Thursday, June 27, 2013

Puppy Party!

Today was Bear's and Binky's second birthday and I may have gone a little overboard with the celebration. I'm definitely a crazy dog lady. I know many people think it's weird that I'm so into my dogs, but I just don't care. My dogs make me really happy and I'm pretty sure my dogs are really happy too. They are so ridiculously loved and well-cared for and I just don't see how that's a bad thing. That said, if you don't own any pets, you may want to proceed with caution! And be thankful that I didn't try to top last year's Harry Potter themed 1st birthday party which had invitations and a "Potions Class" ice cream sundae bar.

After wishing them both a very happy birthday this morning, I tied their special birthday boy ribbons onto their collars.
Bear in his birthday ribbon.
Binky testing out his birthday hat.
Next, we made them each a hard-boiled egg for breakfast. They love eggs, especially Bear. As soon as someone takes an egg out of the refrigerator, Bear can smell it and runs straight to the kitchen. Then he lays under the breakfast bar hoping for some crumbs. We've been promising them they could have an egg for their birthday, so that's what we did. Binky gets more excited about cereal which I think is a little weird for a dog, but he heard me open the box so I gave him so corn flakes too.

Birthday eggs
After dinner, it was time to open presents! Yes, of course, I bought them presents. However, I was really surprised when our roommates (my BIL's SILs are living with us for a little bit) brought out two gift bags for them. These girls are so sweet and they take such good care of Binky and Bear. We are so lucky to have them. Binky and Bear are two of the most spoiled dogs in the world.
My boys. They're so focused because Seth is holding a treat in front of the camera.
I also made so home made "Frosty Paws" frozen treats for them. THIS was the recipe I planned to use, but I didn't think I needed 32 ounces of dog ice cream. Instead I used:

2 6 oz. containers of plain fat free yogurt
1/2 a ripe banana
2 Tbsp peanut butter

I mixed everything together and then put it back into the yogurt containers, covered it with plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer. This afternoon I took them out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator so it would be easier to pop them out of the container. We only used one treat and split it between them because I'm not sure how their stomachs will handle it. They definitely loved the taste though! 

It was a really fun day for me. I love to find any excuse to celebrate. Even Seth had a great day and he didn't give me hard time about it at all. He likes to tease me about being too obsessed with the dogs, but I hear him talking to them when he thinks no one is listening. He's a crazy dog guy too. Obviously, Binky and Bear had no idea what was going on but I know they loved all of their treats and new toys. These guys rule.

Yes. I'm a freak. So what?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Health Insurance - Yikes!

I was talking to some friends about health insurance and I decided that I better double-check on my plans for when my contract is up at the end of August. Thank God I did! Originally, I thought it was going to cost us around $270 a month to add me to Seth's insurance. I seriously miscalculated. It will be almost $560 a month! That's a lot of money. I don't think that's the best option for us.

Since I'm quitting, our monthly income will be cut in half. That means Seth will have to cover my part of all our monthly bills. We'll also have to start paying my school loans again since they've been in deferment while I've been in school. That won't be too bad. I've already paid off 50% of my loans and I don't have too much left. That bill should be less than $150 a month. Plus my new health insurance bill.

I'm definitely going to be looking for a job in August. Nothing major since we will hopefully be relocating in December, but I wanted something that would cover my personal bills (health insurance and student loans). It would be great if I could make enough to contribute to our joint expenses. $560 sounds like a huge chunk out of a crappy hourly job. I think there must be a better option, but it's really hard to find insurance with maternity coverage in Florida. The "cheapest" option I have found so far costs at least $350. Which is less expensive, but still not great. Maybe something better will come along with this new Marketplace option, but there's no way I'm going to have a break in my coverage between August and when it starts in October.

We're going to have to make some serious budget cuts. No more traveling to visit my family until Thanksgiving I guess. We'll save money on gas since I probably won't have such a long commute. Maybe I can find a job within walking distance. Groceries will probably be the easiest thing to save money on. We eat pretty well (mostly fresh foods) and I hate to sacrifice our healthy diets just to save a bit of money, but I'm sure we can find a way to make it work. We have just under two months to figure it out!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Annnd We're Off!

Officially back in the two week wait today. Time to relax!

For the past few months, I've considered not temping during the TWW but I just can't stop. I've been looking forward to seeing a BFP chart for so long. The little line turns green when you enter a positive pregnancy test. I can't wait for that to happen for me. If something so little can help keep my hopes up, I'm not going to take that away.

This month has been weird so far. I hardly had any pelvic pain at all. Maybe one of two days of a really dull ache and one day of moderate pain, which was triggered by working in the garden. None of the really sharp pain that I get on my left side at all yet. I'm not going to let that affect my expectations though. It more than likely means absolutely nothing, but I think it's worth noting since I've become so accustomed to feeling pain.

In general, I feel okay. Since Seth and I decided we're not ready for treatment a lot of the pressure I had been feeling is gone. I've been so terrible about making decisions and it's a relief to have a few more months before we need to do that. I'm still not sure that putting off surgery is a good idea, but we'll talk to the Dr. M about it next month before we make the call.

This week is also the start of the Summer B session at the university, which means I actually have to start working again. It's not a bad deal though - I don't have to teach, just do some grading for one of the professors. I'll only need to show up on campus to administer the three exams which is awesome because I love working from home. At least I'll have something to keep me a little more occupied!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Hour

It's Friday! And it's after 5 o'clock! Time to celebrate.

We're having tacos for dinner tonight so I was planning to make margaritas, but then I thought - we've got all of the spearmint going ass wild in the garden, why not try mojitos?

I was never really into mojitos. I must not have had a very good one for my first experience, because the general idea is very appealing to me. I love fresh-tasting drinks that aren't too sweet. Anything with lime, mint, and club soda is a winner in my book so I figured it was time to give the mojito another shot. When I was in Guatemala with my sister B in March, she got me hooked on them. We were visiting this teeny tiny town on a lake and one of the restaurants had a Happy Hour special - 2 Mojitos for 25 Quetzales. That's about $1.50 per drink. Score. We ditched Seth, who was recovering from having his wisdom removed (I'm a good wife) and had a lovely afternoon sipping mojitos in Panajachel.

Back to today. Time for some homemades. I picked a bunch of spearmint from the garden and rinsed it off. Next I gathered my white rum, limes, powdered sugar, and club soda. Most recipes call for granulated white sugar, but I found one for an authentic "Cuban mojito" that used the powdered sugar and I figured that would dissolve more easily. I wasn't about about to whip up some simple sugar. Ain't nobody got time for that at 5 o'clock on a Friday.

First, I placed 4-6 mint leaves in my glass.
There they are - mint leaves, fresh from the garden in my whiskey tumbler.
I'm going to need to buy some official mojito glasses.
Next, I added about a teaspoon of powdered sugar and the juice from half a large lime. I also threw in a small lime wedge because one of the recipes mentioned that the bitterness of the lime's "white pith" was important. No idea what that means, but I didn't want to take any chances.

The next step is to "muddle" all of that together. It sounds really intimidating on all of the recipes. Apparently it's really easy to fuck up on this part and mojito snobs can really distinguish a good muddler from a bad one. I just used a little plastic spoon and squished everything together. Works for me.

Finally, I filled the glass with crushed ice, added 1.5 ounces of white rum and topped it off with club soda. The recipe said to use 2 ounces of rum, but I know myself - I'll pound this drink so it's definitely a good idea for me to keep it light.
MmmHmm look at that gorgeous green color.
It's pretty good for my first try! I can taste the mint and the lime and it's definitely not too sweet for me. Some people, like Seth, might like a bit more sugar but I think it's delicious as is. I can't wait until the limes on our tree are ready to be picked! Too bad we don't have any rum in the garden - I'm going to need to go get another bottle if I'm going to be sharing these with everyone at dinner tonight!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Positive Day

I mentioned that I was going to try using digital OPKs this month. I used one on Tuesday even though the cheapie test was clearly negative. The digital agreed. Last night I used another cheapie and it was inconclusive. The test line was almost as dark as the control line, but the test area was also weird and streaking. Fuck that - I'm trying the digital again. After blinking for a few minutes....

Awesome! I really doubt this is going to make a huge difference because our timing as always been decent even within the context of the margin of error, but this feels good. I'm willing to latch onto anything to boost my optimism. Mostly, I'm just hoping that my chart is more clear. I'm a scientist - I hate inconclusive data.

To boost my mood even further, we got a new dishwasher today! Our old one sucked. It ran for hours and sometimes you had to run it more than once. I was thrilled when it broke last week. We went to pick one out on Monday, I think, and the guys came to install it this afternoon.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time shopping online before choosing a Whirlpool. I became obsessed with having the silverware basket on the door which, according to the guy at Sears, is Whirlpool's signature look. So far I love it, although I admit that I haven't actually used it yet. The level of my excitement about trying it out is a little disturbing. I think I'm officially a "housewife".'s simple pleasures. Positive ovulation tests and major appliances.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How It Feels

I'm tired of people telling me not to worry. I know they mean well, but it's kind of annoying because I'm NOT worried. Not yet, anyway. There is no reason for me to believe that I won't be able to have a biological baby of my own somehow, someday. Sure, statistically it should have happened by now. And yes, statistically, it may take us awhile longer and chances are good that we will need assistance. But I'm not worried. "Worry" is not the feeling that is with me all day, every day.

This past week has been by far the worse I have experienced since we began TTC. I just started my 13th cycle. Still not to the one-year mark, but having 12 failed cycles hurts. Seth and I have also been doing a lot of research and talking since getting the results of my ultrasound and HSG. We are almost 100% sure that we will not pursue any treatments, IUI or surgery, in the immediate future. I just quit my job and we're not sure when and/or if Seth will be starting a job (assuming he graduates in December, which is also uncertain). We're just not ready to make such a huge financial commitment and I don't think we're emotionally and mentally prepared for the very real possibility that the treatments would be unsuccessful.

After I told this to my mom, she again told me not to worry. I know she says this because she is worried about me. Not worried that I can't or won't have children, just worried because she hates to see me upset. As I tried to explain to her that I wasn't worried, I realized I couldn't explain what I WAS feeling. Sadnesss? Definitely. Disappointment? Absolutely. Frustrated. Angry. Lonely. Confused. All of these things. But those feelings are easy for me to identify and none of those accurately describes the feeling that has been haunting me lately.

A few days ago, as I sat in the kitchen enjoying a glass of wine it finally hit me. I realized that I have felt this emotion before. It is the same feeling that I get at the end of a vacation. It's like an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Huh? But we're not at the end of the TTC process, we're just getting started. Why would would infertility feel the same as finishing a vacation? I had to think about it for awhile before it hit me.

Longing. Longing is what I'm feeling at the end of a vacation, not sadness or disappointment. When a vacation is over, I long to always be in that carefree state of mind that you have when you're on vacation. I long to spend more time with my family. I long for the past and wonder when will I feel that way again, when will I see my loved ones again.

Longing is what I'm feeling now in a ridiculously overwhelming way. Now, I'm longing to be a mother. I long to be pregnant and to hold my own baby in my arms. I long to see my husband's eyes or smile in someone else's little face. It's an ache that is with me from the minute I get up in the morning to minute I fall asleep. It doesn't interfere with my life. I still feel happy. There are still so many, many things that bring me joy. But it's always there as a pit in my stomach or a lump in my throat waiting to pull me under.

I knew this was a feeling that my mom could relate to even though she's never dealt with infertility. When I explained it to her, she cried for the first time (that I know of) since I told her what I've been going through. It hurts me to see her upset, but it does feel good to be understood.  Having people who love me and understand me is what's going to get me through this and I'm so, so grateful for that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Great news - I don't have melanoma! I had my follow-up appointment with the oral surgeon today and he told me that I do not have oral melanoma or any other type of cancer. Thank God. The pathology report just says that it was a "foreign body" - most likely a bit of metal. This is a very common situation, but because I don't have any metal fillings near the spot and because it didn't show up on the x-rays, it was safer to go ahead and do the biopsy. I am not surprised that this was the result. I know that I had a metal spacer in my mouth for several years when I was younger and I'm almost certain that it was in the area of my mouth where I found the spot. Obviously, I am ridiculously relieved that I have nothing to worry about! The area that they biopsied healed perfectly so now I can just relax and forget that this even happened. It's nice to have a bit of good news from a doctor for a change!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


We had SUCH a nice weekend. It was so relaxing. Exactly what we needed.

On Friday, my cousin P and his wife K came to visit. They're such a great couple and it was so nice to spend time with them. We only get to see each other once or twice a year. P and I both moved away from our hometown so we're hardly ever in the same place at the same time. It was great to catch up with them and spend time with some of my family.

Luckily, the weather was beautiful this weekend! After two weeks of almost daily rain, we had two gorgeous days. We spent all afternoon at the beach on Saturday, tried a new beachfront restaurant for lunch, and then invited some friends back to our house to hang out by the pool.

A perfect day.

Honestly, I'm feeling so much better than I was feeling last week. I had a rough couple of days. Too much time scouring the internet for information about laparoscopies and IUIs. It was so great to just shut off that part of my brain and enjoy the moment.

Seth and I are already planning to go to the beach again next Saturday. We live so close that we could walk to the beach but we hardly ever go. I don't know why. I guess I just feel like it's more convenient to stay at home by the pool with my pups, but I think it's good for me to get out of the house now that I'm not working as much.

So, my new goal for this week - find something to do on weekdays to keep me relaxed and occupied!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Love Harry Potter

Harry Potter is without a doubt one of my top three favorite things ever (not including living things, of course). I always loved reading but discovering the Harry Potter books took my love to a whole new level. I first heard about Harry Potter right after The Goblet of Fire was released. I guess I was 15 at the time. One of my younger cousins was reading it and he explained the basic story line and it seemed pretty cool to me. It turned out that my sisters had a copy of The Sorcerer's Stone so I started reading it that very night and I was hooked.

Throughout high school and college, I read the first four books over 15 times each. I stopped counting after that. Waiting for the new books to be released and picking them up at the midnight release parties are some of my favorite memories. I'm sure it may seem lame to many people, but the Harry Potter books got me through some not-so-pleasant times of my life.

When I met Seth, he had never read any of the books. I encouraged him to read them and it was so much fun to go through it all again with him. We even walked down the aisle at the end of our wedding ceremony to "Hedwig's Theme" from the Harry Potter movies. If/when we have a baby, Seth agreed that we could have a (vaguely) Harry Potter themed nursery! As if he had a choice. Some day, I hope to read the books again with my children. It's one of the things I'm most looking forward to.

Here's Bear dressed up as Harry Potter for his first Halloween in 2011.
On his official AKC registration certificate his middle name is "Harry Potter".
So, that said - you can only imagine how excited I am that Seth and I are planning a trip to Universal Studies in Orlando to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am so ridiculously pumped. Everything I've seen online and everything I've heard from people who have visited make it look and sound so awesome.

Right now is the perfect time too. It's not something I would be able to fully enjoy if I were pregnant because I wouldn't be able to go on the rides. I have been obsessing over the whole laparoscopic surgery vs. IUI thing and I think having a trip planned will help me to stop stressing about everything for now. Seth and I could really use a break. All of this fertility stuff has been really stressful. We've been handling it very well so far, but I know this type of thing could really take a toll on our relationship if we're not careful. I don't want that to happen. No matter what, I don't want this to tear us apart. I think it will be so nice and helpful to do something fun and relaxing together. We haven't take a trip alone together since our honeymoon, so I think this is the perfect way to celebrate our second wedding anniversary.

I'm so happy to have something like this to look forward to! Of course I'll still be bummed if I don't get pregnant this month but visiting Harry Potter World seems like the best consolation prize to me!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Still Not Pregnant

Yesterday was CD1. It sucks, but I handled it pretty well. I didn't cry at all this time. My expectations were just pretty low I guess.

Well, on to cycle 13 I guess. Maybe 13 will be a lucky number for me. I decided to do things a little differently this month. My charts have been kind of screwy the past few cycles. It's been hard to determine which day was my ovulation day. This isn't really a big deal - "they" say that there is a margin of error of a day or two anyway. I guess I'm just worried that if there is an error of a day or two AND my chart is wrong by a day or two, our timing might not be as good as we thought it was.

So this month I'm going to try a different method of temping. I also bought some (expensive!) digital ovulation predictor tests. It seems like my positive OPKs don't always line up with my temperature shift, so I thought maybe I'm not reading them right or something. I figured it was worth a shot to try confirming a positive result on a cheap test with a digital.

Other than that, it's business as usual. I'm going to do my best to just relax and try not to drive myself crazy with the what-ifs. We still have no idea what we're going to do. Every time I'm sure I made up my mind about it, I think of something else and freak out. Do the surgery in August? Skip the surgery and start IUI? Do the surgery right away?

Deep breaths.

For now, the plan is to do nothing until August. No pressure. Just hoping and praying that we get lucky in June or July.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Not Alone

My relationships with my parents and my sisters could not be better. I am so lucky to have them. They are my best friends and my biggest supporters. I don't know what I would do without them. Don't get me wrong - Seth is awesome too, but I think the feelings that come along with TTC are a little different for men and women. Seth was never going to be a mother. He's a man. It's sometimes easier for my mom and sisters to get where I'm coming from.

No one in my family has ever dealt with infertility (as far as I know). I think that has made it difficult for my mom and my sisters to relate to what I'm going through. Sometimes I think they don't know what the right thing is to say. Sometimes there isn't a "right" thing to say. That's hard on them and it's hard on me too. I'm often afraid that my family thinks that I'm being dramatic or overreacting and that makes me feel really, really lonely.

Last week when my sister asked me to be my niece's godmother, I was so happy that I cried. I love my nieces so much it's ridiculous. Nothing could ever change that. Whether I end up have ten kids of my own or zero, I already love them as much as I possibily can.

After we spoke, I started to worry that my sister only asked me to be the godmother because she felt sorry for me. I mentioned this to my mom. My mom told me that it wasn't true at all. She said that my sister actually called her a few weeks ago and told her the she really wanted to ask me but wasn't sure if it would be wrong because of what I'm "going through".

It was so nice to hear that my sister actually does care and worry about me and acknowledges that this is difficult. It's not that I really thought she didn't. I know that she loves me. It's just, like I said, a lonely place to be in and you start to think that no one understands. Maybe my sister hasn't experienced this, but I know she wishes this wasn't happening to me. It's also nice to know that my sister thinks I will make a good mother, even if it's just a godmother.

Today sucks. My temperature has dropped way down so I know that this cycle didn't work out. 12 unsuccessful cycles.  It's getting really hard to handle. At least I know that I don't have to go through it alone.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Biopsy

A little over a month ago, I was flossing my teeth like I do every day (several times a day, I'm addicted) and my gum started bleeding in one place. I leaned close to the mirror to examine it and I noticed a little black spot. Huh. That's weird. I tried to think what it could be - something stuck under my gum line? Maybe some blood under the surface?

Then I did exactly what you're not supposed to do. Again. I went to Google and did a search for something like "black spot on gum". The first few things I read sounded okay, but then as I clicked on more links I started to panic. Everything kept mentioning "malignant oral melanoma" and describing it as one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. I'll be honest - I started freaking out a little bit. I went downstairs to ask my mom or one my sisters to look at it. I called Seth, crying, and asked him what I should do. We decided that since I was due for a teeth cleaning anyway, I would schedule an appointment for when I returned home and have my dentist take a look. After that, I more or less forgot about it.

The day after I returned home, I went to see my dentist. First, thing I did was have new x-rays taken. Then I spoke to the hygienist. I was relieved when he started talking about blueberry stains, but when he didn't have any luck cleaning and scrapping the area he decided to call in the dentist to take a look at it. Dentist came in and examined the area. She said it could be an amalgam tattoo which forms when bits of metal from fillings migrate to other areas of your mouth. However, I didn't have any fillings nearby and nothing showed up on the x-rays. She decided it was best to send me to an oral surgeon to have a biopsy. Great. As she was leaving the room she said, "I'm sure it's nothing. Melanoma usually doesn't show up there." Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I wanted her to say, "That doesn't look like melanoma".

Next, I went to the oral surgeon and he agreed that we should do a biopsy just to be safe. He did say that if it is melanoma, I caught it very early and treatment would probably be minimal. That sounds so much better than "deadliest skin cancer". I was so relieved and overwhelmed that I cried.

This morning they did the biopsy. I was so nervous. It was only local anesthesia but when they injected the Novocaine, I had a panic attack. I hate tasting that stuff. I start to panic that it's going to numb my tongue and throat and I won't be able to swallow, then I can't swallow because I'm thinking about it, and then my heart starts beating like crazy. Luckily, I'm pretty good about talking myself out of those and I was able to calm down pretty quickly. The actual procedure didn't hurt a bit. The surgeon used a laser to close the wound instead of stitches. That DID hurt. It felt like when you have tooth sensitivity and bite into something cold or metal - times 10. My whole body flinched, but it only lasted a second. I don't really have any pain now, thank God.

Now I wait. They said it would take 10 days for the pathology lab to send the results. That seems like a long time. I guess that's just the story of my life right now. It's just like another two week wait, except this time I'm hoping for a negative result. My follow-up appointment is on the 18th, so until then I'll just be hoping and praying that I don't have melanoma.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Plan

This morning I went to see Dr. M to discuss the results of my HSG. It was pretty overwhelming. I had been feeling pretty good about it since I felt like I prepared myself for many different possibilities, but as I sat in the waiting room I started to panic a little bit. Seth couldn't be there with me today because he's teaching and he's taking the day off to go to another (unrelated) appointment with me tomorrow. Anyway, I survived the twenty minute wait and then one of the nurses took me back to an office where I met with Dr. M.

First he reviewed the ultrasound results from CD2. Everything looked great on there. My uterus is the correct size, shape, and thickness. I have plenty of follicular cysts (14, I think), but no harmful or unusual cysts. No large endometrioma. Nothing to be concerned about. Great!

Next, he pulled up the x-ray film from the HSG. Deep breaths. Dr. M showed me the right tube, how it's long and thin and had puffs of dye pouring out the end. Then he shows me how the left tube starts to fill up like a balloon. You don't see the long, thin line of dye like with the right tube. The black balloon starts to puff up right near my uterus, but you can still see a little bit of dye coming out. Dr. M said he does not believe the tube was blocked. He explained that when you see a balloon like that, it is more likely an abnormal tube. It could be misshapen - wide in some parts, narrow in others - or maybe it's just in a funny orientation, such as coiled up on itself. Either way, he said that because the dye was cleared on the final x-rays, there is no reason to believe that it's not functioning properly! AND even if it's not working perfectly he said it is possible for the right tube to pick up an egg from either ovary. I did ask how they know that the dye didn't go back out the way it came and he said that the tube is too narrow. The only way they get dye to go in to begin with is from the pressure of the injection.

WOOHOO! I am so relieved. I was so sure that the results were bad and that Dr. M was going to recommend surgery right away. That's not what he suggested at all. He believes that it is still very likely that I have endometriosis (the HSG results do nothing to confirm or refute this) but since my priority right now if getting pregnant and not managing the pain, he doesn't think we need to start with the lap.

The first step will be for Seth to have a semen analysis to make sure everything looks good with him. If the results are good, we will just continue doing what we're doing and hope that we're one of the lucky couples who get pregnant soon after an HSG. If there is anything abnormal about Seth, Dr. M recommended that we start trying intrauterine insemination (IUI) with or without a medication that would stimulate my ovaries to produce more or better quality eggs. This would help to increase our chances of getting pregnant if, for example, Seth had a low sperm count.

Either way, I think I'm going to choose to have the laparoscopic surgery in August if I don't get pregnant before then. Since I quit my job, my insurance will be changing in mid-August and I'd like to do the surgery before that happens while I know I still have good coverage (plus I already met my deductible for this year). That still gives us three cycles (including the one I'm in right now) to get pregnant after the HSG like Dr. M and I originally discussed. It also puts us past the dreaded official one-year mark. After August 4th, we'd probably start pursuing infertility treatments even if we didn't suspect I had endo.

Overall, I feel much better than I thought I would feel. Obviously, it's great news that my tubes are clear. It worries me a little bit because, like I mentioned in an earlier post, if they're clear then I'm afraid there must be something else that's keeping me from getting pregnant. I can't worry about it now though. That won't help at all. For now, I'm just going to try to stay hopeful. If it doesn't work this cycle, it might work next month or the cycle after that. If it doesn't work, at least we have a plan. It's kind of bittersweet. I'm happy that we have this plan, but I'm definitely not thrilled about what the plan includes. It's just not that perfect "love, marriage, baby" model that most people assume they'll experience. Such is life.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Travel Tuesday - Monterrico, Guatemala

The weather has been pretty crappy lately - it rains almost every single day. I know, I know it's the rainy season, but it seems like it starts earlier every year. And it probably does - thank you, climate change! Anyway, I'm really craving a vacation. A warm, sunny beach and a nice, cold drink. So today we're going to Monterrico Guatemala!

Monterrico is a teeny town on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. It sits on a gorgeous volcanic black sand beach. I visited Monterrico for the first time about five years ago and that was also my first time seeing a black sand beach. Most people rave about white sand beaches, and they're totally beautiful too, but there's something really cool about the black sand. It's so different and, as a geoscientist, I find the history slightly more exciting than typical white sand beaches.

The drive from Antigua (or the city) to Monterrico is pretty amazing on it's own. You drive on highways that pass between the volcanoes.
Fuego puffing on the left and Acatenango on the right.

Once we get to Monterrico, we always go to a little hotel and restaurant called Johnny's Place. Seth has been going there for many years and after he took me there on our first trip, I've always loved going back. The restaurant is right on the sand so you can relax in the beach chairs or hammocks and enjoy a big, cold drink. Margarita's are good but a limonada con soda works too!

The surf is pretty intense along this part of the coast of Central America. The waves seem HUGE compared the East Coast of the United States. I'm afraid to go in the water beyond ankle level. It's a lot of fun to just sit, watching and listening to the waves though.

If you ever get a chance to visit Guatemala, I highly recommend a day trip (at least) to Monterrico. It's a super laid-back atmosphere and, like most of Guatemala, pretty inexpensive to stay and play there!

Damn. This just makes me want to have a beach day even more. Luckily, I live about a quarter of a mile from the coast so if we ever get a nice day I can make it happen! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Time for a Break

Since my follow-up appointment with the RE is on Wednesday morning, I wanted to do a little research to try to prepare myself for what Dr. M might say to me. SURPRISE! Big mistake. After a few Google searches on "partially blocked tubes" and "HSG dye delay" led me to some pages discussing "fimbrial end tubal blockages", I am officially freaked out.

I had prepared myself for that fact that chronic pelvic pain combined with a weird tube might be reason enough for Dr. M to recommend that we move straight to laparoscopic surgery. I had not prepared myself for the news that fimbrial end blockages (which is what I may have) are not always easily fixed - according to Google searches only, of course. Apparently, when the blockage is at the end of the tube closest to the ovary it is harder to unblock or correct than if the blockage is located towards the uterus. The articles I read were not comforting. Sometimes the tube is never able to function. Sometimes the tube needs to be totally removed because it can form a hydrosalpinx (WTF?) which can be embryotoxic.

That all sounds a little scary. I need to keep reminding myself that I still have one good tube. It is most definitely possible to get pregnant with one good tube. I need to stop thinking about this. No good can come from speculation. In less than 48 hours, I'll be talking to the doctor who will likely have some more information regarding my specific situation.

So I needed a break. One of my absolute favorite things to do when I need a break or I'm feeling bummed is to hang out with my dogs. One of their favorite things is to go for a ride in the car. All I have to do is say "Wanna a go for a ride?" and Bear and Binky go buck wild. They just love it, I don't know why. Hopping in the car and heading to Dunkin Donuts has become our ritual. I get an iced coffee and Binky and Bear get a biscuit when we go through the drive-thru. Honestly, as much as I want a baby, I get a little bit sad when I think about how we won't be able to do this whenever we want once a baby is part of the pack.

Bear in the back, licking up some crumbs.
Binky in the front, staring longingly at the biscuits.

I love these guys so much. I would've been a complete mess these past few months without them. They're such sweethearts. Whenever they see me cry, they run over to me and try to lick my face. It doesn't matter how I'm feeling, they always cheer me up!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups

The NBA playoffs have been going on for the past few weeks and Seth's favorite team is still in the running. This means that for about three hours every other night, I don't see or speak to him. Don't get me wrong - I like sports. Some sports. I enjoy watching football - both American and soccer. But to be honest, my interest in sports doesn't really go far beyond my interest in what we'll be snacking on during the game. I love, love, love game day snacking. Even though I don't really care about the games, the snacks just seem to taste better.

Last night was another game night, so when Seth told me his brother and girlfriend would be coming over to watch the game I seized the opportunity to try some new recipes. We decided on some classic Guacamole (Seth's specialty) using cilantro and jalapenos from our garden, hot spinach and artichoke dip, and something with buffalo chicken (my favorite snack).

For the "Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip", I used the recipe from It was super easy to make and it turned our really well. I'm not sure how it differs from a non-skinny recipe because I've never made any version before, but this didn't taste "skinny" at all. I realized later that I forgot to add the salt and pepper, but it still tasted pretty delicious!

Like I said, buffalo chicken is one of my favorite snacks/meals. I love everything buffalo - grilled buffalo chicken sandwiches, buffalo chicken cheesesteaks, buffalo wings, boneless buffalo wings, buffalo chicken get the idea. Buffalo chicken dip is easy to make, but you need a vessel for eating it and that's usually bread or chips. I wanted to do something a little lighter. I got the idea to make buffalo chicken bites using wonton wrappers from a Buffalo Chicken Cupcake recipe at Emily Bites and then I modified it using my own recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle Buffalo Sauce (I used Frank's)
3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (sharp, mild, low-fat, whatever you like)
3 oz. cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 lbs. of oil (I used sesame)
wonton wrappers (pack of 48, I used about 40)
ranch dressing for dipping

Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing sauce is the best. I found Nasoya wonton wrappers 
in the produce section of my grocery store.

Place thawed chicken in a crock pot and cover with about 1 cup of the Buffalo Sauce. I used more, but you can keep adding it along the way to suit your taste. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred the chicken. You can turn your crock pot to "warm" at this point. Add the shredded cheddar, cream cheese, and extra buffalo sauce (if you want) and mix until the cheese is melted and well combined. To make the cups, press the wonton wrappers into cupcake pans the same way you would with a cupcake liner (one wrapper per cupcake hole). Brush each wonton with a little bit of oil. Put them in the oven (mine was set to 350 F) until they are slightly brown and crispy. Put all of your wrappers on a platter, fill with buffalo chicken mix, and top with onion and celery. I served the ranch dip on the side.

They were really tasty and they turned out super cute! Everyone loved them. I'm not a health expert, but I don't think they're awful as far as typical party snacks go. I used a lot less cheese than other buffalo chicken dip recipes I've seen. The vegetable toppings also gave a good fresh, crisp taste.  I will definitely be adding this recipe into my party foods rotation!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Happy News

Well, not much is going on this week. I'm on summer break until the end of June so I've been pretty bored lately. I'm trying to keep busy - gardening, reading, crocheting my first blanket, cooking new recipes, taking the dogs for extra walks - but man do I still have a lot of free times on my hands. Spare time is not your friend when you're in the TWW, but I think I'm doing okay so far. I don't have any "symptoms" to over-analyze yet so I'm not going crazy, I'm just really incredibly bored. Win?

On the bright side, I received two bits of good news this week. The first is that my third niece was born on May 28th! She is, overall, a very happy, healthy and beautiful little baby. I can't wait to meet her. She lives out of the country, but hopefully Seth and I will be able to visit his brother later this summer and spend some time with the baby. Being an aunt really is the greatest.

The second thing is that my sister asked me to be the godmother of my second niece, who was born last month on April 26th. Another happy, healthy and beautiful little girl. I got to spend a few days with her before I returned home (thinking I would be working during the first summer session) and I miss her so much already. Her baptism will be at the end of June. Because it's right before the holiday weekend, I'll get to make a nice week-long trip home. It will be so awesome to have the christening one weekend and then a 4th of July party the following weekend. Spending time with my family is pretty much my favorite thing to do and it's so exciting that my family just keeps growing and growing. Hopefully I'll be able to do my part soon!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!