Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wienerschnitzel and apple strudel

On Saturday Mom and I got on the early morning train to Vienna! It's about an hour and 45 minutes away from Brno. It was an easy train ride and the train itself was really nice. We went through the country side of southern Czech and the northern part of Austria and I have to say it looks like the farms lands of Parma, Idaho. Just a lot of acres being used for farming. So it was easy to take a cat nap when you have seen Parma before.
When we got off the train we got onto Vienna's above ground city railway system. Vienna has both underground and above ground tracks. The city has so many options for public transportation and Mom and I bought a day pass to use all of them. It was a little confusing at first but we managed to get where we needed to be. By the time we made it to the city center we were very hungry for lunch. I really wanted a traditional Vienna meal, wienerschnitzel! We found a place not far from the truly overwhelming church in the middle of the square. I ordered wienerschitzel (which is a piece of veil pounded down into a thin circle and then breaded and cooked) When it came out it was overflowing the plate, which I think is common place for the restaurants to do. It was so good! I mean, really good! And the restaurant had a salad bar so I was able to get a salad! Hard to find salad in Brno, every side dish is potato, never thought I would say this being from Idaho, but I am sick of potato!! Mom had a piece of roasted chicken with veggies cooked in bacon, so good!
After lunch we toured the church:

look at the roof top, so odd and great:

Since we only had a few hours in Vienna before we had to catch the train back to Brno we decided to maximize our time. We got on a hop on, hop off buss and toured the city. What an interesting city, full of musical history and art. It's also a very clean city.
Here are some pictures:

So Vienna loves their coffee shops. The Viennese people believe the coffee shop is an extension to their living room, I would need a belt extension if I lived in Vienna, the candies they sell at these coffee shops are almost to hard resist!

So I had wienerschnitzel for lunch now I needed to end my trip to Vienna with their famous desert, apple strudel. And oh my goodness it didn't disappoint! Just look at the picture!! Mom got a creamed filled pastry that melted in your mouth.

After all that sugar it was time to go back to Brno. We took the underground subway and then found the right train to get us back home. I was so proud of us and how well we figured the train lines out. We got to the apartment around 9pm did the round of Skype calls and then went to bed. We had a big morning: transfer day!!

*side note* camera broke so no more pictures of the blog tell I get back to Seattle. Mom's camera does not hook up to my lap top :(

Friday, February 26, 2010

The bat phone.

So My IVF Alternative gave me a cell phone when we arrived. It has all the numbers we need. Like my coordinator Barbora, the clinic and a very special number call "Embrya". After the transfer this is the magic number you call to check in on your embryos. I find this very humorous, like someone is babysitting my embryos and I am calling to check in on them. You call everyday between the hours of 1pm - 2pm until your implantation day which mine will be on Sunday morning. Well I called today from the Brno mall to check in. I gave the lady my name and she told me how many survived fertilization, 75% in my case. She also told me they look good and that everything was fine. Mom and I did our little happy dance and the positivity just pours out of us now. We were walking home from our errands and I said to my Mom how odd it was that just blocks away from our apartment my little embryos are being kept safe. Like they are at the babysitters or something. When you wrap your brain around it, if you can, it's so wonderfully odd. I jumped on the computer and called the hubby, you could hear how excited he was and how happy the number made him. It's just such a joyous moment to know that all that pain and suffering and all the waiting there's finally such good news. I made the round of calls to the sister, Dad, Mom-in-law, sister-in-law and spread the news like it was wildfire. Like in my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, right after Dorothy kills the witch with her house.. the little munchkins proclaim:
"Let the joyous news be spread the wicked witch at last is dead" in my case I proclaim: "Let the joyous news be spread the infertility witch at last is dead"
( and that in a nutshell is how much brain works )

I know the journey isn't over now, but wow good news feels amazing!

Internet cafes and no torture dungeons

While Mom is in the bath I thought I would blog about the first day she was here. I was so sleepy after that day I couldn't even form sentences so I will try now.
It started with having lunch with hubby and then sending him off to go home (which by the way I talked to him last night and he made it safe and sound). From lunch we needed to find an internet cafe. We have internet in the apartment but no printer or scanner. My parents are moving to Florida and are buying a new house so there is a lot of paperwork that my Mom needs to sign and then scan and send back to Dad. Took us 2 hours to find a internet cafe!!! Every coffee shop, McDonalds, hotel has WiFi access but again no printer or scanner. Finally, we found one in the middle of the city inside the mall. A 2 hour adventure for about 5 minutes of work. Oh well, we got it done which is all that matters. We have to go find that cafe again today because there is more paperwork for her to sign and resend back to the states.
I really wanted to go the castle on top of the hill that over looks the city. Only way to get to the top is walk the really steep hill.

Here's a picture of Mom at the top:

Here's a picture of the castle:

The castle itself is closed for the winter but the dungeon/prison was open. Of course I wanted to do that. We got our handout and off we went. The prison was in use the in 17th century and crammed a lot of people into the small caves below. There would of been no natural light inside and some of the rooms are so terrible that the average life span of someone inside was mere months.

Here's a freaky picture of Mom, she moved as was taking the picture and it made her appear double.

Half way through the self guided tour Mom and I started to laugh at the handout they gave us. It was so politically correct it was humorous. The handout would never admit that torture took place in the prison, everything was made up stories. Nothing terrible EVER happened there. So they use dummies to model some the prisoners to give you and idea and stuff. Well below is a picture of a what the handout calls a "recreation room".

Mom asked if by recreation they meant tanning bed room?
There were also caves that had the blots they used to tie up prisoners, the kitchen that only cooked only 3 hot meals a week, the lack of sun and sanitation.. your right that's not torture. There was also a room where "legend" has it adulterous women were tied and slow dripping water would land on there head driving them mad. Like a gothic early 17th century version of water boarding. Yep, no torture at that prison!
After the nicest dungeon in recorded history Mom and headed over to the huge gothic cathedral in the middle of the city. The same one hubby and I went too but now it was Mom's turn. There was hardly any other tourist around and so the lady that works at the church gave us an impromptu tour. It was so crazy, she took us to the top of the alter where the priest stands and into the private dressing room of the priest. If you are Catholic you know how crazy that would be to have that kind of access to the church. Mom and I think she was really bored and wanted to practice her english on us. She told us EVERYTHING about the church, no statue unexplained no picture left out. It was really an amazing experience.
Here's Mom at the stairs leading away from the church into the main square.

After all that walking and sightseeing we went to the grocery store and got the stuff we needed for Mom to make a nice pasta dinner.

oh looks, like she's ready now.. off we go to find that internet cafe again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Momma Hen meets Golden Retrieval Day!

Today was the day I sat on some straw and like a good momma hen I laid my eggs. No not really..but seriously there were moments this past week I would of given ALL my Czech money to lay the eggs. But instead I let Dr. McDreamy help out. I didn't think he was that McDreamy but Mom did so, that's his new blog name. Dr. McDreamy was so nice and so reassuring about everything. He spoke perfect english as did all the nurses. I couldn't of asked for better treatment. In fact the whole procedure from the moment I was taken out of our private room was all of 10 minutes!
Here is a picture of the room. Such a big room, with two chairs to the side and huge bathroom with shower ( not pictured )

When they walked me to the examining room everything was set just like my past fertility surgeries in the states. I laid on the bed and next to me was Peter, my anesthesiologist. I told Peter I had bad veins and good luck, before I could even finish the word luck he was done...I immediately felt the drugs, my face started to tingle and I looked at Dr. McDreamy and said I was not enjoying this feeling. He told me to just relax and have a good dreams.
And I did... two of the them, one was of Vienna and the other of the hubby. Felt like I was out for hours. But Mom said I was gone for only 10 minutes! I was laid on the bed in our room and I started to feel a lot of cramping that took about 10 minutes to pass. After the cramping had passed I felt amazing. It was so odd! Mom didn't really believe me at first, so odd to have the drugs wear off so fast and to feel so good after surgery. I think it was the after procedure snack they leave at your bedside, chocolate and cranberry tea makes anyone feel better!

The only issue happened when the nurse came wanting some blood to test for infection. Well, my bad veins proved themselves again. 5 pokes and tries on one arm and 1 poke in another they had their blood. The nurse was so funny, she said something like, 'a woman with no blood, amazing'
Mom and I went to lunch and had a really rich traditional Czech lunch. Ate WAY too much and half way through the meal my 'I feel great' attitude slowly went down hill. Walking back to the apartment from the restaurant was a challenge, slow and steady. We took about an hour nap and that's when the 'I feel great' attitude totally died, I was in misery! Looking back I think I was slowly coming off the medication and my body was not having a very good time doing it. Everything seemed so sore and stiff, nausea and all around misery. And that huge lunch wasn't making anything better. Mom called the doctor to ask if I could take pain medication and he said Ibuprofen would help. My amazing Mom went off to the nearest pharmacist and got me tablets. They call pills tablets here. Took the tablets, called my sister for distraction and about an hour later I was back to normal. Still a little sore but no more stiffness or nausea. YAY! It's nice to have your Mom around when your sick, there's something special about her that makes being sick almost easier.
I think the rest of the evening will be just lounging around eating paprika chips and watching chick flicks!
*fingers are crossed* that the eggs are hatching well and that they survive the long and hard process of becoming embryos. The call to check in one them tomorrow will be nerve racking. But I am really positive and happy, everything will be okay.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the heart continues to grow

I am surprised at how much a heart can love. How much of your being can be wrapped around the love you have with someone else. I know you can experience this love in many different ways. The love of a spouse or partner, the love of parent to child, child to parent, siblings, friendships and even pets. Tonight I am surprised at how much I miss hubby. It's not a normal miss, like 'see you soon' miss. It's a 'I am not a whole person in this journey', miss. And this miss started last night when we were laying in bed and I could feel his energy and how worried he was for me and how much he longed to stay with me. Giving me travel pointers "Melissa, keep your head up", "don't put your money in the same place as your credit card", "relax, don't forget to breathe".
When I was around 20 I remember talking to my Mom about marriage. I can't remember what brought the conversation to this statement but I have never forgot her words. She told me that couples that have had times of struggle together, stay together. To struggle with your spouse, to be a team and work together to either make the rent, loss of family, or just have hard times seems to make the bond between spouses stronger.
I saw her logic in this and agreed but I never really understood it until this week. I feel so connected to hubby during this process and I feel so bonded by our struggle to have a baby. It makes his leaving that much harder...

In 45 minutes it will be midnight in Brno. No food or drink for me until after the procedure. ( I never eat this late, but because there is a time frame my tummy is making noses ) The time is so close now. I felt no stress until now, because the real process starts. Now it's out of my control. There is nothing more I can do. I have to wait and wait and wait. It's up to the eggs now.. I am told to expect only 40% to survive the first 2 days of 'hatching'. Again I hear my hubby's voice "Melissa, you only need one" I am going to trying to relax, know it's out of my hands now. Know that I am on the path that is right for me and my husband and remember what will be will be and I am okay.

The hubby left but Mom is here!

The tears did come this afternoon when saying good bye to the hubby. Just so hard to say goodbye to him. I really can't even blog about it right now, don't want to go there. Trying to stay positive for my retrieval tomorrow. 8am!!!

Mom got here safe and sound yesterday. Having her here is like a breath of fresh air. We walked around the city after saying our goodbyes to hubby. We both think we got some sun on our checks after all that walking. I know I am super sleepy right now and think I will have to tell you tomorrow about the politically correct dungeon we went too.

Mom told me about all the people she knows who are reading the blog and it made me feel happy people are interested in our journey. Just wanted to say that I can feel all the well wishes being sent my way and I thank everyone for their support and positive thoughts!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Waddling to the supermarket.

There was a shortage of beer and salad in our apartment. So we put on our shoes and walked to the supermarket. So on the way there I found a comfortable walking position, a waddle. Almost like a woman who's about 6 months pregnant. It's an odd feeling and I described this to the hubby. He asked me how I was going to handle pregnancy if I found this so uncomfortable. I thought about this for a minute and realized that when you become pregnant it's a slow process, 9 months. You slowly start to grow out, yes it gets uncomfortable but it doesn't happen over night. Well, with IVF it happens over night literally. In the morning your able to tie your shoes and then 5 hours later your asking your husband to help because you can't bend over without sharp pain. So looking forward to the retrieval and be able to save my waddling days for the months ahead.
I took some pictures of the supermarket:

Look at the price of beer, the conversion is about 50 Czech crown = $3

All the beautiful bread, costs almost less then a US penny:

check out, beer, coke and salad. So American.

Walking back to our apartment, the view of our street.

Third floor is us!

In Czech when someone tells you they are on the 2nd floor of a building they are really on the 3rd floor. They consider what we call the 1st floor the ground floor. So when we first arrived and Barbora showed us the apartment she said we were on the 2nd floor. While walking up the stairs with her I noticed we keep walking and then one flight later we arrived, it's the little things like this that keep me so entertained. I love all the little differences between us. It's just different enough to be amusing and fun to figure out. I am just really enjoying myself, everything is fun and interesting to me.

A day with Barbora.

What a great day we had! Our appointment at the clinic went well and we are all ready for the egg retrieval at 8 am on the 25th!! Wow, it's getting so close.
After our appointment our local coordinator Barbora gave us a small driving tour of Brno and then took us out to a real Czech lunch. We had such a great time talking to her and ended up having an almost 3 hour lunch. She is so fantastic and funny. She is from a small town outside of Brno and just moved back after spending 5 years in London. We got along so well with her and after lunch she said she wished we lived here so we could be friends. She also answered a lot of the questions the hubby and I had about Czech life and culture. And then we answered all the questions she had about America. It will be a highlight of my adventure here in Brno.

Here us after lunch with Barbora, I made the bartender take our picture, which made both Barbora and the hubby laugh. I just want to remember her and how fantastic lunch had been!

Tomorrow my mom gets here!! It's so bittersweet. I am so excited to have my mom here and share this adventure with her but at the same time it means it's time for the hubby to return home. I can't think about that yet, it really makes me sad. I have such a fantastic hubby who has been so supportive through this whole process to see him leave half way through the journey makes it hard. But, I understand to have kids you need a job and he needs to get back to that job!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I was a Disney princess for a day.

Just got back from our overnight trip from Prague. I really wish that I could take everyone I ever knew to Prague. What an amazing city, what an unexpected surprise. When your a little girl you play make believe and your the princess. There is an evil queen, a great land and a handsome prince. Prague is the backdrop to all those fantasies. I was walking into the real life version of Disney. The opening scene in Cinderella, the clock tower awakes her, that clock tower and castle in that movie is the every day apartment in Prague. Yesterday I was a grown up princess touring the city of dreams with my handsome prince.

* I am going to put the pictures in small font and if you want to see a larger version just click the picture and it will open a new tab with a larger version on the picture*

Traveling by train from Brno to Prague is about 3 hours. The trains offer private rooms and general seating areas. They also had a dinning car.Below is a picture of our morning breakfast on the train. In the Czech, beer is cheaper then water. When you sit down at a restaurant or bar tap water costs money and it costs more then a beer. They also serve a lot of Fanta, which I LOVE!

When we got to Prague we went straight to our hotel. Our hotel was on a quite street away from most of the high traffic tourist areas. We also got a HUGE deal on the room. 4 star hotel room for a 2 star price. I mean, come on, look at the bed!!

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am starting to feel very uncomfortable and walking on cobble stone streets just isn't the best thing ever for my pain tolerance. Luckily I married a travel master who could figure out the Czech subway system and we managed to get from one point of interest to the next without much confusion. The first thing we did was head straight to the Prague castle. It sits on top of a huge hill over looking the entire city. Took FOREVER to walk up since we were going at Melissa's super slow uncomfortable pace. The hubby would keep reminding me that it would be well worth the effort of the stairs and when we got to the top he was right. The view, the castle, the church inside the caste, the changing of the guard, the everything was amazing!
Steps leading up to the castle:
View from top of stairs before entering the castle square:

Me underneath an arch that leads to the church:
The church: (they still have mass every Sunday at this church)

From the church we walked down to Charles Bridge. Which is a very famous bridge. It was once the only bridge connecting Prague from one side to the other. Now the bridge is for pedestrians only and there are statues every where you turn. Each statue has its own meaning and history. There is a statue that you rub and make a wish, can you guess what I wished for? There are also street charts selling art and jewelry. When we were walking across I think I heard every language in world. The bridge is such a melting pot of tourist, locals, and hippies. I LOVED IT!

This is us at the end of the bridge with the castle and church behind us:

The bridge lead us into old town, which was my favorite part of Prague. It was a large square with two gothic style churches mirroring each other. Restaurants, pubs and street vendors line the rest of the square. We got there around dusk and had dinner, which was fantastic, because Czech food is fantastic! Do like pork and potatoes? You like Czech food. A fan of beer, you'll be a fan of Czech!

When we came out of dinner it was night and at night they light up the square. So beautiful.

After that we went back to the hotel and had good nights sleep. I think I passed out around 8pm. In the morning we had a nice breakfast visited the Jewish square and headed back to Brno. On the train back to Brno I was reminded again how small the world really is...we went to the dinning car and order a round of drinks. A couple next to us heard our American accents and asked where we where from. We said Seattle.. they said Boise!! Turns out the guy went to St. Mark's school too (years ahead of me) and is the cousin of one of Charlie's good friends from highschool! If you are from Boise and went to the Catholics schools in the area you can play the 'do you know this family' game forever, which we did. How odd to be on a train in the middle of the Czech Republic and run into someone from Boise?!?! This world is so small!

Now we are back in our apartment. Going to skype (call for free) the family which has been such a fun thing to be able to do while so far away. Tomorrow is our second appointment at the clinic. My thoughts are positive and I know everything will be great. Tomorrow will decide all the timing for the next two weeks. My heart is so ready for this and I feel a glow with the hope of it all. I can't believe that each day brings us closer and closer to having our baby.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Smuggling a watermelon

I am sitting in our living room awake at 3 am. I can hear the happy and blissful sounds of my husband sleeping in the other room. I am having no such luck. It's not really the time change that is keeping me up, well, maybe a little, it's this really uncomfortable feeling in my tummy. The medicine I am on is stimulating my ovaries to make them larger and produce more eggs well the only way I can describe the way this is making my body feel is to say, it feels like I am smuggling a watermelon under my skin. There is a lot of pressure. Almost like the feeling when have eaten way to much food. My other issue is that I am side sleeper, curled up in the fetal postilion with my tummy half on the mattress half curled up. Well, this doesn't really work anymore, putting more pressure on an already uncomfortable situation. What's a girl to do? Lay on my back? Yes, this feels the best. With my gut expanded, (so attractive) this feels so much better. But since I have never slept that way I am having trouble falling asleep like that. This is starting to sound like a pity party..I would take a couple sleepless nights and an uncomfortable tummy for what the final outcome will be. So, who needs sleep anyway. There is a coke in the fridge and 3 hour train ride to Prague tomorrow, I can sleep then.
Oh ya, we picked Prague as our destination. Taking the morning train and then overnighting at a hotel. I am really looking forward to this, Prague was the city the hubby wanted to go to on our honeymoon. And since he has been he is really excited to show me his favorite spots. Just looked at the weather, 80% chance of snow. These gothic cities look so beautiful with snow on them, so I am looking forward to walking the Charles Bridge surrounded by snow.. something kind of magical about that.
Will have to blog either late Sunday or early Monday.. until.. cross you fingers for me to sleep.

Friday in Brno part 2

We had some lunch, which was amazing! I feel I should take pictures of the food, because it's soooo good! I had steak, well pork steak and mashed potatoes and the hubby had chicken with potato pancakes. HELLO?!? Potato pancakes, delicious! My sister would LOVE these pancakes.

It was pouring rain today. But being the Seattle locals we are we could brave a few rain drops. Well, rain drops turned into rain puddles and then rain showers. So grateful for the hat hubby bought me for Valentine's Day. My hair is one big curl ball in this weather.

We walked about 3 miles to the enormous gothic church in the middle of old town Brno. The church, St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral was built in the 14th century in place of a former Romanesque castle and church. There is a saying that once you have seen one church in Europe you have seen them all. So not true in Czech. The gothic features are just breathtaking. It's almost in a way overwhelming, and has a hint of menace. It has the look of the evil castle in Disney movies, the evil step mom will be at the entrance.

We strolled around the church taking it all in and then I found a door. Inside this old door was a staircase... and up we went.
A dozen flights later, vertigo and fear we made it to the top of the bell tower!

We had to pass this old wood bridge which I swear was built in the 14th century.

But it was SO worth it! The view was amazing!!

After the view we walked a little farther and decided to visit the crypts. My hubby and I are known to do things off the beaten path. On our honeymoon in Paris one of our favorite activities was going to the underground catacombs/crypts. So seeing crypts in Brno was a no brainier. The crypts were mostly for the monks and nobles of the city. They weren't mummified, they were simply laid to rest on the ground. But the air and natural vents in the area kept the bodies well persevered. It was truly fascinating.
Disclaimer: the photos below may not be for everyone. I will put them in small font.

Above the crypts the words read: "Tu Fui Ego Eris" which means "What you are, we were, what we are, you will be"

Now dinner, frozen pizza!