Tuesday, December 30, 2008

first trip to L&D...

...and all I got was this lousy IV bruise?!

M, the kiddo and I spent the better part of Christmas Eve in the pregnancy assessment ward of our local hospital. Good times. I was knocked out by the crazy stomach bug (that I only NOW hear everyone and their sister had) and had to spend a good part of my day being rehydrated and evaluated. Unfortunately, those were the same hours I was supposed to be spending on an airplane en route to Christmas with all of our parents.

We had many hours of monitoring, a full panel of labs and my first internal (OUCH!!!) and the baby was just fine - good accelerations on the heart monitor, no productive contractions and a high, closed cervix. The IV fluids got me back on track enough to limp my way onto a different flight on Christmas day so I could lay pathetically on my parents couch and avoid their food instead of our own. It was pretty terrible.

The ridiculousness of my body's rebellion in the wake of my love letter of last week is not lost on me. C'mon! I said I was sorry!

I say that all I got was an IV bruise but that's not exactly true. I also got a whopping wake-up call about how suddenly things can change leaving me unable to tie up loose ends. On the way to the hospital, it crossed my mind that if something was really wrong, I might be put on bed rest either at home or at the hospital and my poor co-workers would have to deal with the mess I left behind. Even if I go to term, it was still a reality check on how soon we're likely to be heading back to L&D for real. I definitely have a fire lit underneath me at work now.

Speaking of running low on time, I'm starting to freak out about the fact that I don't think we'll have another shower before the baby comes and we have soooo much shopping to do! The one shower we had was very early (pre-registry) and only included a small group of close friends. I was hoping to get a bunch of baby stuff for Christmas but I think our families were trying to get stuff for us. Both sets of parents bought us one very generous and substantial gift - my parents gave us our breast pump and M's gave us our travel system - but that was about it other than a few clothes and books and things. We have so many practical things we really need. My aunt offered to host a shower in January but she's a stack of states away and I'm reaching the point where I really don't want to fly anymore. It takes a whole day of travel each way to get to where our families live and it's just too much to take on right now. I know this is delicate territory and I really hope I don't sound like a spoiled brat. I'm just feeling really overwhelmed looking at the shopping list, even after going over it time and time again to pull off everything that isn't absolutely essential. /whining

M and I tried to take some artistic belly pics last night with a modest amount of success. We purchased a canvas photo print (well, a gift certificate for one) in a silent auction a few months back and it expires tomorrow. We don't have any pictures we want blown up at the moment so we decided to try to take one that could be enlarged as art for the nursery. We need to go through the options when I finish up here. I'm not feeling overly optimistic, but the darn thing is already "paid for" so we need to do get something made, even if it ends up in our basement.

I'm such a slacker when it comes to posting belly pics. I really did take a 28-week shot, and it was only a few days late. I'm ridiculously huge, although the not eating for five days thing did set me back a bit. I shudder to think of the pictures we'll be taking over the weeks to come. I guess at some point here, we should start doing them sooner than every 4 weeks. We'll see.

Big news of today is that my best "local" friend is pregnant. She and her husband have been married for about five months and they "stopped preventing" two months ago (shocking news to me). She's just about five weeks now. This is where I should start gushing about how wonderful it will be to overlap pregnancies with her, how elated I am that our children will be six months apart in age, how thrilled we both are for her and our husband (our closest "couple" friends) - all of which are completely true. But, it's my blog and I get to be as self-absorbed if I want so please forgive the honest yet unflattering text to follow. 

I was a little surprised (and if I'm honest, hurt?) to be blindsided by her announcement. No one owes me the intimate details of their family planning, but she's a good friend and I confided in her about every single detail of our journey from start to finish, so it was surprising to me that I didn't even know this was on their near horizon. That said, the blow was cushioned by the fact that I am the first non-family member she told or plans to tell anytime soon and she seemed truly and genuinely shocked herself at the news. The thing that really freaks me out is that even sitting there, across from someone I care so much for, with my 30-week pregnant belly rubbing against the table edge, her announcement transported me right back to such a painful place. If there is anyone on earth I'd think I could be genuinely, unconditionally happy for, it would be her, so what gives?! Am I ever going to be able to react normally to someone else's good news? She was a HUGE support to me throughout our IVF process and I am thrilled that she and her husband had such an easy path to pregnancy. Still, hearing the stark contrast of how her pregnancy came about reminded me of how hard we'd worked and how intensely painful it all was and it was like it happened yesterday. Equally disturbing to me is the belief that her announcement would have been easier for me to accept if she'd been trying, even if only for a brief time. Knowing TTC as intimately as I do, what does that make me? Someone that wishes for other's misfortune? That is a frightening thought. 

I'm sure the pregnancy hormones are playing a major role in my little melodrama here. I also know you all know how this goes - the duality of being genuinely happy for someone you care about and still sad at the difficulty of your own road - so I'll stop belaboring this. It just breaks my heart that I'm still here, carrying so much residual pain from something that - most days - feels like it happened so long ago. 

Here's the good - a pep talk for myself if you will: This friend couldn't be more aware of or sensitive to all we went through, and if someone's going to have an easy time getting pregnant (and we all know someone is, just not us), it should totally be one of the good eggs. M and I are over the moon to have some friends that are in our same situation (a gap we've been stressing over a bit) and to have it be these friends is simply icing on the cake. Most of all, we love these people and they are happy, so we are happy for them. Really, this is nothing but good news. I just wish our own journey could have been more like theirs... but then we wouldn't have had the exact munchkin that is kicking the living heck out of my insides right now, and that would have been a tragedy, so no more wallowing for me.

OK, time to wrap this up. Hope you all have a safe and happy new year. I'm wishing for great things for ALL of us in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

pulling out the fine stationery

Dear Body,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for processing the nasty glucose drink in a normal manner. I nearly cried when I heard those wonderful words: All tests came back completely normal. Your reward will be coming in the form of yummy-licious, home-made Christmas cookies once we arrive at Mom and Dad's house on Wednesday, and maybe even some stocking candy to boot. Not too much, of course. We don't want to get overly confident in the wake of our good news, do we?

The real purpose of this letter is that I owe you an apology. I should have given you the benefit of the doubt, or at least taken an "innocent until proven guilty" approach, but I didn't. As soon as I got the results of my one-hour test last Tuesday, I concluded that you were bad at processing sugar just like you were bad at making babies* and - I'll admit it - I was pissed. I am truly sorry for not having faith in you, especially since you've been such a champ since we took our first steps down the road to IVF.

I hereby promise to do a better job in the future. I will take this experience as the wake-up call that it is and I will fill you with healthy foods that make your job easier instead of harder. More importantly, I am going to consciously remind myself of all the wonderful things you do for me and the baby on a daily basis. You've been amazingly resilient and adaptive. I am also going to treat us both to a hypno.birthing class because I believe not only that you can and will carry this baby to term, but also that you have the strength and the wisdom to bring him or her into the world on your own terms. I will continue to believe these things until proven otherwise, not just until I start to suspect a problem. And if circumstances arise that take us away from an unmedicated birth, then I promise to be okay with that too, or at least to try really, really try hard to be.

In closing, I want to apologize again for giving up on you so easily. I truly appreciate all you have done and will continue to do, and I'm genuinely humbled by how far we have come together.

(Hersh.ey) kisses,

*I know, I know. It's unfair of me to bring this up now - rehashing old issues and all that - but it's part of our shared history and we can't pretend I don't have trust issues as a result.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

no news is... no news

Thanks for all of your supportive comments about my BFF (big fat FAIL). I'm feeling a lot less desperate about the whole GD business. If I have it, I have it. I only have 80 days left until my due date. I can do anything for 80 days, right? I mean, we TTC'd for 638 or something like that. Results should be in tomorrow.

I've been trying out a low-carb, low-sugar diet since Thursday and it hasn't been terrible. It hasn't been fun either, but I'm surviving. There is one exception - right before my test I bought a box of ice cream bars at the grocery store, and I've been diligently eating one per day to get them out of the freezer. I might cry if I have to throw them away, so I'd better get rid of them before the verdict comes down, you know? ;-)

I missed the latest belly pic day. I was due for one on Wednesday but we haven't gotten around to it. Maybe tomorrow. Speaking of Wednesday, it marked my grand entrance into the third trimester. Totally surreal.

We're still undecided about whether to go ahead with the hypno.birthing class or not. Hopefully tomorrow's test results will help me make a decision, but if it turns out I failed the 3-hour test, I won't have any more clarity than I do right now. Anyone have insight or experience regarding GD deliveries? (preterm? induced? giant baby? none of the above?) The hypno.birthing instructor isn't much help. She had no idea what GD was when I called to ask her about it. (Red flag, anyone?? Sure was for us.) Unfortunately, she's the only instructor I can find in our area so it's her or we go with a different method altogether.

The cloth diapering class was really helpful. Turns out M can't touch the microfiber inserts that go in the one-size bumGen.ius dipes we were most interested in going into the workshop. Touching the fabric is like fingernails on a chalkboard to her. Watching her pick up that insert then drop it like a hot potato - repeatedly - was kind of hysterical. I think we still may get some to try out and I will just need to be the primary stuffer, but we also discovered some other great options. I'm definitely feeling a lot more confident in our ability to make cloth diapers work for us.

We leave Wednesday for Christmas with all of the parents. Today, we finished up our holiday cards and wrapped all of the gifts we'll be taking with us. Other than packing our clothes, I think we're in good shape to go. I'm looking forward to the break from our hectic lives.

I'll post GD results when I have them. Thanks for the pep talk the other day and for all of the positive thoughts you all have sent. You all rock!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I failed.

I don't know my exact number. 3-hour test is Thursday morning.

I am SOOOOO bummed - way more than I should be given the stats I know about how many people fail the 1-hour and go on to pass the 3-hour. Even if I pass the next test (best case scenario), I'm still "borderline" enough to have failed this one, and that feels like an indictment of so many things: My general health, my eating and exercise habits, my chances of having a normal size baby and an unmedicated birth, my body's ability to do ANYTHING the easy way... and the list goes on.

I'm going to withhold any further self-pity until I get the results of Thursday's test, but I am not a happy camper. Any and all low-glucose vibes appreciated.

Monday, December 15, 2008

nasty glucose drink, here I come

According to the weather feed on my computer, it's 13 degrees outside with a wind chill of -3... and I'm off work today. In fact, I have nothing to do except curl up under a blanket until my OB appointment at 2pm. Bliss.

Today is my 1-hour GD screen. I know not to eat for two hours before my appointment, so I might actually be able to take the test this time! I really hope I pass. My hat is off to everyone that has successfully modified their diet while pregnant. I know that like everything else on this crazy journey, it's just something you do if you have to but what a pain, and right before Christmas, no less.

The baby had the hiccups on Wednesday. That was the first time I have felt them. The kicking and squirming continues. I'm kind of surprised by how little time he or she seems to spend asleep!

I think I actually was sick last weekend, which is a relief. I was worried I was entering a new stage of pregnancy where I was just going to feel exhausted and uncomfortable all the time. Around noon on Tuesday, I started feeling noticeably better and by that time on Wednesday, I was back to feeling pretty good. It's becoming increasingly difficult to get comfortable in bed and my hips are sore by the end of each day, but I'd pick those annoyances over the nausea and stomach cramps any day of the week.

I've been making really good progress on The Big Checklist. M and I are registered for a cloth-diapering workshop this week which should help us figure out what we're doing in that department. We're penciled in for a hyp.nobirthing class to begin January 8th. I ordered the replacement parts we need for the crib. And I cut off about 12 inches of my hair to be donated! (Only vaguely baby-related, but it's been on the list for over a month.) It is so much easier to manage - a big plus since it's getting harder and harder to get out of bed in the mornings.

Speaking of cribs, ours has been inhabited by a small cat named Lily. I swear she spends 16 hours a day in the thing. I'm pretty sure she thinks it's a deluxe cat tree we brought in just for her. My mom (who is generally nervous about how our cats will be with the baby) has asked how we plan to keep her out. My guess is that once we put a screaming baby in it, Lily is going to be nowhere to be found.

M and I haven't had a chance to talk much about this, but I think I may be close to being happy with a girl name. Of course I'm only half of the naming committee, but just having a viable option is progress for me, and we've been tossing this name around for a while so I know we both like it. But no more on that for now. I don't want to speak to soon and jinx it.

Let's see, what else, what else, what else... We're hopelessly behind on holiday cards, but seeing as we have only received about a fifth as many as we usually have by now, it seems our friends and family are in the same predicament. On the flip side, we're doing great on shopping - only a couple more gifts to pick up and we'll be done. I had a disaster of an evening the other night. I burned nearly everything I put over any form of heat (including one of our pots) and then dumped my full dinner plate onto the floor making for a very happy dog and a very unhappy me. My hormones couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry so I did both. Good times.

All in all, things are going well, but I'm withholding all other positive worldviews until I find out whether I'm allowed to eat my mom's Christmas cookies or not. Appointment is in three hours!

Monday, December 8, 2008


I'm feeling a little like death these days. I've been tired and queasy and generally blech for 2-3 days now. I don't know what's up, but I don't like it.

The BH contractions have become stronger and more frequent and they kind of started freaking me out over the weekend. I did a little online snooping to make sure they are in fact BHs (and it seems that they are) and found a bunch of information that can basically be summed up as: Braxton Hicks are good and mean your uterus is preparing for labor, unless they are not good in which case you need to call your doctor right away because you're probably in preterm labor and your baby may die. Great, thanks. "Good" is quite a relative term and not so much helpful when you are a first-time pregnant woman and trying to figure out if this particular round of weird feelings you're having are weird-normal or weird-worrisome.

But concerns about BH contractions are soooo Sunday. Today we're on to aggravating symptom #2: Persistent nausea that makes all food sound terrible followed by sharp stomach cramps upon ingestion of said food. It's like the first trimester all over again! Awesome! I did some more internet research today and found a very helpful site that explained that from here on out, I'm in the extreme growth phase, and if things don't happen in perfect concert (like, say, if the kiddo grows faster than... the skin enclosing my belly, I guess), I may be in for some severe discomfort in the form of nausea, stomach pain, shortness of breath, etc. I have to assume this is what is happening, and I have to hope that it is temporary. I'll be a very unhappy camper if this is what the rest of my pregnancy involves.

I'm trying to get as much rest as possible and laying on my left side does seem to help, boring though it may be. However, I have an especially demanding week at work and it will cost me dearly if I have to back out of it for any reason. I'm participating in a very elite (read: expensive) leadership training for the next three days and we're about 2 months past the deadline for a refund. I get that my health comes first and I need to be smart about things, but I also need to have a job once the baby gets here and skipping out on part or all of this training would not win me any brownie points with the management team at my agency. So, my plan is to take each day one step at a time - as slowly as I need to - and get through as much of it as I can. If I need to call in sick Friday, or all of next week, so be it. It's only three days, and I have nothing to do in the evenings except recover. If nothing else, this has taught me not to make commitments like this from here on out. After Christmas, nothing ambitious is going on my calendar until June!

Monday, December 1, 2008

stack o' posts: 4 of 4

And to wrap things up, the promised 24-week belly pic:

I just noticed an interesting crossroads: My last post was my 100th in this blog, and as of today, I have 100 days left until my due date. I couldn't have done that on purpose if I tried.

And on that note, I bid you goodnight!

stack o' posts: 3 of 4

Thanksgiving was interesting, as are most indicators of time passing to those of us who have been shaped by infertility. At one point, I told my mom I would NOT be cooking next year because I'd be too busy trailing a crawling infant. I said it without thinking, but once the words were out there, they hung in the air the like a comic strip and I stared at them for several minutes, thinking about the power of what I'd said and how amazing and humbling it is to be where I am right now. This reminded me of the intensely painful place I was in exactly one year ago, and my heart broke for each of my friends - both in "real-life" and online - who are still waiting for their children to find them.

My period came the day before Thanksgiving last year. It signaled the end of try #11 and it was one of those BFNs that completely eviscerated me. I was staying under one roof with most of my extended family for the holiday, M wasn't in town yet, and I simply couldn't stop crying. No one except my parents knew what was going on at that point so I had to get away. I ended up spending the day driving through the country by myself, then sitting in a deserted park, crying and surrendering completely to the overwhelming grief. We'd been TTC for over a year by then and my NP had told me time and time again that there was just no reason that I wasn't pregnant yet! I was sure at that point that I was broken beyond hope and that I would never find the magic solution I was so desperate for.

There are days where I'm able to forget how excrutiating the lows of TTC were, but it takes very little to remind me.

On this Thanksgiving, I thought of each and every one of you that are where I was a year ago - feeling empty and drained and hopeless. As I look back, I can clearly see that holidays were among the hardest times for me. I think they are for many of us who track our lives in two week increments and dream of where we will be by the next [insert time marker here] and I am sure that many of you were in pain. I wish there was something I could say to make it hurt less, but know that you were in my heart and I sent (and continue to send) out hopes that one year from now, you will look back on this time from a very different place.

stack o' posts: 2 of 4

We're making no headway on girl names, which is unfortunate because the latest guesses to come in are skewing dramatically toward pink side of things. I've heard a bunch of different wives tale-esque theories lately, but they all end with me having a girl on board. M's latest contribution to the mix is Mabel, and she's managed to get a bunch of people on board (myself NOT included). She's also a big fan of Blanche. Like, from the Golden Girls. In fact, she's a fan of all of the Golden Girl names, and any other name you can find on the local retirement home roster. I can't complain too much - at least she's making suggestions. I haven't had a new idea in a while. I'll be really interested to see where we end up on this.

I can't believe how strong this little one is getting. I'm watching my belly jump around right now as I type. Sometimes it's quick, jabbing movements; others it is smooth but persistent churning. Seeing the movement from the outside is shocking and sooo cool.

Speaking of uterine action, I think I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions for the past week or so. I'm still unsure because I was expecting a relatively brief tighten/relax sequence, like a mild cramp. What I'm experiencing is not that at all. It's a sensation-free tensing of my uterus (making it freakishly rock hard) that lasts for several minutes at a time. I find it happens most often when I'm in bed, either just before I go to sleep at night or right after I wake up in the morning. If these aren't BH, any idea what they are?

We have started putting the nursery together. My parents helped us with a bunch of furniture moving before they left after Thanksgiving so the guest bed has been moved out and the crib has been moved in. It's nice to have a physical space to start moving things into and I can see the crib from our bed across the hall. It's beyond bizarre to have one of those set up in our house at long last. We test drove gliders on Saturday and I think we're close to picking one. That is the most substantial item left on our shopping list, so we should be in relatively good shape once we cross that one off.

Entertaining family for Thanksgiving completely wiped me out. I felt okay while they were here, but crashed as soon as they cleared out. I still don't feel 100% recovered, but I'm getting there. I'm already starting to feel my energy taper off and it makes me nervous for what's to come as I continue to grow.

I think that's it for odds and ends from me. Only a couple of weeks left until the third trimester - holy cow!

stack o' posts: 1 of 4

I know I promised a new belly pic and it will come. However, M is working on my computer right now (bless her) and I can't get to my pictures, but I have not forgotten. I could just post a picture of a standard three-car garage. That would pretty much sum up how I look in the last round of shots we took. I don't know if it was a bad outfit choice, an excessive water (and everything else) retention day, or if I just look that ginormous but the picture is a little frightening if I do say so myself.

On to the other half of my promise...

AOPB incident #1: At the beginning of November, I went on an out-of-state business trip. The night before I left was election night and M and I went over to some friends' house to watch the returns. As we were leaving their house, I realized I'd left all of my travel documents in my work file cabinet so we stopped by my office on the way home to pick them up. We didn't get home until well after midnight, at which point I began packing and found I'd (a) neglected to bring home the power cord for the work laptop I was to take along and (b) left my cell phone sitting on our friends' coffee table. All of this is very unlike me, by the way. I am OCD to the core. I had to be at the airport at 7am the next morning and taking a detour to pick up the two forgotten items would add an hour to my morning trip. Realistically, I couldn't have picked either up the next morning anyway. It was too late to call our friends and arrange for a 6am visit, and the power cord for the computer was locked in my supervisor's office - the one room in my suite I don't have a key to. M saved the day (night) by sending me off with her iPhone (providing both phone and email communication) and generously agreeing to drive around town after work the next day, picking up my odds and ends so she could bring them with her when she came to join me the following night. I spent the next 36 hours paralyzed with fear that I would leave something else sitting somewhere. I triple-checked that the laptop was in my bag after leaving security; I held the iPhone in my hand, physically looking at it as I exited the plane because I was sure it would fall out of my carry-on if I were to put it somewhere as insecure as a zippered pocket; I nearly had a heart attack when I "realized" (incorrectly) that I had locked the keys to my rental car in the trunk after tossing in my suitcase. Apparently I do not cope well with feeling like a flake.

AOPB incident #2: I am the organizer of monthly potlucks at my office. Each potluck has a theme (Mexican, vegetarian, etc.) but I always tease a co-worker that she doesn't have to adhere to the theme because I just want her to bring the same dish - her specialty - to every single potluck because I love it so much. Well this month, she made a similar request of me. She asked that I abandon the theme and bring in a sweet potato casserole that has received rave reviews in the past. To be honest, I was relieved. It's a recipe I've made for years - you know, the kind you can make in your sleep? (You can see where this is going, right?) The night before the potluck, I prepared the dish and it wasn't until it was already in the oven that I realized I'd forgotten the keystone ingredient (orange juice concentrate, if you must know) and the end result was less than spectacular, which sucks since I was making it by special request. The lamest part of all is that it only has a handful of ingredients to begin with and I read the recipe extra carefully before beginning since I know I've been a bit spacy lately... (See AOPB incident #1)

These two incidents aside, I've been doing okay, I think. (Well, except for the time last week where I forgot how to work our clothes dryer the other day with my mom standing right behind me. As in, I literally could not find the start button to save my life. Very embarassing.)

So, in the time it's taken me to get to this post, I've had several others take up residence in my brain. I'm going to get through as many as I can tonight, so stay tuned!