Archive | January, 2013

A note from my Dad

24 Jan

Just got this email from my Dad and had to repost here in full, because he’s the best ever and because I want to remember it forever.

Shel,

Hope you are continuing to feel better overall.   It was so very nice to get that pic from you yesterday.   It seems about right from the time we saw you at Christmas to now.   You look great and also lovely and also beautiful.   I am grateful for all of us reaching the cusp of parenthood/grandparenthood.  It is an exciting time both for the new experiences we are encountering along the way, and for the always present jitters we feel about the unknown.   But that is the way the future is and, historically speaking, always has been…unknown until we get there.   I know there is always so much to think about, but in between making lists and plans, do take moments each day to reflect upon and take pleasure in the miracles that are occurring within you and around you.

Dad

Good advice for all those struggling with the transition from struggling to get pregnant to struggling with pregnancy after infertility (you know who you are!).

Okay, I might have to go cry now.

Advertisements

Episode 18

23 Jan

This week on Bitter Infertiles, we’re tackling a topic that will hit close to home for many of you: Infertility and Divorce. It’s a nasty but sadly true fact that infertility does a number on your marriage. Between the stress, the disappointment and all the artificial hormones, we’ve seen too many times how fights lead to not communicating lead to “how did we get here?” and “where do we go from here?”

We were fortunate to have on this week someone who has walked that road, someone who had the answers to those questions (definitely “forward,” and with any luck, “upward”). CDG was gracious enough to open up about her own experiences, and to give us insight into key warning signs, points of contention and solutions for moving forward, whether that’s with your partner or without.

I’d like to thank CDG for her participation this week, and I sincerely hope that this episode offers hope – if not help – to many of our listeners.

Listen now

Analyze this

22 Jan

I had a dream the other night that has been bouncing around my head ever since. I am one of those people who dreams a lot, vividly, and loves to talk about and analyze my dreams. If you’re not interested in dreams, this might be a boring post and I apologize.

So for you, here’s the nuts and bolts: 1) it was my first dream that made clear my fears about becoming a mother, 2) in the course of the dream I was able to overcome those fears and show myself how awesome a mama I’ll be, 3) it was the first time I dreamed about my son – the one I’m actually pregnant with now and 4) I got a taste of the real, deep love I already have for him.

It starts off with panic. I’ve lost my baby and I can’t find him. I’m looking all over, under the crib, in the dresser drawers, in the hamper, everywhere. I’m sure it’s my fault that I lost him and am in despair thinking of what a horrible mother I am. But then, as I keep looking, I realize there’s no way I could have simply misplaced him. Someone must have STOLEN him!

Then I get all sleuth-like and realize it must have been the woman who was subbing for my dog walker (no one ever subs for my dog walker by the way). She must have stolen him from right under my nose! I go over to her house and act nice, like I just want to talk with her. Eventually she feels bad and admits she did steal my baby and she gave him to an infertile couple she knew who hadn’t been able to conceive.

We go to the house of the infertiles to collect my baby. They know we’re coming and are resigned to the fact that they have to give him back to me. I tear into their house and I’m looking all around. He’s not in the pack n’ play. I race up to the nursery and there he is in a crib, totally healthy. The relief I felt! Oh my goodness, I can’t describe it. But I was so relieved to have him back in my arms. Apparently I had missed the first MONTH of his life. He had been gone that long but I hadn’t told anyone or reported it to the police because I thought it was my fault. I’m so sad to have missed his first month but that sadness pales in comparison to the love and relief I feel to have him back.

I’m also so proud of myself for realizing who had stolen him and getting him back. Somehow that restored my confidence in myself as a mother. (Never mind that I had let my baby go missing for a month!) I have him back and I’m showing him off to my friends and I feel so much pride in him. I woke up just full of this feeling of real love for my baby. I can’t really describe it any better than that but it felt so real and unlike anything I’ve felt so far in this pregnancy or even in my life, really.

Somehow, this dream made this pregnancy – the fact that I’m carrying my son in my belly – come into focus for me. Now more than anything, I just can’t wait to meet him. It feels scary to say that. I’m still so terrified of all that can go wrong before and after he’s born. But I really felt him the other night. And as scary as it is, I’m more confident than ever that I will get to meet him someday soon. Though hopefully not TOO soon!

This and that

20 Jan

Ladies, I have found second trimester nirvana in the form of the Leachco Snoogle Loop Contoured Fit Body Pillow:

31D5JldglgL._SL500_AA300_

 

Seriously, you all were so right. What was I waiting for?! I thought it was too expensive but four months of real sleep is worth any price. And I was worried about taking up too much room in our queen sized bed, but this actually takes up LESS room than having a pillow on either side of me. DH was admittedly a little dubious when the GIANT box arrived at our house but now he’s happy to have some bed real estate back, if not a bit jealous of my pillow. (He “tried it out” this morning while I was in the shower and apparently fell immediately to sleep for 15 minutes. It’s that good!)

I’d recommend this any knocked up lady out there. It’s not perfect. For example, the stitching inside the inner top loop where your neck goes is a little taut, but it has to be to keep the pillow snuggled tightly on either side of your body and can be avoided by repositioning your head a little. The white cover is a little rough but it’s not so bad. The level of comfort this brings outshines this pillow’s few flaws by leaps and bounds!

—————————

In other news, I registered today for a tour of the hospital where we’ll deliver (we’ll also be taking a tour of Children’s hospital at some point), and a childbirth preparation class. I was a little hesitant about taking a birth class for a few reasons. First of all, I went through a time early on in our TTC journey where I was borderline obsessed with natural childbirth. I researched it, watched birth videos, read endless birth stories, read Ina May’s books, etc. I was sure I would get pregnant easily, have a normal healthy pregnancy, and deliver my child naturally at home. Infertility and the course of this pregnancy has obviously changed all that.  Am I sad? Disappointed? Definitely. But also much more focused on getting a baby AT ALL than any of those things.

All this is to say that I not only felt like I knew a lot about birth already, but also that I didn’t want to take a natural childbirth class and get myself in that mindset (i.e. get my hopes up) if we end up needing a Cesarean.  But I happened to find a class that kind of covers everything, from labor signs to natural breathing techniques to C-sections, which I do think will be helpful to just prepare mentally for whatever our childbirth experience ends up looking like. Both DH and I will attend the 3.5 hour class on a Saturday in April.

—————————

I guess I’ve sort of been trying to put this out of my mind, but we did have another long, painful ultrasound at Children’s last week where they thought they saw some dilation of  Turtle’s bowel inside his body. This can potentially indicate a blockage in the bowel, which can mean some further complications once he’s born that I’m not ready to think too much about right now. To be honest, I don’t fully trust some of the people who do the ultrasounds at Children’s and really just want my MFM OB (Dr. Kind) to take a look at our ultrasound in a few weeks to tell me for sure. Until then, I won’t worry. And even if Dr. Kind does see something, a lot can change over the next few months. So I’m not going to freak out. Much.

18 week update

14 Jan

We hit the 18 week milestone on Saturday, which officially puts me into my fifth month of pregnancy. FIVE. Months. Pregnant. Insane. Since the beginning I’ve had trouble answering the question, “How many months are you?” Weeks makes sense to me. Months does not compute. But most people think of pregnancy in months, not weeks.(For those of you with the same struggle, I just found this handy chart which makes it all so clear.)

We’re at or nearing the halfway point (most gastroschisis babies don’t go to full term so I’m expecting a delivery before 40 weeks for sure), which feels like a huge accomplishment and is also a little disheartening. It’s like reaching what you think is the summit when hiking, then turning a corner and realizing you’ve still got a few more cliffs to climb.

I WISH I was one of those women who claims to love pregnancy but holy hell, this has been a physical challenge. And it frightens me that the worse is still to come.

Here’s some of the things I’m experiencing these days related to pregnancy:

-Acne. Lots of it, especially in the past few days. I’ve got zits on top of zits. But then again I’ve never had perfect skin, so this isn’t the biggest annoyance.

-Nausea. OMG, finally, FINALLY starting to ease up. Not totally gone at all, by any means, but my days are finally getting a little more manageable. It’s enough to have me contemplating starting some kind of exercise, though I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

-Hunger. Pretty much have to eat constantly or else the nausea comes rolling on back.

-Heavy, full boobs. Not sore. Just heavy, full feeling, and criss-crossed with blue veins.

-Heavy, full belly. The bump has been a legit bump for a few weeks now and I feel like it hasn’t grown too much over the past week or so. That said, after a day chock full of stuffing my face, my belly is so full, round and hard in the evenings, it feels like it might burst open. This can make getting to sleep uncomfortable. And I’m about a few days away from caving and buying a REAL pregnancy pillow (aka calling in the big guns).

-Achy-ness. Mostly in my back, especially after sitting in my desk chair all day. The pain is mostly mid-back and no stretch seems to satisfy it.

-Tiredness. Basically all the time.

-Swelling. My wedding rings are starting to get tight, and I had a pregnant lady warn me this weekend to stop wearing them before they’d need to be cut off. Yipes! I am thinking of buying a cubic zirconia ring a few sizes up, just to have something on my finger. Otherwise, I feel naked! (And also judged.)

And now for some non-physical updates:

We have finally settled on a first name that we both adore! But I am going to be one of those annoying women who doesn’t share the name until the baby is born. Sorry! It’s kind of a thing with me that I can’t quite explain. I do plan to write about the name choosing process soon. We’re still hunting for a perfect middle name.

We’ve settled on a shower date and started building a registry. Which has turned out to be an unexpectedly very difficult process because I have no idea what we want and there are so many choices! It’s kind of overwhelming. Creating a wedding registry? Way easier.

Our crib is here! It’s in its box in the future nursery for now. So much needs to be done in the room that I don’t see the point in setting it up now but I feel a little better for now knowing at least we have a place for the little guy to sleep, when he does finally come home.

OH! And we’ve started using our doppler again and can finally find the heartbeat fairly easily whenever we want. Even though we have the privilege of frequent ultrasounds, I still love to find his heartbeat every few days. It’s such a lovely reassuring sound and it feels like it’s working on some subconscious level to bond me with the baby.

Signing off for now…

Two bits

9 Jan

Two bits of information for you today:

1) The latest episode of Bitter Infertiles is now live. We’re up to a whopping episode 17 – insane! On this ep we go through host updates (there’s a bit of exciting news in this section, btw), talk about the unfortunate Russian adoption ban, and then unleash a wave of bitterness over the new occupant in Kim K’s ute. A little something for everyone, this episode!

2) We had our fetal survey ultrasound yesterday, a bit early at 17w3d. It went well. Everything is measuring right on track. Turtle’s heart is beating at a healthy 148 bpm and he currently weighs 7 oz.  It’s funny how used to seeing the intestines floating around we’ve become. It’s no longer scary or sad to see them, more just a matter of fact. And we love every bit of him already, inside and out. I’ve finally got around to filling out my “Turtle” page here, so if you’re into things like bump pics and ultrasound photos, head on over.

Getting baby ready

6 Jan

Over the holiday break, I had a lot time to myself (read: a lot of time spent lying around feeling crappy and not able to do anything). When I wasn’t busy sleeping, my mind was busy racing, racing, racing. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things we needed to do to get ready for Turtle’s arrival.

We’ve been advised that we might need to deliver early, perhaps as early as 36 weeks. That puts me at about mid-May. I figure I’d like to get everything as baby ready as possible by May 1st , just so there’s no stress and we’re prepared for an early arrival. Once he’s born, we’ll essentially be living in the hospital for two months or more, so everything needs to be pretty much set by then.

Here are the major things on our list:

Daycare: This is something that needs to start now. I’ve read about how daycares around here book up very early. We’re not sure at this point if we want a regular daycare center or a home daycare to start. As a child, I went to both (started in a home daycare, then to a center when I started school) and see the benefits of both. We’re looking into all options at this point. This is going to be a significant new monthly expense so we’re trying to find an option that we can afford, but also one that we feel very comfortable with. I started making some calls to local places last week and whoa. This is crazy expensive, practically another mortgage payment. I’m planning a whole post on this soon, once we’ve done a bit more research and (hopefully!) reserved a fall daycare spot for Turtle somewhere wonderful.

Maternity leave: I need to sit down with my supervisor to find out exactly what my maternity benefits are. My understanding from a former employee is that I’ll wind up with six weeks paid, six weeks unpaid. I’m hoping I can also tack onto that my three weeks paid vacation, for a total maternity leave of 15 weeks. My biggest worry right now is that Turtle will require a longer hospital stay than that, or will come home right around that time. I’m not sure how I’ll fare having to go back to work without ever having time at home with him. So I also want to talk with work about a backup plan, in case that happens. I’m hoping there’s some sort of unpaid disability leave option available to me that will allow me to still be able to come back to my job when I’m ready. I’m scheduled to have this talk with them in about a week so I’ll report back!

Refinance/Budget: Everyone is talking about refinancing these days. From what we understand, we’ll be able to save a good deal on a month to month basis by getting a lower interest rate. This is going to be hugely important to us as we’re about to bump up our monthly expenses significantly! So we’re seriously looking into this and I’ve asked DH to spearhead this to-do. Once we figure out how much our new mortgage payment will be, how much daycare will likely cost and how much unpaid leave I need to plan for, we need to sit down and revise our family budget. There may be some things we’re paying for now (ahem, expensive HD cable bill) that we simply won’t be able to afford for awhile. We’re not the best at personal finance planning but whenever we have put some thought into a budget, I’ve always felt so much better knowing that we can afford our expenses and don’t have to stress out about them.

Nursery: This is the fun one! I have a bit of a decorating thumb and have been dreaming of putting together a nursery for years now. We’ve already started putting together some ideas on a secret pinboard and my parents have already offered to pick up the cost of the crib (which we’ve already picked out). We need to paint three walls, wallpaper one wall, and locate and buy all the new furniture in order to pull this together. We’d like to get a new light fixture, a crib, changing table, dresser, daybed, armchair and possibly a small bookcase. So much to do and buy! Fortunately I have some of our wedding money stashed away for this very purpose that I’ve been saving all this time. But first! We need to fix the adjoining closet. It’s a very large walk in closet that we’ve been using for storage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t finished very well and there are gaps in the walls where flies, ladybugs and other crawly things have been able to come through. DH will need to work on getting someone to come in and fix that. I won’t be able to sleep comfortably knowing that bugs could be crawling into my baby’s room. Once the closet is secured, we’ll need to install some shelving and other storage stuff for Turtle’s wardrobe. Eventually, we hope to have this space double as a playspace. It even has a neat old half moon window.

Call insurance: I recently discovered that my insurance has a special program for high-risk pregnancies. I need to call them and find out exactly what benefits this entails. I also want to see how it will work when Turtle is born with enrolling him with my insurance and getting his surgery, NICU and hospital stay covered. Children’s assured us this wouldn’t be an issue but I just need to understand for myself how it all works. This is not an immediate priority but just something I need to get done. I’m targeting February for this to-do.

Register for/attend baby shower: My mom is already planning a shower for late March or sometime in April. Knowing this, I am trying not to run out and buy much right now, except what we know we’ll need for the nursery. My plan is to wait until after the shower, then see what we need and fill in the holes from there. That’s why I’d kind of like to have the shower earlier rather than later. I’m excited as I know we’ll be having this at our house and that much of my family and some friends from out of town have never been to our house before. My only request for the shower is that there’s cake. Good cake.

Purchase breastfeeding/pumping necessities: I already know I’ll be pumping like crazy while Turtle’s in the hospital. I’ve bookmarked some great recommendations on this front, but I know we’ll need to buy a pump and that that can be sort of pricey. I’ve also heard, though, that sometimes insurance covers part of this cost, which is another question to ask my insurance company when I call. March or April is the target for this.

Take infant CPR/First Aid class: This is something both DH and I want to do. While I’m still torn on whether or not to take any birthing classes (not sure I want to get my hope up/mind set for a natural birth if we end up having to go the C-section route), but I know I want to take this class. I’ve taken it before from my nannying days but of course have mostly forgotten everything I learned. Hoping to do this in March or April.

Pack hospital bags: Since I will be at the hospital for such an extended period of time, I’m sure my hospital bag will be bigger and unlike most others. I’ll be less concerned with magazines and snacks, more with having enough clothes, toiletries, etc. Of course I’ll make a few trips home to do laundry and refresh my supplies, but I’d like to have a decent amount with me from the start just in case. I’ll worry about this in April.

Prepare office as guest room: My parents are already generously planning to essentially move into our house while Turtle is in the hospital. We have a cat and a dog who need daily care, plus it will be important to have someone here to keep the place clean, help with laundry, pack some meals for us, etc. Since our guest room is becoming Turtle’s room though, we need to turn our office into a guest room. We already know exactly how we’re going to do this (mostly just need to tidy up, clear out a closet, and rearrange some furniture), but I’d like to have it done by late April.

Loose ends: Some other smaller tasks we’ll need to accomplish toward the end include purchasing any remaining necessary baby/layette items, figuring out our diaper situation (we’re leaning toward The Honest Company, have you heard of it?), purchasing a car seat, and possibly developing a birth plan (this is truly TBD at this point).

Looking back over this list, part of me feels relieved to have a plan in place for everything, while another part feels anxious at all we have to do, while yet another stands removed in disbelief that we’ve even reached this point and can be planning like this. That part reads back over this and is like, crib!? Diapers?! HOW CAN YOU EVEN SPEAK THOSE WORDS? The emotional adventures of pregnancy after infertility press on.

In the meantime, mamas, pregnant ladies, what am I forgetting here? I know there must be something. Please help!