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So in love with these two!

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I’m terrible at blogging. Here’s a couple of photos of my adorable kids. Perhaps someday I’ll write a legitimate post…

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So I’ve been away. For a long time. And then out of the blue I reappeared and dropped a bombshell.

I meant to share earlier, really, I did. Time after time I wanted to click the “publish” button. But the timing never seemed quite right. Even though I haven’t posted in over and year and I don’t comment frequently on other blogs, I still keep up with all of the blogs that I read during our time trying to get pregnant. Every single one of them. And sadly, there is still a lot of heartache going on in the blogosphere. It seemed that every time I was ready to publish that blog post, there would be more devastating news. To make a pregnancy announcement in the wake of a failed cycle, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy would just be in poor taste.

And so I waited. Waited for the perfect timing. And, as with most things in life, there really was no perfect time. There was always one reason or another not to say something. And after a while the fact that I was hiding a pregnancy kind of became a source of embarrassment to me, like “I haven’t said anything in X months…how embarrassing it would be to come clean NOW.” And before I knew it, I was in my third trimester.

The other day I was reading through my old blog posts. Both from after Nina was born and those from when we were still trying to get pregnant. Reading those posts made me realize how much I cherish having that record of all we experienced on our path to parenthood and beyond. And it made me realize how much I want to continue that record so that I can look back on these times and remember all of the details that so quickly become fuzzy in my head.

So I pulled on my big girl panties and clicked the “Publish” button. And here we are. I’m 30+ weeks pregnant and due at the end of October with our son. Twenty six weeks have passed since that first positive test and neither my husband nor I can really believe that this is happening. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of how fortunate we are to be in this position.

Originally written February 17th, 2011.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our family lately. I know that the chances of us having another child without the help of an RE are virtually non-existent. It took us two and a half years, 5 IUIs, 3 IVF’s and a whole lot of heartache to finally achieve that elusive pregnancy. I’m not sure that we can go through that again, especially since it’s not just the two of us anymore…there is a third person to consider now. I remember turning to my husband shortly after Nina was born and saying “we have to find a way to make this happen again.” I loved being pregnant, I loved being a mom and couldn’t fathom not having that second child that we’d always pictured. One of the women in my support group is 95% sure that she does not want to have more children, that the one that she has is enough for her. I just could not put myself in her place or even begin to comprehend how that could be. I needed to have those two children…how could I possibly stop with just one?

But as time went on, I began to question the idea of two children. Many women fear that they won’t be able to love their second child as much as the first one. My fear was just the opposite…that a second child would take away even one tiny bit of time, attention, love, snuggles or kisses from Nina. Nina is my world and I want nothing to take away from how special and important she is. As I tossed these thoughts around in my head, I became more open minded towards the idea of Nina being an only child. The concept became acceptable to me, especially considering all of the crap that we wouldn’t have to go through if we didn’t have that second child. I remember sitting with a group of friends from my support group telling them that while I not-so-secretly hoped that I would be THAT woman who had to jump through hoops to get pregnant the first time, then magically got pregnant naturally on her own the second time, I would still be OK if it was just the three of us. I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have Nina…it seemed somewhat like tempting fate to try again.

My vision of our future changed and I began to see us as the family that we currently are, not the family that I always envisioned us to be. And it was great. The stress of wondering how we would manage to get pregnant again faded away and all that was left was enjoyment of our family, just as we are.

All of that changed on Valentine’s Day, 2011. On February 14th, I got up, peed on a stick, and sat there feeling foolish for setting myself up for the disappointment that I knew would be coming in just a few short moments. I’d been there so many times before. Not really believing that I was pregnant, but still holding out hope that some way, somehow the test would be positive. Only this time, the disappointment never came. What came instead were two pink lines.

Shock. I was in shock. I’m pregnant. And there was not a single pill, injection, ultrasound or violation of my cervix involved. The only “assistance” we required to make a baby was a weeklong cruise with lots of sun, booze and sex, apparently. Yes, I am now that woman that all of the obnoxious doctors (Dr. Ass Clown included) use as their anecdote as to why you need to go on birth control after having a baby, even if it took you forever to get pregnant the first time. Now I can be the anecdote for the “just relax, then you’ll get pregnant” assvice. Of course, to be fair, I went on my fair share of vacations while we were trying to get pregnant the first time, lot of good those did for my reproductive batting average. As much as I hate to prove Dr. Ass Clown right about his assvice, I absolutely couldn’t be happier that in this one case, he actually WAS right. As I told him nearly a year ago, if we were to get pregnant naturally, that would be the best possible outcome.

And so now, here we are, waiting out the early weeks and hoping for nothing but the best. I am so, so terrified to even acknowledge the pee stick with two pink lines on it, for fear that letting it become reality will somehow take it all away. I try to downplay the importance of it by reminding myself that this was so “easy” to achieve and we didn’t have to make any time, emotional or financial investments, so if it were to go awry it wouldn’t hurt as much as if we had made all of those investments. And in the same moment that thought leaves my mind, it is filled with the realization that this would likely never happen again. This is our once in a lifetime shot to have a baby without a whole mess of interventions, and the enormous weight of the situation falls on me again.

Could be so lucky that this might actually work? Every fiber of my being hopes that we are.

Having Nina has turned my whole world upside down in such an amazing, incredible way.  I can’t imagine not having her in my life and not a day goes by that I’m not eternally grateful for her.

But having a baby has changed me in ways I never expected, and I’m not talking about all of the mushy goodness I alluded to in the above sentences.  I’m talking about the new me.

The new me has bumps on my upper arms, my upper thighs and even my butt.  I have no idea what these bumps are.  I’ve never had silky smooth flawless skin before, but these new bumps bring my crappy skin to a whole new level.  Sadly, these little buggers don’t go away with exfoliation so I guess they’re a part of who I am now.

Along with the bumps, the new me also has a few skin tags too.  They developed during pregnancy and I had hoped that they might just go away, but no such luck.  They’re tiny and I’m probably the only one who notices them, but I’ll probably ask to have them removed next time I see my doctor.

Dry skin, oh the dry skin.  I’ve always had crazy dry skin, but during pregnancy it seemed to go away.  I was able to take a shower and not immediately have to put lotion on my face after getting out…it was fantastic.  Birth of the baby brings all that dry skin back with a vengeance. 

The new me is also losing hair like a mad woman.  I thought the hair loss while I was pregnant was bad, but this is ten time worse.  Poor Nina always seems to have a stray hair or two of mine on her somewhere.  I have no idea when, or even if this will ever stop, but I sure hope it does.  I feel like I’ll be bald in another week…

My pregnancy induced SPD is mostly a memory, thank god.  There are still moments when I will try to move something heavy with my foot and I’ll wince in pain from it, but for the most part I feel great.  I was really worried that I would have lingering issues with this, but so far so good.

My mind is a mess.  An absolute mess.  I can’t remember anything anymore.  I have problems remembering the names of people that I’ve known for years.  I can’t even blame it on a lack of sleep as Nina has been sleeping from 8 or 9 at night until I wake her up at 6 am since she was 3 months old.  I’m constantly fumbling around for my words too, and mixing up the order of my words in a sentence.  It’s embarrassing and a little bit unsettling and I only hope that someday my memory and brain function will find its way back to me someday soon.

I’m chubby.  Yup, I’m not doing such a hot job on losing the pregnancy weight.  People tell me that I’m looking good and that I must have lost weight since I saw them last, but the reality is that I haven’t lost a pound since about five weeks post partum.  Quite honestly, I haven’t made any bit of effort to lose weight, so I guess I’m not surprised that I haven’t lost anything lately.  It would have been fantastic if the weight would have continued to fall off like it did the first few weeks, but I guess I’m going to have to make some sort of an effort.  Healthy diet and exercise, here I come!

I’m certainly not complaining though…all of these changes were well worth the reward.

Meet Nina’s new friends!

Miss Ladybug

And…her right hand!

The left hand will do occasionally, but the right hand is really where it’s at. She makes me laugh when I’m changing her clothes and she can’t get to her hand because it’s in the sleeve of her shirt, she’ll try to eat her sleeve since she can’t get to her hand. I’m easily amused, what can I say?

We are having so much fun with Nina. I can’t believe that tomorrow is my last day with her. I’m back to work on Thursday and have been trying to soak up as much time with her as possible, hence the lack of posts lately.

Nina is almost eight weeks old…here’s where we’ve learned about her so far.

Nina hates a wet diaper. She also dislikes a dirty diaper, but strangely enough, she seems more bothered by having a wet one than a poopy one. She’s also a champion pee-er. Two consecutive days in a row, she peed three times in 20 minutes. It’s times like that when I’m so glad we cloth diaper. Even though each diaper individually is pretty cheap, it would still piss me off to know how many of them were “wasted” within seconds on being put on and how much more waste we’d be generating.

Speaking of diapering, my baby girl is growing up!!! Her adorable newborn diaper covers are one heck of a tight squeeze these days. She no longer fits into newborn outfits, but that hasn’t stopped us from squeezing her into them for the past week or so since we’re not ready to retire her first set of clothes yet. She no longer makes that adorable little “O” face that all newborns seem to make. For the past few nights she’s only gotten up once per night to eat. She stays awake for a good couple of hours in between daytime feedings, looking around at her surroundings and taking everything in. She’s become more vocal while she’s awake, making little sounds if for no other reason that just to let us know she’s here. I can’t believe how quickly she’s changing right before our very eyes.

Nina is a champion breastfeeder…sort of. She’s really good at latching on, and has been from the start, so I give her huge credit there, but she’s not super efficient at eating. She’ll eat for ten minutes or so, then decide that it’s time for a little break and rest for a while. Then she’ll eat again for a few minutes and rest a little bit. She’s always been a poky little eater and her pediatrician suggested that rubbing along her jaw bone could help to encourage her to eat better and keep her focused on what she’s doing. The trick works like a charm, but I seem to lack the dedication to actually DO it because I’m too busy surfing for baby deals, reading blogs or playing games on the DS. Because of both of our laziness, feeding Nina can take anywhere from 30 minutes all the way up to an hour and a half.

This girl is a loud eater. Not loud as in slurping and sucking loud, but she makes a lot of sighs and grunts and just general vocal noise while she eats. It is quite entertaining . Also entertaining are the incredible burps she lets fly after she’s done eating. I’d heard that breastfed babies don’t ingest too much air while eating and therefore don’t often have to burp. I can wholeheartedly say that this is not true for my child. This girl can burp with the best of them (much to daddy’s delight).

Nina will not fall asleep on her own. She just plain won’t do it. Try putting her in her crib when she’s awake and you won’t be out of her room for more than five minutes before you hear her hollering. She simply must fall asleep with someone. This fact means that after she finishes eating, I have to wait a good 15 minutes to a half hour for her to get into a deep enough sleep that I can take her to her crib, swaddle her and shut the door without her waking back up. If I fail and she wakes up, then it’s time to use the five S’s in an attempt to get her back in a nice deep sleep again. All told, middle of the night feedings can stretch up to a two hour process, depending on how dedicated she is to eating, or how hungry she is.

The only exception to the above rule is falling asleep in the car. The car is the only place that Nina will fall asleep on her own and usually that’s with a lot of crying and repeatedly putting her Soothie in her mouth (she’s not very good at keeping it in for much longer than a minute or two on her own). If she’s just recently been fed, however, she can fall asleep without any intervention from us. We like those times.

Nina’s got some serious gas issues, which seem to occur on a completely random basis. She will be happily eating away and all of the sudden she will pull away, here face will get bright red and she’ll let out the most pitiful scream I’ve ever heard. We’ve found that a combination of gas drops, gripe water, tummy massage, jiggling and pushing her feet towards her head will usually get the gas moving out. We recently discovered that the bouncy chair with the vibration turned on seems to help as well. Of course it’s always anyone’s guess as to which combination of those things will be the one to work on any given day…

We have loved getting to know our daughter over these past eight weeks. Here are some of my favorite pictures of her so far.

Week One
2/19
 

2/20

Week 2

2/26

2/26

3/3

Week 3

3/7

Week 4

3/13

3/13

3/14

Week 5

3/17

3/21/2010

Week 6

3/27/2010

Week 7

4/8

 

 

Now that we’ve had Nina for five weeks, I finally feel like I’m starting to learn what works for us and what doesn’t. Here’s my list of “gotta haves” and “can do withouts.”

Love ‘em:
•   My Brest Friend nursing pillow: This is like a Boppy, but different. It’s made out of molded foam (I think) and wraps all of the way around your back and closes nice and tight with a buckle. It’s got raised bumps where baby’s head should be while nursing so that her body is properly aligned. It’s also formed so that the edges of the pillow are very well defined 90 degree corners versus a soft edge where mama meets pillow. The well established edges prevents baby from falling into the “crack” between the soft, curved edge of a Boppy and mama. I put this on my list of loves, but with a caveat. I loved this pillow in the hospital. I loved this pillow for the first few days at home. I hated the pillow for a week or so after coming off of my pain meds. I love this pillow once again.

The reason I hated the pillow for a while is because even though there is a strap that keeps the pillow nice and tight around you, it also puts a decent amount of pressure on the area below where the pillow is sitting. In my case, that means the area of my belly that is the most sensitive. After coming off of my pain meds it was too painful to use the pillow because the pressure it put on the area between my belly button and my incision was just too much. Eventually I determined that if I put another pillow underneath the nursing pillow, it would hold the nursing pillow up, which effectively eliminated the pressure on my belly, which made the My Brest Friend regain its status as a must have item. I love that I can walk around the house with the pillow strapped around me and Nina nursing away if I need to. I can also do things with two hands while she eats since she is held in the perfect position. Plus the pillow has built in back support, which is so nice. I got my pillow on ebay for $15…quite possibly the best $15 I’ve spent on baby related things so far.

Gilligan & O’Malley (Target) nursing tanks: Love, love, love em. I own 4 different colors of these and wear one every day. I bought a couple of nursing bras before Nina was born and haven’t worn either one of them yet because I love the tanks so much. The main reason I love these tanks is because my belly is completely covered while nursing. The thought of wearing a nursing bra doesn’t appeal to me whatsoever since it would mean exposing my flabby, still-stained-black belly. The tanks are somewhat tighter than I expected, which has turned out to be an unexpected benefit as it helps to smooth out the extra belly flab that I’ve got lingering around. I should mention that even nursing I’m only a B cup, so I can’t vouch for how well these would work for someone more well endowed than I am, but for my mini-boobs, they work great. I’ve noticed that they seem to run small though, so a size larger than normal is recommended.

Kissaluvs size 0 and prefolds: Yes, that’s right, I love our cloth diaper stash. We didn’t start cloth diapering Nina immediately because we were waiting for her umbilical cord to fall off. After a week and a half, two trips to the store to buy more diapers, and $20 flushed down the toilet on said diapers (after going through about 75 disposables handed down from a friend) I decided that enough was enough and we would just be very cautious of her cord and start with the cloth. (Thank goodness I didn’t wait until her cord fell off as it didn’t come off until she was three weeks old.) A small part of me was hesitant to start the cloth since it was so easy to use disposables (especially the ones with the wetness indicator line), but I felt like if I didn’t get started soon, I may just chicken out and not do it at all. So one day I decided it was time and I haven’t really looked back since. I feel comfortable having her in cloth and don’t think twice about it, but my husband is a little less enthusiastic about it. He’s ok dealing with it at home, but if we go out for a long enough time that a diaper change would be required, he requests that we put her in a disposable and that we carry disposables with us in the diaper bag. He also won’t touch the diaper laundry, which is fine with me…I’m too paranoid he’ll put fabric softener in with the diapers or do something to otherwise harm the diapers. I have to say that I’ve been more than impressed with his willingness to use cloth as I didn’t think there was any way to get him to even consider it.

For right now we are using mostly prefolds and KL0’s, though we do have some other diapers in our stash. I’ve tried our Bum Genius Organic One Size All In One twice (once was fine, the other time it leaked, though to be fair I hadn’t prepped it fully, so I can’t blame the leak on the diaper) and our Grobaby twice (same results as with the BG, though I think this might be a fit issue too…the soaker seems to bunch up a whole lot since the diaper is folded down so small). I’ve got a Best Bottoms that I’m looking forward to trying as well as a Smartipants. Once Nina gets a little bit bigger, we’ll be doing the Jillian’s Drawers cloth diaper trial to see what will work best for us in the long run and we’ll work on selling off her newborn diapers and building a new stash of bigger diapers.

Itzbeen Baby Timer: I honestly don’t know what I would have done without this little gadget during the first couple of weeks. Our hospital provided us with a book on newborn care and a small section included a log of feeding and wet and dirty diapers. Every time the nurses would come in to check on us, they would ask things like how often is she eating, how long does she eat, how long since her last wet diaper, etc. The timer really helped me to keep track of all of those things. It also helped me to make sure that I took my meds on time once we were out of the hospital because you can set alarms to remind you to do things after a certain duration of time. It’s not something I’ve used a whole lot lately, but I found it to be a big help during the first couple of weeks.

Dunstan Baby Language: I’d never heard of this before the DVD arrived at our house as a gift from my aunt. The basis of it is that newborns (0-3 months old) have 5 basic “words” that they use to communicate what they want/need. The words are really just certain sounds that babies make when they need a specific thing. For example, when a baby is hungry, the cry will start with an “n” sound and the cry sounds like “neh.” I was kind of skeptical at first, but once Nina arrived, I could definitely pick out certain sounds in her cries and knowing these five “words” really helped me to know what she wanted. It’s not always easy to pick the “words” out of her cries, but more often than not, I am able to figure out what she needs and provide it for her. These first few weeks with a newborn are hard enough as it is…being able to know what Nina wants has been such an advantage and helps me to feel like I’m not completely clueless or incompetent.

The Happiest Baby on the Block: Before I got pregnant, I’d heard a lot about this book being a lifesaver for new parents, so when I found it at a garage sale last summer for $3, I snatched it up. I started reading it a few months before Nina was due, but didn’t get very far into it. At my shower, a friend gave me a copy of the DVD as a present, but we never really got around to watching it before Nina was born. It wasn’t until about a week after Nina was born and I was extremely frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t get her to sleep anywhere but on me that we actually watched the DVD.

I really, really wished that we had watched it before Nina was born as I’m sure that it would have saved me a lot of lost sleep. I’m pretty sure that the book would have been explanation enough, but given the fact that I hadn’t bothered to read the whole thing before the baby was born, the DVD was a much appreciated shortcut to learning the 5 S’s.

While the swaddle worked just fine for us in the hospital, it caused nothing but screaming and crying at home. It wasn’t until we watched the DVD that we realized the swaddle alone wasn’t enough to calm little Nina and that it was completely normal for her to get even more upset being swaddled. We learned about the shh’ing and swaying and put that into practice and were amazed to see how well it actually worked. Watching the DVD saved my sanity and my only regret is that we didn’t watch it earlier. This is definitely a must have for any new parent.

And since this post has been sitting on my computer for nearly a week now waiting for me to finish writing it, I’m just going to post my “love ‘em’s” for right now. Stay tuned for my “leave ‘em’s” coming soon…

Before:

40 weeks!

After:

Our baby girl arrived at 11:10 am today and is simply perfect.  She weighed 8 pounds and 7 ounces.  We still have not decided on a name, but I’m fairly certain we will figure it out tomorrow! More details to follow soon…

Well, I’m less than 24 hours away from holding my little girl in my arms. I can’t honestly believe that the time is nearly here. While this pregnancy has seemed to absolutely creep by and I feel like I’ve been pregnant for years already, I still can’t come to terms with the fact that we will have a baby tomorrow. Wow. Words can’t really explain what I feel like right now, so instead I will leave you with some photos from my shower, my ginormous belly at 39 weeks and our little girl’s room. Next time I post, I will be a mommy! 

The "baby" I made and had to make sure to take care of during the shower

My big ole belly with my "baby" and all of the pins I stole from other people who said the word "baby"

The adorable cake
 

 

Me with one of my friends. I picked this photo because it shows two things. 1. I have since lost all of the pins I stole from others since I couldn't stop saying "baby" and 2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar hung on the window behind us.

Looks like a hungry caterpillar has already been here...

Holy cow, I'm huge!!!

The quilt that inspired her room...and a good chunk of her wardrobe

Her crib, the butterflies my friend made for the shower, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar himself

The big, beautiful butterfly and lots of baby stuff


The third trimester was not nearly as “bad” as I had imagined it would be. There was no magical switch that went on at 27 weeks that made me tired and miserable. The one thing that did notice around that time was the beginning of daily heartburn, which as I mentioned yesterday, was eventually solved by Ranitidine. My only complaints so far have been the SPD, which has only been bad for the past couple of weeks, and the fact that my little girl is pretty fond of wedging her big ole head in my right ribs. Oh, and over the course of the last week or so, I’ve had some pretty painful contractions that wake me up at night…those I could live without as well. But for the most part, the third trimester has been nearly as enjoyable as the second. Yes, I get tired easier and it’s hard to pick up things that I drop on the ground, but I would trade those things any day to feel all of the movements my little girls is making inside of me. As her space to wiggle around freely dwindles, the movements I feel are so much more magnified. It’s absolutely amazing to feel and see her cram her head as far out my right side as she can.

I have had an absolute ball putting our daughter’s room together. My mother-in-law made us an absolutely amazing Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt before she even knew that we were pregnant, and after much effort, I was able to convince my husband that the quilt should be the inspiration for her room. It’s not babyish and is definitely something she can grow into and use for a while. More importantly, while the Very Hungry Caterpillar is a branded image, it is not an “in your face” kind of brand like the Disney Princesses theme that he wanted to go with. If our daughter grows up and decides that she loves the Disney Princesses more than anything in the world, I’ll deal with it then. I just don’t feel like we need to be forcing the Disney brand down her throat from the moment she is born. Plus I’m not a huge fan of pink, and if my husband had his way, her nursery would be pink with big Disney wall decals all over the room. No thank you. Winning the nursery theme “battle” was a huge victory for me, and I could not be happier with how it turned out thanks to a good chunk of hard work by my parents (painting, sewing and hanging). I think my husband is quite pleased with it too, as well he should be…the reason my mother-in-law picked The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the quilt is because it was my husband’s favorite book when he was a kid.

I also had a fantastic time at my baby shower. The girls who threw it for me definitely went above and beyond and I was blown away by all that they did. They knew that the nursery was going to have The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme, so they took the theme and ran with it. The invites were official Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar invites, with the caterpillar positioned prominently on the front. The hostess’ house was decorated with flowers, caterpillars and butterflies everywhere. There was a platter of food with holes carved out of each piece to resemble the food in the book as he ate through each item. There were cupcakes frosted and strategically placed to look just like the caterpillar in the book. There were games and prizes galore. And the gifts, oh the gifts. Everyone was so generous, it was such a fantastic feeling to know this baby is so highly anticipated and will be welcomed by all who were in attendance. It was an absolutely wonderful day and I could not have asked for more.

On the flip side, there have been a few disappointments to deal with too. The biggest disappointment, of course comes from her positioning. At 32 weeks we went in for our “big ultrasound” and were disappointed to find that we wouldn’t get the 3D sneak peek at her that we were expecting since she was facing my back. This was only a small disappointment because as cool as it would be to have a preview of what she looks like, the thought of seeing her for the very first time when she’s born is just awesome. The anticipation of wondering what she’ll look like is one of the few surprises that we have left since we already know that she is a girl.

Of course the bigger problem was discovering that she was breech, which really didn’t alarm me at first. I figured that at 32 weeks, she would have plenty of time to turn. Even at 34 weeks when we tried to do the 3D again and she was found to be transverse, it didn’t really click with me that it could be a problem down the road. It wasn’t until the doctors started talking about doing the version and scheduling a c-section that it hit me that this was, in fact, a very serious issue if I had any hopes of a vaginal delivery. The enormous disappointment of the failed ECV and subsequent scheduling of her birth hit me harder than I ever thought that it would. The past two and a half weeks have allowed me to come to some sort of terms with the entire situation though, and I am so glad that we pushed back on scheduling her birth at 40 weeks instead of 39. Nothing about her birth will be as I envisioned it, but that makes it no less special or miraculous.

I am also slightly disappointed that her positioning has meant that I haven’t been able to experience a lot of the movements that I so looked forward to feeling and seeing. I love watching my right side expand and contract as she pushes her head in and out of my belly, but I do feel pangs of loss for the movements that I will never see or feel because of how she’s been situated. The consistent pattern of her movements and kicks leads me to believe that she has always been in some variation of transverse or breech positioning, and I’m 99% certain that she’s had her back towards my front the entire time. She’s also been frank breech (in the pike position with her feet by her head) every time we’ve seen her, so I’d assume that she’s been like that nearly the entire time as well. Those things mean that I’ve never been kicked in the ribs, or punched in the stomach. I’ve never felt her hiccups on my cervix as I would have if she had been head down. I’ve never really felt much movement at all on my left side since the only thing that’s over there is her butt. I’ve never seen a hand or foot pressing out of my stomach, nor has my entire belly danced with a back flip or complete change of position.

Even though I mourn the belly movements I will likely never see and the vaginal birth I will likely never have, I know that I am so incredibly blessed to be where I am. Today I am 39 ½ weeks pregnant, a place that I never thought I would be. I never expected to see the white flicker of a heartbeat inside of my own body. I never dreamed that I would ever be lucky enough to endure the constant fears of the first trimester. I never allowed myself to believe that one day I would feel those kicks and hiccups and head mashing. I didn’t think it would be possible that I could be so close to giving birth to our daughter.

The last 3 months have been quite a ride, one I wouldn’t miss out on for anything in the world. We are just one short day away from meeting our daughter and we couldn’t be more excited.

A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine came into the kitchen at work and after exchanging pleasantries, asked me if he could have my baby. I’d heard from my husband who worked in the same department as him that he had made a few comments about how he and his wife were trying to have a baby and how he had to go to “fertility doctor” (his words, not my husband’s) with her sometimes. This was the first person that I knew of (outside of my support group) who was struggling or had struggled with infertility and I wanted to help in any way that I could. Of course he didn’t know that my husband had told me about their troubles, so I couldn’t just bring it up out of the blue. I simply said “what?” He said that his wife wanted a baby and it would make her happy, so could he have ours? I didn’t really know how to ease my way into the whole subject of infertility, so I asked him if she wouldn’t rather have his baby instead?

Just as he was telling me that they’d been “having some troubles in that department” in walked another co-worker. While I was more than willing to discuss what we’d been through with this guy, I wasn’t necessarily interested in sharing it with the other random co-worker who had just joined us. I told him that I was sorry to hear that they were having issues and left it at that. He said that they were probably going to try to adopt a Jamaican baby soon and I wished him good luck with that.

I felt awful. Absolutely awful. I’m certain that he just assumes that getting pregnant was easy for us, as it is for most people. Murgdan over at Conceive This wrote about the “Infertility Closet” as a guest post on Fertility Authority a few weeks ago. For the most part, we are very nearly entirely in the infertility closet. Both of our parents know and my sister too, and a few select friends of mine. None of our “couple” friends know (or we haven’t told any of them, at least), and none of our co-workers either. And for the most part, I’m happy with our decision to keep our situation private. Not because I’m embarrassed or afraid to talk about it with people. Truth be told, I love talking about infertility, but with people who can relate on some level to what I’ve been through. When in the midst of all of the heartache that infertility brings, it’s hard to share your emotions with people who don’t know where you’re coming from, and difficult for them to understand and support you.

And even more important to me personally, is the added pressure of other people knowing what you’re going through. The seemingly endless questions of “how are things going,” “when is your next appointment,” “did your last cycle work?” I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle answering all of those questions over and over again and that was the main driver behind not telling people what we were dealing with. As it was, my mother in law was most interested in the details of our cycles and when things were happening. Fortunately my husband fielded all of those phone calls; I’m not sure how I would have handled it if she was asking me and not him. It just felt like a lot more pressure piled on to an already tense situation, not to mention the difficulty of having to tell everyone when things didn’t work out. In fact, I never even told my parents that our second transfer didn’t work…I just didn’t want to deal with it, so I completely ignored it. It’s hard enough to come to terms with a failed cycle without having to deal with telling other people about it.

For myself, I felt and continue to feel good about our decision to not tell many people, especially as the months went by and we were seemingly no closer to having a baby. Now that I am finally pregnant and will hopefully be bringing a baby home in just a couple of months, I am much more open to the idea of discussing what we’ve been through with others. I know from personal experience that having real life people who can relate to what you’re going through can be a life saver sometimes. I don’t like the thought of others assuming that our pregnancy was easily achieved. Even more than that, I hate the thought that there are other women out there who might need a support system and aren’t receiving the fantastic outpouring of support that I had. I would love to be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on for someone who’s in need. I would love to let someone else know that they aren’t alone, even though they may feel as though they are the only one going through this.

The same coworker and his wife came over to me at our company holiday party on Friday and she started asking me about the baby and when I was due and how I was feeling. I felt horrible, having at least a vague idea of what she’s going through and answering her questions as if my pregnancy was something I took for granted. There’s really no way to let people know that you understand what they’re going through without getting into the gory details, and really, a holiday party with a loud DJ is no place for that kind of discussion.

But the thing is that once you say something, you can’t take it back. If I were to tell this coworker or his wife our history, I could never un-tell it. And I think that for the most part, I’d be OK with that. There could be some potential for downsides in the future, but I think that the potential for good far outweighs the potential for bad. So for now, I’ll remain in the closet, but I’m willing to come out for the the right person or situation.

What about you? Are you in or out of the infertility closet and how do you feel about your decision?

Today marks 29 weeks of pregnancy. I noticed the other night that I have no ankle definition anymore, to the point that if you were to look at my ankles, you literally could not pinpoint where my ankle bone is. It came on suddenly and is probably due to the 4 hours of time I spent on airplanes on Tuesday night. We flew down to Florida to spend a week with Mark’s parents in Florida. Our last hurrah before the baby arrives, if you will. So combine the time on the plane along with lots of walking the past two days, and my ankles are completely unrecognizable to me.

Also unrecognizable to me is my suddenly huge belly. It seems to have really popped within the past couple of weeks and there is absolutely no denying that I’m pregnant. Today, for the very first time, I wore what I considered to be a true maternity shirt. You know the kind…all cinched up above the belly and flowing from the cinch on down. Holy cow. Somehow I seem to have gone from “you look pretty small for “x” weeks” to “holy huge belly.” It’s been kind of strange to go from ambiguously pregnant to unmistakably pregnant so quickly and I find myself admiring my big ole belly in the mirror for minutes on end. I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, and it actually makes me feel somewhat better about the more than 30 pounds that I’ve put on already.

Gaining over 30 pounds and not having ankles anymore are sacrifices that I am so happy that I have the opportunity to make. I would gladly make them every day for years to come for our little girl.

Yes, I’ve been well aware of my absence over the past five, nearly six weeks. It crosses my mind every few days that I should really post something to my blog. And I have stuff to post; thoughts, emotions, experiences that I’ve been thinking about and wanting to document. I just haven’t had the motivation to sit down and actually write them down.

I’ve determined that it would be absolutely awesome if I could blog in the shower. I do a lot of thinking when I’m in the shower. Not on purpose, my mind just seems to wander as I thinking about the prior day or what’s on the schedule for the current day. I think about situations that I experienced, how I react to them, how they affect me and I think “that would be such a really great blog post.” And then I never get around to writing it out.

I’ve gotten bogged down in what any normal, sane person would consider to be mundane. You see, I’m what some would call obsessive. Anal maybe is a better term for it (oooh, can’t wait to see what kind of searches are going to be linked to my blog from using that term!). I’m a research queen. I need to know all of the facts, opinions, reviews, school of thought, etc. before I can commit to anything. And by no means is anything baby related exempt from this compulsive behavior of mine. In fact, anything that has to do with our baby is probably subjected to even more scrutiny than my average obsessiveness. And I’m drowning in my own desire for knowledge.

I find myself spending hours a day on the computer researching my newest obsession, cloth diapering. My desire for knowledge (and cheap diapers) cannot be quelled. I’m pretty sure that I know everything there is to know about cloth diapering at this point (without having any actual hands on diapering experience), but I’m still not satisfied. I cannot even begin to estimate the amount of time I’ve spent on this matter. And it makes me sad and a little bit angry when I think of all of the time that I’ve spent obsessively going over little things like this that, in the end, probably don’t really matter all that much.

So today I resolve to try to spend less time planning out what products we will use, how I will give birth, and how everything in our life will work out after this baby girl joins our family. Instead, I will let try to let our lives just happen and focus on enjoying today what we have now. And if we make a poor choice on something now and again, well isn’t that all just part of experience?

We’re having a girl!

Even though we both figured it would be a girl, I was still in shock when we saw the pictures on the u/s. I think it surprised me because I’ve always believed we’d have a little boy. I’m still getting used to the idea, but am getting more excited about it every minute. Now, let the shopping begin!

Let me preface this post by saying that this will in no way, shape or form be a mushy post about pregnancy and it will not reflect my emotional feelings about being pregnant whatsoever. This post is just for fun.

And speaking of fun, my all time favorite aspect of being pregnant is my new found fun bags. Yes, I said fun bags.

Let’s start with a little background. I have never been well endowed in the boobie department, and please don’t mistake what I mean when I say that. When I say not well endowed, I don’t mean B’s or even large A’s, like some of you larger chested women might think. No, I fall more in to the pre-teen category when we talk about the ta-tas. Yes, for years I lived in bras from the “Thank Goodness It Fits!” line labeled “Nearly A.” How demeaning, really, to have to buy bras from a line called “Thank Goodness It Fits!” Thank Goodness indeed, because if THOSE bras didn’t fit, I’d surely have to go into the GIRLS department to find ones that did. Every once in a while I’d find a bra that I liked (and more importantly FIT) and I’d stock up in every color they had because who knew how long it would be before I’d find another bra that actually fit me. Along those lines, I’ve been living in 8 different colors of the exact same style of bra for nearly 4 years now.

I remember in the 6th grade one of my friends came up to me and told me a joke with a punch line of “then why is your front as flat as your back?” which she followed up by noting that the joke wasn’t directed at me, it was just a funny joke. But how I could I take it as NOT being directed at me? I was flat as a board with no signs of that ever changing. As I grew older, I kept waiting and waiting for some sort of something to happen, but repeatedly found myself sorely disappointed. Finally by the end of high school I came to the sad realization that I was just stuck with what I had, which wasn’t much. And what an unfair hand to be dealt, when both my mom and sister wear D or larger cups. When I was in middle school mom put a few of the bras that my sister outgrew when she was younger into my dresser for “when I needed them.” Yup, never needed them. I’d try them on occasionally and think about what it would be like to actually have something to fill them out with, but obviously that time never came.

During the course of our two and a half year struggle to get pregnant, I often dreamed of the day that those pregnancy hormones would take over my body and hopefully add some inches to my upper torso. Well I’m finally living the dream! I knew that the girls were growing a couple weeks after my positive test, but it didn’t seem to be anything too impressive and I just chalked it up to the PIO I was taking. When we were in Colorado a couple of weeks later, I put on a tank top that while low cut was also still conservative since I never had anything even remotely close to cleavage. Well all of the sudden said tank top revealed a lot more than it ever did before. My husband, who is 100% a boob man (though he’ll never admit it) was thrilled. I was thrilled. We were thrilled together.

While my current lineup of 8 bras still fit, they are starting to get a bit tight in the band, so I decided to check out my options this weekend. I started off with a 36A in a brand that I’ve had success with in the past. Holy cow! Instant décolletage! While the profile looked nothing less than absolutely stunning to me, the darn thing was just too small. My boobs were overflowing out the top of the bra and there was no way it would be anywhere near decent with an actual shirt on. OK, no problem, it’s probably just this style of bra that isn’t working for me. On to bra number two. Same problem. Boobies are hanging out the top, smooshed down by the top of the bra. I’m dumfounded. Really. I don’t feel like the girls have grown THAT much over the last couple of months that I would go up over a whole cup size, but it appears that is exactly what has happened. I know that they’re bigger, I just didn’t realize how much bigger.

So it was back out to the lingerie department to pick up the same bras in a 36B and start all over again. This time there was more success, though I was still encountering some of the “overflowing” issues that I was with the A’s. Not wanting to even consider the fact that I could possibly be a C cup, I stuck with the ones that fit me from that batch and left the store with a whole new wardrobe of bras in hand.

Now those of you who are well endowed may not comprehend what a life changing thing this is for me. My flat chestedness has always been a self confidence killer for me. I have never felt womanly or sexy or even remotely confident in my physical appearance as a grown woman. I have always been self conscious about my body and how others perceive me.

My increased bust has me feeling like a new, confident, sexy, desirable woman. I keep saying to my husband “It’s like I have real boobs now!” I feel like I’m finally a woman in a woman’s body, not a woman trapped in a pre-teen’s body. I absolutely love it. I love the way I look, I love how the way I look makes me feel and I love that my husband loves it. We’re all around a happy family.

Oh, except there is one small catch. I’m on pelvic rest. Awesome. I’ve got crazy pregnancy hormones making me more “interested” than I’ve ever been in my life, big, giant (to me) and fantastically sensitive (in a good way) boobies to be played with, a sky high self confidence level, and a general feeling of sexiness and I can’t even get some nookie? Come on… Life is so unfair sometimes.

I know I’ve been absent lately. It was pointless attempt at keeping my mind off of things until we got to our next ultrasound, which is tomorrow.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, trying to stay positive and not worry about things too much. I was doing a pretty good job, I think, and was so excited that we have another u/s and I would hopefully get some more reassurance.

That all ended this morning. I got out of bed and said good morning to my husband and dogs. While I was sitting on the couch, I felt what has come to be the familiar sensation of wet underwear, but this time was different than the last four weeks. This time there was a LOT of wetness. I went to the bathroom and even before I evaluated the situation, I felt like it was going to be bad news. My underwear was full of dark red/brown blood, so full, in fact, that it had soaked through to my pajamas.

I told my husband about it and he asked what it meant. I told him that I honestly didn’t know. He asked if I should research it on the internet and I told him that I already knew what I would find: women who had bleeding and miscarried, and those who had bleeding and went on to have happy and healthy pregnancies. I went back and forth about going to urgent care, and ultimately decided to just take a “wait and see approach.” If the bleeding got worse, then it would seem obvious what the outcome would be, and if it didn’t then who knows what’s going on. Either way, I’ll have my answer tomorrow. So far the bleeding has tapered off, but I’m still spotting brown.

Please keep me in your thoughts. I am fearing the worst, but hopeful that I am pleasantly suprised.

We retreived 18 eggs this morning which is a great number. However, I find myself constantly thinking about the 19 eggs that we retreived last time, from which we got only 3 embryos the following day, and only two viable ones on transfer day. I’m sending all of my energy and thoughts towards great egg quality and hoping for a great fertilization report tomorrow.

Alright, I finally have some time to address some lingering tags and awards that have been piling up lately. I guess I don’t have much more to say about that, so here we go!

Note: I’m sharing photos of myself and Mark for the first time. As far as I know, no one in real life knows about this blog, but if someone I know DOES find this post, please just pretend that you know nothing about it. I’m sure there are some people who’ve figured out what we’re going through, but at this point, I’m just not ready to deal with it with people in real life. Thanks!

The first tag from Stacie at La Chambre d’Orchidee is to open my photo folder to you all. Here are the official rules:
1. Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
2. Go to the 6th Folder and then pick the 6th Picture.
3. Post it on your bloggy and tell the story that goes with the picture.
4. Tag 5 other people to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog telling them about it.

Well since I just got a new laptop and don’t have any photos downloaded to it just yet, I had to go to Mark’s computer to get a photo, and here it is.

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This photo was taken in March of 2008 and that sexy hunk of a man on the left is my husband. We were hiking on Camelback mountain in Phoenix. It was actually our second attempt at ascending the mountain. The first attempt happened the previous night when we didn’t have anything to do, and after consulting our guidebook we decided to give the hike a try. Well it turned out that while the hike was not long in length, it was very slow going and took much longer than we had anticipated. As the sun continued to sink lower into the sky, we began to realize that there was no way that we would make it to the top and back again before it was pitch dark. The terrain was treacherous and not something that you’d want to have to navigate in the dark, so we decided to turn around and try again in the morning. So this picture is in the morning when we went back to give it another shot. We made it to the top and the view was definitely worth the extra effort.

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And since a head cold is kicking my butt, I’m actually going to skip doing the rest of my tags and awards for today, but hope to catch up with the rest this weekend. In the meantime, I tag Kristin at Another Adventure in Life.

Today we had our WTF phone consult with our doctor and I think that it went well. The very first thing he said was that I stimmed really well last cycle, so that is good news. Right away I asked him what happened with the egg situation last cycle since I was still in the dark on that. He told me that of our 19 retrieved, three were immature, three were over-mature and the remaining 13 were just right. I’ve read that usually 70% of retrieved eggs are mature, and my 13 eggs are almost exactly 70% of 19, so we seem to be alright in that regard.

If you remember, last cycle was supposed to be the micro-dose lupron cycle, but I F’ed it up immediately by taking only 1/10 of the dose of lupron that I was supposed to. He said that the missed lupron doses may have been a cause for the poor quality eggs, or it could have just been a bad batch. Given my elevated FSH, I’m inclined to think that it was the batch of eggs and not the missed lupron, but I’m no doctor.

Anyway, he suggested that we try the antagonist protocol this time, which is essentially what we ended up doing last time after I messed up the lupron. So after I finish my BCP’s, I’ll go straight to stims and we’ll add in the Cetrotide once the lead follicle gets to a certain size (I think 14mm?). So in all reality, I’ll be doing the exact same thing that I did last time, which is nice since I’m clearly incapable of reading and measuring out the correct dosage of new medicines.

So there weren’t any major revelations during the consult, but our RE seems to believe that we will get pregnant eventually, so that is definitely a good thing.

In other reproductive news, I had my colposcopy for my abnormal pap back in November today. Dr. Ass Clown found a small area inside my cervix that had abnormal cells on them. While he doesn’t think it’s anything serious, he took a sample of cervix tissue and another pap from inside my cervix to send off to the lab for further evaluation. Of course a quick google search of “glandular cells pap” does not make me as confident as Dr. Ass Clown is that there is nothing to worry about. But I’m trying not to worry about and hopefully I will get good news on Monday.

Oh yeah, I’m also in the process of gathering statements of how much we spent in medical bills last year for our taxes. The statement I got from my acupuncture office today reveals that I spent just shy of $3,000 on treatments and supplements there. Holy crap. I hate to say it because it’s not entirely true, but boy does it feel like a huge waste of money considering we still don’t have a baby. Oh well…if nothing else, it was a very, very expensive way to get some relaxation in throughout the past year and now we have a nice big tax deduction for last year.

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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