Birthday Fun!

We always celebrate Birthdays with a party, a get together where we play games, eat,¬†open presents and just really get to enjoy everyone’s company. Fortunately, our family is big and expanding so we get together often! Shortly after we realized we were having you we celebrated your moms’s Birthday, February 24th (don’t forget it). Pam and Larry came down for the celebration as well. Your mom’s couldn’t be happier that everyone in our families get along and really enjoy each others company.

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For everyone’s Birthday I always try to get a pic of a wish being born, aka blowing out the candles

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Oops missed Doug on the last one ūüôā

Your mom loves to bake and does a fantastic job at it, she bakes everyone’s Birthday cake, and gladly takes requests!

Look at the beautiful cupcakes she baked for your cousin Bella’s baby shower,

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This is your mom decorating your gender reveal cake. IT’S A BOY!

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This is my favorite cake that your mom makes for my Birthday. It’s a lemon cake with lemon icing and coconut flakes the inside has a layer of raspberry jam in between the layers and it’s the best cake ever!!!!!!!!!

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I like to decorate cupcakes! Here is some of my work!

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We can’t wait to start celebrating your Birthdays!

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Before we knew we were having you-

My dear baby,

I want to share all of the fun and exciting moments and months leading up to the day that you come into this world. While your mom and I were waiting to find out if she was pregnant with you we kept ourselves busy. We visited the Franklin Park Conservatory exhibit by Bruno Munro, Light.

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Such a¬†beautiful exhibit! It was 02-01-2014 so it was super cold! The winter in general was so frigid this year, it snowed so much, record levels. If it wasn’t for our family, your mommies would think about moving somewhere much warmer. We LOVE the sunshine!

We found out on February 10th from a blood test at the doctors office that we were pregnant with you.  We had to wait until March 4th to see your heartbeat at the doctors office.  Your mom sent me to the drugstore in the mean time to get pregnancy tests, just to keep making sure.  You see, you were something we both wanted so bad, for so long, it was unbelieveable. The day we went to hear your heartbeat your mom and I were so nervous.  We just wanted to make sure you had a strong, healthy heartbeat. AND YOU DID!

We went and watched your Uncle Matt compete in a chili competition at The North Market. He didn’t win, but I claimed him the fan favorite. All of the guests came up to the booth and raved that his chili was the best (he made it with a pinto bean cornbread on the side). He was robbed from the win! ūüėČ I even tried a bite of his chili, it was great! I’ve been a vegetarian since 2008, so this was a big step for me! Shhh don’t tell anyone!

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Oh I also had to get glasses! Age 34, my eyes have been bothering me for a little while, it turns out I had/have astigmatism in my right eye and am near sighted in both eyes (the right more than the left).

I wrote an article that got published in Fit Magazine. Columbus, Ohio’s new fitness magazine, it was the 3rd edition. The article was a review on a Jillian Michaels workout DVD. I love to write and would love to make a career of sorts out of it, I also really enjoy nutrition and fitness.

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I also got to meet Jillian Michaels on her tour to Columbus. She is one of my idols, along with Suze Orman, who I also got to meet.

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This pic was taken with Suze back on 3/16/2011, but I just has to add it ūüôā

We took Aunt Candice out to brunch at my FAVORITE restaurant North Star Cafe. We couldn’t wait to tell her we were expecting you. She has been through a lot with us, she is always on our side, routing for us. She is such an amazing and caring woman. You two will love each other and if you ever need to talk to anyone that’s not your mommies, please call her.

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We can’t wait to meet you!

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IVF – A prick and a prayer

As we began to hone in on the IVF – In Vitro Fertilization procedure, Kari was scheduled for a plethora of blood tests. We signed up to attend an “injection” class where we were taught how to properly aim extremely long needles into different skin injection sights (done on rubber stress balls at the time) for the hormone shots that were to be doled out daily.¬†Every mom-to-be left that class looking like they needed a strong drink, yet no one could indulge! Shortly after the class and a hefty pharmaceutical lab payment we received a large box!

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Yes that’s right. All of the meds for Kari’s procedure. It was getting REAL! We were of course excited and scared.¬†We really felt the pressure that so much was riding on this procedure. We tried not to think of the what if’s, we tried to stay positive and focus on good thoughts and living a stress free life. Tried was the key word, it wasn’t always perfect but we made it work.

Kari and I are blessed with amazing friends and family. My mom visited and Kari’s mom stayed with us for a few days¬†after the painful egg retrieval, they helped take care of our zoo of animals (2 dogs, 3 cats), bought goodies to us, and most importantly listened to us. Kari got REALLY swollen and was¬†very uncomfortable post egg retrieval. We were hoping for a super successful retrieval with a ton of eggs, but we soon realized the reason that Kari hadn’t had previous pregnancies was due to poor egg quality. Only 2 eggs were deemed acceptable. One didn’t multiply as much as expected and one was doing just fine. When we were ready for the transfer of the egg/s back into Kari 3 days later, we decided to put both back in just in case. The doctor didn’t feel confident that the smaller of the two was worth saving and freezing but we still wanted to use it.

Unfortunately with no eggs left to freeze (in ideal circumstances, there would be eggs remaining for use at a later date in the case of a negative result or an opportunity for another child) this meant we really needed this procedure to work! The cost of everything is really in the retrieval process so another attempt just wasn’t fees-able for us in the near future. After the transfer, our family support was in full swing. We had so many people praying for us it was incredible! The love and acceptance that we receive from our loved ones is more than anyone can ever ask for. We are forever grateful!

A few months prior,¬†my youngest brother Matthew and his girlfriend Aubrey found out they were expecting. This was a hard time for me. I was so happy for them and sad at the same time. So many emotions took place! On the night of the Kari’s transfer Matthew and Aubrey had their gender reveal party for their baby. I attended and was excited to find out if I was having a niece or a nephew. Kari couldn’t join due to a 48 hour period of bed rest. I just felt that it was so important to go share in their experience and joy and I had especially hoped that they would be able to share in ours a few moths later. Well it tuned out I will be an Aunt to a lil’ baby girl named Isabella Luna. I can’t wait for her arrival, due June 22nd!

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We had an excruciatingly long wait in the days leading up to a blood test to find out if we were pregnant or not. We were on edge and knew we were supposed to be relaxed and calm. There was nothing we could do but count the days and hope.

On the day of the blood test I remember Kari and I discussed that I would leave my phone on me all day. The anxiety level was in full swing. We were supposed to get a result by 2:00 pm. We both went to work knowing that if we stayed home we would pace the floors bare. By 1:45 I was a wreck, disheveled with a frazzled look upon my face. I went into my office to sit for a moment, I looked down at my phone, 1:52. What the Hell! Just then my work phone rang, I answered it and needed to take the call up front. I left my office and proceeded with the phone call. When I hung up the phone I realized the other line was ringing and the caller I.D. had Kari’s¬†name on it. I left my cell phone in the office, go figure! I answered, apologetically, time stopped abruptly and the world felt frozen. I heard Kari crying on the other end. I had a split second to expect the worse, but I didn’t, I just listened. Through trembling¬†tears ¬†I heard her softly say “it worked”. What, I said shaking like a leaf, she repeated it, “it worked were pregnant”. I started crying of course, I immediately left work to kiss and hug my wife in person. I called my mom, who¬†screamed like crazy, so did Kari’s mom when we called her next. It was an unforgetable experience, pure joy and amazement.

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After the initial blood test Kari had to get 3 additional blood tests to make sure the pregnancy was “sticking”. Everything went perfectly, the numbers increased as needed and we were moving right along. We had a fertility clinic ultrasound¬†scheduled to look for a heartbeat. And there it was, one amazing heartbeat. IT WORKED!

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Those days were nerve racking and scary and I certainly came close to fainting out of sheer nervousness a few times, but we did it. We stayed strong when we wanted to give up. We didn’t quit when the times were¬†more than difficult. It made us stronger and united. And we are now pregnant! Our precious baby is due October 18th 2014.

Here are some tips that we found and believed worked for us.

Pure whey powder Рafter the egg transfer, our fertility doctor read studies that it helped, not tasty, but worth the try. One scoop of the pure stuff, no weird steroid pump-you-up bells and whistles. You have to go to a specialized store for the raw kind.

Also the pineapple core method. There is a theory and a method to the pineapple eating madness. Here is a link:

http://www.fertilityafter40.com/does-eating-pineapple-with-bromelain-help-with-implantation-during-pregnancy.html

We tried to stay calm, I didn’t let Kari do any hard work. Which meant I shoveled this horrible winter’s snow and learned how to use a snow blower. Also during our 2 year fertility journey I have done all of the liter box cleaning (toxic chemical/cat liter disease).

Kari was mindful about what she ate, took prenatal vitamins and although this was the time when she really could have used a drink, she didn’t. She stayed away from harsh cleaning chemicals as well. She also hydrated with an increased intake of water.

The most important part of our experience was again the support, so many people routing for us, helped us to stay positive. Thank You to EVERYONE! We Love You!

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ONE YEAR LATER! If I knew then what I knew now‚Ķ I wouldn’t change a thing!

It has been ONE YEAR since my last post, I can‚Äôt believe it! I parted ways with this blog for some time due to FEAR. I was afraid it wouldn’t work, we wouldn’t get pregnant. So many IUI‚Äôs for Kari later, unexplained infertility and the emotional ups and downs were wearing me out. I didn’t want to build up a purposely unsuccessful entity, so I paused, with all intentions of resuming my passion and telling our story at a later date. Well it‚Äôs time! I was recently¬†re-inspired to share, and hopefully this blog will allow my child/children to understand the love they were created out of and the want that existed for him/her/them. Since the last post on 5/9/13 there has been a world of change. Kari has had¬†2 additional IUI‚Äôs held at the fertility clinic and 3 at home IUI‚Äôs. She had an HSG test and blood tests galore that showed no damn reason why she wasn’t getting pregnant. We decided I would begin trying to get pregnant and we began alternating in between my IUI‚Äôs at the fertility clinic and at home IUI‚Äôs for Kari. We happened to be able to time it out where there was a 2-3 day lapse where we would find out if I was (wasn’t) pregnant and we would try the at home IUI with Kari. I resulted in 3 unsuccessful IUI attempts, I was put on Clomid during my first shot, Kari still had Clomid in her system from her recent attempts, can you imagine our household?!.. Two women on this high hormone drug that makes you a bit of a raging lunatic. Not recommended! In hind site, maybe that‚Äôs what I would change! The most important ingredient to this whole experience‚Äôs recipe is SUPPORT! Without it you are lonely, you will feel crazy and the self doubt and blame will over power hope. Luckily Kari and I knew when the other was having¬†a bad day, we knew when to stay away, and when to talk more. It took time and there was no method, rhyme or reason. You just had to listen.

The waiting period was by far the most brutal, what’s that feeling, is it a pre-menstrual cramp, or is an egg attaching to uterine lining. Am I tired because I’m ¬†PMS’ing or because I’m pregnant. When you think you may be pregnant you do things differently, you drive slower, you REALLY look both ways. But after some time you can read every PMS sign to a tee,then you realize, it didn’t work, I know it. You make the dreaded I’m not pregnant, I just know it” ¬†phone call.¬†The other end of the line tries to convince positivity, and now you realize that you are not only that you are PMS’ing but also that you are not pregnant. Boy oh Boy are you pissed. Seriously I have to remind¬†myself¬†that we had an almost 2 year trail of these ups and downs and didn’t get divorced. WE ROCK!

I just finished watching all of our video recordings of the first 8 IUI procedures for Kari. I stopped video recording and taking pictures at IUI‚Äôs after that. I stopped blogging after that. I thought I had walked under the pregnancy curse ladder and a black no-pregnancy cat crossed our paths. Pictures and blogging were¬†bad luck all of a sudden. Going over the recordings you see hope, followed by wish, followed by a slight sense of desperation. We were slowly breaking. When¬†I began trying I was thrilled at the chance of success. After month #2 I was devastated, you see I‚Äôm a competitive person mixed with a high level of sensitivity and anxiety, I don‚Äôt do well with what I consider failure and I stress out easily. So I focused on what I thought I was doing wrong.¬†¬†Also I started running just prior to these IUI tries and liked it, so of course I tried to get a couple of very light slow miles in during the never ending 2 week waits¬†and when the IUI didn‚Äôt work, I blamed it on the 2 runs I took and (maybe?) shouldn’t have. And when I decided I would try yoga instead and the 3rd IUI didn‚Äôt take I though maybe I twisted to hard or stretched too long and ruined my shot. But when I stayed inactive I was miserable. Emotionally I was a wreck, Kari handled the entire procedure so much better than me. After try #3 our sperm order was out and money was just behind it. Kari works for a corporation that has great health insurance, I work for a small independent company that has so-so insurance. Since our fertility procedures were considered elective, mine covered nothing. Kari‚Äôs covered at least some of¬†the costs and my one month was equaling out to 2 tries for her. After some calculating we realized we could have had an IVF twice over by now. So I stopped. We decided to focus on Kari (who by the way was/is so eager to be pregnant) versus myself who was willing for the ultimate result, a healthy/beautiful little baby. We began working on the process of IVF.

A loan, a months wait (while on birth control pills, go figure) and a headache’s worth of bills and photo copies of endless instructions later Kari was scheduled for an egg retrieval and the procedure. We were going ALL IN!

Some pics from our multiple IUI’s

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It’s like building an outfit around a bracelet

8. 8. 8

8. That’s the number. How many times at this point Kari, my wife has tried to get pregnant. We have been cumulatively trying for 13 months now; we took a few months break at a point for some cocktails¬†and sanity. Not getting pregnant is heart breaking and difficult. It’s unfair! Kari swears it is the hardest thing she has and ever will go through. In upcoming blog posts I will talk more about our trying times, however, so I don’t end up posting a blovel (blog novel of course…) I’ll stay focused.

I remember when I was younger my friends would find it amusing that I would pick out a bracelet, a pair of sunglasses, or a necklace and then purchase an outfit around an accessory. Keeping in mind this was in a time when I had money to spend freely on accessories and outfits. Now all additional income goes to our¬†mortgage,¬†our savings account and a Roth IRA… ah ADULTHOOD. Anyways, it was kind of my thing! Pick out a beautiful teal bracelet and follow it up with a full outfit that matched it. Truly backwards from the norm… yes I realized this and accepted it. I thought that phase had long passed, until recently when I looked around and thought about the number 8. Also known as one full eternity, it most certainly feels like an eternity at least! But I realized I had been secretly purchasing small accessories for my ultimate outfit, a BABY! **Please believe this is just a euphemism, a lighter look at the sad subject of unsuccessful baby making. I’m not buying a mini pooch so I can carry it around in a cute bag over here. I’m¬†sarcastic and joking is a coping mechanism for me, so deal with it!**

Moving on… Let me show you some of the what I like to think of as the “I can’t wait to have the opportunity to become the perfect mommy’s montage”

How to make Animal shaped Cake Magazine Article

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Pregnancy Books Galore

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Charlie Brown Children’s Encyclopedia Collection

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I’m not stopping here either, I LOVE Pinterest, without needing to say it, I sure do have a Baby Ideas Board. Let me go there!

Seriously… How adorable!

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Almost perfect, just have to replace guy kissing girl with girl kissing girl ūüėČ

 New Baby Photo, perfect!

I’m so excited to do this!!!

Baby Shower Ideas!

So above is just a smidge of my bracelets if you will!

¬†Thinking about becoming a mother changes what my free mind time is spent contemplating, when I zone out while watching TV, when I’m driving, or when I’m pretending to listen to someone talk, I’m thinking about baby names, what our child will be like, look like,¬†will we teach them great values? Will we have a precious beautiful baby girl who is the sweetest daintiest little thing, or will we have a giggling little boy that loves to make monster noises and believes he is the coolest super hero ever? An obsession consumes you, along with an eagerness, an almost adrenaline pumps through my body when I think of the endless nursery options or baking cupcakes for my babies first birthday, making mother’s day gifts for my wife, holding and cuddling my baby, the thought is euphoric!

I remember telling my hair stylist who is also a lesbian and happens to do the hair of many lesbians in my community, when Kari and I were planning on starting a family how we talked and discussed and weighed every issue possible. We were at a point where we were jointly ready, excited, ecstatic about beginning the process of expanding our family. My stylist had named a few other couples who were either pregnant or still trying to have a child and I stated “Well it should happen in about 3 months, 6 tops, but I can’t imagine it taking that long”. I think about that sentence often,¬†I would currently pay double for life per hair appointment if I could retract that naive, foolish statement! 8 try‚Äôs, 13 months, I obviously had no clue what I was talking about! However I do know I have a jewelry box full of accessories yet nothing to wear…

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To don-or not to don-or

When we decided we were ready to start a family there were beyond plenty of topics to discuss.¬† First was timing, would there ever be a “right” time??? See, the thing about gay couples starting a family is… well there is no such thing as an accident, no pleasant surprise if you will, so planning comes in to play, and can lead to high anxiety. Do we wait until we feel we have saved enough money? What’s enough money? We are both in our 30’s so time is of the essence, the reproductive specialist we began working with in February of 2012 was sure to inform us of that factor. We both want to have a child, Kari was eager to go first and I am more than fine with waiting for my turn (due to my significant¬†white coat syndrome).

So next there were plenty of tests/blood work to ensure everything was fine and Kari was a healthy candidate for Intrauterine Insemination.¬†The¬†tests went great, we are almost there, last was picking the donor. This was an exciting yet stressful path. We discussed many options, there were willing friends, designated donors, we even discussed asking family members (not of the birth mothers of course). Figuring the DNA¬†of¬†one of my¬†sibling’s combined with Kari’s DNA¬†would be the closest that we would come to seeing what a baby would be like if we could have one together. We ultimately decided on using a donor, I mean seriously, imagine if I scolded my temper tantrum throwing toddler during Christmas dinner and all my brother could think of is hey, don’t talk to my kid like that…¬†things¬†could get extra¬†uncomfortable at Grandmas! Choosing¬†a donor¬†was by far one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made in our existence.¬† This is essentially the equivalent of choosing a life partner, minus the dating, wining & dining, conversations, and meeting what may be their deranged family. There’s no break-up if you don’t like their personality, family values, poor dental hygiene¬†or sleeping habits. This man that we pick to be the donor of our child will impact part of their life, his hereditary traits will follow the child, his looks will be a part of their looks, this decision is MAJOR!

After our personal preferences on standard features, (hair, eyes, height, ethnicity) were determined we had to figure out what health problems that the donor or their family has had/have would be permissible. This process took time, finally we narrowed it down to three finalists, we ordered their pictures and rushed to our email in-box, within seconds there they were; the possible 50% attribute of our future children. Contestant #1… I shriek, NO! I was disappointed he was not at all what I was expecting. “Ok well that was just the first one, open the 2nd”, I blurted with slight hysteria. “What” I screeched “Nooooo”. Frustration fell over us both. Kari huffed that with my extremely high standards, (which I like to refer to as finicky at best) that we will never find someone suitable. With just one picture left, we¬†hesitantly¬†double clicked,¬†we were relieved, we found our donor! He has everything we are looking for,¬†including good looks, phew… Yes!

We both feel secure in our choice, we feel lucky and blessed that we easily agreed on such a significant issue. Now we are ready!

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Our Introduction

The beginning: Kari and I fell in love! I’m Jenn, and I remember when I first noticed her, she moved into the apartment complex where I lived. I looked across the way… “Hey there’s a lesbian moving in” I stated, she’s hot (I thought). We ended up meeting through friends, we were dating other people, and ended up befriending each other. We both had crushes on one another but didn’t think the other would be interested… we were wrong. We started dating in Summer of 2009 and after some amazing/intimidating first dates, butterflies in your stomach experiences, patience and truly learning about the other we fell in love ‚̧ !

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During our 2nd annual trip to Hocking Hills, Kari proposed to me. I said yes of course! She asked me after a day of zip lining through the terrifying heights of the late summer trees, it was the first time I ever observed true fear from her (from the heights, not the proposal, though she was a little jittery for that as well). She is my rock, her strength is admirable and provides a safe feeling in a world of worries.

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We moved in with each other, vacated together, and eventually bought a house!

We married/”married” (as it is not yet legally recognized in Ohio) in July of 2011.

We have the most respectful and supporting family, and could not be any luckier. Our families are without a doubt genuinely thrilled that we found someone that makes us happy in this life, to them, nothing beyond that matters!

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After taking these paramount journeys together, we are eager to take the next step. We are ready to expand our family. We are choosing to share our experience with others, family, friends, etc. as well as to create memories.

Here is our story…

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2 Women, 1 Family, 1 Love, Our Experience.