Monday, April 30, 2012

35 weeks - bitching and moaning

Pregnancy is getting kind of hard. I think I have hit a wall.

The toughest part is the ambiguity of how much longer it will last. I will be full term on May 15, but my doctor will let me go as long as 2 weeks over my due date. So I could have this baby as early as two weeks from now, or I could be pregnant for seven more weeks. Pardon me, but FUCK.

The thing is, I just want him here. I want to hold him, get to know him, start caring for him. I am already not sleeping because I’m so uncomfortable. I’d rather be not sleeping because I’m taking care of my son.

I have handed off all of my work. Tonight is my last shower. By next Monday, the house will be completely ready for him. And that is when the clock will start ticking very, very loudly.

I haven’t packed my hospital bag, and I probably won’t for a while. If I go until my due date or past it, I will be annoyed seeing that bag sit there getting dusty – it’ll be a symbol of how READY I am. If I go early, it will likely be scheduled, so I’ll have a chance to pack.

I know someday I’ll regret wishing away the last weeks of my pregnancy. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I’m just ready to hold him in my arms.

Friday, April 27, 2012

34 weeks

Total Weight Loss/Gain: I’ve gained 38 pounds. Gulp.

Maternity Clothes: Yep. The selection is getting slim and I refuse to buy more at this point! People at work are just going to have to get used to seeing the same handful of outfits : )

Stretch marks: none, yet…

Sleep: pretty awful, to be honest. But I know it will only get worse before it gets better, so I’m trying to appreciate the sleep I do get. 

Movement: I was worried because for a few days there he hardly moved at all. Then he went back to moving a lot. Yesterday he kicked so hard at my lap belt while I was driving that I had to give myself more seat belt! I can tell he is still breech because his big kicks are aimed right at my bladder.

Cravings/Aversions: No aversions. Hungry all the time but if I overeat I feel sick.

Gender: Still a boy : )

Symptoms: Tired every moment of every day. Very sore calves and shoulders. Left hip is starting to ache.

What I miss: I miss that golden first trimester sleep, when I slept like a dead person every night. I also miss being able to comfortably paint my own toenails ; )

What I look forward to: seeing my son’s face for the first time. I am so curious what he will look like! I have had one dream when I saw his face, I wish I’d have more. He was about 5 months old in the dream, had kind of a pointy chin, blonde hair, and was just so precious looking : )

Moods: The fatigue makes me a bit grumpy at times. Mostly, though, I feel very Zen as I anticipate this little one’s arrival. I’m tingly with anticipation but also very at peace…I hope this lasts and the anxiety stays away : )

Milestones: Full term is less than three weeks away!

Medical concerns: Baby is still measuring small, so we’re having another growth scan at 36 weeks. My level of worry about this depends on the moment.

Sex?: I honestly can’t remember the last time we had sex the normal way. We’ve done other things…you know…but I haven’t even seen my vagina in weeks! Hopefully it’s still there ; )

Monday, April 23, 2012

Always Infertile - NIAW

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week.

Last year at this time, I was in one of the darkest places of my life. This year for NIAW, I am 34 weeks pregnant. My, how much can change in a year.

Right now, I’m focused on baby showers, car seat bases, and crib mattresses, but I am still infertile. My first 14 weeks of pregnancy were wrought with anxiety, and even now I have moments of terror that my baby will be born still. I picture my life in shambles after such a tragedy.

When people are excited about my pregnancy – when they want to touch my belly, or talk about names, or ask how I’m feeling – it shocks me. I never really learned how to be excited for pregnant people. I only knew how to envy them in a deep, dark, painful place in my heart, and I shut down around them because of this horrible feeling.

I don’t expect people to be happy for me, but they are, and I don’t deserve their kindness. Deep down, I still feel like a bitter infertile.

I am still infertile because pregnancy announcements still hurt. It’s a little easier to be enthusiastic, and I certainly don’t feel like someone is carving my heart out with a dull, rusty spoon anymore. But it doesn’t feel good.

I will always be infertile because I cannot remember my positive pregnancy test from IVF #2 without also remembering the many, many negative pregnancy tests. Those negatives are like tiny pebbles in my heart, as opposed to a giant boulder crushing my chest, but they are still there.

And I am still infertile because my son is not even born yet and I already worry that I won’t be able to give him a sibling.

Infertility has colored every aspect of my life. It has taught me how to be a better friend, wife, person. I am more patient. I am far, far more humble. I understand that I am not in control. I have learned how to advocate for myself as a medical consumer. I have learned to never assume anything about anyone’s family situation. I have learned to keep my mouth shut.

These lessons are valuable, but they were hard earned. Infertility is a life crisis. Don’t ignore it – don’t ignore friends going through it, don’t ignore those of us who are temporarily pregnant infertiles. Don’t ignore your support system when everything goes dark around you.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cloth Diapers

I have always wanted to use cloth diapers. My first job out of college was at a daycare working with infants, and I was astonished and appalled by the volume of diapers we threw away every day. Ever since then (2007), I promised myself I would at least give cloth a try.

Around 12 weeks of pregnancy I started researching cloth options. It was my outlet for all parenting anxiety, and what I found further overwhelmed me.

Finally I got a book called Changing Diapers: A Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering (also available on Kindle for only $6.99). This book is a MUST for moms considering or choosing cloth. It made everything so much less overwhelming for me. I can’t recommend it enough.

I initially thought we would use the gDiaper hybrid system. It is perhaps the most well-known cloth diaper system, and A has a niece who was pregnant at the time and planning to use them. On Thanksgiving she brought us a couple to look at, and I was surprised by how bulky of a system it seemed. It struck me as a bit over-complicated.

Also, a big pull of gDiapers is their disposable liners. However, if you price out the cost of a disposable liner vs a disposable diaper, you’re probably going to end up spending at least 10 cents more for each liner, PLUS the cost of the actual diaper itself ($20+ each). My main reason for cloth diapering was environmental, but I was also very interested in benefiting my pocketbook. So, gDiapers were out.

Pocket Diapers:
The Changing Diapers book helped me understand all of my different options. I was tempted by the All-in-ones, but was warned by moms on twitter that they take a long time to dry and might not work overnight due to lack of absorbency.

I finally settled on pocket diapers. They seemed very similar to disposables, which was important to me because I really wanted something my daycare provider would consent to try.

My next decision was whether I should go with a one-size system or buy several in each size. I decided on the one-sizers, with the trade-off being that the baby will use disposables in the hospital and probably for the first few weeks of his life. I wrestled with that for a while, but ended up deciding it would be okay. Starting cloth from birth was not as important to me as using cloth for the majority of baby’s life.

I read a lot about different brands, and I ordered a few BumGenius 4.0s and a few FuzziBunz one-size. I liked the BGs way more than the FB, so decided to create most of my stash in BG.

These diapers run from about $17-19 a piece. I was able to buy most of mine on sale or purchase discontinued colors. I also redeemed credit card points to purchase dipes. I didn’t rule out used products, but never really found an incredible deal.

I now have a stash of 30 pocket diapers (25 BG, 5 FB), and I spent an average of $11.77 on each. Not too shabby!

I will say that every piece of advice I’ve read says NOT to do what I did: buy a big stash before baby gets here. However, buying on sale and in small increments in the last several months of the pregnancy was really our only option. I am our primary breadwinner and I’ll be taking 8 weeks off unpaid during my maternity leave – during which time I will be making $0 and also owing my company almost $2,000 for my health insurance and other benefits I receive. I knew that if I waited until we really needed them, I’d talk myself out of the big investment upfront.

If you are in the early phase of researching cloth, or have decided to use cloth and are not sure how to move forward, I have the following suggestions.
  1. Buy the Changing Diapers book.
  2. Figure out your main motivation for using cloth: Environmental? Financial? You don’t want chemicals on your baby’s bum? This will determine your decisions for what you end up buying.
  3. Get on facebook and “like” some cloth diaper manufacturers, even if you don’t plan to buy from them. I’ve picked up a lot of great tips on comment threads. Also, liking the big guns (gDiapers, BumGenius, etc) gets you ads for more local cloth distributors, who will work with you on prices.
  4. Do not be dissuaded by naysayers. A lot of people don’t realize how far cloth has come. They think you still have to swish your dipes around in the toilet. NOT TRUE! I have had so many moms discourage me from using cloth, but only moms who have never tried it or even looked into it. Moms who invested in cloth (I know a lot of them on twitter) LOVE it and actually cringe when they have to put their babe in disposables for one reason or another. Long story short: just like everything, if it’s something you’re committed to, don’t listen to the Debbie Downers.
  5. Buy a few at a time. When I got my FuzziBunz, I didn’t really like them all that much in person. I’m glad I didn’t order more than I did.
  6. Make sure hubby is totally on board. If he’s not, you’re in trouble.
  7. Approach your daycare provider ahead of time about the diapers. I took one to mine at a consultation and showed her what using them would involve. With pocket diapers, she literally just takes them off his bum and puts them in a laundry bag instead of the garbage. It was tough for her to say no to that!
  8. Keep reading my blog, because as baby transitions into his cloth dipes, I plan to keep you all posted : )

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

33 weeks: The good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I am 33 weeks pregnant! WHAT? Yes indeed.

The good:
-          Obviously, every moment of 33 weeks pregnant is miraculous in its own way. I can’t believe I’m here.
-          I still love feeling baby move.
-          I have no stretch marks! Fingers crossed that it stays this way.
-          I really like the way my belly looks. It’s pretty. Miraculously, I still have a waistline – I’m a kind of demented hourglass shape, but an hourglass nonetheless.
-          I finally got my glider put together and up in the nursery. I spent a few minutes rocking on it. It was a moment I never really thought I’d have. I’m sure I’ll get tired of sitting in that thing but for now it’s a symbol of motherhood that has always seemed so far away.
-          My belly button is still an innie…but a not-very-far-innie! I give it a couple more weeks.
-          I prepped and stuffed all of my cloth diapers over the weekend. They’re ready for him once he reaches 7 lbs/once I’m ready to start using them.
-          My yeast infection is all cleared up!
-          Tonight is childbirth class 3 of 4 and we finally get to tour the birthing center, which just opened this spring and is brand spankin’ new.
-          Four more weeks till full term!

The bad:
-          I am exhausted. All the time. Like right now, and in an hour I will still be exhausted. I can’t sleep and the anemia probably doesn’t help.
-          I’m very achy, especially in my calves. Every night before bed my husband rolls them out with a rolling pin – hard. It feels great but by 2 am they ache again.
-          Sciatica…boo.
-          To quote my husband: “You get out of breath brushing your teeth”.
-          Work is boring. I have handed off the majority of my work (people need time to do it while I’m still here and ask me questions), but I still plan to work until my water breaks. It’s hard to get through the days when I’m so.fracking.tired and have nothing to do but stare at my computer monitor.

The ugly:
-          Boobs. They are gross. I really hope breastfeeding is smooth sailing because putting up with these beasts for no reason is going to be a bitter pill to swallow.
-          Swelling. I traded in my wedding/engagement ring a few weeks ago for a Diamonique ring of my grandma’s, and that helped a lot. My feet and toes are a little puffy but mainly my hands are throbby and sweaty at the end of the day.
-          I decided the “pregnant woman glow” is really just from being hot all the time. By lunch my face is flushed like I just ran a mile (which I assure you, I did not and could not). It’s not a delicate, pretty flush – more of an “out of shape” flush.
-          35+ pounds gained and 7ish more weeks to go. I don’t know how you ladies do this with twins! I am astonished. I’m worrying more and more about taking the weight off after baby comes.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tiny breech boy

We had our ultrasound yesterday. I was 32w1d, and my fundal height was around 28.5-29 cm/weeks. The baby measured 30w5d, with a margin of error of 2w3d.

So, he’s within range, just small, which is consistent with what we saw at the 10 and 20 week ultrasounds.

His abdomen and femur measurements were on track, his head measured a little small. The ultrasound tech was confident that this was because (dun dun dun) he’s breech.

Yep, still breech! And apparently they have small heads! Oh the irony of a deliciously small-headed baby that you don’t get to try to push out.

My husband said “But he has plenty of time to turn, right?” and she replied “Maybe!” in a voice that very strongly implied “…but don’t count on it!”

Even my very relaxed, “wait and see” husband said as we were leaving: “We should probably start mentally preparing ourselves for a c-section.”

But, the breech-ness aside, I was relieved to see his measurements and see him wiggling around on the screen.

The reason my fundal height was so off is likely because he is literally curled up into a little ninja ball. Feet by his ears, one arm thrown around his own neck. What if one day he decides to stretch out? THAT will be interesting!

I will get more information at my appointment tomorrow (that’s right folks, three doctor’s appts this week, it’s strangely reminiscent of IVF!). The doctor will tell me what percentile he’s measuring, and how my amniotic fluid levels looked. I plan to ask about the small head thing and more importantly, how long she’s going to give him to flip before she schedules me for a c-section.

It’s getting interesting…

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Birth plan

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to judge. I think all choices we make as women are deeply personal, and I understand that all women labor differently. Have your baby at home, in a hospital, in the middle of a cornfield for all I care. I don’t care if you ask for an epidural the first time you feel a contraction, or you do the whole thing without so much as a Tylenol. I really don’t care what you do. This is just my story of deciding what’s right for me.

While I was trying to get pregnant, I never gave a single thought to labor and delivery. Who cares, right? If I get to that point I’ll be so grateful that I won’t care how the baby comes out.

Now, I find that I do care. The decisions I’m making now (and will make in the moments surrounding the birth of my child) are increasingly emotional and laden with signficant baggage other than just having a baby. If only it were that simple.

I considered a natural birth, but decided pretty quickly it wasn’t for me. I kept thinking about my second retrieval and the immense pain I suffered in the ER. I had never known pain like that before, and I’m sure this will be worse. I would have taken any pain medicine anywhere in my body to make that feeling go away.

If I tell myself I can get through this without any pain meds and then end up needing them, I will feel like an immense failure. So, a natural birth plan wasn’t in the cards for me.

I had no “birth plan” written down (seemed too arrogant to me – too much like tempting fate). But if I had written one it would have gone like this: Labor as much as possible at home. Go to the hospital when contractions have been 5 minutes apart for an hour. Labor with birthing ball and position changes until I can’t handle the pain anymore, get IV drugs, labor some more, push, have the baby. I wasn’t planning on an epidural, but I wasn’t opposed to one, either.

I saw it on a scale like this: Natural Childbirth – IV pain meds – epidural. Somewhere in the middle seemed great for me.

Last night, in our second class, we learned all about the different pain management options. That’s when I learned that my hospital stops the IV pain meds at 6cm, so you don’t give birth to a sleepy baby with shallow respiration. The epidural doesn’t affect the baby at all.

So my whole “plan” went out the window – I want the pain meds for the really hard part, the last few centimeters and the pushing. I never wanted them for the early part. So, I kind of gave up on the IV medicine option.

Which left me with natural childbirth (which I had already ruled out) and epidural.

I sat there in mental anguish for about 30 minutes. I thought I didn’t want an epidural. I didn’t want to “give up”, “cop out”, feel numb from the waist down, institutionalize the birthing process, etc, etc.

I was surprised that when the epidural seemed, objectively, like the best option to me, especially since I could decide when I got it, I was so heartbroken by the idea of having one.

What it boiled down to was this: I felt like I would be less of a woman if I got the epidural. Because I should be able to handle the pain for the sake of my baby.

That’s when a lightbulb clicked in my head: I have already handled a lot of pain for the sake of this baby. I had an HSG that made my uterus spasm and I felt like I was being ripped apart. I had a laparoscopy. I had two retrievals. I had OHSS and my body was wracked with pain, combined with a bad reaction to anesthesia that made me alternate between vomiting and fainting.

I was trying to tell myself I could do without the epidural because I’m a strong woman.

But I have already proven to myself that I am a strong woman.

I am a strong woman who is planning to labor for as long as she can without an epidural, and then (most likely) get one.

I am a strong woman who is also flexible, who understands – all too well - that things do not always go as we plan.

I am a strong woman who is also humble: None of my plans trump the baby’s plans. If he’s breech, or too small, or in distress, they will cut him out of me, and I will not let that make me feel like a failure.

I am a strong woman who will be a good mother no matter how my baby is delivered into this world.

And you, all of you who read my blog, whether you have your baby in a cornfield or on a surgical bed with general anesthesia, whether you adopt or use a surrogate or decide not to have children – you are all strong women too. : )

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tiny baby, scared mommy

  1. After reading your responses to my kick count post, I called last week to ask if I actually had to do them. Can’t I just pay attention to the baby’s movements throughout the day, and notice if he’s less active than normal? They said that was fine. I threw away the chart.
  2. The anxiety did not go away. The past few nights I have lost sleep, convinced something was wrong with the baby. I told myself I was just crazy, but this morning I finally gave in and called. The nurse said that a bad gut feeling on mom’s part was enough reason to see me.
  3. I requested a vaginal exam because I thought I was getting a yeast infection (I was correct). While she was examining me, she noticed my vaginal septum (remember the weird vagina?). She said “We’ll have to watch this during delivery – it will probably tear.” Ouch!
  4. Then she measured me and said I had grown a bit in the past week, but not as much as she would have liked. She meant to say we better go ahead and schedule an ultrasound to check the baby’s growth, but she slipped up and said “Let’s go ahead and schedule you a c-section”, and I almost pissed my pants right there. That’s a big mistake to make! ULTRASOUND, you mean, doctor!
  5. I asked what some reasons were that a baby would measure small. She basically dodged the question, saying there’s “small” and “alarmingly small” and they just need to find out which one the baby is. She also said sometimes IVF babies are just little.
  6. So, I go tomorrow at 2:15 to see just how small this little man is. I also go back on Friday for my last cervical length check and to see the doctor again (she must miss me if we go more than a few days without seeing each other).
  7. Please keep me in your thoughts. I am nervous about tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

31 weeks and very anxious

I enjoyed a nice little period where I didn’t have crippling anxiety – primarily between 24 and 30 weeks. I miss that.

It started at my last appointment where we discussed kick counts. I’m supposed to lie on my left side at the same time every night and count how long it takes the baby to make 10 distinct movements. If it takes more than 45 minutes, I’m to call the nurse line. Ditto if I notice a drastic decrease in movement.

I’m far too literal of a person to be able to handle this. What’s a “distinct” movement? The form says “kicking, stretching, etc, not hiccups”. I periodically feel very large, drastic movements, and I almost constantly feel little fluttery movements.

So the first time I did the kick counts, he moved 10 times in 6 minutes. But I feel that perhaps I’m doing them wrong – counting things I shouldn’t be counting.

Regardless, lying there quietly, just waiting for him to kick, makes my anxiety spin out of control. “What if he doesn’t kick? What if I lie here for an hour and I don’t feel any movement? What would I do, would I go to the ER? Was that a kick, or did I imagine it because I want him to kick so badly?”

It’s not fun.

Then, I found out my fundal height is measuring small. At 30w6d, I was measuring at 28 weeks (my uterus was 28 centimeters tall). My doctor said “You’re measuring small, but not alarmingly small.”

At this point, when I am soooo close to my take home baby, anything that’s not totally perfect is “alarming” to me.

Although I see the baby every two weeks during my cervical length checks, it’s just to see his position. He hasn’t been measured since 20w2d, when I believe he was measuring 19w6d (something like that). Similarly, at 10w1d, he was measuring 9w5d (ish).  

So he’s always been measuring a bit small. Similarly, the past two times I’ve had my fundal height measured, the doctor has exclaimed that I’m so long torsoed and that my bump looks smaller than it is because I’m carrying so low.

I’m trying to remember these things. I’m trying to remember that my baby is probably fine and healthy. Maybe just little.

And it doesn’t help that well-meaning people love to tell me how small I look. “You aren’t very big” – thanks, you’re right – I certainly hope that doesn’t mean my baby is dying.

I know the anxiety doesn’t stop when they’re born, but I’m ready for him to be out here in the world with me. Maybe then I’ll believe he’s okay?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shower and nursery photos

Yesterday was the shower, and it was a perfect day. I had so much fun, got very emotional, and we got a lot of presents!

The shower was Dr. Seuss themed, and it was adorable. I am so happy about the day that I am going to break my own rule and post some photos of myself (no guarantees how long they'll be up though).

me at 30 weeks, 4 days 
me with Horton, and the photobook my mom made me documenting my pregnancy (from retrieval to 28 weeks)
ducky in the punch : )

They had Seussical cards for the guests to share their advice, and I'm going to type some up here - the ones that made me laugh or cry or both:

From my parents (my mom wrote this poem - I was so impressed. A had to read it out loud because I was a weepy mess).
The timing is near, you've waited so long! Just overnight you'll become Dad and Mom.
You have lots to learn, a lot you must know. "Who should I ask?" "Where should I go?"
In choosing wisely in whom you can trust, of course we must say you should always call us.
We'll tell you the truth, or help you decide, or just sit and listen to what's on your mind.
No Wockets or Sneetches, no Zax or Lorax,
No Who down in Whoville, not the Grinch's dog Max,
Not even the Grinch with the strength of ten Grinches plus two
Could become a great couple of parents like you!
From my grandpa:
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. -Theodore Hasburgh
From our good friends, Ben and Amy:
Be yourselves, you will be good parents. No Disney movies - these breed unrealistic expectations and gender stereotypes. Don't train this babe to be a celebrity. Show him to appreciate small victories, like being resourceful. Make sure to show the baby how to cook and change a tire. Take heed of that tiger mom book. I think kids get 'mental health' days from school, too. Read lots o' books. Duh.

The nursery is also coming along well. It's definitely not done: we have a crib with no mattress and a changing table with no changing pad (instead it's full of stacks of receiving blankets and burp clothes and toys). But, it's on its way!

that bare corner will house my glider, once they get their act together and send me arms that match the base! : / 

Due date countdown: 65 days!