camping at Keen Lake

Thursday morning we woke up to a beautiful day. We weren't in a rush, which was nice, so we did some laundry, packed our bags, ate some lunch, then packed the car and headed out. It took us about 2.5 hours (plus a bathroom stop) to get to the campsite, so we arrived around 4. We chose this place because a friend gave it good reviews, and it looked really pet friendly. As with anywhere new, our fingers were crossed.

Check-in was a good start. Everyone was so friendly, and the gave us a map showing exactly where our site was and all the other fun campground amenities. We headed up to our site, the last in a row of no hook-up sites set a little apart (by request!), and started getting set up.

It was great. From our site you could barely see anyone else, and the sites around us stayed empty until Saturday! Even when someone did come to one of the sites Saturday, we were spaced enough that it didn't matter. Our site was large and allowed us a lot of freedom. We were able to let Daisy off leash (she is very good about learning her boundaries and staying within them, and not once did she stray away from us) and it was very relaxing for all of us.

The new tent (my big birthday present to Trav) was so much easier to set up then our old one, and very nicely made. After we got the site set up, and our sleeping bags arranged, we looked around for sticks for a bit, then headed down so Gwen could play on the playground by the lake. The lakefront, office/store, playground, and swimming pool were all together and about a 3 minute walk from our site. Very convenient, but far enough away. While Gwen played, Trav went and bought some firewood, then headed back to the site with Daisy.

We made a big fire, then cooked dinner and s'mores. Gwen loved the chocolate and the graham crackers, but didn't love the melty marshmallow.

Man make fire, hammer log!
That first night Gwen was a little riled up from the long ride in the car, the excitement of camping and getting to sleep outside, and the sugar of the s'mores(!), so we decided to let her stay up a little late to blow off some steam. Ugh, disaster! We all headed into the tent around 9, and she proceeded to pop up and down like a deranged jack in the box not matter what we said until we finally said we just weren't going to be able to come camping with her anymore unless she just. lay. down. already! Once we actually got her to lay down and stay still she was out within minutes, but jeez louise, that girl was nuts!

Friday dawned gorgeously, another cool sunny day. We headed to a local town that was having a large sidewalk sale event (all of main street's stores spilled out onto the sidewalks and offered deal, snacks, drinks, etc) to walk along the street and give the day a chance to warm up. Then it was back for some lunch and then some swimming!

Gwen looked amazing, of course. I rocked some camping chic, as my sandals had picked the first day of camping to finally bite it. Nothing like clomping to the pool in your hiking boots!

Trav took Daisy swimming in the dog section of the lake, while we hit up the slightly warmer pool.

Afterwards we headed back to the campsite. We read Gwen her new comic book (a sidewalk sale purchase), ate an afternoon snack, and relaxed for a bit before heading for a walk around the campgrounds. We found two more playgrounds and tried them both!

Bedtime that night went MUCH smoother as we stuck closer to her normal routine, skipped the s'mores before bed, and she had expelled a lot more energy during the day!

Saturday we headed out in the morning to check out Prompton State Park, which was just down the road. I hadn't looked into it before we arrived, and it was a lot harder to figure out their trails, but we found a shorter one to play around on. 

We hiked there for a bit, then on our way out stopped to enjoy the lake view.

There also happened to be a barefoot waterskiing competition going on! Gwen was enthralled.

We hit up a local BBQ pit for lunch, then back to the campsite for more swimming (Gwen and Trav), and relaxing (Daisy and I). Gwen and I went to the little arcade by the store, then came back and played cards for a while before bed.

Sunday it was time to clean up and head home. We'd packed up a lot of stuff the night before, so we dressed, brushed teeth, cleaned up the clothes and sleeping bags, then put down the tent. We got the car all packed and did a last walk through to make sure we had gotten everything (take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints!), and were at the office/store by 8:50 to check out and grab some breakfast to go. The ride home was easy, and we were home for lunch, with the whole afternoon to grab showers and do our 5 loads of laundry!!

Overall, it was a great mini-vacation. We enjoyed getting away, and reconnecting with nature. Gwen even exclaimed at one point that she wanted to live there. While the hiking wasn't as scenic as Rickett's Glen, we definitely enjoyed the extra amenities and the fact that there was more room between us and our camping neighbors. I think we'll definitely go there again.


thank you

First off, thank you. Seriously. Your texts, emails, facebook messages, comments, etc have all been so appreciated. I can't tell you how nice it is to feel so supported! (I've only gotten one nasty comment, by someone who, of course, hid behind "anonymous"... but you can't please everyone!) I'm working on a Q&A post with all the questions you've sent, and I'll get that up soon.

In the meantime, a new week is upon us! A short one for me, as we leave to go camping on Thursday. I'm pretty damn excited to check out this new place (especially since its in the 70s there!).

Last weekend was nice enough. Saturday was just long and frustrating, we were all having an off day, Gwen especially. It was too hot and humid to go outside, endlessly frustrating, and we all had to retreat at one point to our own corners to cool off. Sunday was better. I had a date arranged to see a girlfriend and her baby, but Trav and Gwen kept busy, and had a nice time together. They did some shopping together for food supplies for our camping trip. I think Gwen liked having a purpose. It was a much better note to end the weekend on.

Now its another busy week ahead, and I'm going to get to it!!


A Different Kind of Pregnancy Journey (Part III)

Part One here, and Two here

After the disappointment of the negative test, it was nice to take a little mental break (not to mention a break from shots). Christmas and New Years were great days to "have off" too! I knew whatever the couple decided that I would be trying again. I really wanted to try with them, I wanted it to work for them! We had developed a bond at that point, and I wanted to continue on this path with them. If they had decided not to continue, I would have been rematched, but I'm so glad I didn't have to do that!

Things started moving again when I got my period in mid-February. I went in for my day 3 blood work, then started on birth control pills. The egg donor would be cycling in March, but this way I was 100% ready to go.

At the end of February I got a real treat when the parent's flew in for a few days and we got to meet over dinner! We all had a wonderful time, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to help these beautiful people.

I started Lupron again at the beginning of April and went for my first blood draw on the 11th. Everything looked good so we were really off and running. Transfer was slated for May 2nd, and we used the same protocol as the first time.

Lupron bruises.
Things were pretty similar to the first time around, except smoother. I had a little fluid, but it remedied itself by the next ultrasound, so no push back of transfer needed. I never got sick of the Lupron shots the way I did the first time, and never had the welts. In fact, it didn't hit me until after it was already done that the night of my last Lupron shot was the last one! I still got a few headaches while I was on the Lupron and birth control pills together, but less then before, and that again resolved as soon as I started the estrogen patches.

The progesterone shots were fine too. Not anyone's favorite part, but easy and quick enough. Oh, and I managed to rotate my arms for blood draws well enough that I didn't end up having a tech roll my vein and have to dig through my arm to get blood like I did (twice!) the first time around either... hallelujah!

Even transfer day was easier. I felt very positive the whole time. I didn't overfill my bladder so badly, like I did the first time, which cut out the bruised bladder feeling afterwards. And I did nothing but lay around, watch TV, and read my way through a whole stack of magazines for the rest of the day. I did a ton of laying around the next day too. 

After that was the waiting, which is always hard. But we kept ourselves distracted, which helped.

I had more symptoms this time... though symptoms mean nothing since the hormone that causes them is the same one I'm injecting myself with, so. Still I alternated between super tired and wanting to eat a small country, with a bit of weepiness and anger thrown in for good measure.

On Saturday the 10th, 8dp5dt (8 days post 5 day transfer... or about 13 days post ovulation), I took a home test. I just couldn't wait anymore. And thanks to jury duty, I also dreaded the idea of finding out either way, the results while sitting in a court house full of strangers. I was so glad I did:

I was so happy, though Trav and I agreed to wait to tell the parents until after the blood work on Monday. We wanted to see really good numbers before telling the parents. Well, good numbers we got! My Beta HCG was 583, Progesterone-20 Estradiol level -226. I sent them a picture of the positive test, and a recount of my numbers. The parents were over the moon. I was too!! 

I had follow up blood work on Wednesday, and numbers continued to look great: Beta 1159, Progesterone - 27, Estradiol - 211. With such numbers, I started to wonder about twins.

Around this time I noticed that my poor butt muscles were sore all the time from the shots. I ended up getting a vicious bruise at one point and had to do all my shots on one side for a few days to give the bruised side a bit of time to heal. Ouch. Thankfully a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things!! 

We scheduled more blood work and an ultrasound for the 22nd (5 weeks, 4 days). At that point we would be able to see what was growing in there!

I'll tell the truth. I was so nervous that morning. The anticipation of seeing that everything looked good was so hard to bear. Plus, I was of two minds... knowing that twins would be an amazing blessing for the parents, but knowing that it would be a harder pregnancy, and that it would mean that I couldn't birth at the Birth Center like I wanted to. Part of me was hoping for one, but more so, I was just hoping for spot on growth and a happy ultrasound. Well, I got that. The 22nd brought us the sight of one appropriately growing blob.  :-)

My next appt was set for Monday, June 2nd (7w, 1d). During the wait a few things happened.... I got a few more "butt bumps" from oil and bruising, and I started up with the morning sickness (at 6w, 3d). It was mostly just nausea with food aversions in the morning, and for the most part would even out by the evenings. But sometimes it would be off and on nausea all day. It was always accompanied though, by the most amazing hunger when the nausea did subside! Like, mug someone for their cookie levels of hunger. Lots of extra snacks in my purse became a necessity! Crackers next to my bedside, consumed before even sitting up, helped immensely!

The appointment itself went great. I got to see the heartbeat, and my blood work looked good. I  dropped down to 1 vivelle patch every other day at that point. After that I definitely noticed an increase in my awareness of smells. Sitting next to a guy on the train who smelled like bologna almost did me in.

My next appointment, a week later (June 9 - 8w, 1d) went great too. Baby was measuring spot on and had a good heart beat. At the end of that week I broke out the maternity jeans. Not because of baby bump, but because I was so damn bloated, I was tired of having to unbutton my pants every time I sat down! (I've basically been living in maxi dresses since.)

At my next appointment (June 16 - 9w, 1d) everything looked great, and my blood work came back looking great. I was able to completely stop the Vivelle patches.

At 10w, 1d I went in for my last blood work with the RE. Everything looked great, so I was able to stop the PIO injections, and I was released to my own doctor! A great day!

After that I was able to tell my boss, and with him in the know, able to really let the cat out of the bag!

I had my first regular OB appt at the Birth Center at the beginning of July (got to hear the heartbeat, which I recorded for the parents), and this morning I have the 12w NT scan/ultrasound. 

And that brings us up to the present. I'm pregnant and taking it a day at a time, really trying to enjoy (or at least experience) every moment as my last pregnancy. This has been such a hard secret to keep, as it has been such a big, all consuming thing in my life for quite a while now! I'm so glad I can finally share it with the world. It has already been such an amazing experience, I can't wait to see what the next 7 months brings!

I will be sharing more freely now, but feel free to ask any questions you have!