Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thinking about #2, baby showers

My pregnancy is winding down. I have fewer than 10 weeks left until the day my baby is due. Realistically, he could be here in less than 7 weeks.

There have been days that I’ve come home and cried because sometimes it’s hard to be pregnant. The constipation is difficult, I’m starting to feel uncomfortable, and I have other complaints I could mention if I wanted to.

But overall, I’ve enjoyed being pregnant. I love feeling my baby move inside me. I love knowing he’s always with me.

As I start glimpsing the end of the road, I have started feeling a little panicky that I’ll never be lucky enough to experience pregnancy again.

I want siblings for my son. My husband and I are open to and have discussed adoption. He’s actually very excited about the notion of adopting in the future. I would be too, except for the fact that we can’t afford adoption, and we have 2 more retrievals covered under our medical insurance. Our bank account dictates that if we are to have a second child, IVF will be our method.

I wish I could take baby number 2 (or even babies number 3, 4 and 5 if we wanted them) for granted. But I’m infertile, and everything is harder for us.

If this is my only pregnancy, I will be thankful that I even got to experience one. But I desperately don’t want that to be the case.


We have a baby shower this weekend. My family is so generous that I know we will be literally showered with gifts. I’m excited to get more baby stuff set up in our house, but mainly I’m excited that everyone’s excited about this baby.

It will be so nice to be surrounded by people who already love this little person. He has been prayed for, cried for, and anticipated for years, and he doesn’t even know it.

What a great way to come into this world: enveloped in layers of unconditional love. He has not only my love, but his father’s love, the love of four grandparents, six great-grandparents, 2 aunts, an uncle, 20 great-aunts and-uncles (I may be missing a couple of those), and countless cousins (first, second, third…).

He has done nothing to earn, deserve, or ask for love, and yet it has already been sent to him in abundance. It amazes me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Unsolicited advice. Again.

I mentioned a couple of times that I took an 8-week prenatal yoga course. It's over now and I thought I'd write about it.

I love yoga. Before IVF got hot and heavy, I taught 3-4 yoga classes a week and I've had a dedicated practice since 2004.

I loved everything about the yoga part of class. The stretches she chose and the sequencing she used always seemed designed just for me. She didn't baby us but pushed us, always reminding everyone that it was okay to take it easy, too. She took several moments during each class to have us place our hands on our bellies and connect with the baby. I always left feeling loose, strong, and relaxed.

What I didn't enjoy about the class was the conversation before each session, and the general advice-giving nature of the teacher.

Our teacher has had three children, all vaginally, all without pain medicine or epidural, all without being induced. And boy does she like to remind you about that!

I think natural birth is great, I do! It's awesome! But I also think there's something to be said for choosing to keep your memories of birth unclouded by extreme pain.

The same holds true for induction. And c-section...oh boy, don't even go there. You might as well say you're going to run into a burning building while giving birth. No matter that your baby might be breech, or that there may be a medical reason you need a c-section.

It's ALL between mom, dad, baby, and doctor. Prenatal yoga instructor's opinion shouldn't factor in. 

Everyone wants something different in their laboring process, and everyone wants the same thing at the end. I sure as hell am not going to be made to feel inferior to a woman who has a different birthing experience than I do.

There's always a lot of judgment being thrown around about, well, everything, but also about how you give birth. I guess I had hoped a yoga class would be a nice safe zone where we acknowledged that every circumstance, every mom, and every baby are different. 

She also liked to repeat (over and over) "Your body was made to do this". She said this in reference to pregnancy, labor, and delivery. She meant it to be comforting, but it really hurt me every time she said it.

If my body was made to do this, I have already failed.

I guess I don't fit in around matter how pregnant I get and how hard I try.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Blogging has been a bit difficult for me throughout this pregnancy, because I still feel guilty even being pregnant around here. So I haven’t been documenting as much as I normally would have.

One thing I cannot overlook anymore is the need to write about my husband.

A and I had a whirlwind romance. We were friends for a year, and dated for just about 9 months when we got engaged April 2007. We were engaged for 16 months and got married three and a half years ago in August 2008. We are coming up on six years of being together.

Looking back, I can’t really tell you why I wanted to marry A. I don’t mean that to sound rude. I only mean that I didn’t have any romantic notions about marriage; mainly, I just knew that A was very different from my previous boyfriends, and I wanted to mark that difference publicly and in front of my family.

I think the first year of marriage is rough for most couples, and we were no exception. Just about a year into marriage, we hit our first fertility hurdles, and I don’t need to explain to you how difficult that can be for a couple.

Somehow, we have made it work. As soon as we hit a true challenge like infertility, everything we had argued about in the previous months seemed so frivolous.

My respect for him grew deeper as I watched him put his life on hold to pursue treatments to start a family with me. His respect for me also grew, as he watched how dedicated I was in my goal of being a mother.

When I think about the TTC years with A, I always think about the day of my last egg retrieval. I was so, so ill, and I kept passing out every time I stood up. He was literally picking me up off the floor that day. But he picked me up off the floor so many times before that, figuratively speaking, that it seemed fitting.

My husband held me when our first IVF cycle came crashing down around us with a terrible fertilization report. While I cried through a heartache I had never experienced before, I asked him “Am I overreacting here?” and he assured me that I was not - I was grieving.

My husband held me on Mother’s days, he wiped tears from my eyes at countless appointments, and his job was not done when I got pregnant. He picks me up and puts together the pieces every time I need him. And he’s never asked for anything in return.

This kind of emotional intelligence and willingness to support me by validating my feelings is rare in men. I can’t say that my dad was this way towards my mom.

Not only is he supportive and kind, but we have fun together. We make each other laugh. We are best friends.

I want to raise a son just like my husband.

I have a friend who is in her 40s and single. She had a partner for 7 years but that relationship ended (badly) a year ago. Recently, she has suffered a disabling injury. She can’t drive, shower or dress herself, and can barely manage her pain.

Watching her suffer has opened my eyes to a whole new world of marriage. I can’t imagine living alone and dealing with incapacitating pain. I feel so lucky to have a partner who has proven his ability to stop caring about himself in order to care for me.

Occasionally I worry about how this baby will affect our marriage. I know it won’t be easy. But going into parenthood, our marriage is stronger than it has ever been.

This is what love is all about.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

28 week update and photo

At my 28 week appointment a few days ago, a nurse brought up kick counts, and that later on I'd need to start doing them. At that point, baby will be expected to move 10x an hour.

I didn't think he moved that much, so I started paying attention. He really does move almost constantly! Better yet, this weekend I have watched closely and I think I can discern which parts of his body are where.

The doctor felt his head very low in my pelvis with just two fingers. Head down - yay! With that knowledge, I feel confident I can find his butt with my fingers, and I can tell which side his legs are on by paying attention to where I feel the kicks.

Last night, sitting in my recliner (which I moved into the living room a few weeks ago because I can no longer get comfortable on the couch), I watched him move his butt from the left side of my navel to the right. It was amazing to watch and it felt so cool! Sometimes his movements are so intense my whole belly shakes and convulses.

His tiny limbs are also intimately acquainted with my internal organs at this point. He kicks my bladder, my cervix, and a number of other organs I can't identify but that I can definitely feel.

Baby is as long as a loaf of bread. I feel more bonded with him at this point than I ever have.

This past week was a really good one. The week before I was having a serious case of the baby blues, and I cried more than once because of my relentless fear that I'll be a terrible mother. This week, I felt significantly happier. We've been having gorgeous weather here, and a week of sunshine, dog walks, and having the windows open did a lot for my spirits.

Another thing I've noticed is an increased sense of vulnerability in public. Weird men who are too chatty, people slowing down as they drive past me when I'm walking, motorists behaving oddly on the interstate -- all of these things make me more fearful than usual. I guess it's a cavewoman-like instinct to protect baby.

Here is a picture from last week at 28w3d. This is a pretty slimming outfit and makes the bump look a little smaller than it is, but I thought I'd share anyway. I feel much larger than I look in this photo, and I wonder, where did that 30 pounds go? Then I realized that my ass never used to be that huge, so perhaps that's why my belly looks small in comparison ; ) My doctor said I'm very long in the torso, as my uterus is just slightly above my navel and it should be at least 3 inches above. But, I'm measuring on track, so I'm just carrying very low.

My due date is 79 days away!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weight gain.

It’s humbling when you become a version of a person you used to hate.

Obviously while I was doing treatments, a lot of women around me got pregnant. Inevitably, they’d start complaining about how fat they felt.

This used to annoy the shit out of me. You are not FAT. You are growing a BABY. Your body is changing because it’s doing something miraculous (insert stabby eyes and frustrated sighs).

And yet, here I am.

It started early on, because that first trimester bloat before you get a bump can be very demoralizing. That’s probably the case for any pregnant woman, but when you add the tail end of an IVF cycle and ongoing progesterone supplements, things can only be worse.

Before I started IVF, I was in great shape. I had been working out hardcore and eating a decent diet. I was a muscular 151 pounds, size 8 in pants. I felt great. Not thin, but healthy.

I wasn’t all that concerned about weight gain when I got pregnant. In fact, I wanted to gain weight because I so desperately wanted that belly!

The pregnancy books all say you can expect to gain 25-35 pounds throughout your pregnancy. Here’s a breakdown of my weight gain:

Sept 12 (retrieval week): 151
Nov 23 (12 weeks): 157
Dec 22 (16 weeks): 159
Jan 24 (21 weeks): 166
Feb 6 (23 weeks): 168
Feb 29 (26 weeks): 176 (!)
Mar 13 (28 weeks): 181

I am clearly on track to outpace the 35 pound “maximum”.

And as much as I don’t want to be that person, I hit the roof when I broke 180.

This has been a major wake up call for me about the ways we are conditioned as women. Even though I knew I would gain weight, expected to gain weight, and had prepared myself – even though I had been frustrated with others in the past who were panicked about their weight gain – despite all these things, I still hate seeing the numbers climb on the scale. I’m still deeply conditioned to want them to go the opposite way.

I finally have a beautiful pregnant belly that everyone looks at and thinks “baby” (as opposed to “six pack” or “gummy bears” or “pasta”). But I also have a lot of new weight around my hips and thighs, and I can’t even guess how much each breast weighs.

This, combined with my constipation troubles, makes me feel heavy and weighed down. I walk pretty slowly these days (my husband is usually waiting for me to catch up). I get out of breath easily. I am not my young, in shape, self. What did I expect, right?

But there is still a sense of mourning. My pre-pregnancy body, which I constantly berated, never lived up to my expectations. Now, I miss it with a deep, heartfelt yearning. My C cup breasts! My (not so flat but relatively flat) stomach! My non-swollen face!

I’ll never get it back all the way, that body that I was never happy to have in the first place.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

IVF study

Today I had the pleasure of participating in an IVF study being conducted by Jody Madeira at Indiana State University. I first read about this on another blog, and I understand it was in the LFCA as well.  

Jody is studying informed consent and its role in IVF/fertility treatments. I really enjoyed speaking with her. She asked a lot of very good questions and we had an excellent conversation. I feel strongly that her research is important and I can’t wait to follow up as she publishes what she’s finding.

All you have to do to participate in the study is

1)      be going through IVF now, or have gone through it in the past five years
2)      contact Jody at and
3)      complete a phone interview.

The interview should last between 45 minutes and an hour 15 minutes, although mine lasted an hour 45 minutes (because I always have a lot to say!)

Jody will interview everyone who contacts her, there is no “selection process” -- everyone’s story is of interest to her.

And, as if you needed more of an incentive, there is also an amazon gift card available when you complete the interview! I encourage everyone who has experienced IVF to get involved : )

Friday, March 9, 2012

circumcised vs. intact

So, I am going to “go there”, and considering I have a very small readership at this point, I’m going to hope that no one gets all pissy with me about this topic.

As soon as we found out we were having a boy, I started thinking about his penis. Mainly: to circumcise or not to circumcise.

I have done a lot of research about this topic. I have read message boards, asked my twitter friends, listened to (unsolicited) feedback from coworkers, read abstracts from multiple medical studies, read up on what the AAP has to say, and talked at length with my husband. All feedback falls into one of these categories:

1)      Uncircumcised penises are gross. They look gross to sexual partners and they’re harder to keep clean.
2)      Circumcised penises are healthier – they transmit fewer STDs, including HIV, and have a lower risk of penile cancer/painful adhesions.
3)      Your baby boy is born perfect and you should leave him perfect.
4)      Uncircumcised boys will be made fun of in school because they won’t look like other boys.

My biggest struggle with coming to this decision is that none of these positions feel 100% right in my heart.

1)      Uncircumcised penises are gross – I don’t want to put all my business out there, but I did have a partner before A who was uncircumcised (or “intact” to use the modern nomenclature). It didn’t phase me at all. It’s certainly not the hideous monstrosity some people expect it to be. And mothers of uncircumcised sons say the penis is just as easy to clean as a vagina (think of all the folds girls have!).
2)      Circumcised penises are healthier - In many areas, such as Africa where men will walk miles barefoot in the rain for just the chance of being circumcised, this is true. But the AIDS epidemic in America is very different from the problem in other countries. Here, AIDS is mostly transmitted during homosexual sex, in which case circumcised or not, it makes no difference. And the risk of penile cancer, while indicated as being slightly higher in intact men, is still so small it’s not even really worth considering.
3)      Your baby boy is born perfect - I tend to agree with this. But I am also not a doctor so this sentiment alone, while heartwarming and resonant, is not enough for me. Thus, all the research.
4)      Your son will be made fun of - I have never, ever thought that “because we’ve always done it that way” or “because everyone else does it” or “because you’re expected to do it” is a good enough reason to do anything.

What it boils down to is this: I don’t want to make this decision for my son. It’s his penis, he should decide what it looks like. I hate that I have to decide something so personal for him so early on. And in that vein, it seems like leaving him intact would be the best way to go, since he can always opt to have his foreskin removed, but he can’t opt to have it put back on.*

And the thing that I keep coming back to: the American Academy of Pediatrics says there is not sufficient data to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. Basically: there is no medical reason to circumcise your son.

So, my vote is no. I do not want him to be circumcised.

That said, I left this decision up to my husband. The climate of the current election has led to a bunch of white men in politics trying to make decisions about my uterus, which outrages me. This has cast the situation in an even clearer light for me and I think it’s fair that I allow my husband veto power over my opinions on all things penile.

For now, A and I have both decided to leave our son intact. I will keep you posted in the coming months if things change.

* Similarly, we are not baptizing him as an infant because we don’t believe in original sin (your baby is born perfect, again) and we don’t want to decide his religion for him, but that’s a separate post.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hello third trimester!

Pregnancy is blowing my mind these days. I am swinging back and forth between emotions: nervous about the baby arriving and sad that I will only be pregnant for a few more months, and impatience with how slowly the pregnancy is going and a strong desire to meet and begin caring for my son.

Somewhere along the line, I accepted that this baby will be born happy and generally healthy. I think it happened gradually between 20-24 weeks. It's a huge relief to be able to say "When the baby comes..." without telling myself I don't deserve it, or wondering in the back of my head if the pregnancy is going to work out.

A combination of enemas (2x week) and Colace (2x daily) has finally got me feeling regular again. I feel the most amazing sense of relief now that I'm not so backed up. My whole belly feels more comfortable and I feel, quite literally, lighter.

I was a bit freaked out at 24 weeks when they called to tell me that I passed my glucose test - yay! only took 7 pricks for 3 blood draws! >: | - but my platelets were low (134 million). Luckily, they re-tested me at 26 weeks and platelets were back up to 159. At 26 weeks baby had also turned head down, which was very, very exciting for me considering he's always been butt down in the past.

I am also ushering in 27 weeks with the official label of "anemic", and the pleasure of waking up this morning to something crusty covering my right nipple...leakage, anyone?

I can't believe it's already March and I'm in my third trimester. Yesterday, I ordered our glider. Next week we have a shopping trip planned to get some remaining things for the nursery. I have a baby shower at the end of the month, and some people (overachievers) have already bought stuff off my registries! Our diaper bag and high chair were the first to go.

In April we have our childbirth classes and a second shower, and in May our breastfeeding classes. I went into this with the goal of having everything possible prepared for baby four weeks before my due date. That deadline is really creeping up on us, now.

Baby continues to be a flutterbug, and I feel like I can definitely discern his butt when I press on my belly. I can't wait to meet him : )