going. And for that you deserve mother of the year!

I had a hard time accepting that I counted as a Mama before I had a living child.  But I tell you, the 5.5 years it took to get here are way harder than anything I've faced being Matt's Mama.  Even the witching hour when I cannot do anything to soothe Matthew is not nearly so hard as getting out of bed the day after you find out your last treatment cycle did not work. Yet people are eager to wish me a Happy Mother's Day now. With Matt, I know we'll live through the night and wake up to a smiling, cooing baby.  With fertility treatments there is so much investment with no guarantee of anything.

And yet, no one dares wish you a Happy Mother's Day.  Well, I do.  I wish you a Happy Mother's Day and pray that your healthy little one finds its way to you very soon.  I honor your journeys and think about you every single day, not just on Mother's Day.

So again, Happy Mother's Day to you, for you have given of yourself more than most parenting mothers. I send my love and strength as you continue on with the spirit cancer that is infertility. Battle on my friend.

Peace, Love, and Remembering ALL the Mothers, 

Mary Katherine