Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Gender Guessing Time!!!

It's time to play the gender guessing game!!

On Saturday I will be 20 weeks pregnant. 

On Monday I go in for my ultrasound and will HOPEFULLY find out the gender of this baby.

The Hubble and I have been discussing (at length) the differences between this pregnancy and my last (with Little Butt).

I told him recently how I feel like this pregnancy is taking forever whereas, with Little Butt it seemed to go by so quickly. Of course, that could also be because I didn't realize I was pregnant with Little Butt until about 6 weeks in and this one I knew in, like, week 2. So I had a pretty good head start last time.

When I was pregnant with Little Butt I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were having a girl. There was no question in my mind.

This different. But it wasn't early on.

(And yes, I do know that they say every pregnancy is different)

When I first found out, we went to Babies R Us to get a shirt for Little Butt. We were going to visit family the next month so our plan was to iron on letters to a plain shirt for Little Butt. The shirt said on the front "Big Sis" and the back said "Aug 11." We figured she could just wear the shirt to each family's houses and we would wait until our families noticed. Cute right??

Anyway, I digress.

So, the point of that part is that when we were at Babies R Us I saw a cute little we bought it. We figured it was a cute item to buy as the baby's first gift. It took me several months to realize that the cute little skull and crossbones bib we pink!

It did not even occur to me that the baby may be a boy. Crazy right??

Well, when we went on our roadtrip through Texas, I started to doubt the girl thing. 

With my cravings and everything, EVERYONE kept telling me this baby is going to be a boy.

So now, I'm bringing this to you. 

I will post a run down of the similarities and differences of both pregnancies and you can cast your vote (check out the poll on the right hand sidebar).

Let's start with cravings.

This pregnancy is CRAZY different as far as cravings go.

With Little Butt I craved fried fish (which I normally hate), strawberry milkshakes and plain m&ms (I usually ONLY eat the peanut m&ms).

With Baby N I am craving fresh fruits, cold juicy veggies like celery and milk. 

Good God! The milk thing is INSANE. Usually, I only 'drink' milk when it's in cereal. And I never actually drink it. Now, I can't get enough of the stuff. I finish a gallon of milk (by myself) about every 3 days.

With Little Butt, I couldn't stay away from my beloved coffee. This time, I haven't really wanted any coffee at all. I've been wanting tea. Within the last week I've been having a small cup of coffee maybe every other day or so.

The one craving that is the same as it was with Little Butt is Asian food. 

With Little Butt we started frequenting a place called Tokyo Seoul up in Syracuse. It got to the point that the owners knew us and were excited when Little Butt was born. We went there so often that when Little Butt would come in with us, the owner would take her so The Hubble and I could eat. She would take Little Butt around the restaurant to say hi to the other patrons.

Now, we don't have Tokyo Seoul but we go to a place called Bulgogi House AT LEAST once a week. I can't get enough!! Little Butt is a champion sushi and Asian food eater so she asks for bulgogi fairly often as well (of course, she grew up eating sushi and Asian food).

So...are my cravings because I wasn't so healthy before I got pregnant with Little Butt and I had been eating well for about 2 years before getting pregnant this time? Or is it because this is a boy?

Other than the cravings, there aren't many differences. My hips still hurt at night when I sleep. I don't have morning sickness, nor did I with Little Butt.

It's taking me longer to "feel" pregnant this time, but that could just be the 4 week head start with Little Butt.

I was absolutely EXHAUSTED the ENTIRE first trimester with this one, whereas I didn't even know with Little Butt for a while. But I was working when I was pregnant with Little Butt so maybe I didn't have time to be tired??

I just don't know.

So you tell me...what do you think??

PS. I'll be back next Friday to let you all know what we find out.

PPS. The Hubble and Little Butt are absolutely convinced it's a girl.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catching Up With Chrissy

Recently, I posted about my friend Chrissy and why I chose to participate in the #OperationLayla bake sale. 

After I wrote that post, I was asked how Chrissy is doing today. I realized that people wouldn't want to just read about Chrissy's struggle and that was that. They would want to know more!

I texted Chrissy and let her know that she should read my post. She did. I then asked her if she would write an 'update' so everyone could know how she is doing.

She graciously obliged to share more of her story. So here we have a guest post from Chrissy herself!

Take it away doll!

Hi! I'm Chrissy and my wonderful friend Maranda, who I love, has been such a support to me!! She said I should do a follow up to this blog, so here I am.

It's been a difficult reproductive road. I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 24. It was painful, so painful. I was told there was a possibility I would have problems getting pregnant. The doctor told me to get pregnant asap! As if, at 24, I was remotely ready to have a child! 

The pain of endometriosis was excruciating. I tried hormone treatments: continuous birth control, 8 different kinds of birth control, medically induced menopause. All this, especially the menopause, made me a bear to be around. My hormones were crazy and I couldn't even stand myself. No matter what my doctors and I tried, the pain never left.

As for doctors, I fired 5. Mostly, they were not supportive. They blamed stress (i.e. hysterical female) and when nothing worked, they became frustrated with me! The only relief I had was when I had surgery to remove the endo lesions and the adhesions from the previous surgeries. It was a vicious cycle, but it would leave me pain free for a year and a half at the most. That was better than what I'd been going through. By the time I was 30, I'd had 6 surgeries.

The worst surgery was right before Christmas of my 27th year, 2002. I was having the worst pain of my life (as time progressed, my pain threshold would increase so that worse situations wouldn't hurt as much as this hurt.). I could not turn, walk or sit comfortably. This was and has been par for the course, but this time it was much, much worse. The pain made me vomit and feel freezing. I had been to the doctor and had an internal sonogram; they found a mass on my left ovary. They did not know if I had cancer and we made an appointment for Monday to start testing. That was a Thursday. By Friday, the pain reached maximum capacity, I was rushed to the ER. The doctors took me into emergency surgery. What they found was awful.

There was a 7 cm cyst going straight through my left ovary. Both ovaries were full of large cysts. (This should have been a clear diagnosis of PCOS, but no.) The cysts were removed; my left ovary was cut open, cyst removed and sewn back together like a baseball. I had lost 1/3 of my ovary. Additionally, there were terrible adhesions and endo lesions everywhere, even on my bowels. The cyst was a chocolate cyst, full of blood clots. If it burst, a clot could have gone into my lungs, caused an embolism and killed me. They removed the cyst, the endo lesions were lasered off and I was stitched up, the recipient of a 3 inch scar and two one inch scars on either sides from the tubes. This was surgery number 6.

My doctors were still useless.

I finally found a wonderful doctor whose wife suffered from endo, too. He diagnosed me, at the age of 31, with poly cystic ovarian syndrome. If my previous doctors had discovered the PCOS sooner, the following would not have happened. 

I had another surgery to remove more cysts and endo. Number 7. And little relief from pain.

During this time I had begun a masters in secondary English education. It was a joy to go to school! I went doubled over in pain frequently, but I did not stop. When I had surgery 7, I was taking summer classes. I missed only 2 days of class and was mad at myself when I got a B in that class. As a friend pointed out, I got a B while recovering from surgery. I guess. I should have gotten an A.

But I digress. During grad school, I went to New York City to consult infertility specialists. I got devastating news. I would never get pregnant. My eggs, because of the hormone imbalances of PCOS, do not mature into viable eggs. I was told that my PCOS was at Stage 4. To put that in perspective, if it was cancer, I'd be terminal. Stage 4 is the worst stage. There was only a 60% chance of conceiving without hormone treatments. I went back home in horror, anger and anguish. I wanted to be a mother intensely. 

The pain continued. It woke me up in the night, made me sick. The cocktail of drugs I was on, that helped ease the symptoms, needed to be increased. It made me sicker. I lost 30 pounds in 2 months because I couldn't keep food down. 

I was scheduled to have surgery # 8 in December 2009, during Christmas break. I was in my first year as a teacher and had gone to school everyday, pain or no pain. I went in for surgery with the agreement and understanding that if the right ovary (which was the source of constant pain) was not viable, it would be removed. I just wanted it gone but my doctor wanted to see if it could be saved.

It could not.

The right ovary was so full of cysts and heavy that it had twisted in on itself and was stuck to my pelvic floor with scar tissue (the infamous adhesions). It had to be removed or it would become necrotic, die and poison me to death. 

I woke up one ovary short and feeling strange. 

Over the recovery period and for several months after, I felt like I was losing my mind. Mood swings were terrible; it was my body getting used to one ovary producing estrogen and that ovary getting up to speed. It eventually evened out.

The loss of the ovary had a weird effect on me. It was necessary, I knew that and that was why I wanted it gone. But there was a hollow in my pelvis that I could sense and feel. I began to feel like less of a woman while i adjusted. My anger at my situation grew steadily. How could this happen? Why? Why? Why? I cursed God and was an absolute bitch to be around. People would say condescending things such as the doctors don't know everything, you're worrying too much, and my favorite: are you sure you can't have kids? People can be callous and I wanted to punch them all when they said such things.

The PCOS and endo was resounding repercussions throughout my life. I had lost a job due to how much sick time I took, my husband left me because he couldn't bear the thought of child not his own (there were also other reasons we divorced) and I lived in pain. But battling these diseases also gave me new perspective. If this is the plan, then maybe I am supposed to adopt. There are children who need a good and loving home and that I can provide. It's also made me more compassionate toward people who suffer. Oh and I don't hate God anymore, but that's another blog, perhaps. I still get angry and cry but I try to make lemonade out of this situation. Maybe I can help other suffers and help those who love us understand.

These diseases are autoimmune diseases. We who suffer may look healthy and act healthy most of the time. We may gain weight (PCOS makes our bodies think we're diabetic and hold onto every calorie. I gained a LOT of weight, it sucked. I tried everything but WeightWatchers is the only thing that has helped me lose weight). The hormone fluctuations may bring on depression, anger, bipolar disorder, etc. They may cause our joints to swell and ache. We have to conserve our energy and get lots of rest. They affect every aspect of our lives. We may have to cancel dates or outings at the last minute due to pain and sickness. People may not understand and start to drift away. Then, we are alone, all alone to deal with these diseases. We find out who truly loves us because those are the people that stick around, no matter how miserable we feel. Those are the people that matter and are the gold in our lives.

Dealing with PCOS, endo and infertility is exhausting, challenging and depressing. But it makes me enjoy the good, healthy days all the more. Ironically, I feel blessed. I know who my friends are, realized with much greater understanding how wonderful and loving my family is and seen what I can endure with grace and humor. 

I am happy to say I have only been in the ER for pain twice since my last surgery! But I do not have insurance; I'm an unemployed teacher. I am trying to navigate the world of government health care. 

I hate insurance companies. It's easier to insure your car than yourself. I've been turned down because of my pre-existing conditions. Also, the rates these companies charge are criminal. They are bloodsucking leeches who thrive off pain and misery. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Ok let's end on a happy note! Today, I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who wants to adopt. I do not want to do fertility hormone treatments because my mother is a breast cancer survivor. I do not want to make my child a potentially motherless child. 

I want to help others like me. I've been dealing with this for more than a decade now. I want to hear other women's stories. We can help support each other. My email is My Twitter is @WhirlyCurls. My Facebook can be found is Christina Elizabeth Grizanti. Find me. Let's form a virtual support group and help other women like us.

All my love, 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Operation Layla Bake Sale

When I first moved up to NY I, of course, didn't know anyone but The Hubble.

My first day of work, I was confronted by this girl Chrissy.

She had heard that I was moving up there, was going to be working at that store and that my husband was in the military.

She was dating a guy in the military and we started talking about our experiences.

Chrissy and I became FAST friends. And not just friends, we were CLOSE.

This woman, that I am so proud to know, was always full of laughter, love and life. Her very soul exuded radiance. She was beautiful and had the most vibrant personality. It was no wonder I fell in love with her almost immediately.

Chrissy was there for me in my lowest moments.

She was the one who came to sit by my side when The Hubble deployed for the first time. She ordered me pizza and answered the door when the delivery person came knocking. She checked on my constantly.

She was also the first (and only one of two) person to visit me in the hospital when Little Butt was born.

Chrissy was diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). She went from having one of the biggest and brightest personalities to being quiet and demure.

She was quiet all the time.

You could tell she was often on the verge of tears from the pain she was constantly feeling.

Chrissy had to go through several surgeries to remove cysts on her ovaries.

She missed a TON of work.

Needless to say, our boss was none too happy about that.

But what could be done?? She was in constant pain and needed the medical procedures and time off.

Luckily, Chrissy was a full time employee and had insurance coverage.

When I first heard of Layla and read her story I knew I needed to help in any way that I could.

Layla's story reminded me too much of my beloved Chrissy. Although Layla does not have the insurance nor the funds to cover the surgery that she desperately needs.

Some ladies on twitter decided to take Layla's situation into their own hands and an online bake sale was born!

I was asked if I wanted to contribute something and, of course, I said yes immediately.

So here is what I'm offering up for sale:

What are congo bars you ask?? They are cookies...with the texture of brownies!!! You can choose from either of these flavors, or create your own! Awesome right???

If you would like to read more about Layla's story, bid for my congo bars or see all the other amazing treats up for sale (there are 36 in total I believe), then head on over to the Operation Layla site!

Happy bidding!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Life vs. Death: The Vue Edition

In 2004, The Hubble and I moved up to NY. We lived in Syracuse and he had to commute to Ft. Drum every day (68 miles, one way).

We made this sacrifice because I worked in Syracuse and we figured that when he deployed it would be easiest for me to be closest to work.

When we arrived in NY we owned one car. We thought we would have a little time, but come to find out we both had to be to work about a week after we moved up there.

So we ended up having to quickly purchase a vehicle for me.

It was a toss up at the time between the Honda CR-V and the Saturn Vue. Well...Saturn was open on Sunday and Honda was not. We got the Saturn Vue.

This was our first large purchase together and we were ecstatic.

We felt like we were finally adults. I mean, we purchased our own car! Without our parent's help!!

How cool is that???

The roads in Upstate NY are not kind to any vehicle. The insane amount of snow, ice and salt rusts even the most cared for and expensive vehicles.

Let's fast forward now, to 2011.

Holy wow! Have I really had this vehicle for 7 years???


Recently, my poor little Vue has been kind of sick.

He had arthritis and would moan, groan and creak whenever we would drive him.

The brakes kicked back at certain stops.

He had a belt in the engine that squealed in disapproval whenever we started up the Vue.

He needed an oil change and a state inspection.

So we took him to the doctor (in this case, Firestone).

They changed the belt, the oil, the brake pads, and the calipers. They told us the state inspection wouldn't pass unless we replaced the housing of the control arm. We did.

We give Firestone $1300 and drive away in my newly revamped and healthy Vue.

Or not. The brake problem was still occurring. The brakes would kick back every time we stopped.

So we call and take him back. They say the anti-lock brake sensor is going bad. They need to order the part.

They order the part on Saturday, make an appointment for us on Thursday.

The Hubble goes to the appointment on Thursday, waits an HOUR just for them to tell him that the part hasn't arrived yet. It should be there by noon so we should call back then. He calls back. They don't know if the part is in yet. He tells them to call when it arrives. We wait...

Finally, on Monday, The Hubble calls again to inquire about the part. They say it's in. We take the Vue back to them.

They call us a while later and say we can pick up the Vue. We drop another $160. I drive away. As soon as I'm a couple blocks away, the ABS light comes on. Ummm...hello??

We turn around and take it back. They reset the sensor. The Hubble drives away this time. The car is screaming like mad so we turn around again. Take it back. They say come back tomorrow.

The Hubble takes it back the next day and they tell us the ABS sensor is faulty. They need to replace it. They give us another appointment.

At this point, I refuse to go pick up the Vue. What is the point of wasting all that gas money to drive it back and forth?? They can keep it.

So they call us back yesterday. They tell us that they replaced the sensor...again. As soon as the car gets above 25mph the ABS light comes on. They don't know what's wrong. They say there is another party they may have to replace. And oh, by the way, it's another $400 for this part that may or may not fix the problem.

So now I am incredibly frustrated.

We are looking at paying for a move next month and now I'm getting stressed about paying for this damn car.

I told The Hubble that we should have taken it to the dealer (which is the only other option out here in the middle of nowhere) when Firestone made him sit for an hour to tell him they didn't have the part yet. He told me it would be crazy expensive.

Now, he's saying we should take it to the dealer!

So, do we cut our losses and take it to the dealer? Or do we keep messing around with Firestone, who doesn't seem capable of actually fixing the thing??

I'm thinking we will take it to the dealer to get a diagnostic and estimate. If they say the same thing as Firestone we will compare prices.

My older sister says I just need to get a new car. But we want to be without a car payment for at least a year and both our cars are now paid off.


What would you do???

Do we keep trying to bring the Vue back to life? Or just let it die and move on?

I just don't know what to do at this point....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Guest Post Time!

Hey all!!! I'm guest posting over at one of my very favorite blogs today:

The Annoyed Army Wife

So jump on over and check it out. And a little love never hurts either. ;-)

You can find my guest post here!

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Mother is a Jerk


Love you mom!!

But really...she is a jerk.

She called me yesterday morning...waking me up by the way!

Here's how our conversation went:

Mom: Are you awake?

Me: I am now...

Mom: Let's pretend you are here in Austin already. I'm going to take the afternoon off so we can go to lunch, get manicures and pedicures then go see a movie.

Me: ooookkkkaaaayyyyy....

Mom: We can even take Little Butt to lunch with us, she can get her nails done, then your sister can watch her when we go see a movie. Where do you want to go to lunch?

Me: Why are you being so mean??

Mom: Around my work we have Panera, Olive Garden, Red Lobster...

Me: Oh I know. Pappasitos!

Mom: Do we have one of those! Yes we do! Okay. What movie do you want to go see??

Me: I don't even know what's playing. And this is pointless anyway.

Mom: Okay. Well I'm at work now. I'll talk to you later.

Me: Okay. See you this afternoon!!

After this conversation, knowing that this isn't a possibility for another couple months, I pretty much felt like this:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Move # 399,574,896,096,343 Coming Up

Photo by Nicholas_T

It's getting to be about that time again...don't you think??

I mean, we've been here for almost a year.

Why stay when there are so many other places I can visit??

I guess I can tell you what I'm actually talking about.

Well, we are moving next month. 

I can say next month because it is officially March now.

Oh yeah...happy March! (Where did February disappear to???)

We found out recently that The Hubble is officially part of this new program he's been wanting to be a part of. He's pretty excited.

But that means that he moves to DC for 4 months for language training. Then he deploys for a year. 

He's not supposed to get his PCS (permanent change of station) orders until the end of the first deployment.

That means, Little Butt and I can stay in the middle of nowhere, welcome Baby N without Daddy/The Hubble and be here, in the middle of nowhere, by ourselves, for a year.


We can move closer to family while The Hubble runs off to play.

Which option do you think we chose?? Which option would you choose?

I've chosen to move closer to family.

That means, we will be heading to the Austin area late next month. 

That's okay by me. I'm tired of being here.

All my friends are leaving and I won't really have anyone here anyway.

At least there, I will have family. We also have tons of friends in Texas. So it's all good.

The only downside is that The Hubble won't be with us. But he will be off doing what he wants to do. And that's cool too.

When he gets back, it looks like either DC or Tampa for us. 

We have no idea which way they will send us but I can't say that either of those options are bad. 

So now it's time to start again. 

We are already speaking with a Realtor to find the perfect place for us (this time). 

I'm ready. 

I'm ready to leave this place.

I'm ready to be close to family again.

I'm ready to have a mall within a half hour drive again.

I'm ready to be able to go to Target at a whim!

I'm ready for the next step.

I'm NOT ready for The Hubble to leave again.

But that's the nature of the game right??

So there you have it. 

We are getting ready to hit the road...again. 

Anyone live in Texas???