Tag Archives: help

Learning Language in Toddler Time

Language development is one of the most intriguing things I can think of.  I remember as a young child sitting in history class, maybe in sixth or seventh grade listening to my teacher teach on some ancient civilization.  I remember it because of the un-thought out question that I had.  The statement was made that the civilization did not have a written language.  Before the teacher could explain further my hand sprung up and I was called on to ask “if they did not write things down, how did they communicate?”  Yes I very un-thought out question.  Being able to communicate is the the same thing as being able to write.

Read more here: http://www.oaksacorns.com/baby-puzzle/learning-language-in-toddler-time


Two Will Become One, Most Likely?

At the end of April Cheryl and I had our monthly visit by our case workers for both of our kiddos.  The workers had agreed to both meet at the same time because they were coming from the same office and would be able to use the car pool lane in rush hour traffic.  It worked well for us also because it combined two meetings into one.

The monthly visits are for the purpose of the workers having contact with the kiddos.   They can see them in Cheryl and I’s home and also so they can ask about the progress of the kiddos.  There is a form of questions that we go through and by this point we know the questions that will be asked so things run pretty smoothly.  The worker for our younger kiddo went first.  Everything has been progressing well for her and the conversation went quickly.  Then the worker for our older kiddo’s worker went and we reported the same type of progress we had seen in past months.

At the end, the older kiddo’s worker told us that by the end of May he would be going to live with relatives.  The worker told us that she did not have more details for us, but that she would let us know as the time got closer.  It is good news for him as it is a mid-step back to his home.  As always, it is hard on Cheryl and I.

In the last two weeks, we have heard no further news about when the transfer will happen.  We understand that the logistics take a lot to hammer out and that it all does not happen overnight.  Still, it is hard to feel like we are an afterthought to the communication loop.

On a side note, our kiddo who went to live with his dad in early April will be coming over this weekend to visit.  We had hoped he could visit for his sister’s birthday, but schedules did not work out.  We are excited because our now oldest placement still asks where his playmate is and when he might see him.  Transitions are so hard for these kiddos.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day!

A Valentine Mix-Up

Cheryl and I are involved in a number of things in our community both professionally and within the community at large.  Much of the time we are able to be a part of these groups within the context of our day, while the kiddos are at day care or while one of us is able to be at home with them as the other is not.  When the community group involves both Cheryl and I we have two options 1)’ making sure it is family friendly and we all go 2) finding care takers to take the kiddos for the time.  When it is the second option it is not as easy as picking up the phone and asking this family member or that close friend because the care givers have to have a minimal amount “security clearance”.

One such event (with option two) is coming up this weekend, yes over Valentine ’s Day.   Knowing of our needs Cheryl and I asked our licensing agency to help us find respite care way back at the end of December.  We had all the kiddos scheduled to go to our usual home.  About a week and a half ago our licensing agency emailed us telling us that the family we had scheduled with were no longer available and we were out of luck.

What did that mean for Cheryl and I?  Scramble time.

With only about two weeks before a Friday evening, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday what type of person could we ask?  That short of notice over a weekend when something special is going on we will have to ask someone to re-arrange their plans.  So to answer the question we could only ask people who we thought would be forgiving that we would ask on such short notice and would still be willing to help out.  We reached out to our Engaged Encounter group (the community group we will be involved in this weekend), however because of the specialness of the weekend all group members are in the same boat as we are, helping with the weekend.  After them we had a short list of people and finally found our saving couple Crystal and Scott Bott who, because of the job backgrounds, meet the “security clearance” and were wonderful enough to rearrange their time so we can be there for 30 engaged couples.

One large topic that I don’t think Cheryl or I talk about enough on here is the need for personal and community time.  As we have gone through our baby puzzle journey some times that need gets pushed to the back burners.  There is always another diaper to change, another sippy cup to fill, another boo-boo to kiss, another dirty front room to clean up, another load of laundry to put over, another sink full of used bottles to scrub, another banana to slice, but there is only one full time partner through it all.  For those of you on your own baby puzzle journeys (no matter where you are) take some time to remember that all parts of your relationships, your mommy roles, and daddy roles all need a little bit of nurture and care for.

And if I did not say it enough THANK YOU CRYSTAL AND SCOTT

Thanks for reading.


This afternoon I left work as normal. Drove the distance from my work to Cheryl’s work to pick up her car so I could pick up the kiddos from daycare. Then drove to daycare and home. There is an art to getting three children into the house all at once without having to many fussyness.

Dogs fed… and changed into comfy clothes. Little lady is not enjoying her swing. How about tummy time? No? Really? Wet diaper… no? Oh you just want to rock. Luckily the two boys love playing, I can accommodate a good rock. My phone gently buzzes as I rock, rock, rock. “I am leaving in two minutes,” Cheryl reports. Yes a new worker all ready on the case is coming tonight. A few more sentences and … “Cheryl I need to go.” The younger of the two boys is on the floor crying. Looks like he slipped off his push bike.

15 minutes until our appointment. I know… let get dinner started. Juice… yes works like a charm for those tears. The two boys are on a BRAT diet still. Toast started. Fruit slice, slice, slice. A little turkey (not part of the BRAT but the doctor told us to add it in). Everything on the plate and served. Let me make a bottle, just in case the youngest wants her dinner.

Cheryl walks in the front door a few minutes later. A few minutes after that… a knock at the door. A new to us worker comes in. He quickly breezes through the questioned form. Not the kiddos worker… a replacement worker for the time being. He leaves within 15 minutes of arriving. A few more minutes to finish dinner. Little lady starts to voice her need for her dinner. I finish quick. To the rocker with a full six ounces I go with the little girl.

As I set down and start to feed her I hear more crying. Unusual for the timing, but not for the kiddo. I continue to feed, Cheryl works on baths… the crying continues. Minutes tick by and what was a simple fall from a push bike looks to be a larger problem. Cheryl and I decide that he needs to go to the Urgent care. She goes I stay to get the other two down. Finish feeding and burping and rocking… the youngest goes to sleep. A few quick songs and the oldest’s eyes grow heavy. To bed.

I text Cheryl. Nothing. 45 minutes I try to call. No answer. What is wrong. What happened. Another thirty minutes I get a call with a diagnoses. The hardest part is the way Cheryl is treated. They interrogate her. Question her like she is an abuser. She was not even there when it happened. Moreover… the kiddos fall on a regular basis. We respond quickly once we realized there was something wrong. It is just “procedure”. That is what they tell her.

Time now for healing. Thanks for reading.

Down Time

It has been a long while since we last posted to the Baby Puzzle.  Not because there is nothing to write about but because of that cycle that we mentioned before.  Those first two weeks of the cycle are exciting waiting for the IUI and the second two weeks are nerve racking waiting for a  (BFP)positive or a (BFN) negative test.  Well, we saw no positive serge this month and had no IUI scheduled.  As hard as it is to say much of our waiting times we spend concentrating on other things.  Life must really go on.  However since our last blog we have encounter bits and pieces for our Baby Puzzle.

One such encounter has been with generosity.    People are thoughtful and helpful all sorts of avenues.  Countless people we encounter tell us how they have enjoyed reading our blog.  Or that they had never looked at fertility from the perspective that we have.  I guess we really do not know other people’s perspective and we are happy to share this part of our lives with those around us who may not have been able to see this part of our lives.  We have also seen generosity through action.  We have had friends and co-workers offer up resources and advice for fertility issues.  Knowing that you are not alone and that there is assistance right in your own backyard is wonderful.  Additionally we have experienced generosity through motive.  We have seen selfless acts from friends and family who offer support and even viable swimmers if needed.  We feel very blessed for so many around us.

Since the last time we wrote we have experienced some rest and relaxation with some of our old college friends and family (vacation time).  It is so wonderful to see individuals and families growing another year older.  So many changes happen in a single year to people and places that seem very familiar. The big take away that we have taken is how much concerted effort of our friends and family make in giving great values to their children.  We know that there are so many challenges and constant care that has been given and we can only be envious of the parenting work that has been put to the test.  I for one do not know how a single parent tries to achieve the task that two have to do which is why we are lucky that we want to emulate the ideas and ideals that we see in our friend babies.

In our “Appointment” blog we had said that we were going to get to meet with our doctor and get a run down and then we wrote that we had not had a chance to meet with him, but a nurse.  Persistence is the third tidbit that we have been experiencing since last writing.  For any future parent going through fertility treatments it is essential to continue to be persistent and not simply take the first answer that comes along, but one that makes since and is comfortable with your needs.  When our appointment was quasi-cancelled we only received an outline of what to expect, but did not have a chance to set up our next appointment.  It is sad to say that the care provider does not always meet all of the needs of those who they are caring for and we have to be that squeaky wheel to insist on meeting with the doctor.  Tentatively we plan on meeting with our doctor the Saturday we come back from our vacation.

In coming blogs: our tour of friend babies continues and as we experience it we will be sharing our IVF appointments and experiencing.  Thank you for reading.


Before the appointment thoughts:

This morning we woke up and decided to spend a few minutes out on the back porch. Anticipation of any upcoming event can cause some excitement, desire, fear, joy, really those butterflies. We sat with Marley and Curley and enjoyed the morning air. We sat down with a pen and a pad of paper to write down questions to ask our RE. The truly difficult thing is what can a couple really know to ask. We have only had one chance to meet directly with our RE and even with the list that we made that time I remember thinking afterwards that we knew a whole lot but still did not know everything we wanted to know.

We plan on asking about the complete process of IVF. What we should expect. What we will encounter. What procedures will come up. What types of diagnostic procedures will occur. I think we are looking for a timeline. With all of these questions I cannot say we will have a that full picture that we are looking for.

I think at the center at our questions is one thing. FEAR! We are in fear that we will do all of these things and have the same result as we have had. This emotion is validated, I believe. A good friend and priest told us as we were preparing for marriage, “every emotion experienced is a gift from God, it is not evil or bad, but an experience. Every emotion should be validated.” I think that our fear is not one of “we will not become parents” but rather the fear of let down and the unknown of how our parent story will happen. It is our journey and we know as much as we want something it happen in our own timing it is does not always occur on our designated schedule.

The above portion of this blog is being written before our appointment. We plan to write the next portion after we have a chance to ask the questions.

After the appointment thoughts :

Frustration : that was the first of many feelings which we experienced at our appointment today. Why? Lack of prior knowledge. When we arrived at our treatment facility we were hit with information that we did not expect and did not agree with. Once we straightened out the misunderstanding and miscommunication we were able to get back into “game plan” mode. One feeling that continues throughout this process is frustration because of a lack of knowledge. No matter how much investigation we do it seems that there is always a blind corner that we encounter.

Timeline : It looks like there will be a few diagnostic tests that we will be doing in July. At the first part of August the doctors will be “hitting the reset button” on Cheryl’s cycle. (the nurse’s words not ours) Mid August we will start the cycle with the end of August “pumping Cheryl up”, retrieval, and then implantation some time that first week in September. Obviously this is tentative and depends on other factors, but it is the basic timetable.

The big take away that we both have gotten from today is a renewed determination to be parents. After leaving the RE’s office we talked about our feelings and experiences. We talked about timing and “meant to-bes”. One quote from Cheryl was that she feels a draw or calling towards adoption with or without success in fertility. Nick shared the excitement of the timing of this fertility journey coinciding with our experiences with engaged couples.

So many things on the horizon and at the end, a feeling of both hope and of relief for the time being. We are now on to work with the Engaged Encounter couples in Tucson!

Intention – BFP in Perspective

BFP, for many in the fertility/infertility world this acronym stands for “big fat positive”.  Time indeed offers perspective.

Did you know that those nighty-nine cent stores sell pregnancy tests?  I bet more than one reader probably just laughed to themselves thinking about high school kids running to the dollar store buying a test or two.  (We buy five to seven a month) Teenagers are told that they don’t want that second red line (the cheaper versions have a simple red line, not a smiley face or “+” sign).  As a teenager we learn BFP… but it stands for something different “big fat problem”.  As adults we have found a new acronym for “big fat problem” and that is BFN or “big fat negative”. 

This morning I read on my face book page a comment “…all set and there is intention in my day. What is your intention today?”  No good happens without planning and this ever important idea “INTENTION”; however one cannot just have intention, one must also have perseverance.  Without determination and grit the intention will get run over by the stampeding bull known as life.  I too am “all set with intention in my day”, but I also know that even if I do not get what I want, what I intend that is not a reason to go off course of what I seek : our “Baby Puzzle”.

The cycle of procreation does not look like that of a Hollywood movie.  It is much more mundane and average, right?  The cycle goes something like – aunt flow for three to five days followed by romantic times for about a week to ten days and then about two weeks of waiting.  (Yeah I know if can be a whole lot more descriptive, but hey the topic of this post is the “intention” not the “action”).  We were married on November 5, 2005.  With some quick math we have gone through that described process about 80 times.  I guess not every month has been this way but I would say we have achieved BFP about 70 times – no not the “positive” but the “problem”.

As I mentioned in the last post, our RE suggested that we lose weight and that would cause use to achieve a BFP (positive) and as I said we have lost about 43% of our overall weight.  What are the serious options of losing weight?  Most people think “stop eating so much and exercise and it will happen”.  Most overweight people know that equation makes sense, but it hardly ever works.  The intention is there but the perseverance is difficult.  It is not as simple as I will only eat 900 calories for a year and lose a whole bunch of weight; even our bodies sabotage that process. 

Through our journey (intention) we sought many different ideas like joining the gym (5 different times), different cook books, HCG diet, and even considered doing the lap ban procedure.  In the end we chose a meal replacement plan which had an educational piece which has taught us healthy habits.  The most interesting thing through all of this has been the medical industry its self.  We have had as many as 6 different medical insurance plans tell us they would pay for us to have surgery to lose the weight, but not a cent for a meal replacement plan which taught us healthy habits.  Now we have had 4 medical insurance plans tell us they will run simple diagnostics in determining infertility, but have an exclusion list for treatment which is quite the extensive and detailed list.

I understand that health care is expensive and that insurance companies have a bottom line that they need to keep in the black.  Even with these intentions we have in mind it has taken more than just desire and want, but requires drive a determination.  On one end we had an insurance company refuse to help us be more health and the other end refuse help us conceive.  They do not have to pay for all of it, but it is beyond frustrating that there is no assistance for any of it.

As a reader you may be thinking “well if your only intention was to get assistance why not just do the surgery?” – which is an excellent point.  It was a course that we did consider.  In 2002 Nick’s mom had “gastric bypass surgery” and she was able to lose more than 100 pounds from this surgery.  You see in social setting a famous people like Al Roker who have had success with the procedure.  The success of more than 100 pounds lost was something to celebrate, but the flip side was Pat had violent reactions to certain foods and from 2002 to 2011 she saw a general decline of her health.  In the end we were more skeptical of a procedure like that.  Just this last month Cheryl made a comment about one of the hormones that she was taking and therefore buying.  “I am going to buy 10 days worth.  If I get a positive (BFP) then the insurance will cover prescription.”

A BFP for us would indeed be a “positive”.  We live each day with intention fortified with perseverance.

Tomorrow at 11am we will meet with our RE for the first time since March.  Much thanks for the support that you all show.  Please consider helping us complete our Baby Puzzle.Image

The Blame Game

The blame game, we all play it.

From a young age we are taught to be inquisitive.  There is a problem, how can it be fixed.  School aged children will tell you about the scientific method.  We make an educated guess and then test our assumptions, if the problem is fixed we think we know what the problem was and if it is not fixed we think we know what the problem wasn’t.  One plus one is two; two time two is four; four into four is one and so and so forth our universe exists logically, right?

I remember sitting in our oversized front room listening to a monsoon booming with lightning talking about our concerns in late July as we identified our problem – infertility – and so we started the scientific process.  We knew the end result (no pregnancy) of our “problem”, but we did not know a cause.  What could be wrong and how could we find out was our question so we sought out an expert resource, a gynecologist.  First round of inspections and test by our perceived expert turned up no new answers.  But no fear our expert suggested we seek out another expert or two.

These higher leveled experts had the name of a “natural pathic” doctor and an “endocrinologist”.  Time, energy and money spent with both of these super experts came up with a few general “problems” that could be “fixed”.  The “ND” (natural pathic doctor) suggested that perhaps Cheryl had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  The R.E. (endocrinologist) suggested that our weight was the main issue and that losing 10% of our weight would do the trick.

I started this blog with the idea of the “blame game”.  We now had two “answers” that placed “blame” on some part us as an individual and/or couple.  These “problems” became self-condemning and self-fulfilling.  Neither of us pointed the finger at the other sand said “you’re the culprit, you’re the problem”.  No, the biggest culprit of placing blame was not the partner but one’s self.  The feeling or responsibility can eat at one’s psyche.   The feeling of responsibility can make one feel alone, like they are the only person they know who has ever experienced something like this.  That blame game is not ever won because to win it would be to defeat yourself.

Since our initial meetings with the ND we have been shown that PCOS is indeed not our issue.  It was more of a hypothesis then a tested truth.  The ND wanted to give us an answer and we discovered that the answer is “no, no PCOS”.  Collectively since the summer /fall of 2006 we have lost more than 340 pounds together.  With pretty good certainty we have ruled out the “you weigh too much to get pregnant” theory.  In January of this year we tried a new R.E. who posed a new theory that perhaps Nick’s swimmers are less than adequate.  In recent months however that theory has also been proven to be less than accurate.

The big take away that we have received from “the blame game” is this; be comfortable with the person or team of people who are giving you fertility advice.  You are not to blame, he is not to blame, she is not to blame – the process is yours and yours alone.  Having people around you that you do not feel comfortable with, confident with, caring with will not help the process it will detract from it.  Because we approached the fertility issue from the beginning like it was a scientific hypothesis and not something bigger we felt we were stuck with what we had from the start.  Our RE today shared a piece of information that we had never know before; a healthy couple without “problems” only have a 12% chance of conception when they are procreating at the correct time in the cycle.  Even if you are doing everything at the right time it is not a “problem” it is a reality.

Today, seven years later we still have no answer to the “why”.  Hypothesis after hypothesis asked but no why.  As we go forward to our RE appointment this Friday we have to continue to live fertility – blame free.

“I bet you…

“I bet you two will be pregnant within six months”

These words were spoken to Cheryl and I on the evening of our wedding.  They were said in jest, almost challenging us to keep from making it happen.  Our friend was not wishing good or bad on us, just was taking the prospect of being a parent into a light of “its going to happen and it is going to happen soon”.  I remember the thought of being a parent at that time.  I did not shy away from it, but I can also say that I did not understand in the same way that I do today the hugeness of what it takes to be a parent.

Those first six months of marriage there were lots of transitions happening.  We were blending our homes.  We were blending our traditions.  We were blending our schedules.  We were blending our lives.  I had started my career, no longer a college student, but a productive member of the working class.  Cheryl had just moved to a new town, out of Sacramento into Reno.  On November 5th, we had so many new things happening for us.

And now “I bet you two will be pregnant within six months”.  That change meant that we were longer just a young married couple, but a young married couple who would be raising, nurturing and caring for a little one.  We both welcomed the idea of being parents, whenever it would happen.  December? January? February? March?

By March of 2006 Cheryl and I were seriously considering moving from Reno to Phoenix.  Advantage?  Move to Phoenix because much of our extended family were or had already moved there.  We liked the idea that our children’s grandparents could be close by.  Advantage?   More affordable housing.  By 2006 the housing prices in Reno had roamed higher than what we thought we could afford and we wanted a chance to be “home owners” for our future children.  It all fit into our “five year” plan.  Advantage?  Advancement in careers.  The job market in the Valley of the Sun is far more diverse than that of the Biggest Little City.  All three of these “Advantages” we felt were directly relating to this idea that “I bet you two will be pregnant within six month”.

The end of May rolled around and we moved to take ”advantage” of these new prospects.  We moved to a place felt had good opportunities to raise children close to the “in-laws”, in a personally owned home, and within a job market that we would give us a living to raise our children.  What were we missing?  The bet!

June rolled around, month #7 and we were not pregnant.  We made changes, we had foresight, we wanted children, but even with all of this planning and consideration that was not in the cards for Cheryl and I.  I remember the very first time that Cheryl went to a doctor to “check” on this was July of 2006.

“I bet you two will be pregnant within six months” .  If we had taken that bet we would have won, but we did not want to “win” that bet.

In the coming weeks we plan on sharing some of the situations and events that have happened in the last seven years.  We also plan to share some of the on-goings like a doctor’s visit this Friday.  Thank you to all for your thoughts and your support.



Cheryl and Nick

For those of you who do not know us directly just a few quick things about us, we are a couple in our early 30s. We live in Arizona, the valley of the sun. We have been married for 7 and half years. We are full of love and life.

We have been trying to expand our family for about seven of those seven and a half years. Lots of ups, downs, and side steps. Things that you would never expect as a unknowing 20 year old. Through our journey we came across another couple who had experienced the process of infertility and the expenses that went along with it. That couple described an idea that we found to be unique and intriguing.

This couple went to a local store and purchased a puzzle. Then they went Online and told their family, friends, and social network about their journey. They asked those people in their lives to share in their continued process by contributing whatever they could to their fertility expenses. This is where the pieces of the puzzle came in… those people who were willing to contribute to their fertility process would have their name placed on a puzzle piece. Later that puzzle will hang in their baby’s room and be given to their future child as an example of all those who people who believed in his/her creation.

We want to mirror this concept. To help with our journey, we’ve developed an opportunity for family and friends to become a part of our future child’s life forever by donating money to purchase one of 500 pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that will hang in his or her nursery. Each unique piece will have the hand-written name of its donor. There is no minimum to what you can contribute because every bit of the puzzle helps.

Together, we will be sharing our past journey (things that we have done already over the years). Additionally, we will be updating this blog throughout the months to come. We look forward to sharing our story and involving each of you in the expansion of our family!