The Broad Museum and Toddlers

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I’ve been wanting to visit the Broad Museum for some time now.  It’s not the most convenient of museums to go to, but it’s new, free, and has the Infinity Mirrored Room (which everyone knows is perfect for a selfie).  While  I loved the Broad, I’m going to suggest that if you are going to bring an active toddler with you…just DON’T!

First of all, you have to reserve tickets to go to the museum for a set time, and everyone knows toddlers will be cranky for any event that you decide to plan at a specific time.  We hopped online the day tickets became available a month before our visit and surprise surprise, all the good times had sold out by the time our page refreshed.  So we were left with a 4pm time slot.  For those of you who don’t know, 4pm is before dinner and basically wild rumpus time.  “But surely the amazing architecture and impressive collection will intrigue your toddler,” you may be saying to yourself.

Toddlers don’t give a crap about cool architecture or artwork.  In fact they are likely to be scared by creepy paintings and traumatized by violent and/or sexual images.  Which they were.  Roro not so much, but her 3 year old buddy was definitely affected by the images in the collection.  While I’m not a fan of sheltering your child, I will say to come prepared to explain A LOT of things.  While one toddler was being emotionally traumatized, the other (Roro) was really digging the cement floor.  She dug it so much, that she decided to plop herself face down on the floor in the middle of each gallery room and pretend to sleep.  Yes, my friends, she was so into the art she wanted to snooze.  When I tried to pick her up, she turned floppy (parents of toddlers, you know what I’m talking about).  What came next was lots of mom sweating and avoiding eye contact with other museum goers.

Toddlers also don’t care about rules.  Mine kept trying to touch sculptures and stand on their pedestals.  She also doesn’t follow social norms and will just cozy up to strangers browsing on their phones in the middle of the museum.  If said stranger ignores her, she will try to be really cute and giggle.  This is more embarrassing for me than her, as she has no idea she’s being rejected, but I am fully aware that the hipster before her has no interest in children.

So, what was the best part, you ask? OUTSIDE. There was a green lawn outside of the museum and all the kids were just running around.  Roro liked that.

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I’d LOVE to go back to the Broad to contemplate the works and themes of the gallery, but I’m gonna wait til I have a babysitter next time.

P.S. Infinity Mirrored Room selfie was foiled by toddler fears of small dark rooms.

The Broad

221 S. Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

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And, Breathe…

Oh, hi…So, remember when I said that FET 2 was canceled, and then it wasn’t? And then we did the transfer? Well, I wish it had just been canceled like I thought, because it would have spared me a lot of grief and one perfectly healthy embryo.  I think the grief part I can handle, the worry, the stress.  It’s the part where we lose an embryo–a potential child, that I can’t get over right now.

The wounds are still fresh, we only found out yesterday that the sticky little guy didn’t take.  Right now I’m a mixed bag of emotions.  Be careful what you say to me because I may cry, scream, or just stare at you blankly.   I’m sad that  we’ll never get to meet the would-be baby, but relieved we still have 3 more frozen.  I’m scared that the other three won’t stick around for the long haul.  I’m confused as to whether we should ship our frozen embryos down to California and find a new doc.  I’m so incredibly grateful that I’m mom to one amazingly strong little embryo that DID stick around and turned into a beautiful and joyful toddler.  The thought of my amazing Roro is what brings me to tears.  It’s like an overwhelming sense that we were so lucky to get that chance, while at the same time mourning the wonderful kids that we may never get to know.

It feels greedy to want more than one child now, but I can’t help it.  I love being Roro’s mom, LOVE it!  I think for now, I need to wrap myself in that comforting truth, and breathe…

OOPS, My Bad (FET 2 Update)

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This picture of me, so serene and relaxed, it is not at all representative of what’s happening in my brain.  Sure it was taken yesterday, 4dp5dt (4 days post a 5 day transfer), but it was literally 5 minutes of being still.  Let me rewind…

You remember when I said FET 2 was canceled bc my body wasn’t cooperating?  Well that was the day before I got the results of my last ultrasound to check my lining.  I guess with that extra Estrace, my body caught up after all.  I’m obviously a pessimist.  So, I think I was too embarrassed to admit that I had jumped the gun, and avoided the topic.  Wanted to wait until my Beta day (the day they confirm you’re pregnant/ Or NOT) to share that I had made a big mistake, and was now miraculously pregnant! Or it would be negative, and I wouldn’t have to share any news at all.  But, being the hot mess that I am, I can’t wait ’til next week to share that I’m going INSANE!!!

I thought it would have helped that I had been through this whole waiting game before, but it kind of makes things worse.  I look back at the notes I kept after our first Embryo Transfer and see that by now I’d be having cramps and fatigue.  I have no cramps, and I’m pretty much always fatigued, so that means nothing.  I mean, I had two sharp pains 2dp5dt, but that’s way too early right?  See…crazy town! And I still have a week of this!!!

It doesn’t help that the transfer did not go smoothly, and the doc had to insert the catheter twice because little embryo was super sticky and wouldn’t come out.  It didn’t reassure me that a tech in training couldn’t get a good view on the screen and I was basically holding my breath  in pain  and anxiety until I started feeling like I might pass out on that transfer table.  My only solace is that this little guy/girl was so eager that it already started hatching (unlike Ro), and I’m hoping it was so sticky that it’s now lodged nicely in my fluffy lining.  I know I’ve been waiting for this little one to make it safely home.  I hope s/he decides to stay a while.  Feast your eyes on this eager embryo:

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Chicago Part 1: Millennium Park

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For our first big trip with toddler, we decided to head to the Windy City! The flight seemed a tolerable length (4 hours) and it has great public transit (we didn’t want to bring a carseat with us), not to mention the deep dish! We also have some friends from Chicago who were more than willing to make a list of all the must-sees and must-eats, making it less daunting to try and plan.

We stayed in Chicago for 4 days and 3 nights so it was important to us to stay somewhere central to many of the city’s attractions, but also close to public transit in case we wanted to stray to a different area for a day.  We also needed to have a suite with a proper door that separates the bedroom from the living area so that we could stay awake after putting Ro to bed.  These are essential for us, though she ended up in our bed after 2 am each night anyway.  One of the best bargains is the Embassy Suites.  Not only do they have completely separate living areas, they also provide a crib (for free!), offer nightly guest reception aka happy hour (Ro ate their alfredo pasta for dinner one night and loved it!), free wifi for Honors members, and a great AAA discount.  We stayed at this one:

Our first full day we decided to hit up none other than Chicago’s Millennium Park.  It was so much fun! First of all, it had the most epic splash pad I’ve ever seen.  Not only was the walk on water part huge! But the water falls were gigantic, and of course the city skyline and tree top backdrop was so picturesque.

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See that wall–with the face? That’s Crown Fountain (btw that face changes to different faces of the people of Chicago and is a work of public art) every once in a while the mouth with spew water and the top of the wall would be an enormous waterfall.  That’s what all the kids were waiting for.  After Ro was thoroughly drenched, we headed to the Bean.

The Bean is more formally known as Cloud Gate, and is basically a great way to spend forever taking pictures.  All the kids seemed to love finding their reflections and looking at their distorted selves.

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On our way back, we stumbled upon Maggie Daley Park. Which was THE most amazing park for kids.  If you ever find yourself in Chicago with a kid, definitely spend an afternoon here.  If we had known about it, we would have spent more time here, but by the time we made it Ro was a tired mess.  There were so many imaginative spaces and splash pads for the little ones.   It made me wonder why a great city like LA doesn’t have a park that compares to this one for littles.

That was basically our first day in Chicago, of course we ate pizza for dinner, but that post demands it’s own title.  More to come…

National Ice Cream Day

Some genius decided to give every junk food its own day of the year, and people bought it.  Give anyone an excuse to buy a donut or an ice cream cone, and every glutton out there is all over it–including me!

Sunday was National Ice Cream Day and while I prefer a snow cone (when is that getting it’s own day?) I played along for the sake of my husband and daughter.  I know this sounds bad, but I kind of love giving my daughter sweets.  We avoided them for so long, and now that she’s almost two, I feel a treat every once in a while is not so bad.  The joy that a lick of ice cream gives her is so simple and contagious.  Maybe I’m setting her up to be a diabetic, but I can’t stop!  This face:

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It was her first strawberry ice cream, and I dare say she liked it as much as chocolate and vanilla.  Disclaimer: We did not let her eat that entire “kid” sized scoop.  Mama ate most of it, though it was tricky getting her to share.

I look forward to the next National Junk Food eating day, and if anyone knows when snow cones get the recognition they deserve, please let me know.

FET #2

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It’s no secret, Ro is our rainbow baby.  After two IUI’s & 3 IVF’s, we finally got our rainbow.  I don’t know why, but I just assumed that trying for baby 2 wouldn’t be as hard as the first time around.  We already had embryos so there was no stimulation phase (this seemed to be the worst since my body never made enough eggs, which in turn led to no embryos, and therefore no transfer).  The first and only transfer we did worked! I just assumed getting to skip all those first steps would lead to a second rainbow much more quickly.

Well, here we are at failed FET #2.  Thankfully, our embryos all are still stored away, but we have been through two unsuccessful stimulation cycles.  The first of course was natural (the way Ro was conceived) and the second/current one is medicated. In case you want to know the gory details: I basically started bleeding this weekend; which means instead of building lining to prep for an embryo, my body despite all the medication telling it to do otherwise, started shedding lining. At this point I’m afraid to ask what next steps are.  I’m kind of leaning toward trying another natural cycle.  There are a lot more doctor’s appointments involved, but less drugs.  I’m starting to trust my body a bit more, and I’m trying to relax about the whole process which will hopefully help. The first cycle I was so adamant about not bringing Ro to any of my appointments that it caused a lot of stress to try to find childcare.  This time around I brought her to my appointments and she was so patient and cooperative (as patient as any one and a half year old could be).

With this next cycle I want to make a few changes to my approach to life, which I hope will better my odds of this working out:

  1. Sleep More – I’ve been getting 6-7 hours a night and I just think that’s not enough.  I’m going to try and sleep by 10 every night.  That should guarantee a good 7-8 hours if I can just control my bladder at 3 am.
  2. Prioritize the Cycle – I’m a big people pleaser, and I tend to make plans with people and then get super stressed out about flaking due to last minute ultrasounds or bloodwork appointments.  I’m not going to stress this time around.  Sure, I have some plans with friends, tickets to big events, but I’m not going to try to figure out how I can make it all work with the timing of my cycle.  I’m just going to let it go.  So if I have plans with you in the coming months–I’m sorry.
  3. Let Things Go – I tend to overanalyze everything, especially when it comes to friendships.  I’m not going to do that.  Easier said than done–I know.  But every time I start replaying a situation in my mind, I’m going to intercept it with thoughts of a beautiful baby.

Now all I need to do is cross my fingers and build some lining.

She’s Got Rhythm

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Moms these days can’t get away with hanging out at home with their toddlers.  They’ve got to enroll their kids in class after class lest their 1 year old fall behind somehow.  I always thought this was a silly notion.  Hey, let kids be kids and experience boredom and creativity of their own devices.  But after seeing toddler after toddler walk sooner, talk sooner, I start to wonder, maybe these classes ARE important.  Needless to say, we’ve experimented with a class here and there to see what appeals to Ro and nothing has had me convinced I need to sign up ASAP.  She wasn’t into the gym classes, she was bored with the music class we tried, and I was about to give up on the search until I found dance.  Yes, unlike mommy, my child is a dancer!

I really should have known, since she can’t control her body movements when she hears a good beat.  Even during story time at the library, when she hears a song that speaks to her she’ll be the only toddler up and grooving.

So when a friend told me about Creation Station in Studio City, I signed up for a trial class.  I fully expected some meltdowns and Ro walking to the door with her shoes to signal “time to go” (she does this in every class we’ve been to).  To my surprise, she was smiling (actually smiling!) the entire class and even waited her turn and followed directions.  THIS NEVER HAPPENS.  The teacher was kind but stern which I appreciated (and may have helped).  She did the whole class eagerly and by the end I was convinced.  Where do I sign up?

It really convinced me that my child has her own interests even at such a young age.  I truly believe it is our job to expose our child to lots of different activities, and when you find one they love, pursue it.  I’m hoping I can be open and understanding of Ro’s interests as she gets older too.  Truth be told, I’m glad she’s into dancing right now, because it’s freaking adorable to watch a bunch of 1.5 year olds dancing around with jazz hands.

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#StartAsking National Infertility Awareness Week

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There was a time when I thought I’d never hold this tiny hand in my own.  I was beaten down by fertility treatments that weren’t working, a body in chronic pain from endometriosis, and a mental state that was fragile from disappointment and hormone therapy.  Even though we are now parents, the scars of infertility still show.  They show when I hear of another pregnancy announcement from fertile couples, or when we feel selfish for wanting a second child (the road to which may be just as rocky as the 3 year journey to our first).

Though it seems I’m throwing myself a pity party here, I’m actually here to tell you we are pretty lucky as infertiles go.  My husband used to work in a hospital and our insurance was amazing.  All of our fertility medications for the first 4 ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) procedures were covered.  That’s thousands of dollars! The procedures themselves only cost around $10,000 and that’s a steal compared to most other clinics.  I realized this when we moved to a different situation and had to pay for everything out of pocket and the cost was closer to $20,000.  Now, in trying to conceive baby 2 we’ve already spent $6,000 and that’s just the first try.  If we didn’t happen to be in a financially stable situation, our dreams of having a family would most certainly be dashed.  I can only imagine how hard it would be to make that decision of having to dip into retirement funds or a mortgage to basically gamble on the chance of having a child.

You may be asking yourself, “Why not just adopt?” Yes, I was there once too.  I had given up all hope of having a baby that shared my genes, and was ready to welcome a baby that needed a home and loving family into my heart.  Then I looked into the logistics.  It was completely overwhelming, not to mention expensive (even more expensive than IVF in some scenarios).  I was paralyzed by all the legal hoops you had to jump through to adopt a baby and gave up.  *Although, if you choose foster a child first, it may be more affordable.  But then you also risk having to say goodbye to the child if s/he is returned to their birth parents.

So, if you know someone going through fertility treatments or adoption, and chances are you do since 1 in 8 of us deals with these issues.  Be kind to them.  The process is overwhelming financially, physically, and emotionally.  Maybe you don’t quite get it, but sometimes all they need is an empathetic ear and a hug.

To learn more about infertility and how to help spread awareness visit Resolve.org. Because really, we need to change how insurance covers infertility.

 

 

 

Letting Go of FOMO

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FO·MO
ˈfōmō/

noun

informal
  1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
    “I realized I was a lifelong sufferer of FOMO”

Even before social media, I’ve had this problem.  Always wondering if my best friends were leaving me out of some fantastic event, if they liked someone else better, or if I was some kind of social pariah.

I’m not sure where this insecurity began, but I’m trying to stop it now as a 30 something year old woman.  You’d think it would be easy, but as the definition states, social media just exacerbates the problem.  Like Mindy Kaling, I’m often wondering “Is everyone hanging out without me?” It started in high school as, “Did I get invited to that party?” It continued in college as, “Who else traveled abroad without me?” Then in my late twenties it was, “Everyone can have a baby except me!?!” And now it’s cycled back to, “Why wasn’t I invited?”

It’s the weirdest phenomenon because I love staying home or exploring the city as a trio.  My best friend is honestly my husband (he knows my crazy like no one else).  But, when I see or hear of friends doing something without me, it sends me into a spiral of overthinking and analyzing every thing that could have gone wrong in our friendship.  (Told you I was crazy)

I’ve noticed that it really does give me anxiety, make me irritable and distracted.  And I’ve decided, it’s just not worth it.  I know which of my friendships are lasting.  I know what I have is more than plenty.  The FOMO is seriously blinding me and keeping me from enjoying the life in front of me.  This realization came after I stumbled across an Instagram account of a mom/designer/blogger who had recently passed away leaving two very young children and a loving husband behind.  It made me think that this picture perfect family (that I’d probably envy if I knew of her account earlier) was so impermanent.  It made me realize that my own life with those dear to me is so precious that I need to be more grateful of it each and every day! So instead of wondering, “What are  they doing now?” I’m going to try and think, “Looks like they’re having fun, so am I!” How Zen.

 

Family Fun: Franklin Canyon

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Looking for a fun place to take a stroll and escape city life for a breather? Want to go on an easy hiking trail (nature walk) or even just a stroll around a lake?  Well, look no further! Franklin Canyon is a perfect spot to do just that.  Not only are there tons of ducks, turtles, and fish, there are also lots of trees to keep your explorations shady and cool in the scorching San Fernando Valley.

I’ve been here a handful of times with Ro, and each time I’m reminded of what a perfect retreat this place is for the both of us.  She’s at that age where she can’t quite manage a hike with me without toppling over the edge of a cliff, but she’s also too big to be carried in the Beco carrier for too long.  The ponds full of ducks and turtles are perfect to walk around and take in a little nature.  Here’s one of the many large turtles you’ll see sunning themselves in the reservoir:

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If you come at the right time of year you’ll see some amazing varieties of ducks in the Heavenly Pond.  We were here in February and were lucky enough to see some Wood ducks, Mallards, a very freaky looking Muscovy duck, and a really pretty tan and white duck.  Who knew there were so many types? It’s almost enough to make me want to get into birding.

The Heavenly Pond is probably my favorite spot at the park.  There are picnic tables, and benches for reflecting, and the kids love walking around it and watching the animals swim around. Added bonus: you can get some pretty heartwarming pictures of baby friends having fun.

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It’s only 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Ventura Blvd. which makes it the perfect escape from the noise of the daily grind.  If you don’t have a toddler with you and have a chance, check out one of the many trails at the park.  We’ve done the Discovery trail with  baby in a carrier, and it was a nice little hike that was totally doable.  So, what are you waiting for, pack up your family and get moving!franklincanyon