Suzi Beech and Family

This blog is about my family and my trials and tribulations as a work-from-home mom of twins.

My twins were born 8 years ago today… July 8, 2009

My family on the kids' 8th birthday, 2009

My family on the kids' 8th birthday, 2009

If you read my post about our struggle with infertility, you know that getting pregnant took many years of tests, procedures, heartache, perseverance, tears and money.  We finally conceived on our final attempt at in vitro fertilization or IVF.  I have many stories that I will share about our roller coaster ride with infertility treatments. Today, as we celebrate the birthday of our babies, I want to reflect on the 5 weeks I spent on hospital bed-rest before they were born.

While twin pregnancies are becoming more common, they still are not without risk. I didn’t have a care-free pregnancy. I first had what’s called a subchorionic hemorrhage during my 9th week of pregnancy. That is like a blood clot that forms between the placenta and uterine wall. I started bleeding at midnight on New Years Eve, 2001. I called my doctor in a panic (that’s right at midnight on New Years Eve…and he wasn’t even mad!).   He was very reassuring and told me to lie down with my feet raised. Looking back, I’m sure this didn’t actually do anything other than give me the feeling that I was doing something! Anyway, that’s what I did. I barely moved for two days until we could get in for an ultrasound. We found both babies doing well with strong heartbeats. The blood clot dissolved on it’s own over the next couple of weeks, just as the doctor predicted and I was allowed to  resume normal activity.

From my 11th week to my 28th week, things really went along very smoothly.  A couple days into my 28th week I began having contractions.  I called the doctor who told me to meet him at the hospital.  I was given a shot of a drug called terbuteline and monitored for several hours.  I was then sent home with a prescription for “terb” in pill form to take if I felt any more contractions.  I  was also put on bed-rest, where I was allowed to spend one hour a day sitting in

Gus' Lego Explosion

Gus' Lego Explosion

an upright position, make brief trips to the bathroom, and walk as far as from the bedroom to the couch.  Basically, I was told to keep pressure off my cervix as much as possible.  Between my 29th and 30th week, I had contractions that didn’t stop after I took the terbutaline.  I spoke with my doctor and was told to go to the hospital for monitoring again.  I was given another shot of terb and had the babies monitored, along with my contractions, which slowed, then stopped.  I was sent home for more bed-rest.

Contractions started again at 31 weeks.  I took my terbutaline and called the doctor.  I was told to take another dose of terb but it did nothing to stop the contractions, which were now coming along at a steady pace.  Again, off to the hospital I went.  This time though, I was put on an intravenous drug called magnesium sulfate.  It made me feel as if I’d been hit by a truck.  I was so out of it, slow, tired and nauseous, and felt as if I were burning up from the inside.  On the upside, my contractions began to slow.  I thought they would monitor me for awhile, like the last time, then send me home.  This was definitely not the case and I didn’t step foot in my house again for another 6 weeks.  I was moved into a room where the doctor on-call told me I’d probably deliver that night.  I was given a steroid shot to help the babies lungs mature and Philip and I talked about the possibility of having tiny preemies.

Ruby, Star and Chelsea

Ruby, Star and Chelsea

Morning came and I was still holding my own.  I was being heavily monitored both for contractions and for the side-effects of the “mag” as we called it.  It is a horrible drug to take.  It makes you feel very hot and very thirsty but, ironically, makes you retain fluid so everything you ingest has to be measured as well as everything you…er…eliminate to make sure extra fluid containing magnesium isn’t being stored in your tissues.  It’s a real catch-22.  So thirsty, so little to drink!  I think mag could be used as a form of torture for prisoners of war.  I wasn’t a prisoner of war though, I was just another bedrest mommy-in-waiting at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.

It was a sort of “best of times, worst of times” scenario.  The best parts were that I could listen to my babies heartbeats all day long and knew I was in the right place should they or I need care.  I was also off the hook from doing any sort of housework, chore or cooking of any sort and had people around me 24/7 willing to bring me things and help me if I needed it.  There was also the glorious air conditioning.  Our house was a small, California-style bungalow without a/c.  This was summer in Los Angeles and I was hugely pregnant.  I shudder to think how miserable and puffy I would have been if I hadn’t been in a cool room!

One of the saddest things for me was that I didn’t get to finish decorating my baby nursery.  I had spent so many years listening to every else’s plans and looking at everyone else’s fnished products and here I was, missing my one and only chance to decorate a baby room of my own.  Philip and my mom had to get everything finished during the 5 weeks I was in the hospital.  They would both spend hours a day with me at the hospital.  I’m sure they were bored stiff, but they did it.  We would talk about all the progress made in the nursery – the valances were hung, the tiny clothes were washed and put away, the crib mobiles has been ordered…On day, after Philip went on a Babies ‘R Us shopping spree he went home, put up a few finishing touches and filmed a video of the babies’ room to bring to me.  Oh, how I cried when I watched it…every time.  So much so, that he threatened to take it away from me, but I cherished that video.  I still get teary-eyed when I see it.  I loved their nursery.  It was so peaceful, with the pastel polka-dots and the mobiles playing “Imagine” by John Lennon.  It was a dream realized, that’s for sure.  My own babies, living in my own house.

During the first week of July, my 35th week of pregnancy, my “Baby A” (they refer to multiples in utero by the A,B,C’s to

Ruby and Gus at their Birthday Dinner

Ruby and Gus at their Birthday Dinner

keep track of who is who) had virtually stopped growing.  “Baby B” was good sized and head down, prepared for birth, but Baby A (who we call Ruby now 🙂 ) was sitting on my cervix, blocking the door out, as it were.  My doctor decided it was time for them to come out and our C-section was scheduled for July the 8, which also happens to be my brother’s birthday.

They were born at 36 weeks gestation.  Ruby was first and weighed in at 4lbs15oz.  Gus came out a minute later and weighed in at 6lb4oz.  They were finally here, our long awaited babies, healthy, pink and screaming.  Gus spent his first

night in the regular nursery because he swallowed fluid during birth and needed monitoring.  Ruby was able to room in with us.  The Beech Family was born!

That was 8 years ago today.  Time sure has flown by!  For their birthday today they opened cards and presents then we went shopping at the mall.  Gus bought a new Star Wars Lego set and Ruby got two new Build-A-Bears.  We watched a movie and went out for our traditional birthday sushi dinner.  We took a little stroll around downtown, then headed home.  Although their actual birthday has now come and gone, the celebration will continue with their big “Survivor” themed birthday party this weekend.  It’s going to be a blast.  I am one lucky lady!

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Defeating Infertility and Feeling Nostalgic June 30, 2009

Infertility Awareness

Infertility Awareness

I have been spending a lot of time thinking back about our battle with infertility and feeling very nostalgic lately. Certainly not nostalgic about infertility itself, but that solid, concrete, must-attain-goal of getting pregnant and successfully delivering a healthy child (or children as it turned out). I think it’s partly because my “miracle” babies are about to turn 8, but I know it’s also partly because I’ve been thinking a lot about goals and desires.

My struggle with infertility was an unexpected, life-changing, soul-searching roller coaster. I knew, from the time I was a little girl, that I wanted to be a mommy. That was my number one goal, my whole life’s plan. Everything else to me seemed secondary.

My husband and I met when I was 19 and started trying to get pregnant when I was 23. I wanted a bunch of kids and I wanted to have them while I was still young enough to have the energy to keep up with them all. After the first couple of months of unsuccessful trying to conceive, friends and relatives began giving their advice: gain weight; go out and get drunk; take a vacation; stop trying so hard; relax. As the years went on, the well-meaning advice slowed to a trickle and then stopped. No one really knew what to say anymore. Close relatives were afraid to tell me of their own pregnancies and friends were hesitant to invite me to their baby showers.  I was always happy for them, of course, but they were all very aware of our struggles to have a baby of our own.

I saw doctor after doctor, had many painful tests and procedures and spent thousands of dollars. During this time I went from being a student and food-server to a feature film production coordinator to a talent agent for cinematographers. I had found success in my professional life, but still hadn’t achieved my number one goal. So, while the professional part of my life was flourishing, the personal one was still stuck.

It was during this time that I happened upon one of the most supportive online communities I know of. It’s called Fertile Thoughts.  I stumbled upon the site while I was researching in vitro fertilization and endometriosis.

Fertile Thoughts

Fertile Thoughts

Finding the infertility forum was a real blessing.  I was able to talk with so many other women and men struggling with the same problems I was.  I made great friends with many courageous people.  I met some of them in real life and others were friends online only.  It was on one of those bulletin boards where I learned to apply one of my favorite sayings,  “keep your eye on the prize”, to my life. It was those six words that helped me refocus and regain perspective during what was one of the most difficult periods of my life.

I was so fortunate that I was, after eight long years of struggle and heartache, able to conceive my children and bring them into this world.  It wasn’t easy – the conceiving or the pregnancy (I will tell you all about my weeks on bedrest in another post) – but we did it.  These days, my twins are gearing up for their 8th birthday, their first time going to summer camp, their traditional California summer vacation and the 4th of July celebration.

I have been thinking long and hard about goals and achievements.  Those six words – keep your eye on the prize – are back strong in my life.  I am striving to deliver that prize once again.  Although my “prize” is different this time (I’m done trying to have babies, thankfully!), keeping my eye firmly on it is proving, once again, to be the motivation I need.

I hope you are able to focus in on your dreams and desires and continue striving to turn them into reality for yourselves.  It’s not always easy and sometimes might not seem likely, but maintaining focus is crucial to achieving all goals, no matter what they may be.

 

Fishing Trip with the Cub Scouts June 12, 2009

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

I tagged along on my son’s Cub Scout troop’s fishing trip yesterday.  We went to a beautiful place in North Plains (Oregon, where I live) called Horning’s Hideout.  There were the two troop leaders, myself and 11 Cub Scouts.

Horning’s Hideout is a beautiful place about 25 minutes or so from Portland.  They specialize is outdoor weddings and have a couple of ponds for fishing, camping areas, paddle boats, Frisbee golf…all kinds of fun outdoor things to keep folks busy.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any decent pictures of the many pretty peacocks on the grounds.  Every time one of them would get close enough for a decent shot, my dog would try to get at them, so I had my hands full!  I did get a pretty picture of this butterfly, though.

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Two of the boys (brothers) had brought their own fishing poles and tackle boxes.  One of them wanted to use his stuff, the other chose to use the gear provided by Horning’s.  All the boys who used the rods and bait provided caught fish within minutes of tossing in their line.  Seriously, half the boys had already caught their quota (one whole trout!…each!…woohoo!) before the other half even got bait on their hooks.  The boys who wanted to use the fake, neon green “worms” out of the personal tackle box had absolutely no luck.  We waited and recasted and recasted…no bites at all.  Finally, even though they didn’t want to hurt the wiggly little wormies, we convinced them to use the live bait.  Minutes later, their fish had been caught, too.  It was a wild 30 minutes of lines flying, hooks being baited, fish flopping on the dock and much, much, squealing, yelling and shouting.  There were only a few hook mishaps and tangled lines – not bad considering the pace the fish were flying out of the water!  Those red hook-puller things did a great job of getting those hooks out of the fish.  I don’t remember

Nico tied up on the dock

Nico tied up on the dock

having those when I was a kid.  Very handy!

I had to tie Nico up on the dock so I could help the boys.  She didn’t like that very much and cried until some of the boys went over and played with her.  She’s such a baby!

Before we knew it, it was time to head back up the hill and clean our fish.  The boys were pretty much horrified, as was the one leader who had never been fishing before.  I like fishing and gutting the fish doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s not my favorite thing to do, especially with the number of fish that needed cleaning.  Luckily, our hostess at Horning’s came to help!  She was terrific and tried to get the boys interested in the fish insides.  She pointed out their “parts” like liver, gullet, lungs…I think our

How to Clean a Fish

How to Clean a Fish

inexperienced leader almost threw-up at that point!  They did have this helpful sign with instructions posted near the cleaning stations.  I thought they were pretty funny.  I was

Gus holding his big catch

Gus holding his big catch

surprised the Scouts were so standoffish when it came to holding onto their fish.  They all thought they were too slimy.  One boy told me he wouldn’t eat “that kind of fish.”  He only ate the kind from the grocery store.  It’s odd how out of touch they are with where their food comes from!  I hope the rest of the families enjoyed eating their son’s catches as much as we did (well, when I say “we” I mean Philip and I…Gus had a couple of bites Ruby might’ve tasted it, but that was it!).

It was a pretty exhausting couple of hours. Those boys are full of energy, let me tell you!  I was really glad I got to join them on the trip.  I spend so much time with the Girl Scouts, I was afraid my son was going to think I didn’t want to hang out with the Boy Scouts.  I am so lucky to be my own boss and have the flexibility to be able to take time to do these things!

 

Nothing Says “Summer’s Here” Like the Ice Cream Truck! June 10, 2009

Filed under: Personal Stuff — Suzi Beech @ 8:49 am
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1st ice cream truck visit of 2009

1st ice cream truck visit of 2009

That’s right…school’s not quite out here in our neighborhood, but already that familiar music came drifting down the street yesterday afternoon.  I find it very  interesting that kids can hear the ice cream truck music trinkling from blocks away, but not hear me when I’m standing right next to them (shouting their name, repeatedly…).  Anyway, I wanted to say hello to you, welcome to summer, welcome to ice cream trucks, days of swimming and watermelon, the beginning of new seasons and new possibilities. Enjoy your day!

 

The final week of school…my kids are almost done with 2nd grade! June 9, 2009

My monkeys at Field Day

My monkeys at Field Day

My twins are in their final week of 2nd grade. I know it’s true but I’m having a hard time believing it. I told Ruby at least three times yesterday, “Today is your last Monday of second grade, ever!” She was totally unimpressed and reminded me I’d already told her that. Well, forgive me for being a sentimental Mommy. Each year seems to be going by faster than the last!

I spent this morning at their school as a volunteer for “Field Day.” Field Day is where their whole school (Kindergarten through 2nd grades in the morning and 3rd through 5th grades in the afternoon) spend time outside, playing games and running around. It’s school-wide controlled chaos.

I was stationed at the obstacle course. I had two 5th-grade girls running the show, I was only there in a supervisory role. It was pretty incredible to witness the differences in all the grades. The little kindergarten students tripped over the hurdles, knocked down the cones, fell through the hula-hoops and laughed and laughed. They were all about having fun and didn’t take the whole thing very seriously.

I could tell the 1st graders were beginning to become a little self-conscious, but they were still willing to cheer-on their teammates in loud voices. When one of them would knock over a hurdle, they’d try to stop and “fix” it or right a fallen cone. They were more about doing things “right” than quickly.

Ruby & Miss Chamberlain

Ruby & Miss Chamberlain

The 2nd graders were having fun, but were definitely more self-conscious and a lot more competitive. The boys were all about making the best time, even if it meant they skipped obstacles or plowed right through them and they’d call for their time before they reached the finish line. The girls were very careful to clear each hurdle, zig and zag properly through each cone and cross the finish line, whether they were going fast or not. They were all about completing each task “properly.”

The 5th grade girls were excellent coaches and I really got to hang back and drink my coffee (lovingly supplied by the PTO…thank you!!) and cheer for all my little friends.

There was 45 minutes between completing all the Field Day activities and going back outside for a school-wide picnic lunch. I rushed home, packed myself a lunch (the two cereal bars and sleeve of Ritz I’d thrown in my backpack before leaving the house at 7:45 didn’t seem very appealing, after all!) and drove back to school in time to set-up our picnic blanket before the kids swarmed out.

Gus at Field Day 09

Gus at Field Day 09

It was a glorious, June afternoon by Oregon standards. Warm, but not hot, breezy not windy, with the temperature in the low to mid-70s. I got both my kids and a bunch of their friends to sit on my blanket with me to eat our lunches. I don’t know how many more years they’ll want to sit with “Mom” but I sure am glad they do now! After lunch and a few pictures, they were ushered back into class and I returned home…back to work.

I am sad my babies are growing up so fast. Three more days of 2nd grade, they’ll turn 8 next month, then a couple of months until the start of 3rd grade! Where has the time gone?

I am so very happy that I’ve changed my life so that I can earn a living while working from home around my kids’ schedules. I missed so many of their events and activities when I was working as a restaurant manager. If only I’d known then what I know now about network marketing, I would’ve saved myself a lot of stress and heartache. In either case, I am grateful for what I have now and am happy to lead the life I do!

 

The Top 5 Things I’m Thankful for this Memorial Day Weekend May 23, 2009

Kicking the weekend off with a splash!

Kicking the weekend off with a splash!

1.  First and foremost, I’m thankful that I overcame years of infertility and was given the gift of my children.  It was a long, difficult battle, but we took it on and were victorious.

2.  I am thankful for my husband, who stands by my decisions and remains supportive and encouraging, in good times and bad times.

3.  I am thankful for friends who inspire me to be better.  People who offer ideas and opportunities I wouldn’t have found on my own.

4.  I am thankful for having the opportunity to take chances in life.  Things might not have always worked out as planned, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

5.  I am thankful for living in this era.  It is wonderful to be able to connect on a global level  with so many people with so many differing viewpoints and strategies.

I am also thankful that you are here reading this.  I hope we can connect in the future to share our joys and sorrows, successes and failures. I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!

 

Hello and Thanks for Visiting! May 11, 2009

Filed under: Personal Stuff — Suzi Beech @ 1:50 pm
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I’m glad you stopped by to check me out.  I would love to tell you a little about myself, what I do and how I’ve become a successful network marketer and business owner.

First of all, my name is Suzi and I live in Portland, Oregon.  I am originally from Peoria, Illinois and have also lived in Arizona and California.  I’ve been married to my husband, Philip, for 16 years.  We have twins, Ruby and Gus, that were born in July, 2001.

I opened my first home-based business in Santa Monica, CA in 2000.  It was called The Beech Agency and was a talent agency where I represented cinematographers, production designers and film editors for feature films and television.  It was a great business.  The thing I enjoyed most about being an agent was helping my clients grow and expand their careers.

After a long battle with infertility, we became pregnant with our twins.  I loved being able to work from my home office during my pregnancy and after the kids were born.  It was so nice to be able to see them throughout the day and to have the freedom to manage my time as I saw fit, rather than working in an office somewhere or for someone else.

In 2002 we decided to relocate to Portland.  We sold our house and moved in February of 2003.  The kids were not yet 2.  In hindsight, there are things I would’ve done differently regarding the move, but it’s not a decision I regret in any way.  I didn’t work for the first year we lived here, which was great.  I loved being home with the kids 24/7 and spending so much quality time with them.  It also gave me the opportunity to join local Mommy groups and develop friendships in our new hometown.

I went back to work in 2004 for a well-known Chinese Restaurant chain.  I started as a part-time food server and ended, four years later, working 70+ hours per week as a manager.  I missed out on way too much of my life, my kids’ activities and achievements, spending time with my husband…even my pets suffered.  I felt like my life wasn’t even mine anymore.  It was all work, work, work and for what?  A meager salary with mediocre bonuses?  All the Chinese food I could possibly eat?  Well, it just wasn’t a fair trade in my book.  I knew I need to make a change, but what would I do instead?

Philip was also dissatisfied with his j.o.b. and wanted to go into business for himself.  After much research, he chose a franchise and the Portland branch of Home Video Studio was opened.  There is something so satisfying about building your own business, as Philip is now finding out.

That still left me looking for an opportunity for myself so I could, once again, be my own boss and work from home.  I was doing the marketing for Home Video Studio, but really wanted something that I could call my own.  Enter the wonderful world of network marketing!  I have been a fan of Web 2.0 and social networking and that, combined with my other marketing experience, made this enterprise very appealing to me.  But, the question of whether or not I could make any money still remained to be seen.  Luckily, I entered into a company where the steps to becoming successful were already mapped out for me.  You can see about it for yourself here.

My intention of writing this blog is to help others (maybe even you!) learn how to be successful with network marketing, too.  I hope you’ll come back to see how I’m doing and read some tips and tricks I’ve learned!  Until next time…