Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and a little update!

We celebrated Alayna's first Halloween over the weekend.  We unfortunately did not carve a single pumpkin this year but that is understanble because when you have a newborn all your attention is on the baby. Next year we plan to carve a pumpkin with her though! But over the weekend, we did have Alayna in a photo shoot at my sister in laws house.  She got dressed up as a lady bug and another really cute outfit that was adorable.  There will be many many more photo shoots to come as my sister in law loves photography and they only live two doors down from us.  So here are some of the pictures from the Halloween shoot.

Alayna and her cousin Kendal

Somebody is tired

Look at me in Orange!!
I am awake now and ready to eat!!!
In other news, Alayna seems to be doing really well.  She loves eating and making diapers for mommy and daddy to change.  She has developed a pretty bad diaper rash but since we took her to the dermatologist the suggestions they gave us seem to be working.  I never knew you could give a baby probiotics but it seems to be helping with her bowl movements :)  As for Maria, she is healing day by day.  I mean just imagine having a huge cut on your pelvic line and trying to feed the baby, sleep, etc. It's pretty hard but she has been a real trooper! More so than I would ever be that is for sure.  She did mention to me remember how you were John when you had your gall bladder removed and how painful it was for you etc. She said her surgery was 100 times worse.  I couldn't agree more!!  And again if men had to carry babies for 9 months and delivery there would be no more mankind!!

Oh in other news today was sad for me as my 2 weeks off work came to an end!! I returned to work today leaving my two beautiful girls at home :(  I think I told our labor story almost 10 tmes today which made me relive that horrible experience! But I always ended the story by saying they are both home and healthy which is most important!!

I know I cannot stop talking about our beautiful Alayna but I promise I will make a post about CF here in the near future.  I guess its good though that I do not have that much news on the CF front :)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our labor experince! It is one like no other to meet Alayna!!!

This took me a long time to complete actually a couple days! I know it is probably the longest blog on blogger but it is something that I wanted to have documented and to share it with all my readers.   I will cover our entire labor experience so it will contain the good the bad and the ugly! But of course in the end it is fully of happiness because we have our sweet little miracle Alayna.

So here is the play by play………….

On October 16, 2012 Maria had an appointment with her OBGYN to discuss if she was going to be induced on October 16 or wait another day on 17th.  The doctor said that today (Oct. 16) was going to be the day we would start inducing you!!! Maria cried tears of happiness because she had been suffering from Pupps.  If you have never heard of this I understand because it only happens to 1% of pregnancies.  Pupps is basically hives that start out on your tummy and spread to your legs and arms.  To me it looked liked poison ivy.  All I know is that it was awful for Maria. She basically hadn’t slept for 4 days due to extreme itchiness especially at night.  So just imagine going into labor exhausted!! The Pupps did go away after Alayna was born though so thank God!  But anyway that was one of the reasons Maria was being induced but the other was for preeclampsia.   We were told to arrive at the hospital at 4 pm that day to start the induction!!!

We left the doctor’s office and made a few stops to pick up the last important items.  Then we packed up the car.  I of course brought my VEST and nebulizer machine so we had a bunch of stuff.  It literally looked like we had our entire house with us. That’s what happens when you stay a few nights away from home with a CFer!!

 Before we left for the hospital we dropped JJ off at our local veterinary office where he would be watched and taken care of.  A BIG THANK YOU to our vet because they really didn’t have to do this!!  Our other dog Mia, was dropped off at Maria’s parents house.   Thanks for taking care of Mia!  So then it was off to the hospital!!!

We arrived at the hospital at 4 pm and were directed to our labor suite.  This was the room where Alayna was going to be born in.  Walking into that room felt like a dream though.  We were almost at the finish line of our pregnancy journey.   Maria got her gown on and the nurse asked her a bunch of questions and started an IV and drew a few vials of blood.  Then she left and made a call to our OBGYN to discuss how they would start to induce labor.  Well since Maria’s cervix was not very ripe they call it. They had to administer a drug before pitocin would be given.  The doctor ordered a pill format called cytotec.  Maria did some research after she took the pills and supposedly this pill can induce labor very SOON and cause extreme contractions. Uh Oh!!! Alayna would be on her way soon.

So in the mean time, nothing much was going on just sitting and waiting around for something to happen.  But there was something that was really bothering her and that was the IV they placed.  First, they placed the IV on her arm and she said it was bothering her and was painful to move around.  She told the nurse that they should move the IV to her left arm since she is right handed to begin with.  So they moved the IV to the left arm and re taped it again.  Then after 15 minutes the IV was bothering her again.  This would occur again and again.  I think we had 4 or 5 different nurses come in and try to re-tape it again and again with different tapes and ideas.  Thank god the last nurse talked to a few people in the hospital and found a way to tape the IV down so it would stop irritating Maria.  To be honest I have no idea how they changed it but we were just glad it was better. 

The waiting game continued and continued until Maria said I just felt a pop inside of me!!!  She said hurry get me out of bed I have to go to bathroom.  As she got out of bed there was liquid on the floor that followed her to the bathroom.  We called the nurse and asked what that liquid was and she claimed “I think your WATER BROKE!!!!”  What really!?!?  So at 1 am on October 17, 2012 we entered labor.

The resident OB doctor was called in to exam the dilation but it was to painful for Maria to be examined.  The next step was epidural time. For some reason they make the husbands wait outside when they give the epidural.  I was told for sanitary purposes.  I waited outside in the hallway for 15 minutes.  The epidural was placed and started working immediately. There is obvious a reason why God created drugs and that was for people to not have to experience pain.   Maria’s advice to anyone that is considering an epidural is to take it because the pain is awful!

The OB resident came back to the room to perform the examination and check for dilation.  She stated that “You are 3-4 cms dilated!!!”  What really!?!? WOW that’s all I could think.  I started thinking wow this could be a fast labor but I always heard with the first child it took the longest.   Maria and I were so excited and thought Alayna was going to be with us very soon.  But guess again more waiting.

I want to state that through our entire stay at the hospital we talked about our journey to get pregnant with IVF and the PGD (pre genetic diagnosis).  If anyone is new to this blog click on the tab IVF to get our full pregnancy story.  It was really gratifying telling our story to everyone we met and they really could not believe how far we had come to get our little miracle Alayna.  All I can say is that if you are determined enough and can bear through the emotional roller coaster dreams do come true!!

The nursing staff shift was over and we got a new nurse who was a real sweet lady.  I think the previous nurse we had actually assigned the nurse to us because she was going through some infertility issues.  Anyone that has gone through fertility issues we automatically connect with.  You instantly just have this bond with them because you know what it’s like to try and start a family.  We showed our nurse my blog and told her our entire IVF story and she said she would follow my blog.  So if you are out there reading this thanks for following along and keep your head because miracles do happen!

Ok so anyways, Maria was progressing along like a champ and by 6 am we were told that she was now 9 cm dilated.  Oh Wow we couldn’t believe it!!!  You need to get to 10 cm to start pushing for anyone who is unfamiliar with all the labor process.  We then called both of parents to come back to the hospital as they went home to get some sleep for the big day.  They all were on their way back to the hospital. 

If anyone has been in labor before, I guess it takes a long time to get to 10 cm dilated.  Apparently, that would be the truth for us.  Maria finally reached 10 cms about 1 pm on October 17th. So we were already 12 hours into full blown labor from the time her water broke at 1 am to now 1 pm.  Our OBGYN came into the room and said “Ok it’s now time to start pushing!” 

I began to prepare the camera and the video camera to capture when Alayna took her first breath of air while the nurse instructed Maria on how push.  It all happened so fast like oh ok its now time to get this baby out so push push push.  As the the nurse went over the practice pushes she told Maria that she was an excellent pusher!!! Really?!?!?   My job in this pushing was to hold one of Maria’s legs and to help count to 10 in 3 sets.  Remember Maria has basically not slept in over 4 days!!! So Maria pushed and pushed and pushed some progress was being made but Alayna wasn’t crowning yet! After 3 hours of non stop pushing, at 4 pm the resident OBGYN said we haven’t made much progress and it was time to call our OBGYN and see what he wanted to do next.   

One thing to point out is Maria made it a point to tell all the staff that she didn’t want her epidural to run dry or wear off.  Maria was completely exhausted and the epidural was starting to wear off and she was in excruciating pain all through her entire back and was screaming and crying in pain.  Oh no it was happening what she feared!  At this moment, I felt so helpless I couldn’t take away the pain or really do anything to calm her down.  It was the worst thing I ever witnessed seeing Maria in such pain and misery.  Words will never ever do it justice what I witnessed.   But through all this pushing, I saw my wife’s determination even when she was completely exhausted and it was amazing how strong of a woman she really is!!!  I cannot put into words of how remarkable you truly are to endure such awful pain honey!

So the nurse talked to our OBGYN and he said he would come down and take a look and see what the plan would be going forward.  It took him a few good minutes to get down to our room while Maria was in the worst pain in her entire life.  Finally, he arrived and said “Looks like we need to do a cesarean section!!!”  Also, another thing to point out is that Maria was really hoping to push Alayna out because she didn’t really want to have a c section not because of the cut but because of the cleanser they clean you with.  Maria had a previous laparoscopy and developed a severe reaction to the cleanser they clean you with before surgery.  Her reaction was similar to her Pupps experience developing hives all around her stomach that didn’t clear up until well over a month after surgery.  The OBGYN stated that they would use a different cleanser on her so she would avoid her previous allergic reaction.  So looks like everything was going the wrong way for Maria.  Epidural effectiveness was gone and now she was going to have a c section!! 

I had to leave the room again while they attempted to place a new epidural and a spinal!! Ok so just think to yourself Maria was in the worst pain of her entire life and had to lay there still while people jammed two needles in her spine.  All I could feel was horrible for her! I wish I could have done something to ease the pain but again I was helpless.  I returned to the room and it seemed like Maria’s pain was worse!! Yea, I don’t know how to even explain this.  She kept telling me that it felt like 5 needles were in her back from the spinal.  We called the anesthesiologist in again and again and he reassured us that everything was placed fine etc.  Again I felt another moment of helplessness. 

Maria kept saying when I am going back to the operating room over and over but in more verbal words that I am not going to share.  The nurse said we have 2 of the 3 operating rooms already in use! Really!?!? You got to be kidding me come on my wife is dying in pain!!  They had to leave the 3rd room open for emergency c sections.  Ok Maria said this is an emergency get this baby out now.  The nursing staff informed us this was not an emergency at this time and we would have to wait until an operating room was open.  Maria asked how much longer will I have to wait!?!? The nurse ran over to the operating room and found out that it wouldn’t be until 5:30 pm! WOW you got to be kidding me!!! Maria had to sit through the worst pain in her entire life for over 90 minutes!!! Those were the longest 90 minutes of her life and mine!

The OBGYN came back into the room and a little before 5:30 pm they started wheeling Maria out of the labor room and into the operating room.  I was given my scrubs and was told to wait in the recovery room until a nurse would get me to go back to the operating room to be with Maria and witness the birth of Alayna. 

I put my scrubs on as fast as I could and made little holes in the gown to insert my cameras to take those precious photos once Alayna was here.  I waited and I waited! About 10 minutes went by and I thought to myself there is no way it should take them that long to get me back into the operating room.  I left the recovery room and went to the nurses’ station and asked “Why hasn’t anyone came to get me to go back to the operating room?”  The one nurse kindly informed “No one told u? That your wife had to be completely put under anesthesia?” I responded “NO!!!!”  She told me that Maria was able to feel everything and that the spinal and the epidural was not working! 

All I could think at that moment was Oh my God! I wasn’t allowed to be there for my wife when she was going through the worst pain in her entire life and how I wanted to be there when Alayna took her first breaths.  Not only did I want to be there for my wife, but the doctors told us if Maria had to be put under anesthesia it could be dangerous to the baby! So now I was a worried mess just sitting there alone in the recovery room not knowing how my precious girls were.  All I could think was I just want them both to make it through this c section. 

Not more than 5 minutes went by and I heard a baby crying and I knew in my heart that was our little miracle Alayna! But those 5 minutes were the longest 5 minutes of my life.  Soon after I heard that beautiful little cry, a nurse came out of the operating room and said would you like to come back and see your daughter! I grabbed my camera and headed back to the operating room and saw Alayna for the first time.  I do not really know how to describe seeing her for the first time but it just felt like I was living in a dream.  I touched her little arm and took a few photos before I had to leave the operating room no less than 30 seconds when I arrived.  I thanked God that Alayna was delivered safely and my focus then turned to my wife. 

Before the nurse came to get me to go back to the operating room she said that both mom and baby were doing fine.  But I just couldn’t help but worry.  I waited back in the recovery room and a few minutes later the nurse brought Alayna to me all bundled up and I got to hold her for the first time.  At that moment, I became so emotional tears started flowing and I cried tears of happiness for about an hour straight.  Alayna was so alert when she was with me.  Her big beautiful eyes were glued to me and her tongue she kept sticking out.  She would make these cooing sounds and yawns.  I will remember holding Alayna for the first time for the rest of my life.  The only thing though that was missing was Maria in this moment and I wished so bad that she could have witnessed that with me. 

The OBGYN met with me in the recovery room and we talked about the c section.  He informed me that Maria did really well through surgery but there were a few things.  She lost a quart of blood due to all the cutting they had to do and then he mentioned something that almost made me fall out of my chair.  He asked “Didn’t Maria have a clamp put on her left fallopian tube?”  I said “Yes!”  He then replied “Well that clamp is NOT on the fallopian tube it’s on a cluster of veins!!!!”  Really! That’s all I said.  So if you remember from my IVF post.  If you don’t I will explain.  Maria had some fertility issues before we even started this IVF process.  The first was her right fallopian tube was blocked and full of scar tissue.  So they did a laparoscopy to remove the right fallopian tube and part of the right ovary.  During this surgery we both talked about placing a clamp on the left fallopian tube to prevent pregnancies due to the increased risk of our children being born with CF as Maria is a gene carrier. We even wanted them to remove the left fallopian tube but the doctors were against it.   So they placed a little clamp that looks like a staple on her left fallopian tube.  As you can see during her laparoscopy the doctor made a BIG mistake by placing the clamp on veins! I will post more about this in another post because this news sent the both of us into emotional nightmares worrying about Alayna having cystic fibrosis.

Maria was finally wheeled out of the operating room but she was still out of it.  We stayed back in the recovery room for a good 5 hours until they allowed her to go to room where we would spend the next 4 days in.  They made sure that Maria wasn’t bleeding internally so no blood transfusion was needed. Thank God!

Finally, Maria was able to see Alayna for the first time about almost midnight on the 17th.  So just think you’re a new mom and haven’t seen your baby for almost 6 hours!!! But I will always remember seeing Maria hold Alayna for the first time because it made our journey finally complete!

All three of us left the hospital healthy on Saturday October 20th and were on our way home.  It was the end of pregnancy journey and the new beginning of our life with Alayna.

Before I end this post I learned a lot about my wife Maria.  She has shown me that she is stronger and tougher than anyone else I have ever known.  Witnessing her through this labor was something that I will never forget.  She never gave up once during all those hours of pushing and she was so determined to deliver Alayna.  Maria suffered from extreme exhaustion but she never once ever said I cannot do this anymore.  All I can say honey is that I look up to you on your courage and dedication.  We both experienced a living nightmare through our labor experience but I now know we can get through anything together! I know this maybe be our only pregnancy due to our awful experience during the labor but it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life!  I love you Maria!!! You are my soul mate!!!
So thanks for sticking this post out and for those of you who did read the entire post THANK YOU!!!
This post was meant to document our labor process and share it with you all.  I know there are people out there who read this that will be delivering soon so just know that everyone's labor is different!!! Also, be prepared to plan for the unexpected!!!
Here are some photos......................

Before the delivery a happy wife!

The two of us in Maria's hospital bed!

This was the first ever photo Alayna had taken by anyone!!

Look at these huge feet!! So adorable!

Peacefully sleeping!

Hospital photoshoot she is a little doll!

Hi gorgeous!

Alayna sitting in daddy's hand!

Mommy kissing Alayna!

Family Photo Time!

On our way home as a family for the first time to start our new chapter in life!!!



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Here She Is.......Alayna Marie! Our Little Miracle!!





On October 17th, 2012 our miracle was born! Alayna Marie took her first breath at 5:45 p.m. and has since taken everyone's breath away by her beauty.  She measured 20 inches long and 6 pounds 9 ounces.  Alayna is one beauty queen already. One of the very first things a nurse said to me was "Your daughter is a baby model!" She is long legged and has a gorgeous face.  Alayna's hair color is beautiful dark brown like the color of her Mom's. Alayna's eyes are gorgeuos and resemble her Dad's eyes.  She has blue eyes but that is subject to change.  Alayna's nose is like her Mom's it's so adorable.  I rub my face on her nose already! Now, Alayna's lips are her Dad's.  That is what I have been told and she makes facial expressions just like me when she sleeps according to Mommy.   To sum it up, Alayna has a great mix of BOTH her Mommy and Daddy!

You know you always hear people say what its like to become a parent and they tell you they really cannot explain it in words.  At that moment you cannot explain what its like to hold a piece of you of in your arms that was created by two people.  For me, when I held Alayna for the first time I just could not believe it. I cannot really express through words of how emotional I was seeing her for the first time  It was the most surreal moment in my life holding her little body and seeing her look at me and even smile at me.  To be honest I cried tears of happiness for a good solid hour.  I cannot imagine life ever without Alayna!

As you can tell I am madly in love with our daughter Alayna! She is truly our miracle baby and I will never ever forget that.  I believe God has a plan for everyone and I am so glad that his plan included giving us the blessing of being parents to Alayna.

I will be posting hopefully this week about Alayna's birth story.  There are many details that I would like to share about the delivery and hopefully you as my readers would like to hear it. 

So who do you think Alayna looks like????

Monday, October 15, 2012

Titles?.....My Promise To Alayna and My Wife

As we get closer and closer to Alayna’s big day I wanted to post about titles and my promise to Alayna and my wife.  Ok so some of you may be thinking what is this guy talking about?!?!?

Everyone has experienced multiple titles in their life.  When you are first born you have the title of a “baby”.  Eventually, you will grow older and your parents will label you as a child.  Then from the child stage you become a school aged child or a student.  Soon you hit as some may call it your favorite years a teenager.  From a teenager the next step is becoming an adult.  Don’t you think it’s odd when they consider you an adult at eighteen years old?!?! You are still in the teen years of life!!!

Once you turn eighteen and graduate high school you find yourself on different paths.  Eventually, you will find a job/career and in this job/career again you will have many different titles.  Most of us will get married at some point in our life and you will then take another title husband/wife.  Then as a couple you will decide on when and if you want to expand your family.  So this brings me to the title that I am about to accept soon and that is a DAD!!!  I cannot wait for this new chapter in my life to begin.

As you can see through all the titles that I have described you eventually graduate from the title that you have……baby, child, student, teenager, etc . etc.   I believe when an individual becomes a parent they are assigned this title for life.   Even when you are living in your nineties you still will be a parent to your son or daughter.  So for all you mom’s and dad’s out there that think once your child moves out that your parenting duties are over think again.  You will still be a mom and dad to them.  I just think that this title is so unique and amazing.  Since I thoroughly bored all of my readers about titles in your life lets move on to my promise.

When we were going through our pregnancy process I just wanted a healthy child but I did mention how great it would be to have a daddy’s little girl.  Well it looks like that is about to come true.  Alayna, I want to make some promises to you and I hope that your mom and our family will hold me accountable to these promises.  My readers can hold me accountable too.  

I am about to make a lifetime commitment to you Alayna from the time you take your first breath.   I promise that I will sacrifice things that matter less for the things that matter most.  I know you will not understand this now but you will be my number one priority in life.  As soon as I leave from work and head home I will check my work at the door and focus on our family.  The first thing that I want to see when I come in that door is my daughter and wife.  That stressful day of work will not matter once I see your faces. 

One of the most important promises I will make is time. When I decide on how to spend my time I will think about fatherhood and I will put my own formerly selfish interests aside for the benefit of our family.  The focus will be on spending quality time with you not just the quantity of time.  My goal is to create memories that last a lifetime for you well after I am gone.  I want you to be able to reflect on those memories with your dad and how they shaped your life. 

I promise to teach you responsibility. I will teach you the value of work and responsibility as you grow through your years.  You will learn by my own example of keeping commitments and by putting family first.  I will be demanding accountability through giving you responsibilities like chores and school work. This will prepare you for adulthood.  I know this sounds that I will be tough on you but you will learn to appreciate these responsibilities as you become an adult. 

I promise to teach you respect.  The only way you will learn this is by example.  It is my duty to show you respect and respect on to others.  To set an example you will see firsthand the respect that I provide your own mother.   This eventually will instill the qualities that you should look for in your future spouse. 

These are just a few of promises but there are many more I have for you Alayna.  I hope that as the years go by that I am held accountable for these promises.  At the end of the day, I want you to be able to look to me as not only your dad, your friend (hopefully) but as a role model.

Maria, I also have a few promises for you as we begin this new chapter in our life.  In our new chapter of life the focus of our relationship will move from just the two of us to now the three of us.  But I want you to know that I will insure our bond of husband and wife remains strong.  That means we will make time for date nights and to be together as just husband and wife.  This is key for any marriage to have husband and wife time!!

I promise to show you through fatherhood the man I have become and the reason why you said “I Do” on our wedding day!  I promise to demonstrate that I am not only a husband but also a dad.    I could tell you all the stuff that I plan to do once Alayna is born how I plan to get up in the middle of the night and change diapers  or just listen to you when you need someone to talk to.  I want you to feel that we are in this parenting thing as a couple and not just a single person pulling all the weight.  At the end of the day Maria, the most important thing I want you to feel is that we are a family!!

I know I have expressed this before on my blog but Maria you need to hear this once more.  Our journey to become parents has truly been like no other.  Through this IVF process, you have taught me the meaning of staying positive and strong through adversity.  In the beginning, we knew we had the deck stacked against us with multiple hurdles to overcome to even get pregnant.  There were times of extreme sadness and other times of joy.  But never once did you or I say lets throw in the towel.  We were determined to have our own children and I cannot thank you enough for pushing through all the adversity.  You truly have amazed me through this entire process and I could not ask god for a better person in my life. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pregnancy Week 38, Dog Update, & A FIBRO'S IVF Video

This is a little late but here is the weekly update on baby Alayna and other various topics.  So we are getting closer and closer by the day to meeting our little miracle.  Maria and I just cannot wait to hold her soon!!

How far along: We are currently in week 38. As of today, we have 11 days to go! She is going to be here very soon. Everything is ready for you Alayna. The car seat is in the car awaiting your little body.  Your bedroom has been complete and the crib is waiting for you to take that first ever sleep. 

How big: Depending upon which baby app I reference…..She now weighs almost 7 lbs and almost 20 inches from head to toe. She is almost to my guess of 20 inches.

Developments and Milestones: Alayna has developed the ability to produce a firm grasp now.  She will soon be able to show us how strong those little hands are.  All of her organs have matured and she is ready for life outside the womb.

Anybody wondering what color eyes Alayna will have?

Well here is some info on that topic.  If she is born with brown eyes they will likely stay brown.  If she is born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she is 9 months old.  Anyone know what steel gray eyes look like????  The reason behind this is that Alayna’s irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after birth, but they usually won’t get lighter or more blue. 

So now lets talk about the importance of breast milk.  Immunoglobulin’s also called antibodies will help Alayna fight infections throughout her life.  Until now, these important proteins have been delivered to Alayna via the umbilical cord but will soon be provided through breast milk. Alayna’s digestive system has not fully developed in part because it has not yet begun processing food.  The first taste of the breast milk after birth will help Alayna’s digestion develop further. 

I would like to point out for anyone that is thinking about taking pregnancy classes the best class that my wife and I took was by far the breastfeeding class.  They provided the most information on breastfeeding topics especially for new mothers.  I highly suggest taking a breastfeeding class if you are thinking about breastfeeding.   

What Mom and Dad Notice: Alayna still continues to move around in there but she is running out of room.  We can feel her bone structure when you slide your hand across Maria’s belly.  Pretty soon that feeling will be outside of the womb.  We cannot wait to feel her soft skin and the smell of her newborn skin. 

Maria has been experiencing back pain and also hives now.  The hives are very uncomfortable for her and there really is nothing you can do for them except apply cold wash clothes or take a cold shower.  Her doctor stated that once Alayna is here the hives will start to fade away within a week or two.  I hope that he is correct!!!

This may be my last weekly update on the pregnancy front but there will be many updates once Alayna makes her entrance into the world.  A few people have said to me that our pregnancy went fast. Hmmmmm I think Maria and I would beg to differ on that one. Our journey through pregnancy was vey difficult and to sum it up was an emotional roller coaster.  There were days of extreme excitement and days of extreme sadness going through IVF.  IVF and infertility is by far the greatest challenge we have ever faced.  But we have almost made it to the day where we can hold our little miracle!!!

Now onto the update for our four legged son JJ.  We had our appointment this past Thursday with JJ’s surgeon who operated on him two years ago and everything went really well.  He examined JJ up and down his spine and there was no signs of pain when JJ was touched.  Plus JJ was off his pain medications for almost 24 hours which was what we planned to do before the visit.  We wanted to make sure that if he was still experiencing pain that the pain pills didn’t cover up any possible issue.  

After the surgeon physically examined JJ, he went and brought us the X rays that they took two years ago and the most recent one they did last week.  In the X rays the surgeon noted that nothing has changed from two years ago since his surgery.  He said that his issue is not related to his back.  THANK GOD!!!  As Maria said this was the best birthing gift she could receive.  No surgery or MRI is required for JJ.  In fact, the surgeon said to take him off all pain medications and to allow him to return to his normal activities.  JJ was most likely having discomfort from a possible pancreatitis or stomach ache.  You do not know how thrilled we are to hear that our little son is going to be ok and we can now just focus on Alayna’s arrival!!!!

I have said this before many times on my blog about infertility and IVF and how it’s such a roller coaster ride. Maria and I have a very special place in our hearts for anyone going through infertility or pregnancy issues and we pray for all of you everyday!!   Anyone who is going through infertility knows how cruel it really is.  Those of you who have never experienced infertility should really count your blessings but there are some really great stories and miracles that are happening. 

So this leads me to a fellow fibro (male cfer) of mine Jeremy and his wife Monica who have really exciting news that they announced through their blog.  Jeremy and Monica have recently went through IVF and are expecting twins!!!! I could not be more excited for the two of them as this IVF process is so emotional and stressful at times.  Jeremy and Monica documented their IVF journey through an outstanding video that I recommend anyone who is wondering what it is like to go through IVF.  I understand not everyone’s journey will be the same, but this is just a general documentation of what goes on during an IVF process.  

CONGRATULATIONS again Jeremy and Monica!!!

Check out Jeremy’s blog at

Here is their IVF video

If the link to their video doesn’t work you can find the video on his blog on October 7, 2012.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Introducing our 4 legged family!

LONG POST, But if you like animals you will enjoy reading this.
Maria and I have been parents for over eight years now. Yes, I consider ourselves parents because we have our two little four legged babies.  They are Bichon Frise’s JJ and Mia, but they are more than just our dogs they are our kids.  Maria and I would do anything for our dogs/kids.  They have become a part of our family from the day we brought them home.  They love us more than anything and we love them just like our own kids. One of my favorite things about our dogs is when I come home from work the first thing that is waiting by the door is JJ and Mia. 

Our first dog that came into our life is our son JJ.  He was so adorable the day that we saw him at his parents’ home.   He looked like a little fur ball as a puppy and was so happy to see us.  JJ even has his own little trademark and he started doing that the first day we met him.  He sat on his back legs and would sit up like a squirrel would do. In fact, that was how we fell in love with him.  Maria said I want that one he is so adorable!!  JJ still does this today and he knows how to use it to his benefit.  For example when he wants a treat or human food he will sit on his little butt.   

We had JJ for a few months and we wanted to complete our four legged family with another Bichon.  So we looked through the newspaper and found a breeder that had a female Bichon.  We brought JJ with us to meet his new playmate and he found his life companion that day.  We brought our little girl Mia home that day.  Mia was really from a puppy mill and we actually turned the breeder into animal services but never found out what happened to them.   I told Maria that we had to take Mia home that day because there was no way we were going to let her live one more minute at that home.  I think Mia would agree that she found the best home any dog could ever ask for.  She is loved unconditionally every day just like JJ. 

Both JJ and Mia have very different personalities.  JJ is the mellow laid back little guy.  He mostly never plays ever.  He doesn’t play fetch but when his sister Mia play’s ball he thinks it’s time to tackle her like football.   JJ is the most attached to Maria he follows her wherever she goes bathroom, downstairs, kitchen, just about everywhere she goes he has to go. 

Mia is definitely a little diva girl.  She is full of energy even at eight years old.  She loves attention and loves to be petted.  One of her favorite things is her little pink ball.  If you ask her to get her ball she will search and find that pink ball wherever it is in the house.  When she does find it you will be playing with her till she passes out.

 Mia is also a lover and she loves her JJ.  When JJ will be lying on the floor she will walk over to him and bath his face and lay by him.  These two dogs are inseparable even at the groomers they have to be bathed together and caged together.   Talk about true love and best friends forever.

That’s the background on our little four legged kids but I want to talk about their health.   Mia is super healthy.  She has been to the vet for numerous things.  She knows how to knock over my in laws trash can when she grew up there for the first couple years of her life.  She ate corn on the cobs, meat package wrappers and she has even eaten pills.  Yes all these events were scary but she lived through every single one of them. 

JJ he is our little warrior dog!!! He has been a trooper that’s for sure.  About 2 years ago, around mid December he was acting funny. (My timeline maybe off as it has been over 2 years)  We knew something was bothering him because he isn’t the type of dog to just beg for attention or show us he is in pain.  He went to his first Vet checkup of many that month and they told us that he was fine nothing was wrong with him.  He was just limping and holding his leg up.  Another day went by and he was doing more of the same acting like something was bothering him when he walked.  So back to the Vet he went and they said oh maybe he has a sprained leg or just pulled a muscle.  We went home that day with pain pills and steroids for him. 

We administered his medicines for the next few days and we noticed he didn’t want to hold his tail up?!?!  Mind you this little guy loves wagging his tail around even when you yell at him for something.  We knew in our hearts that something was still wrong.  Back to the Vet he went and we finally were able to see our regular Vet after he took a vacation for a week.  Of course something like this happens when the Vet you use is gone for a week.  JJ had many tests done and everything checked out so we gave him more pain medicines and steroids but we were told if he doesn’t improve in the next few days we had to see the Vet specialists.  We had enough pain pills to get JJ through Christmas and the next day his body told us the pain pills were not working. 

I took JJ outside and as soon as he came back in he ran into his bed and stared at the wall crying in pain.  We knew it was time to take him to the specialists.  That night we packed him up in the car and admitted him to the doggie emergency room.  They kept him overnight and they told us to come back in the morning to talk to the surgeon about his back!!! We spoke with the surgeon the next morning and he informed us JJ would need an MRI and if the MRI showed anything wrong with his vertebrates he would be having surgery. 

JJ had surgery that day to repair his slipped disc and was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.   He made it through the surgery just fine but the surgeon told us he was surprised JJ was even walking when we brought him in to the emergency room.  The surgeon explained to us that his spinal cord was almost severed in half!!! WOW really!!!  We brought him home the following day and Maria and I lived in our living room for the next two months.   We did this to confine JJ so he could rest and recover properly. 

After the surgery, JJ was like his old self except he lost control of his peeing and his pooing.  He can no longer pee on his own and poo will fall out of him just like when u take a dog on a walk.  I know many of you will say ewwww gross. But really it isn’t bad at all.  JJ wears a diaper around his waist so he doesn’t dribble all over the place and sometimes there will be poo on the carpet and I just pick it up and throw it in the toilet.  In order for JJ to go pee, Maria and I have to manual express his bladder.  To do this we just squeeze on his abdomen on a puppy pad four times a day.  He doesn’t mind it all in fact when you tell him to go to the bathroom he goes to his room and waits for you to drain him.  He is such a good little boy. Through his surgery JJ has returned to 100% minus his other two issues. 

But this past week and half ago JJ was acting the way he did two years ago before his surgery.  He was in pain not wanting to get up and walk.  So we took him back to the Vet specialists and they assured us it wasn’t it his back.  He had no pain or any discomfort.  But we didn’t believe them.  So they ran a bunch of tests to check all his functions liver, kidneys, urine test, etc. and everything came back normal.  JJ is currently on pain medicines and he seems to be acting like his old self.  They have given us instructions to keep him rested so if it is his back it can hopefully heal on its own.  But again during this episode the surgeon that operated on JJ was on vacation for a week.  We have an appointment with him this coming Thursday and we hope our little son will be ok. 

This of course is the worst possible time to be having a flare up of JJ ‘s back because Alayna will be here any day now.  But if he has to have another surgery we will be doing whatever it takes to get him back to his normal health.  I think that we are some pretty awesome parents and we have demonstrated that through our four legged family already.  So with this I think Alayna will be born into a household that will never give up on their children!!!

Beautiful Mia!

Handsome JJ! 

 JJ and his diaper.

Best friends forever!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pregnancy: Final Trimester Week 37

Another week down as we get closer and closer to the big day. Here is the weekly update!  IT’S OFFICIAL LESS THAN A MONTH TO GO, 21 DAYS!!!!! UNBELIEVEABLE IS ALL I CAN SAY!  

But before I get to the weekly update our family is going through a stressful time right now so keep us in your thoughts and prayers I would appreciate it.  We have a sick dog that has been very painful and may have what is called pancreatitis.  We hope that it is only pancreatitis and not a disc problem that we experienced 2 years ago. I will blog about this one day because our dog is truly one miracle.  

Also my brother is having some medical tests done in the coming days and we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything turns out fine!!
How far along:  We are currently in week 37.  As of today, we have 21 days to go! She is going to be here very soon.  Almost any day now!  Maria and I hope now that Alayna stays in there as long as possible. We want to get our dog back to health and see the family improve before Alayna makes her entrance.  I know it is the worst possible time to go through a crisis with the dog and my brother’s health but it is what it is.  
 How big:  Depending upon which baby app I reference…..She now weighs 6.5 lbs and  19 inches from head to toe. She is almost to my guess of 20 inches.

Developments and Milestones:  If Alayna were to be born now, she would be considered full term.  Yippee!!

In preparation for life outside the womb, Alayna continues to practice breathing, moving around, sucking her thumb and blinking.  Alayna is practicing her movement as well.  She will move from one side of Maria to the opposite.  

Many babies will come out with a full head of hair at birth, with lengths of ½ inch to 1 ½ inches long.  WARNING do not be surprised if Alayna comes out with a different color hair than ours.  Maria has brown hair and I have Black with a little silver mixed in.  I assume she will have dark hair but I guess we will not know until she is here.  But on our 36 week ultrasound they said she has a lot of hair!!!

Interesting fact for everyone Alayna’s head will, at birth, be the same size circumference as her hips, abdomen, and shoulders.  This in fact is why men could never ever have a baby!!
What Mom and Dad Notice:   Alayna continues to move and the movement is very low these days.  She has been kicking Maria’s bladder and laying on Maria’s back.  So guess what John gets to do……….back rubs through the night.  I have even given a back rub at 4 am.  Not only is Maria not sleeping I am not sleeping as well.  I guess this is practice for the real thing. 

Alayna’s movement has been very noticeable these past few weeks.  You can see her move from one side of Maria’s belly to the next.  We can also feel her bone structure very well.  We are still not sure what we are feeling though.  Soon we will be able to feel these bone structures when she arrives!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Alayna's Bedroom Finally!!

I promised I would upload some photos of Alayna's bedroom a few weeks back so I am finally getting around to it.  Life has been very busy lately.

First lets start talking about painting her room.  Yes, that was a major project just painting.  I found out through Alayna's bedroom that I hate painting.  There is no way I could make painting a career or let alone find enjoyment in.  The main reason is I have a trait called perfection!!! This really is my worst nightmare.  I think I inherited this trait from my Dad.  But anyway, I honestly painted a few of the walls four times.   A wall had to be painted at least a minimum of two times to cover the previous color though.  One of the paint cains caused the paint to bubble on one of the walls which required me to sand out the entire wall.  The other walls had paint streaks from the rolller.  Like I said perfection.  But many people probably would have said the walls were fine.  

Maria and I debated for a few days how we wanted to paint the room.  Should we do an accent wall or just paint the entire room one color?  Well after many paint swatches and buying test paint cans we decided on painting the wall where the crib will be placed the accent wall.  I know a big step in the room was completed.  We were nervous to do an accent wall as we are not the most decorative people or risk takers when it comes to home interior decorating.  But I have to say the paint colors we chose and the accent wall look amazing.  Lets just hope Alayna likes the colors!!!

The theme of her room is butterflies. Maria and I both wanted a theme that she could use for more than just a few years and I think we found a great theme!!!  Every single wall has some form of butterflies.  The wall that the crib is on has her name spelled out above her crib.  Maria spent a lot of time painting the letters and adding a stencil design to each of them.  We both think the name turned out awesome.  The other three walls have butterflies hung.  We did an array of five mirrored butterflies above her dresser.  Yes I made sure they will not fall down on her head as Alayna will be changed beneath them.  Another wall has three butterflies that are purple and pink and match the color of room.  The last wall has two butterflies that are purple that look amazing when you wallk into the room.  Even the ceiling fan has pull strings that have butterflies on them.  Alayna I hope you love butterflies!!

We are both so glad that we finished her room and we cannot wait till little Alayna is here with us at home!!! Enjoy the pictures below.

So what do you think of her room??