Being Chosen Feels Good

Remember way back when I wrote about Birdies for Babies? Well it turned out to be a pretty big thing. I submitted an application on behalf of Eric and I in the hopes we would get chosen as the next couple to be selected as beneficiaries of the golf event.  In the meantime, a wonderful, amazing, beautiful and supportive family member approached us and said she would help us make it happen.  I cried (I do a lot of that by the way.) and we talked about how we could work it out. In the back of my mind though, I kept thinking about Birdies for Babies. Eric asked me about the application and wondered out loud if it would be enough. Maybe we could make that work instead – if we just got lucky and were chosen then we wouldn’t have to burden anyone.

Do you know where this is going? If you did, you’d be right! We were chosen! We received an e-mail just after the first of the year to let us know the fantastic news. I called Eric and cried. I called Mom and cried even more. I called my sister and she screamed, “Are you serious?” And that made me cry too. The tears that came after the news were joyful ones. A tornado of emotions followed as I drove home from work following the calls I’d made. I sobbed in gratitude at God who surely sat in the passenger seat as I drove home. I was a wreck and needed all the help I could get to get home! I asked Him if we deserved this and argued (who DOES that when God gives such a gift?) that maybe we didn’t. Other people were more worthy of the receiving such a wonderful opportunity. Why were we special?

You know what? We don’t need an answer for that. It is what it is. I am grateful. Eric is grateful. We are moved by the graciousness and support of others around us and we couldn’t be happier. Despite the questions, Eric and I gave ourselves permission to accept that something so wonderful could and did happen to us. Sometimes in the dark, just before bed, we whisper about what our babies might look like and how we hope they’ll be good people. We hope they will live long lives and be kind to others. I hope they have Eric’s heart shaped lips and he wants them to have my eyes. No matter what, they will be beautiful.

Before Birdies for Babies the hope for a family wilted. Every month that passed, particularly over the summer and fall of 2012, brought us closer to the realization we may never have the chance to have our own family. This hope, much like the return of Spring after a long, harsh winter, is coming back. A positive aura is coming back and we are holding onto every moment.

Along with the outrageous excitement we feel about the upcoming event and working with the Birdies for Babies team, we are also counting our blessings for our health. The past few weeks have been tough. Eric has been struggling with a health issue that has made us all take stock of what life means and how unimportant the little things are. Now that he is on the mend, we hug each other every day and we look forward to a bright future.  Something we should have been doing all along anyway. It’s an important lesson that I’m so glad to have learned.

Thank you for listening! More details to come as Birdies for Babies 2013 gets underway! Make sure to mark your calendar for September 28, 2013. Also, Birdies for Babies is trying to help another couple as well. On March 2, 2013 Nevin’s Pub in Plainfield, along with Birdies, will host a Gala for the second couple. Tickets are $75. Visit the website to learn more information.

Cookies And More Cookies

October, November and December provide ample opportunities for me to consume more than my fair share of sweets. Cookies, candy, cookies. More candy. It’s ridiculous really. And equally so that I have seemingly no self-control. In fact, since last year I’ve gained at least 5 or 6 pounds. Very unwelcome I must say. If these items had lots of Vitamin D I’d have no deficiency whatsoever!

Sunday I had the nephews over for cookie baking and copious amounts of fun. I’m really a bad Aunt though. I provided snacks. Random snacks. I offered the kids a piece of crispy turkey bacon first followed by a glass of soy milk. A little nibble of cookie dough (Don’t tell Mom!) was thrown in before they exclaimed, “We want a snack!” Weren’t those snacks?

Zack, my oldest nephew, spotted a photo of a shrimp on a can of Pam.

“I love shrimp,” he said.

“I have some shrimp,” I said.

So I offered them two strawberries and two pieces of shrimp each.

It should have stopped there but the cookies needed to be tested. Cookies just out of the oven are warm and yummy and, well, yummy. So I gave them each two cookies and another glass of soy milk.

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My Lord, I will NOT be a good mother. I will kill my kids with love and sugar, I’m sure of it! But I guess it could be worse.

On another note, I wanted to share a link to a story sent to me by a friend. The Chicago Tribune recently interviewed Colleen Wagner Coughlin, a Chicago embryologist operating a lab called aParent IVF for Fertility Center of Illinois. According to the article, she was fascinated with animal reproduction from a very early age. Her mother, who must have been very cool, let her first breed gerbils, then mice, then rabbits. Wow. I bet she got lots of cookie dough!

Eventually Coughlin made her way into human reproduction and has been there for the past 27 years. In fact, her lab, aParent IVF, according to the article, is extremely successful and has helped see 25,000 babies into the world! She sounds like an amazing woman with a passion for helping others.

I will be adding a few more blogs to the blog roll in the next week. Until then, eat lots of cookies!

Vitamin D Deficiency? Nah!

In the last month I have had several blood tests to determine the cause of my extremely low alkaline phosphasate levels. The most recent tests done about two weeks ago. Unfortunately, my GP left the practice during this process and thus my blood work has taken a backseat. Her peers are scampering to deal with her patient list and I’m last in line. Still though, it would have been nice to get a phone call to let me know my results were in. That I wasn’t dying of malnutrition or other strange ailment. No. Instead, more than a week after my tests were done, I had to call the practice and ask for the results.

A nurse checked my chart and assured me that all the blood tests were within normal range and that the doctor (the new one) would like to check in with me in three months time. I made a critical mistake in my relief. I didn’t question the nurse further about the results. I should have asked for the doctor. I should have held the doctor accountable for getting back to me with tests that I had been waiting on.

I know they are busy. I get it. But the doctor should still have the courtesy of calling a patient. What’s more, the results posted on the practice’s patient portal, were normal save one critical test.

I have a severe vitamin D deficiency with a current blood level of 15 ng/mL.

Livestrong.com says this, “A normal range of vitamin D in your blood from the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test is  between 30 and 74 ng/mL, or nanograms per milliliter. If you have a lower amount  of vitamin D in your blood, you may not be getting enough vitamin D in your  diet, or you may lack enough sun exposure on your skin. Other possibilities  include a kidney or liver disease; a problem with your body’s ability to absorb  vitamin D; or your use of medications that lower your level of vitamin D.”

The nurse made no mention of my vitamin D levels. Again, I should have asked to talk to the doctor. I urge all of us to keep on top of our doctors so that you are “in the know” at all times. A vitamin D deficiency can cause all sorts of issues including increased risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis.

A 2004 article in the Washington Post brought to light other issues saying, “But beyond bone and muscle problems, some evidence suggests a dearth of vitamin
D may be associated with an array of more serious illnesses, including many
forms of cancer, high blood pressure, depression, and immune-system disorders
such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.”

And, from what I’ve read, infertility. In fact, Dr. Joseph Mercola, a well-known alternative health physician out of Hoffman Estates, IL, posted an article in february of this year addressing this very issue. He talks about the importance of vitamin D, not just for women’s fertility but for men’s as well. Check out the article here: The Vitamin That Has Been Show To Dramatically Improve Fertility. I have also seen articles which say it doesn’t have a significant impact on pregnancy or fertility. Either way, it is worth the research.

I plan to call the doctor tomorrow to find out what she recommends. In the meantime I have stocked up on Calcium with Vitamin D3 (it is said that D3 is what we should be taking – NOT D2.) I checked the label on my prenatal vitamin and interestingly it does not include D3, only D2. Also, fish oil – particularly Cod Liver oil is supposed to be the best source for Vitamin D3. These come in capsule format so check around.

Does anyone else have stories about a vitamin D deficiency or other such issue? Would love to hear from you!

Thanksgiving Blessings

Mom and I stopped at Stephanie’s to feed the cat when Judy, her neighbor, came outside to say hello. We spoke over the hedge. In the cold, the glow of Judy’s porch light blacking out her face, she told us her son would be here for Thanksgiving. He is dying. The cancer in his pelvic bone now, hospice at the ready.

This will be their last Thanksgiving she says.

The darkness couldn’t show our concern. It didn’t express our sadness for her. We told her with words how bad we felt and that we were sorry her son was dying. It’s hard on his two boys, six and four. Their Dad, here now, won’t be around for them as they grow. His body, wracked with cancer, is barely able to keep up. His wife is there, but not really there. It has to be hard.

A moment later, Judy’s grandson popped his head out of screen door. He needed her. Over the hedge, one last time, we gave our condolences. Said we would pray for them this Thanksgiving. And then she was gone.

I think about our Thanksgiving plans. A motley crew will congregate at Mom’s. We invited a lonely neighbor and a lost teenager to spend it with us. We will eat beef pot roast, roasted potatoes, broccoli, appetizers and the like; Apples to Apples and Dominos tucked to the side for after dinner fun. Steph, Chris and the kids will be out-of-town but we will think of them anyway.

And we will pray for Judy’s son and her family. We will take time to remember those no longer with us and those who have nowhere to go. We will be grateful for what we have. We will think to ourselves how fortunate we are to have healthy friends and family.

We will have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I wish this for you and yours. May happiness and health be with you!

Prayers Welcome

It has been a crazy few months! The Arizona trip I mentioned in my last email was fabulous. Dad and I had the most amazing time, driving all over the place taking photos and generally enjoying each others company. I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to do that in my adult life and it is something I will always remember.

I’d never been to Arizona for any length of time (unless I count the time Grandma and Grandpa Gregory took us to the spot where you could stand on the corners of four states at once, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.) We didn’t hit The Four Corners Monument this time around but we did noodle around in Sedona and Tuscon, both equidistant from Dad’s place in Apache Junction. Sedona was nothing short of breathtaking. Seeing the “red rock” up close and personal is a true gift. It confirms for me (as do many other things) that there is a God somewhere.

I was a little nervous to go and see my dad knowing that we’d be on our own. Mary, my stepmom, was unable to make the trip down as she was taking care of her mom in Seattle. Her mom has been struggling with cancer for many years and it has taken its toll. Mary was where she needed to be, but I missed her tremendously – my wine drinking partner!

Dad and I did just fine together. As soon as we embraced at the airport I was transported back to our last visit as if we’d never said goodbye. We grabbed lunch, talked about the flight – which was amazing by the way (go American Airlines!) – and settled into the mobile home unit in Apache Junction. Dad and Mary’s golf cart was the perfect vehicle to take in the sites of the community they live in. Like the ipad, everyone there has one!

Cookie cutter in their layout, each unit emulates the homeowners unique personality. Colorful whirlygigs and cacti, reflective of the Arizona landscape, dot grass barren spaces and bay windows. Cactus is everywhere! I’ve never seen so many varieties, all beautiful in their own way. And the storage! I was in awe of how efficiently laid out these units were. They offered more storage than many of the full size homes I’ve been in. Common areas, where the residents can get their creative groove on, were at the ready for returning snow birds. Art studios, a lapidary studio, woodworking shop, quilting and sewing room, game room complete with several new pool tables, a library and puzzle/card game room; you name it, they got it. It’s the first time I ever wished I was 55 or older. I could easily seem myself retiring in a place like this.

The pool area, with its crystal clear water set at about 75 degrees no less, was a welcome sight on a cool morning. The waters needed to be warm. According to Dad, the ladies who did their morning water aerobics are not impressed with a cool pool. A few of the mornings I enjoyed the hot tub before getting into the showers. Such a great way to start the day. Eric meantime was managing the dog, cats and himself. I must say, I’m quite proud!

I didn’t talk very much about our infertility issues. I didn’t want to make Dad feel uncomfortable either. Frankly, this vacation was a nice way to forget all of it, at least for the week I was there. I imagine Eric had a nice break away from me as well. We are just in it too much, living and breathing infertility everyday. We are reminded, seemingly on a constant basis, of our “issue”. Pregnant women in the grocery store, baby-on-the-way announcements, stories in the news. Google. Yahoo. Comcast. It’s everywhere.

Update on the Alkaline Phosphatase test results! My GP decided to test me again. The results came back the same. Very low compared to other people who have low results. She ordered more tests to check my liver and bone function to see if there are any issues there. Apparently AP is an enzyme that is generated by the liver and the bone and other organs. It has something to do with the body’s PH balance and the acid levels in the body. High levels in the blood can indicate several issues with liver disease and bone disease. Low levels are much less common. Causes may be due to things like excessive intake of Vitamin D, Celiac’s Disease, malnutrition, etc. I have a feeling it may be the cause of my achy joints and bone issues. The doctor asked me if I had ever had bone issues or had lost my teeth at an early age. Nope. Nothing like that from what Mom has told me.

Dr. Bang is also checking my Vitamin D levels, magnesium and my thyroid again. It’s amazing to me how our bodies work, and at such a microscopic level. I’m not sure what the results will be this time around. It’s been about a week since the last blood draw. In the meantime, as a good friend always says when times get rough, one foot in front of the other. It’s the only way to move forward.

We’ve tossed around financing ideas as well. Bottom line our out-of-pocket expenses will most likely settle in around $22,000 when all is said and done. It’s a big nut to crack but we have help out there – I just know it. And we are grateful! I am confident we’ll figure it all out.

On a completely separate note, I ran across a post from a man who suffers from infertility and his experience with it. I will look for the post and link it to my next entry if I can find it. Thought it might bring a new perspective. Another recipe is coming your way too! I just made it tonight – a Brussels Sprouts Lemony Slaw made with greek yogurt, lemon, roasted sunflower seeds, etc.. It’s delish!

As always, prayers are welcome!

A Waiting Game

I just got back from the most amazing trip to Arizona. I’m sold. Ready to retire, done deal. Eric didn’t go with me this trip but I know he would have enjoyed it just as much as I did. It gave us a little time apart (which I think is a good thing at times!) and gave me quality time with my Dad. We spent hours on the road going from Phoenix to Sedona to Tuscon and everywhere in between. Cameras in hand, we captured our take on Arizona’s beautiful landscape. I am so glad I took the trip when I did too – October in AZ is perfect!

A lot has been going on since I last wrote. We have been going back and forth between starting IVF and figuring out how to fund it. I saw a doc through InVia Fertility which has a few offices scattered through the northwest suburbs. Dr. Sigal Klipstein was recommended by a co-worker and the reco was right on. She has been really responsive and down to earth, providing me with information in a way I can understand. Unfortunately Eric was not able to go to the first meeting with me (October 15th was my visit.) She explained the IVF process in a few short minutes. It’s amazing to me how far science has come.

Dr. Klipstein observed my office ultrasound and looked through my previous test results. She believes that Eric and I would have about a 50% or better of achieving pregnancy through IVF. She ordered a few more tests including CBC and one that measure my alkaline phosphatase. The AP test came back with results that were a bit lower than she liked. This was a few days before I left for Arizona – as you can imagine Eric and I were both freaking out about what it could mean. Low results are not usual. The reasons can vary from too much vitamin D intake to malnutrition. It can also be connected to a type of leukemia. From what I’ve read it will be easy enough to rectify with diet changes. It was recommended that I see my GP which I did yesterday. The GP doesn’t seem to think it is anything to worry about. Just in case she ordered another blood test to check the levels including an extra test to take a better look at my liver function.

While this has been going on, Eric and I have wracked our brains to figure out how to afford treatments. Like most Americans we are not debt free. To consider taking on a $14,000 loan is daunting. The interest alone isn’t something we are prepared for. Prior to my visit with Dr. Klipstein I was told the procedure could cost at least $10,000. Our “quote” came back with a total of $13,800 broken down as follows:

$10,000 – IVF procedure
$2,100 – ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) – instead of leaving Mr. Sperm and Ms. Egg to their own devices in the petri dish, a doctor will force them together by injecting the sperm into the egg.
$1,050 – AZH (assisted Zona Hatching) – apparently older eggs are tougher. Hmmm. Makes sense. To “assist” the embryo to hatch, a doctor will literally poke a hole in the egg’s exterior in the hopes the embryo will have an easier time in hatching.
$650 – anesthesiologist fees – Mom says I should just suck it up and save the $650. Ha! not gonna happen.

I was a little surprised at the quote. I thought for sure Dr. Klipstein would take pity on us and just waive the fee. Well, okay, maybe not waive it, but reduce it perhaps? Anyway, I wasn’t really prepared for that number. Eric was overwhelmed when I told him. The discussion on how we will afford this continues.

Our initial thought was to move forward in January which, if my calculations are right, would put us towards the end of January for the procedure to take place. There are lots of injections and medications I need to take beforehand. This include birth control of all things! I understand it’s a way for the doctor to get control of the cycle. This will be a first for me.

Now, we are thinking we will wait until March. This is the month when we will find out if have a shot at becoming the next recipients for Birdies for Babies 2013. It is our hope that they may choose us as the next recipients of the golf outing they will hold in September. We are also selling the motorcycles in the Spring which will help us reach our goal. A few years ago I think we may have said, let’s just go for it! Now, we are reserved thinking about the financial implications. Sometimes I just wish we were better at saving money in the early years of our marriage.

We are still hopeful and we know this journey is not over. Sometimes the details get in the way of what we want but somehow it will all work out the way it supposed to! Thank you for going along with us. We appreciate the support!

IVF Around the Corner?

Am I still Gluten Free? Did I really start? Nah. It was a phase I went through for about a week. I have no self-control when it comes to food. This experiment was harder than I thought. The cardboard like consistency of the “wraps” and other “gluten-free” products did the whole thing in. Oh well! On to tastier things!

In my last post I talked about Eric and I going to an IVF specialist. I’m happy to say, that day is tomorrow! I am excited but a little nervous. I feel like this roller coaster is about to take off again. It brings back a lot of emotions; not all of them good. Tomorrow’s appointment is with a doctor that came highly recommended by a friend I work with.

Dr. Sigal Klipstein with InVia Fertility in Arlington Heights will be reviewing all our files and making her recommendation. An ultrasound is also scheduled. The Dr.’s fee for the consultation is $185 and the ultrasound is $315. These are “self pay” prices. The total package for IVF is $10,600. I need to check and see if the $500 we will pay tomorrow goes towards the overall payment.

It’s outrageous to me that this type of procedure is so expensive. The fee doesn’t include storage of frozen embryos in the event we wanted to try again. I don’t know if I should be more incensed. It’s not anyone’s fault that we can’t get pregnant. Why shouldn’t doctors and pharmaceutical companies want to take advantage of that? More power to them.

On a more positive note, I also applied for the 2013 Birdies for Babies Golf Outing. Eric and I would be thrilled if we were chosen as the next recipients. The founders will not make their decision until March (the latest) depending on their sponsor’s involvement. Fertility Centers of Illinois has been the sponsors for the last several years from what I know. Maybe they will extend the offer to TWO recipients instead of just one. Mom and I attended this year’s event in September. The event drew so much attention that it sold out! 142 golfers made for a full day of fun in the sun on September 29th. It was amazing to see the support that Jake and Jenae (recipient this year) received and I’m so glad that I could be a part of it.

I will keep you posted about tomorrow. Eric will be attending the appointment with me. Maybe there is a way we can afford this treatment through a payment plan! We will find out more. . .

Gluten Free for Infertility

I’ve not thought much about our infertility. Eric and I have been enjoying the cooler temps, whipping around on the motorcycles and generally enjoying life. Every once in a while I think about our childless life and wonder if our status will change.

Few things trigger me. A movie perhaps. Or a pregnant woman in a grocery store, hand on her belly as she shops for deli meat and cheese. Recently, I attended an anniversary celebration for a local knit shop. Mom pointed out a pregnant staff member. I asked the young woman if could touch her belly and she said no; she doesn’t let people touch. I felt sad for the briefest moment. She must have her own reasons. If I was pregnant I’d let people touch me. Maybe.

Eric and I have talked about what we want to do now that the summer is over. Fall and winter will settle in and we’ll be holed up, waiting for spring to come around once again. I prefer this time of year. Insides of houses transform; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Candles with scents like Cinnamon and Harvest Home and Apple Spice are lit, slow cooker recipes are thrown together and time slows. This is the time of year I like to reflect. What have I accomplished? What are my goals? What are OUR goals? I imagine Eric does this in his own way.

We’ve decided that we are going to do a round of IVF in January. It’s a scary prospect. A $10,000 to $14,000 scary prospect. I have no idea who we will go with but I have had a recommendation or two. It is daunting to think that even though the money will be spent, there are no guarantees of success. I must stop this negative thinking!

In the meantime, I’ve decided to try a gluten-free diet. Wikipedia says, “Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue“) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics or dermatological preparations”.

Some sources say that gluten can play a role in infertility and miscarriage. I recently ran across a few articles and blogs that support the idea of gluten causing hormone imbalances. Could this be the explaination behind the unexplained? I’m willing to try anything at this point. Here are a few sources to take a look at:

The Gluten Doctors

Fertility and Pregnancy In Women With Celiac Disease – By Michelle Melin-Rogovin

Celiac Central – pregnancy and Celiac Disease

I don’t propose to have Celiac disease. In fact, I don’t have the symptoms of celiac. However, if gluten DOES have something to do with infertility, then I’m willing to give this diet thing a chance. Eric is going along with it too. For now anyway. When I told him I’d like to try gluten-free he gave a me a look. When I told him I wanted to clean out the pantry of all gluten-free items he put his foot down.

“I’m NOT doing this gluten-free thing forever ya know. Don’t throw away my flour I use to make pizza dough.” Ok. Easy does it.

We’ve been GF for about a week now and I have to say I don’t really mind it. I’m not missing bread as much as I thought. Not sure about Eric, I think he has his moments. He has been eating what I put in front of him. A good sign I’d say! We’ve been able to eat rice, corn tortillas, corn chips, etc. I even made GF pancakes yesterday for breakfast which were quite good. Here’s a few things I picked up at Whole Foods last week:

I have had steel-cut oats before and they are tasty. Especially with a little milk, honey and dried fruit or almonds.

We didn’t have any soy milk so we’ve not tried these yet. Eric had a handful of dry ones and deemed them worthy.

Gluten-free pastas and breads are very expensive. I think this little bag cost about $4. Not what I would normally pay for whole wheat pasta. The texture will be something to get used to. They are not as spongy and chewy as regular pasta. I have a recipe for stove top mac and cheese and I want to try it with these.

These are actually very tasty. They have a little bit of a bite to them but would go great as nachos or with a favorite salsa. Most salsa by the way is gluten-free. You can google almost anything and found out a yes or no to most products.

We made these yesterday and they were delicious! Not as good as the whole wheat pancakes I make but still pretty good. We had soy butter and basic syrup. I would usually put a pure maple syrup on or maybe some honey. I also added cinnamon to the batter. They were super easy to make up.

This is the Gluten Free symbol to look for when you are purchasing prepared foods. I’ve read that you should keep all GF products separate from gluten products especially if you are or might be Celiac or have a gluten sensitivity. Apparently gluten can even stick to door handles (think fridge doors) and the like. Crumbs in the peanut butter, etc. You get the idea.

Lundberg’s makes a GF line of rice cakes as well that are pretty good. I bought the apple cinnamon last week. In the morning I top it with peanut butter and honey. Yum! I will be posting some GF recipes here as well. If you have any thoughts or ideas for my blog please let me know!

That Lonely Feeling

I’m a terrible blogger. Two weeks (at least) since my last post? Slap slap! My usual excuse that I’ve been sooooo busy really doesn’t cut it this time. I was busy.  I am busy. But then again, who isn’t? Anyway, lots of things going on that I will have to fill you in on.

I thought of this blog a few weeks back. It was a Sunday evening and we were relaxing in front of the TV. Louie was peaceful beside me. I was knitting and Eric was doing Eric like things which I usually don’t pay mind to. I thought about how nice it would be to have a little family; one with a tiny human being in it. We have a family, I know that. It’s just, I wanted, at that moment, something to snuggle or feed or burp. Something to take care of. At first I couldn’t quite figure out what the feeling was. And then I realized it was loneliness. Or maybe a mixture of lonely and sad.

I don’t feel this way very often. Just in the quiet moments when it can sneak in and take me by surprise. I usually am filled with busy things such as work and clubs and reading or knitting or fill in the blank. When this feeling comes across I stuff it down a bit. I consider the people who are sick with cancer. The family who doesn’t have a place to live. The animal that was hurt at the hands of an owner who they had nothing but unconditional love for. That’s when I feel grateful this is all we have to deal with. I’ve talked about this feeling of gratefulness before and I swear it is a Godsend. The ability to be grateful puts things into perspective for me.

But enough of the sad stuff for now! I have to let you know about a newfound passion for fun in the way of motorcycling. Yes, I know. Motorcycles are dangerous. People get into accidents and get hurt or sometimes die. The same thing happens when folks drive a car or ride a bicycle or take the train to work. I mean, take a look at that lady in Chicago who recently got hit by the mirror of a megabus. How random! It’s all relative.

After taking a motorcycle riding class last year I’ve been itching to try it on my own. Eric has encouraged me to get on my neighbor’s bike for some time now. As a flight attendant she is rarely home. She offered up her 600cc Honda Shadow as it sits in the garage most of the time. She gave me the thumbs up to take her out and I haven’t looked back. I had Eric take me to parking lots on the weekends so I could practice all the skills I’d learned in the class. Parking lots, being relatively safe, gave me the confidence to want to try more. Yet, I hesitated. Could I really do this? The third time in the lot Eric looked at me and said, “You’re never going to learn to ride if you don’t get out on the street and just do it”. Scared out of my wits, I agreed and haven’t looked back since. Is this how it is with parenting?

A few weeks ago, much to my mom’s dismay I’m sure, I purchased my first bike. A beautiful little Honda Shadow 600 with two sets if bags and a brand new windshield. Eric was delighted. He has a new toy to play with and fix and put parts on. I love watching his eyes light up like a kid a Christmas when it comes to motorcycles. I bet he’ll be the same way with a little boy or girl when and if we have one. This will have to do for now. 🙂

I feel like I have to justify this purchase. After all, the money we spent could have paid for another IUI treatment. I just wanted something that I could feel good about. And I do. I am having a ton of fun and it makes me happy. That is what life is about anyway.

Isn’t she pretty? The next time you see it she’ll have a beautiful new paint job!

The other cool news I wanted to tell you about was the birth of the Davis twins. I mentioned them in the last post. Mom and I will be seeing them in September at the Birdies for Babies event. I am wrapping up the press release on that soon and will post a link once it is published.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Anniversary!

Last night was our 13th anniversary. Eric did a fantastic job making risotto and I grilled up chicken breast from the store. His dish was awesome. Mine was way too salty. I doesn’t really matter that we didn’t get each other cards or flowers. Gifts were not exchanged but time was spent with each other. That’s the point after this many years have passed. I wonder sometimes how my grandparents felt about each other after 60 years of marriage. What an amazing accomplishment!

This week has been a bit crazy. Work is keeping me busy. Non-profit fundraising and development never ends, never takes a vacation. Eric is exhausted most nights. He has a much more physical job than I do and it takes a toll. No matter – we found a way to enjoy the evening which included Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream. 🙂

Last week I mentioned that I would be interviewing the couple that was chosen as this year’s recipients for the Birdies for Babies golf outing. I feel honored to have had the chance to talk with them about their experience. Jake and Janae were married three years ago. They took some time to travel and then started “trying” for their own baby. Jake explained that he comes from a really large family and was not at all worried about having problems. Both he and Janae expressed their frustration after two years of trying “everything under the sun,” including a failed IUI attempt. A friend told them about Birdies and they applied. Just as they were getting ready to go into their first IVF cycle they got the call they had been selected by the Birdies for Babies committee. What an awesome feeling of relief that must have been for them. I could hear the happiness in their voices. I could also hear the sorrow and the sense of hopelessness as they talked about the two years of trying. I told them I could relate.

They both had interesting and different perspectives on the experience. I asked each of them what they discovered about each other that they could describe in a few words. Jake talked about Janae’s resolve and toughness. Janae has been changed by how supportive Jake continues to be through this process. Their love for each other was evident during the interview and I’m sure it will continue to grow as they go through this next phase of their journey.

Another high note for the Birdies family includes the birth of Hannah and Avery Davis – the newborn daughters of Katie and Pat; the events 2010 recipients. My mom and I will get to meet all of them at the golf outing on September 29. Can’t wait for that!

I can’t say enough how much I have been blessed just by opening myself and talking about my experience. I have talked with so many people with similar situations. While each experience is unique, we all share a common bond; a desire to be more than ourselves no matter what the outcome.

One thing I’ll leave you with is something that Janae mentioned during the interview. She said that it is heartbreaking to see the negative results each month. As painful as that is she said, “This is something completely out of your control. The only thing you can control is how you think and feel about it.” Well I choose to think positive today. One day at a time is all it takes!

Thank you all for reading this blog and continuing on this journey with me!