Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I have (affectionately) dubbed the baby Reptar. I decided one night at like 11:30pm when I should've been in bed much earlier and thought it was the best idea I'd ever had. Everyone's humoring me for the time being, although opinions may change once we find out the gender (maybe Reptara if it's a girl?).

A lot of people have been wondering if this is an IUI baby. The answer is NO! I did my fourth (and final) IUI back in June and it didn't take (I actually started my period on the way back from our trip to Charleston). Daniel and I knew things probably wouldn't work out (sort of depressing, mostly realistic), so I submitted an online application through Lutheran Social Services (the group recommended to us by LDS Family Services) for adoption information in the Charlotte airport on the way back to Milwaukee. A few days later I was contacted by the LSS Milwaukke rep, Dorothy, and she sent us a big yellow folder with all sorts of info. It was kind of overwhelming to go through, it took several days for us to get a good idea of what was being offered and what we could afford. We also learned about how the LSS adoption process works. You don't just sign up and then wait for a baby. There's a bi-annual lottery and in order to be eligible you have to be passed off on a handful of pre-adoption classes/events. There's no guarantee you'll be picked, so you might have to wait six months for the next lottery. Then, you wait to be selected by a birth family (18 months, on average). Once you've been chosen and placed with a baby, you have to stay in the area for at least six months so you can have check ups and home visits and a bunch of other post-placement requirements. Then there are court fees and legal finalizations and it started to become clear that adoption was probably not going to work out for us until residency at the earliest. That was a MAJOR bummer for me. I was doing everything I could and just felt like I was sliding backwards.

At this point, it had been a few weeks since the IUI and I knew the clinic would be calling to check in soon. I knew I would have to tell them it hadn't worked and I knew they were going to want to schedule a follow-up consultation to talk about other options and that meant IVF. I didn't want to because IVF scares me and we had planned on adoption as as a back up and since that dream was quickly fading I felt trapped. Daniel suggested that I at least tell them the IUI didn't work and schedule the follow up appointment, then I could go back and cancel it and conveniently forget to reschedule. I did the first part, but not the second, so that's how we ended up at the (unofficially titled) IVF appointment in mid-July. The doctor we met with obviously saw I was FREAKING OUT and she was really good at explaining everything, including the statistics and risks. She wasn't pushy at all and was very reassuring, which made me feel so much better! She said Daniel and I were great candidates and it would probably only take one or two rounds before we conceived. I began to relax and even entertained the thought just a little bit. A nurse came in and talked about all the medications and administering shots and she made it sound very manageable. We discussed a timeline with the doctor, but before we started anything, she wanted Daniel to go to the urologist for a full work up because it had been awhile since his last check up.

Daniel was (and still is) up to his eyeballs in rotations and research, so he kept having to put off scheduling the appointment. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't do anything to speed up the process. After nagging him for a week or two, he said, "Look at your calendar*, maybe I don't even need to go in!" The rule is to take a pregnancy test 40 days after your last period. My cycles are typically in the 31-33 day range, but a few stretched to 37-38 days (those were tense months). I told him to stop joking around and to make the darn phone call! He said he'd wait until my next period. I thought it would come any day, so I figured it was an agreeable compromise.

*I have a calendar next to the bed so I can keep track of cycle length, positive ovulation tests, etc.

Daniel's first rotations were two surgery services - an oncology one and a minimally invasive one. It was a rough couple months of adjustment for both of us. Daniel would already be at the hospital by the time I got up for work, and then after a quick dinner and an episode or two of something on Netflix he would study until bedtime. There were also a few nights that he was on call, meaning he spent the night at the hospital and helped with any nighttime issues. One of these times was the evening of Friday, August 2 into the morning of Saturday, August 3. August 3 was also my 40 day mark. I was getting super impatient, so I told Daniel I would test in the morning and page him with the result. I didn't have any pregnancy tests, so after work that Friday I went out of my way to a store with self-checkout and my favorite frozen pizza. I double bagged my items, drove home, and prayed no one was out on the front lawn with their kids. I ducked inside and spent the evening enjoying my pizza and High School Musical 2. Daniel ate hospital cafeteria food and took catnaps when he could.

I woke up early (like around 6am) on August 3 with a pounding heart. I took the test, turned it over so I couldn't see the result, and made the bed. A few minutes later I came back, and there was a (very faint) little blue +.


I started to cry. I said a quick prayer of gratitude and asked for strength. I called Daniel. He groggily answered the phone and I said, "It's positive." All he said was, "Really?!" After a few moments of stunned silence, he said he would try to come home as soon as possible. Luckily it had been a rather slow night at the hospital, so he was able to wrap up quickly and made it home around 7:15am.

I texted my mom a picture of the test and said GOOD MORNING GRANDMA! It was still early for her, so I wasn't expecting a reply, but she was already up and waiting to hear from me! She and my dad are going to be Mimi and Pop and I love it!

I knew the Fertility Clinic was open for a few hours on the weekends, so I called and left a rushed and clumsy message. I tried to eat some breakfast and wait for a callback, and blessedly they didn't wait long to return my call. The nurse was so happy for me! She explained that in order to make sure it was a real pregnancy, I'd have to come in for a few blood tests to check my hormone levels. She said if I could get to the lab in the next 30-ish minutes she would probably have the results back by the time the clinic closed at 11am. As Daniel and I were walking out the door, our friend Sarah sent a mass text inviting visitors to come meet her and Scott's new daughter, Penny. The children's hospital is next door to the lab building, so we left our place at 8am under the guise going to visit Penny (you know, in case any of our neighbors were out and questioned us). The blood draw was quick and (mostly) painless, but the nurse still gave me a big piece of gauze and strapped it down with medical tape.

Obviously I didn't really care!

Daniel and I visited with Sarah for a little bit and told her our good news (with sworn secrecy, of course)! Penny was an angel and just loved being held and snuggled. It was so crazy to think about being in a hospital bed and having friends come visit and snuggle my baby. MY BABY!

Daniel and I had plans to go to the State Fair with the Lindsay crew later that day, so we went home to get ready. I turned my phone up as loud as it would go and brought it in the bathroom with me while I took a shower. I almost ripped the curtain off its hooks when it started ringing! It was the nurse from the clinic - the blood test was positive! My numbers were at the four week level (instead of the six-ish I thought it'd be), so she suggested I go back on Monday and have another draw. As long as the numbers had at least doubled, everything would be fine.

On the way to the fair, Daniel and I talked about telling his family. Everyone would be there except for Mark, so it made sense to tell them all, we just had to figure out when. I gave Daniel full control of the situation and told him to say it when it felt right. He wanted something natural and unforced, so we had to wait for awhile. Towards the end of the day, the crowds started getting a little ridiculous. We contemplated taking the sky rail back to the other end of the grounds, but strollers weren't allowed (or something like that), so we had to walk. Daniel said, "Yeah, and it also said expectant mothers shouldn't ride, so that would leave Jenn out." Everyone  kind of paused for a minute, then spazzed out! Jeff bought everyone lemonades to celebrate, which was awesome because it totally hit the spot!

On August 15 (Daniel's birthday), we saw baby for the first time. My doctor at the Fertility Clinic wanted to see a heartbeat before I went to the OB, so we went to a couple appointments there first.

Top left blob is Reptar!

The other pictures are my ovaries and the rest of my womb, the doctor was just checking for any abnormalities or potential issues. Apparently I released two eggs when I ovulated, so there was potential for twins! That was kind of crazy to find out!

Reptar was too small for there to be a noticeable heartbeat, so we went back on August 22 and it was amazing to see what had changed in a week...

A tiny blob with a heartbeat!

So far, seeing baby's heartbeat for the first time has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I couldn't hear anything, but seeing it was almost better than hearing it.

The first trimester was a little rough, but I consider myself very lucky compared to other girls I know. I went through several weeks of morning sickness, but saltines definitely helped. I haven't had any issues at work, and I hope it stays that way! I also used Sea-Bands a few times and they were magical! It may have been a placebo, but I didn't even care. These days, it's headaches and nosebleeds. Definitely tolerable and manageable, just uncomfortable sometimes.

We decided to meet with a genetics counselor and have an ultrasound at about 13 weeks. We weren't really concerned about anything, it was just a way to get a detailed ultrasound before the anatomy scan (aka gender reveal). The ultrasound tech said everything looked awesome! It was so surreal to see those teeny tiny hands and feet!

This is how most of the ultrasound was spent - but we got several good looks at the spine!

Just hanging out and showing off the toes

I started feeling Reptar move recently! It's mostly some fluttering here and there, but there's lots of movement when I have something to eat or drink when I'm really hungry or thirsty. I'm starting to show a bit these days too! At the ward Halloween party I dressed up as Velma from Scooby Doo, and my outfit created a nice little bump.

Why didn't Daphne ever tell Velma that her outfit clashed?

Reptar's also starting to hear, so Daniel and I take turns talking to my stomach at night. I love watching Daniel during these times, he can talk about anything and I think it's so special. I can't wait to see the trouble these two get into!

We'll find out the gender in a few weeks, so hopefully there won't be as big a gap in my posts. Can't wait to see that little one again!


Monday, September 9, 2013

3 is a magic number

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are thrilled to introduce Baby Lindsay! Little One will be here mid-April-ish and we are just over the moon!

Love from the parents-to-be (!!!),
Daniel and Jenn

Photo credit: Janey Ratto Photography

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Requests are for karaoke bars

After our fabulous trip to Charleston, we decided to top off our vacation with a jaunt to Madison to see Andrew McMahon. We left Milwaukee around 2:30pm and set up shop outside the Majestic at about 4:15pm. We ended up standing in line with a cute girl we met at the Milwaukee show, Katherine, and her friend, Dani. Doors opened at 6:35pm and we scored spots right at the sage! The Majestic is a tiny venue, so we were especially excited! Andy's opening act was Allen Stone, a self-proclaimed "hippie with soul." We're pretty sure he was on something during his set, there were all sorts of crazy dancing (with impressive hip action) and flailing limbs. His vocal range was all over the place, which made for some interesting Mariah-Carey like moments. He made us side-step together and wave our arms and throw our troubles away. He was energetic, soulful, and crazy enough to make it all work. It was a fun way to start the night!

Since we were on the side of the stage where most of the people and equipment moved through, we saw Mr. McMahon several times backstage between sets while the band was setting up. He finished his drink and made his way to the stage around 9:15pm. One of the setlists was tapes to the stage right by us, so we knew what was coming up.

The Mixed Tape (no introduction, no wave, no nothing, just immediate jamming)
Straw Dog (there was semi-moshing and it was kind of weird)
Learn to Dance (I totally led the crowd claps at the beginning and end)
Amy, I (I love everything about this song)
The Resolution (I thought the girls behind me were going to explode)
The Astronaut (most of the song was answering texts from my mom and only kind of singing along, oops)
Catching Cold (he walked around the stage and then jumped into the crowd and everyone went nuts)
I Woke Up In A Car (Daniel rocked out the whole time)
Holiday from Real* (People ask if there are any songs I want to be remembered for. I usually tell them this one. It's kinda like the anthem of my 20s)
Watch the Sky (there was lots of jumping and arm waving from everyone)
Synesthesia (you can tell how much he enjoys performing this song, I think it'll be a setlist staple)
Bloodshot (Andrew showed off his dance moves, which involved a lot of booty shaking and piano stomping)
Cavanaugh Park* (I got lost one day and ended up at this park. After that I spent a lot of time here. Nothing really happened, it's kind of a [expletive] park, I just like the name. Sorry if that ruins the song for anyone)
Dark Blue (...and then the water reached the...Midwest!)
Bruised (surprisingly chill, the last song in the regular setlist)
Swim (acoustic) (just the man and his piano. It was powerful. People were crying)
Konstantine* (the loudest people singing along at the Milwaukee didn't know the words very well and it was super distracting. This time was much better!)
La La Lie (SO. MUCH. ENERGY. Also a harmonica solo and piano jumpkick)
* = this song has a naughty word or two, listen at your own risk
(I'm not responsible for the video quality, wrong lyrics, etc. I just tried to find the best audio)

In between the end of the set and the encore, several people started shouting out songs they wanted to hear. When Andrew walked back on stage, he looked out and said, "Are you guys chanting Konstantine? You know requests are for karaoke bars, right?" Konstantine was already on the list though, so everyone got to hear it anyway.

The marquee

The setlist

Starting things off right with The Mixed Tape

One of Andrew's many funny singing faces

Hanging out on the piano

I like the picture of a picture

Eyeing where to jump during Catching Cold

Bloodshot booty shaking


La La Lie harmonica solo

The progression of flying Andy at the end of La La Lie

Even though it was late and we had to drive back, I still wanted to go say hi to Andrew. We found the bus around the corner and waited in line for about 20 minutes, which was must more preferable to the 45 minutes we waited after the Milwaukee show. When it was my turn, I handed my purse to Daniel and had the following conversation...

Me: Hi, I'm Jenn.
AM: Nice to meet you!
Me: I really liked your show tonight!
AM: Thanks for coming out!
Me: Can I hug you?
AM: Of course!
Me: And is it okay if I get a picture?
AM: Absolutely!
Me: Thank you so much!
AM: It was a pleasure to meet you, Jenn. Take care.

Brilliant. Maybe one day I'll say something witty.

Yay hugs!

We're both married, but wouldn't we be beautiful together?

I was totally on a concert buzz afterwards, the drive home was nothing! Running on 4 hours of sleep the next day was less than fun though. Still sad I missed Andy at Summerfest, but maybe he'll come back next year! And hopefully tour around the Midwest a lot in the meantime :)



Daniel took (and totally rocked) Step 1 on June 15, so we celebrated with a little trip to Charleston, SC, aka one of my favorite places ever. Since I'm rooting for a residency in the Southeast, I want to show Daniel how awesome the area is every chance I get! We flew from O'Hare to Charlotte on a Thursday and drove down to Charleston from there. I did one of those "it's a really good price but you won't find out the brand/company until after you pay" things on Hotwire and we were partnered up with Hertz. I don't have anything against Hertz, but I was a little disappointed they didn't upgrade our car when they saw how tall Daniel is. We usually reserve a compact because they're the cheapest, and other car companies have done the whole "Well, let me see what else we have available" slick move and gotten us an economy car instead. The Hertz guy offered to upgrade us, but not without paying up. It wasn't a huge deal, but it would've made Daniel more comfortable and (obviously) more likely to pick Emory or UNC for residency.

When we got our car, I called Jordan to ask her about some good radio stations in the area. Turns out she and Jillian were in Charlotte picking up her wedding dress! Daniel was craving Bojangles', so we met up in Waxhaw. It was so great to see them and we stayed a lot longer than we intended to, oops :)


Daniel very much enjoyed his biscuits!

We made the drive to Charleston after our stop at Bojangles'. My coworker told me about this website, airbnb.com, where you can rent houses or apartments instead of staying in a hotel. Daniel and I booked this cute place and it was fantastic! On the way down, we stopped in Orangeburg, SC for seriously delicious milkshakes from Cook-Out. It was nice to have a little taste of home!

Can you tell it was a long day for both of us?

We were tired of traveling (why is that? You sit on a plane or in a car and it wipes you out!) so we picked up wings from The Kickin' Chicken and spent the evening cheering on the Spurs in Game 7. Daniel went to bed grumpy because the Heat won, so I wanted to make sure Friday was extra special. We spent the morning at the Confederate Museum, and it was pretty cool. We looked at Civil War-era medical tools (um, no thank you) and also met another visitor who lived in Brookfield for 25 years before moving to NC.

Pregame show and wings

Can we just take a second and admire how picturesque Charleston is? Doesn't it look like Daniel's standing in front of a painting?

After the Museum, we went to lunch at Dave's, a little hole-in-the-wall place that got great reviews on Yelp. We got our food to go and ate at the house while waiting for Dad and Jacob to arrive. When they got there, we turned around and headed out to Fort Sumter. The ferry only goes out to the Fort a few times a day, so we checked out the Clamagore and USS Yorktown in the meantime. We rode over to Fort Sumter and learned about the battles fought and the people involved, I also tried not to think about how much the boat was rocking. We had almost an hour at the Fort, so there was plenty of time to check out all the cool things there.

Lunch from Dave's (it was tastier than it looks)

The Clamagore. If you aren't claustrophobic, 20 minutes in there will do the trick

Hanging out in a fighter jet on the Yorktown, no big deal

Fort Sumter from atop the ferry

Proof that it's a National Monument

A whole bunch of flags

What all the flags mean

After Fort Sumter we drove downtown for dinner. We walked up and down Bay Street before settling on the Noisy Oyster. We sat at a table right by the open windows and people watched while we ate. Daniel and Dad shared a seafood steampot, earning Daniel the #1 son-in-law spot (at the time though, he was still the only son-in-law, but still pretty high accolades coming from my dad). Afterwards, we walked all over Market Street, Meeting Street, and King Street. We checked out the old Citadel, the fire station, and some pretty gardens. Then it got dark and creepy and suddenly everyone was drunk and I was ready to get out of there!

Food from the Noisy Oyster

On Saturday we spent the morning at Folly Beach. Jacob surfed, Dad hiked to the pier and back, Daniel searched for shells, and I (successfully!) worked on my tan. We stopped at Publix on the way back and picked up some frozen pizzas and snacks for lunch, then we watched Sky High and cycled through the bathroom and got ready for the afternoon. We drove to Rainbow Row and took some pictures, then we went to Waterfront Park, home of the giant pineapple fountain! After that we walked down to White Point Garden and decided we wanted ice cream, so we went to the Haagen-Dazs on Market Street. Dad and Jacob left after that, and Daniel and I were tired from walking so much, so we spent the night finishing the Publix snacks and watching Pitch Perfect (Daniel confessed it was much funnier than he thought it would be!).

These aren't that great, I promise it's gorgeous in real life!

Take 1

Take 2

Ladies, he's single

Hazy ice cream afternoon

We left on Sunday morning and made one last stop at Market Street. I bought a spoon for Janey's collection and my very own bottle of Gator Sauce. We also checked out the MUSC campus and I secretly scoped out places to meet up for lunch with Daniel when he matches there!

I was impressed with the communal veggie garden!

Maybe we'll take another picture like this in a couple of years!

Then we drove back through Columbia and stopped at the temple there. Once we made it to Charlotte, we took a quick trip to Crayton Drive and the speedway.

This is exactly what the Raleigh and Minneapolis temples look like too

Our old house

Daniel didn't understand my excitement

We got to the airport super early, so we walked around all the terminals before heading to our gate. I found a Jamba Juice!

Strawberry Surf Rider 4 lyfe

Our flight was fine and our car was parked where we left it and even though we were tired when we got back to Milwaukee, it was a good tired. Luckily I took the next day off, so we were able to sleep in some.

Overall, it was a great trip! If you ever get the chance to go to Charleston, SC, DO IT! It's amazing and wonderful and everyone will want to come visit you. We can't wait to go back!