Obsession.

We’re officially in our “two week wait” our first cycle trying again. As anyone who has TTC’d will tell you, these two weeks can feel like an eternity. While I know it’s too early to be feeling any symptoms, I also know it’s only a matter of days before the “mind fetus” starts messing with me. What’s a mind fetus? It’s all the crazy symptoms you swear you are having (nausea, food aversions/cravings, sore boobs, etc.), whether you are actually pregnant or not. The mind is a powerful thing. And it likes to eff with you whenever it gets a chance.

So, what’s the best way to try and avoid becoming obsessed over every symptom I may or may not be having these next two weeks? Find a new obsession, of course! And what’s my latest obsession? Oh, just a new house.

Whaa..?!

Now, anyone who knows all the work we’ve been doing on our current house right now is probably thinking I’ve lost my damn mind. In fact, as we “speak,” our entire upstairs is a construction site, our roof is partially opened up, we have giant holes in our kitchen ceiling with pipes poking through, and we have shower doors in our dining room. Yep, we’re in the middle of the bathroom addition that we’ve talking about forever now. We finally took the plunge. So far we’ve gotten the demolition, framing and plumbing done. We’re hoping to get the electrical done this weekend, drywall the next, an then we can start doing finish work like tiling and painting. With any luck we’ll be done by early March.

Don't mess with a chick with a sledge hammer.

But back to the new house… For a couple years now, I’ve had Redfin sending me listings of homes in the area we want to eventually move to. You know, just to keep an eye on the market. Not surprisingly, most of the stuff in our price range is just not quite right, and most of the stuff we love is out of our price range.

But then, a few days ago, a house popped onto the market as a short sale that is right in our price range and pretty much perfect. I remember seeing this house for sale by traditional means several months ago for WAY out of our price range. So, despite the fact that we’re up to our necks in home renovations on our current house, we’re actually entertaining the idea of making a move. Short sales take a long time to close, so we’ve got some time to wrap up our remodel and get our house ready to either sell or rent out. While we’re definitely dumping a lot of money into this bathroom remodel, we’re undoubtedly adding more value than we’re putting in, especially since we’re saving a lot of money by doing most of it ourselves. But even if we couldn’t sell this house for a profit in this market, to be honest, we’d be willing to price our current house on the low end for a quick sale, if it meant being able to get into this new house. Or, we might explore the possibility of renting out our house for a few years until the market improves, and then unloading it.

So here’s the new house. Isn’t it pretty? And look at that yard! The dogs will love it. I typically do not go for newer homes. I think they always look too cookie-cutter, and much prefer older homes with lots of character. D, on the other hand, prefers new homes. I think this just may be the perfect compromise, because it’s only six years old, but still has lots of character. Just look at that balcony, the shutters, the wood detailing and the stone entryway! There aren’t any photos available of the inside since it’s a short sale, but I distinctly remember seeing interior photos when it was traditionally listed before, and the inside is just as lovely. Hardwoods, French doors, undermount sink… it even has a dumbwaiter from the garage to the butler’s pantry for groceries! How cool is that? Plus, it’s huge. It’s twice the size of our current home, which means we have room to grow our family.

Did I mention I’m obsessed? Yeah, I’ve pretty much stalked this house from every public resource available (exhibit A: I snagged the bird’s eye photo above from Bing), including looking up public records and past sale history. D and I also drove by it last weekend. I even went as far as to look up school district information, and found out the elementary school our kids would attend is just around the corner. Walking distance! It makes me tear up to envision holding our little one’s hand and walking him/her to kindergarten. The high school is highly rated as well, and is part of the 4A KingCo athletic league, which means there would be lots of sports activities for our kids to get involved in when they’re older. Wow. I am really getting ahead of myself! But it’s really just about perfect. We’d never have any reason to move unless we decide to downsize some day after the kids are grown. Whoops, sorry. Getting ahead of myself again!

So the plan is to go see it this weekend. Since it’s a short sale, the real estate agent warned us it could be neglected or even abused, from a distressed owner. D and I are okay with some cosmetic issues since we’re used to doing home improvements and it might turn away competitive buyers who are looking for something more “easy.” After this weekend, if it’s everything we hope it is, we’ll sit down and crunch some numbers and see if there’s a way to make this happen.

So, while this whole two-week wait business isn’t totally off my mind, this house obsession is definitely overshadowing it for the time being. I really, really hope we can get this house, but even if we can’t, at least it was a nice distraction.

Giving thanks.

My earlier worries turned out to be unfounded, and I had a wonderful time with family at Thanksgiving. Truly a relief, and just what I needed after all the emotional turmoil we’ve been through these last few weeks. I think accepting a drink early in the day helped subtly establish right away that I was clearly not pregnant, which effectively squashed any questions before they could start. I did worry that someone would ask a seemingly innocent question about our plans for starting a family, but thankfully, the topic didn’t come up. Instead, we had a wonderful time, full of great food, games with the family and laughing to the point of tears on more than one occasion. I can’t even describe how good it felt to cry from laughter instead of sadness.

Today we had D’s dad and step-mom over for dinner. It was a bittersweet day, since we had originally invited them over with the intention of telling them about the pregnancy. We had told them we wanted them to see all the work we’ve done on the house. After losing the baby, we didn’t want to rescind the invitation, so we had to get through today with a smile, all the while painfully aware of what this day was supposed to have been. Despite this, we did have a very nice time with them, and it really was fun to show them everything we’ve done on the house.

Tomorrow is Apple Cup – another day that should be fun, but will carry with it the burden that it should have been more, because it’s the day we had planned to tell our friends about the pregnancy. I even bought a t-shirt that says “Future Coug” with an arrow pointing to the belly. Instead of wearing that shirt tomorrow, it will remain at the bottom of a drawer until who knows when. I know tomorrow will be a lot of fun, but I also know a part of me will be a little sad at the same time.

I suppose one of the downfalls of being such a planner is that when things don’t work out as I had planned, certain would-be milestones – like when we had planned to tell people – just become painful reminders of our loss. But despite the horrific past few weeks we’ve had, these past couple days have made me realize we truly do have much to be thankful for. I love my family. I have a wonderful husband who loves me and has been my rock through this whole ordeal. We have a home that we’ve worked hard to make something we can be proud of. And we have great friends who will undoubtedly make tomorrow a memorable day – even if it’s not the memory I had planned.

The waiting is the hardest part.

Today I am 9 or 10 days past ovulation. Probably too early to test, but has that stopped me from testing every morning for the last three days? Of course not!

Naturally, they were all negative. Even if I am knocked up, it probably won’t show up until at least 12-13 DPO. I am well aware of this. So why do I put myself through the torture when I know it’s probably too early? Because A) I am impatient; B) I am impatient; and C) I ordered myself a pack of 25 tests from Amazon for just $5. Considering most drug store brand tests are around $15 for a 2-pack, I’m not too worried about (literally) pissing my money away. Plus, although it’s pretty rare, I have heard of someone getting a positive test at 6 DPO, which means it could totally happen to me… right?

I just hate not knowing. I’m well aware it could take a while, so I’m okay if it doesn’t happen this month. I just want to know already.

So, just like last month, in order to (attempt to) keep my mind off things, I’m making a list of what I’m looking forward to if it turns out this isn’t our month.

  1. Hot Yoga. Um, yeah. You may recall this was also on last month’s list. I never did get around to going to any classes. But this time for reals…
  2. House projects! Again, more stuff that was on last month’s list. Specifically, this month I want to get the office/guest room finished, and I’d really like to paint the bookcase and futon frame (which we’re picking up tonight!). Both will have to be sanded and primed before painting, and I’d feel much better about doing those things without worrying so much about dust and fumes. If I’m feeling extra ambitious, I may also tackle painting or staining the coffee and end tables in our living room. We got new couches with dark wood accents and the lighter stain on the rest of the furniture doesn’t quite go. But again, this will require sanding down the old stuff, which could get messy. It’s looking like the second bathroom may have to wait until November, which, if this isn’t our month, will work out better anyway. If it is, I will just have to be careful about going up and down the stairs at night, or we may have to temporarily move to the guest room. Good thing we’re getting that finished now!
  3. Halloween. I love, love, love Halloween. And our friends are throwing their annual bash, which was so much fun last year. Not that being pregnant would prevent me from attending the party, but I’d have to be sneaky about the drinking part. Then again, even if this isn’t our month, Halloween will likely fall during next cycle’s “two week wait.” So I won’t want to party too hard. Even though my doctor says, “drink till it’s pink” – meaning, drink until that positive pregnancy test (you don’t start sharing anything with the baby until about 6 weeks anyway) – I have refrained from drinking excessively since we started trying. Of course, once I get that positive test, I will stop altogether. Bottom line, it’s much easier to nurse a beer for a couple hours in an attempt to not drink too much than it is to hide not drinking altogether!

I’ll probably keep testing every morning until I get a positive or a period – the beauty of Internet cheapies! Still have my fingers crossed for a positive test, but either way, I’ll know in a few days, which is a relief in itself.

D and me, last Halloween

Two of a kind, working on a full house…

It’s official. Today marks day one of the cycle we start “trying.” We sort of got a jump start on things by accident last month, and for a while I thought I might actually be pregnant. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world (and actually would have been exhilarating to be successful so fast!), but today I finally got my period and I must say, the relief of just knowing grossly overshadows any disappointment. Plus, with me being such a huge planner, I’m relishing in this opportunity to catch my breath, check some things off my list and really get ready for taking on the biggest change of our lives. So what’s on the agenda this month?

  1. Get healthy. Yes, part of this is motivated by my desire to use up my hot yoga Groupons while I can, but I also want to establish a habit of exercising regularly now, to make it easier to continue throughout pregnancy. In addition to cramming in as many hot yoga sessions as I can, while I can, I’m also vowing to eat better. Since the weather is still nice but it’s not too hot, it’s the perfect time of year for grilling chicken and veggies – delicious, easy and healthy. I’m also planning to cut out alcohol except for special occasions, and I’veĀ  weaned myself to just one cup of coffee each morning. Once I’m pregnant I’ll obviously cut out alcohol altogether and will probably reduce my caffeine intake even further – maybe go half caf. or attempt quitting coffee altogether? Now there’s a frightening thought!
  2. Spend more time with D. Obviously, this is sort of a necessary step, technically speaking! But besides the obvious, I just really want to make sure we’re connected and in a good place going into all this. Our crazy summer schedules mean we’ve been spending a lot of time apart lately, and the time we do spend together is usually spent zoning out in front of the TV after an exhausting day. We have a limited time left of just being the two of us – not to mention the “trying” process can start to get stressful if things don’t happen right away. I want to make sure our relationship stays strong as we go through this, as we’ll need each other.
  3. Step up the dog training. This is something that admittedly, we have not been as diligent about as we should. I love our dogs, but I will be the first to admit, they are not the most well-mannered creatures in the world, especially when it comes to people at the door. They usually settle down after our guests have been in the house for a few minutes, but they just get so excited when people come over, and they and jump all over them. It’s very obnoxious and something we’ve attempted to fix, but haven’t been very successful to date. To be fair, we’ve trained them not to jump on us, but we’ve had a hard time teaching them that those same rules apply to guests (dogs don’t generalize well). Lately we’ve just resorted to putting them outside when people come over and then letting them in after they’ve had a chance to calm down, but that’s not a good permanent solution and doesn’t really teach them anything. Ideally I’d like to train them to sit and wait and not rush the door when people come over, but I think the only way to do that will be to talk a friend into being a guinnea pig for us and coming over to practice. This is something I want to get under control before I’m as big as a house, and definitely before there are little ones in the picture. I also want to get them better about walking on a leash and not pulling (and helping Stewie to not be so reactive to other dogs) so I can one day walk dogs and baby together.
  4. Check some stuff off our house projects list. Starting this weekend, we’ll be getting new hardwoods in the entryway, back bedroom, stairs and upstairs hallway. Those stairs will be pretty slippery when done, though, so we’ll want to get a runner down soon for those midnight bathroom trips. In early October, we’ll add a bathroom upstairs, therefore eliminating midnight trips up and down the stairs altogether. In the meantime, another project includes repairing the ceiling in our kitchen. A few months ago, we (well, I) ripped down some ugly ceiling tiles only to find the condition of the ceiling underneath to be even worse than the tiles (probably why the tiles were there…). I’m also in the process of turning our downstairs bedroom (that we use for an office) into a combination office/guest room, since the guest room upstairs will have to become the nursery eventually. Plus, with the new floors going in this weekend, now was as good of a time as any to get rid of the big corner desk and convert our closet into a more space-efficient office nook. The other big project I want to take care of before winter is repaving our driveway, as it’s in pretty poor shape – a sprained ankle waiting to happen.

It should be a pretty busy month, but as busy as it is, I am hoping to stop and and savor this time in our lives and not take anything for granted. Things are about to change forever, and while I’m very much looking forward to this next step, I am so glad we took the time to be just us two (well, plus the dogs) for 7 and a half years. At least no one can accuse us of rushing things!

The best laid plans…

As I mentioned previously, since we had my IUD removed a month earlier than planned, we were going to be careful for a month before trying. Well… let’s just say we weren’t very diligent about that plan just once, and that “just once” ended up being on the day I ovulated. What do they say about the best laid plans again? Anyway, here I am, 6 days post-ovulation, wondering… could I be? No way. Maybe? Highly unlikely. But still possible. On the one hand, if we had been trying, the timing would have been great. But on the other hand, due to my short luteal phase, I’m fully anticipating this taking a while. Besides, who gets pregnant on the first month, anyway, let alone the first “time?” It takes the average healthy couple 6 months, and I know many who have tried for much longer.

It doesn’t help that I’m an admitted hypochondriac. I’m seriously over-analyzing every potential symptom, logically knowing that even IF I were, it would probably be too early to be exhibiting symptoms, anyway (although a blogger I occasionally follow got a positive pregnancy test at 6 DPO). I promised myself I wouldn’t over-analyze, yet here I am. Again, best laid plans, right?

Admittedly, most of my “symptoms” are similar to what I feel each month as my period is approaching. Mother Nature is a cruel beast, as the same hormone that surges when you are pregnant (Progesterone) is also what dominates your luteal phase as you approach your period, so the symptoms can be nearly identical. However, the one thing I’ve never experienced before that I just noticed this morning is a sudden heightened sense of smell. For some reason when I came downstairs this morning to feed the dogs, I got a whiff of what smelled distinctly like urine (eeewww). The dogs are both housetrained and we have brand new carpet, so I have no idea where it was coming from, but there it was. I also felt a little nauseated later this morning, but admittedly that was after I started to obsessively over-analyze the smell issue. The mind can be very powerful and I am trying to keep a level head about this, knowing that once I psych myself into thinking I have symptoms I will likely start noticing even more.

So, to keep myself sane until Wednesday (when my period will either have arrived or be officially late), I’m making a list of all the things I have to look forward to if I’m not knocked up. In theory, whether I am or not, I’ll be excited, right? Either excited to have literally gotten pregnant on the first try and to not have to go through the stress that months (or years) of trying can bring… or excited for the following:

  1. My future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party on the 17th, followed by my brother’s wedding on the 24th. The wedding was originally one of our primary reasons to wait until September. As I mentioned before, me at a social event without a drink in my hand is highly suspect — especially at a bachelorette party where the entire event pretty much revolves around booze. I would have to pull off some pretty sneaky stuff to fake drinking that night and not raise suspicions (we won’t be sharing the news with anyone until we’re out of the first trimester).
  2. Also booze-related: drinking one of our special bottles of wine. We have a couple nice bottles that we’ve been saving for a special occasion. I think this journey we’re about to embark upon is pretty much the epitome of a special occasion. And since we can’t exactly toast to a positive pregnancy test, it would be nice to share one last nice bottle of wine before giving it up for 9 months (or longer, depending on breastfeeding). Plus, one of our nice bottles is called “Penetration” from the Naked Winery where we went on my 30th birthday. Fitting, yeah? (giggle)
  3. Hot yoga. I bought some Groupon deals for hot yoga and still have 19 sessions left to use up. They expire in a year. Exercise is safe during pregnancy, but hot yoga raises your body’s temperature, which is a no-no. Same reason pregnant women should avoid hot tubs. So I’m hoping to use up some of those sessions prior to getting knocked up. It would also be great to lose a couple pounds and get in better shape NOW (to make getting back in shape after delivery easier). So if this turns out to not be our month, I’ll make it my personal mission to use up as many of those hot yoga sessions as I can, while I can.
  4. More time to get house stuff done — specifically, the second bathroom we’re planning to add. One of the main reasons for adding the bathroom in the first place was because I don’t want to be falling down the stairs in the middle of the night once I’m getting up multiple times to pee. From what my friends have told me, that starts only a few weeks in. If this is our month, I’ll have to be careful when going up and down the stairs, but at least I won’t be so big I can’t see my feet for a quite a while. Still not ideal, though, so if it isn’t our month, we’ll have more time to get the bathroom done before I really need it. Plus, I’ll probably be more help building the actual bathroom, if I’m not so worried about fumes or dust or heavy lifting.
  5. Work. That may sound like a strange thing to look forward to, but hear me out. Work has been a bit slow lately, and I’ve been at my current job less than a year. Consequently, I don’t feel like I’ve been able to really prove what I can do. I’m just sort of plugging away, and while I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t feel like I’m wowing anyone, either. I had hoped to achieve that wow factor before announcing that I’ll be leaving for a while. Even though I am fully planning on coming back to work after maternity leave, the reality is, I will still be taking a large chunk of time off. While I know my coworkers will be happy for me, I also know that leaving for a significant amount of time puts a bit of a burden on those left behind, especially in a small company like ours. Another month or two would give me a bigger window to reach certain accomplishments and better solidify my value. Ugh, why do men have it so easy? I know D doesn’t lie awake at night wondering how a baby will affect his career.

So there’s my list for now: booze, more booze, yoga, house and work. That’s a lot to look forward to if this isn’t our month. And if next month isn’t our month either, then I’ll probably make another list. I think giving myself something to look forward to each cycle will help keep me sane, upbeat and distracted from the wait.

Now, I have a headache. Resisting the urge to google whether that’s a pregnancy symptom…

Our house…

Our cute little houseis a very, very, very fine house. It’s an adorable turn-of-the-century craftsman, just 15 minutes from my office downtown, 5 minutes from the beach and close to all kinds of fun shops, restaurants and pubs. It’s got the perfect little fenced-in yard where our dogs can run and play, and where I can grow vegetables. Or at least try to. I’m still learning.

But I’ll be the first to admit it’s not where I pictured starting our family. When we bought this house more than five years ago, it was always only meant to be a starter house. We figured we’d stay for 3-5 years, build some equity, get more established in our careers (i.e., make more money), and then buy something bigger and better.

And then the real estate market tanked.

Suddenly we were faced with the reality that not only would selling our house not net us enough equity to trade up, but that once we factored in real estate costs, we could end up even owing money on the home. So we made the decision to stay put and ride out the recession. While it’s disappointing, I realize we are so much more fortunate than many out there. We’re not in danger of losing our home to foreclosure, and the fact that we’re both making quite a bit more money now than when we first started out means we have some flexibility to do some home improvements and make the most of what we’ve got.

Now that we’re starting to whisper the “B” word around the house, we’re realizing just how much we have to do to prepare our house. It’s amazing how something so small can completely turn your entire house upside down. For starters, we’ll need a second bathroom. Currently, our master bedroom is upstairs and our one and only bathroom is downstairs. It’s something we’ve learned to live with, but will NOT fly once I’m pregnant. Everyone says you have to pee a lot, and the idea of waddling down our narrow staircase in the middle of the night when I’m at the point where I can’t see my feet anymore sounds a bit dangerous. Especially since I’ve fallen down those stairs before in a half-asleep stupor. Something tells me falling down stairs is probably not good for the baby.

As long as we’re calling a plumber out for the bathroom, I’ve always wanted a utility sink for the laundry room, especially since I plan on cloth diapering. Come to think of it, we’ll probably want a high efficiency front-loading washing machine. Even if we didn’t cloth diaper, I have heard you’re pretty much doing nonstop laundry, so now seems like as good of time as any to upgrade. Did you know they use about 1/3 less water than regular washers? Amazing.

Obviously, the baby needs somewhere to sleep, so, what is currently our guest bedroom will become the nursery, since it’s right next to the master bedroom. Which means the guest bedroom will have to move downstairs to where the office currently is. And since that’s the end of the line for bedroom musical chairs, our guest bedroom and office will have to share a space. There won’t be room for our huge computer desk AND a queen size bed, so we’ll probably have to downgrade to some space-saving furniture for both functions, like a futon or sofa sleeper and a smaller desk. I actually saw a great space-saving office idea on one of my favorite blogs, Better After. I like the idea of being able to close off the office portion of the room so guests don’t feel like they’re sleeping in the office. And with the futon or sofa sleeper instead of a real bed, we won’t feel like we’re officing in the guest room. Not an ideal situation either way, but we’re going to have to make do with the space we have. Let’s just hope the real estate market turns around before we event start thinking about baby #2, as we’re already going to be pushing the limits of our itty bitty house!