Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednseday: The Beginnings of A Nursery

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is Variables

Tomorrow I am at 35 weeks.  Two weeks from what they consider full term.

That is my goal: full term baby born healthy.  I've already told the doctor to just get me there and then we'll figure out the rest

Truth is, while I've made it this far, I'm more worried daily about the little things than I was at any other point since this all began last September.

I wonder if I've had enough vegetables.  Enough dairy.  Enough vitamins.

Will bending over to pick something up hurt him?

What about the cat's need to sleep on my growing bump and purr at it?

And most important:

When will he get here?

There is no predicting anything.  I've done everything I can for my son, and the doctor's have been great about praising me for watching everything.  So I try not to overthink things.

But I do admit that I am quicker to take someone's offer for help these days.  I am not pushing it any further than I absolutely need to.

And with 5 weeks to go until the due date, I am still trying to make the best out of every moment.

Monday, April 25, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week - 2011

We have our bazillionith ultrasound this afternoon, and it got me to thinking about everything that got us both here.

It's been almost 27 months since A and I agreed to start trying.  With my age, I didn't want to just "relax and let it happen".  I was going to be 35, and I wanted to be pregnant NOW.

So I bought those ovulation kits the day I threw out the birth control pills.  And things began.

After not ovulating for 6 weeks, I mentioned to the nurse practitioner who was looking at my diabetes about the lack of anything, and she asked me some pointed questions:  Were my cycles ever normal? Did I notice any odd hair growth?  Did I have difficulty maintain my weight, even with exercise?

Next thing I know, blood is being drawn and I am told to wait for results because it sounded like PCOS.

The Internet provided me all the details I needed, and when the call with the results came in I wasn't too shocked.

Two weeks later, A and I met with an OB/GYN who showed me the lab results.  The odd spike in the wrong hormones.  And who began us on an odd journey.

It'd be 6 more months before my diabetes was finally in control enough to start trying with Clomid.  Another 7 months of attempts, including a chemical pregnancy and 2 failed IUIs, before I said no more.  We were moving, I needed to clear my head and be in a place to focus on getting us settled and then trying again.

This blog was never meant to be an infertility blog.  It was a place to write about things, mainly for my cousin's amusement, so she could be kept in the loop with my life.  It was part way through that 7 months of trying that I began running ads for BlogHer, and in looking up my account there realized I had been tagged as an infertility blogger.

And in a way it made me accept more about what was happening with me.

I don't doubt that we've been blessed.  When we walked out of the first RE appointment last July, we immediately went on diets and started exercising.  I lost a lot of weight fast, and the next thing we knew the hormones in my system had done their thing.  I ovulated.  Without progesterone.

And when that next cycle came, I saw it was going to happen again.  Another full ovulation.

And two weeks later a home pregnancy test with two lines.

I sit here, almost 35 weeks pregnant, and wonder what would have been different if my first OB/GYN, back when I was a teenager, had noticed my questions about odd cycles, seen that I was overweight, and asked if my family had a history of diabetes.  The dark hairs that grew on my chin and needed to be plucked were an indication that something with my hormones were off, and it was not something that a teenager would have thought twice about.

But as someone who has always wanted children of their own, I can say that if the doctor had told me then that I might be headed in the wrong direction to make that happen, I would have listened up.

It wasn't until after my diagnosis at 35, and the searches on the Internet, that I learned how common something like this is.  How so many women are faced with problems getting pregnant and have children.  My family has always been a fertile bunch, and even my friends all have managed families with multiple children, often as a complete surprise.

At work, when called by someone who needed information about infertility coverage, I noticed my attitude changed completely.  Where before I couldn't be bothered to try to understand about the drug coverage and procedures and what they were for, now I found myself taking the time to answer the questions, and even mentioning how my insurance was handling things for me.

The sense of relief from those women that someone who knew and understood their pain and frustration was so apparent on the phone.  Even my co-workers would listen to me and take notes, and take that information to help others as well.

I am going to be a mommy soon.  And I will always be his mommy.  But I am also an infertile.  I will always be an infertile.  We know that if we decide to try for another child that it may take time, and it is something we are taking into account with timing.

This also means that once life is "normal" for the three of us, I will be back on my diet.  Low carbs, low fat, lots of veggies.  My trips to the treadmill will begin again as soon as the doctors say I can.  I will do everything I can to be ready for the next time, and pray that it isn't as heartbreaking as those first 16 months of trying were.

I have never been one to be "political" about things, but I guess it took the right subject to make me want to make a bigger difference.  There are too many people out there who deserve to have a family of their own, and they don't get the coverage or support they need because no one understands the problem.  Being told to just take it easy and not think about it is the equivalent of being told by someone to leave them alone because they don't have the time to listen to what you have to say.  It feels like slamming your head up against a brick wall over and over again as you try to get people to understand that it won't "just happen" and no matter how many times you are told that won't make it so.

So, this week especially, if you have a chance, read an article or two about PCOS or just general infertility.  I'm not going to link here because all you need is WebMD or Google to start the search.  You'll be surprised about the number of people who have problems, about the number of forums people have started for support of one another, and maybe even will find that someone you know has been having these issues and not told anyone. 

And you may just find yourself taking the time to listen when someone does tell you they are having problems conceiving before you try to offer up your own advice to someone who will cringe inside as they nod at you about being right about it "happening when it's supposed to".  Because, for them, it may never happen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

...And we're moved!....

Unpacking is still happening.  And A is doing his best to do it all, with my organizing the kitchen and doing it slowly.

Meantime, the baby is kicking away, all his stats are good, and we score a perfect 8 out of 8 at every BPP so far.  That and add another 8 pictures from yesterday to his photo album, and I think things are going well.

6 more weeks!

Friday, April 15, 2011

U is for Ultrasound

I have 40 pictures of my son.

The first is of a sac, showing that there was something there, and was taken at a time where I was desperate for there to be a stable heartbeat.

The most recent one shows the hair on his head and the cheeks that we know belong to his father.

One of the only advantages to being diabetic has been the intense scrutiny that the Colonel has put us under.  He has made sure we've had every necessary test, and has monitored everything as closely as he can.  And these ultrasounds have made things really sink in for both of us.

The latest set of tests are Bio Physical Profiles (BPP) which are done every Monday and Thursday from now until the end of the pregnancy.  They are specifically looking at the amnio level, making sure my cervix is still closed, and then monitoring the baby's movement and progression.

When I say this has made a few things sink in even more, I mean that the books tell you about what the baby is doing in there.  He's practicing his breathing, stretching, grabbing, moving, and preparing for life outside the womb.  I've read these chapters and tried to picture it.

But now we watch it.

They spend 5-10 minutes just watching him with us on the screen.  Watching as he breathes in and out.  As he makes a fist and then opens it again.  As he opens and closes his mouth and eyes.  As he reaches for his toes and tries to grab at them.

I get 20 minutes a week to watch him do these things, with A there by my side, and we always leave smiling and amazed.

My son is a little person in there.  He's an active, breathing person.  And thanks to these ultrasounds, I can see he is playing and both his parents can't wait to play with him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

T is for Time

I am officially 33 weeks pregnant.  And it feels like we just found out yesterday that this was happening.

I really do not know where the time has flown to.  I look at the calendar, then down at the belly that has taken control of my life, and wonder if I missed something.

Both A and I have made the effort to go out and do things alone.  We talk about how soon it will be 3 of us, and what it will be like to have to wait for a bigger table at restaurants.  And what restaurants we can take the baby to without worrying about the volume of the music.

I'm a week shy of being a VA resident for a full year.  That is also another milestone I can't believe is here.  My brain kept insisting it wasn't until May that we moved, but when my mom was here she pointed out it had been 11 months since we'd last seen one another.

I'm trying to slow down, enjoy little things, and take it easy.  Especially at night when my ankles and feet are swollen and the baby is kicking up the most.

But no matter what I do, the time keeps moving so quickly....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

S is for Shower

When we were getting ready to move, I told A that my only real hang up about leaving it all behind was never getting a baby shower to share with my closest friends.

When that pee test lit up positive, it still was the only sad point for me.  He insisted that his family would throw one, and I found out later they were planning to do so closer to my due date, but I still was sad about it being without the people I loved.

And then my best friend and my cousin did it.  D flew in from Seattle, my cousin drove from Indiana, and over a weekend I was able to enjoy their company.  And that of someone I hadn't seen in 11 months: my mom.

So on March 19th, I walked into a room with over 20 women, all relatives of my son in one way or another, with my mother and my aunt be my side, and my two closest friends waiting.

This little boy is so spoiled already.  He has so much clothes, and almost every accessory from a breast pump for me to use to his stroller/baby seat and a swing.

And the clothes!  I could not stopping oooohing over the tiny things, and wishing I could keep him small enough to wear them forever.

Especially the Star Wars onesie that will be used in our first family picture!

I don't think I've been able to fully express to everyone how thankful I am for everything.  How blessed we both feel about the baby we are bringing into this world, and the way all of our families have come together to show us they will be there for him and for us.

And I wish I could say that we aren't still being spoiled, but I've learned that A's grandparents have been stocking up on diapers when they find them on sale, in all sizes, waiting for us to move into our new place.

And along with that, apparently there is a crib, changing table/dresser, mattress, and changing pad also waiting to be brought over.

I really need to find a nice dinner I can make them or something to thank them for everything.  Without them, we'd still be crunching numbers to get the last of the things we needed purchased in time!

Monday, April 11, 2011

R is for Redecorating

All my books mention that nesting is normal.  That uncontrollable urge - no, NEED - to have things cleaned and organized.  The inability to not leave things just laying around.

I firmly believe that this is the one symptom A is the most frustrated with.

Internets, I have found a solution:  plan a move!

When we came East, the complex we moved in to had no available 2 bedrooms.  It was our first choice, but since the complex and location couldn't be beat, we agreed to take a 1 bedroom.  The girl who handled our lease said she would keep an eye out for a 2 bedroom at the end of our lease and see if they could move us.

Well, we signed a 1 year lease, which ends on April 15th.  And our new 2 bedroom will be available on April 16th.

So this need to organize and clean is being fully met as I pack during the day, and watch A lug boxes down to our storage unit in anticipation of this coming weekend. 

And right on track, we'll be in a place where the baby will have his own room just in time for me to need to decorate and redecorate the apartment until I am too pooped to do it again.

Now, if only I could stop dusting the empty shelves over and over again...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Cat, The Peeping Tom

This apartment has been the first time in Shadow's 3 years of life where looking out the window has been encouraged.

I've opened the blinds for him while working.  When we leave to run errands, A will open the blinds in our bedroom so he can watch from the bed as we come and go.  Our favorite thing is to get back and call for him from below.  He comes running to the window, sees us, and then runs away.  By the time we are upstairs, he is waiting by the bedroom door to come see us.

During an average work day, he spends almost the entire time I am working laying by the window behind me.

We've thrown his quilt down there, and he is content to lay and get sun.  That and meow when he needs to have his tummy rubbed.

He tends to be a little demanding around lunch time.

Now, the blinds don't ever appear to be touched.  The ones in our bedroom he will blatantly use his paw to move aside and then climb onto the sill to look out.  But these in the sun room he has never really done that to.

And then the other day I noticed that while they looked to be perfectly in place, if you look carefully from my seat you can peek out.

I actually held the camera to kitty height, did not touch the placement of the blinds at all, and was able to snap a clear view of below.

Why would this be an interesting discovery?

Because while the cat does not touch anything at all, he does sit in a particular spot in the mornings when people are leaving and again in the afternoons when the kids are returning from school...

By sitting in that particular spot, he has the view he needs to keep an eye on things, and still be stealthy from below.

Do you think the neighbors realize someone it keeping tabs on their every move?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Q is for Question

I really haven't had too many questions about things that are happening.  The baby is progressing as normally as possible, and thanks to the Internet and books and iPhone apps, things are available out there.

Believe it or not, the Colonel loves the fact that this information is out there.  He prefers that we are well-informed and can get information when needed.  He and his staff remind us that we can call at any time, but there just haven't been any odd complications like that.

There is one question that I have gotten from friends, and it's regarding pictures of the baby.  Specifically if they will be shared.

And at this point I have to say I plan to post a pic of him when he is born, but anything after that is a conversation that I'll be having with A. 

My concerns are about the weirdos out there who like to look at these pictures of children with the worst possible intentions.  I've read a couple of bloggers who use an encryption that stop people from being able to copy and save pictures from their sites.  When I mentioned them to A, the showed me how someone could hit print screen, paste the picture into a document, crop it in MS Paint, and then save it. 

It's how he's gotten a couple of movie posters online and turned them into screen savers.

So, needless to say that ruled out using Facebook regularly.  And this blog may get a few Wordless Wednesdays with him, but you will probably continue to see more of the cat and the landscape around us than baby pics.

And before someone comments on creating a private album on Facebook, we've talked about that too.  But then we have to decide who gets to see it, and if they save a picture and share it, even innocently, it would feel like a betrayal to us.

So, for now, we're playing it day by day.

But you will see feet.  And hands.

And I promise at least one picture of him announcing he's arrived.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

P is for Pediatrician

I didn't know that you had to have a doctor picked out for the baby beforehand.  I honestly assumed that a pediatric doctor on duty would be called in to check on the baby, okay him, and send him home.

But the books have been subtly reminding me of this chore for months.

And the Colonel insisted on it at the beginning of March.

So, we met with a local practice, interviewed the main doctor of the three practicing there, and agreed it was perfect.

He backs our thoughts on feeding, shots, and the all important decision of circumcision.  He also reviewed when he would be at the hospital, when to expect to visit and how often.  They also work out of this nearby office on weekdays, but also another office downtown on weekends in the mornings.  So, if something were to happen on Saturday or Sunday we could call and go see his doctors, and not just a random clinic.

Do you know what really sold me when we walked in the first time?

They have two separate waiting rooms, one down the hall to the left of check-in, and one down the hall to the right of check-in. 


One is for sick patients, the other is for well patients.

Tell me how genius that is?  I mean, who wants to bring a health child just in for a standard visit and have to wait in a room with sick children that will just get your healthy child sick?


Monday, April 4, 2011

O is for Obstetrician

Internets, I cannot stress enough how lucky we managed to get with the Colonel.

I honestly love that he talks to us, and reviews everything with us at every visit.  He is very assured of himself, and you can tell he has been doing this for a long time.

The funniest part is how different the books describe visits and what "should" be happening at each one in comparison to what we do go through.

He isn't invasive, there isn't anything extra going on for labs unless he has a question.  My sugars are good, and for the most part these visits are routine.

Well, when my son cooperates.

This baby tends to "hide" in a corner every time we have a visit.  Last Friday this resulted in an unscheduled ultrasound to confirm viability because there was no sign of a heart beating on the Doppler.  Never mind that the little one was kicking away, it's the heartbeat that we needed.

Starting with next week's visits, I have BPP ultrasound scheduled before each doctor's visit, as well as a second BPP later in the week with no doctor's visit after.  The bio-physical profile will give us stats and start tracking weight, length, amniotic fluid levels, and also my cervix and its activity from now until birth.

We have 8 1/2 weeks left, and they look to be busiest ones yet!