Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Interesting Stuff & Products I Recommend

So, want to know what kind of a treat I learned my 5-month loves??? Breast-milk popcicles. She's been acting like her gums need lots of touch/cold/pressure for a while now. And I've been excitingly awaiting her 6-month mark on July 19th so I can introduce foods. So I broke out her Kidco BabySteps Healthy Snack Feeder and Beaba Babycook to clean and find a place for in the kitchen. And then I remembered reading about being able to freeze breastmilk in the little freezer-tray. So on a whim, since I have started pumping every day now, I tried it. And she loved them!!! It was like a teething ring and nursing all in one fun toy for her! As an added bonus, since we sit her in her highchair at dinner time with us, I feel like she can participate as well, rather than just play with toys. Really fun for us!

Secondly, I read this today in an article, "Need yet one more reason to yuk it up (i.e. laugh, be merry, joke) in the first year (of baby's life)? It seems good-humored moms have elevated levels of melatonin in their breast milk, so their baby sleeps more soundly." While I didn't go trace down the source of that, I think it is cool if it's true.

We are all doing incredibly well here. J got back from his 78 day deployment in early June, thank goodness! Being away from him was and continues to be really hard, emotionally. Physically, with a 2-month-old baby, it was very hard those first two weeks. Then we settled into a routine and it actually got really good in terms of predictability, sleep scheduling, and knowing how our days would go. For example, I worked out every, every single night he was gone, with the exception of about 1 every two weeks. Now? I find it hard to at all, because I am too lazy to wake up early, and too unmotivated at night to be apart from him to workout. That will have to change, I must learn self-discipline again, while managine dinner, laundry, and time with him. So though it's harder in that respect, I would SO rather him home and me just learn to be a more desciplined person. I think that's something I'll be doing my whole life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is me, finally updating.

Yeah, I am one of those bloggers. Have my baby and disappear from the bloggie world. There are a lot of reasons for this.... Let me list them, in order of importance.

1. I remember how painful it was to read about the joys and trials of mommyhood when all I wanted was to be pregnant and have my own child, and yet I never knew if I'd get to experience that. I would still read some of you guys' pregnancy/baby posts, but never comment. I know, sounds selfish. Self-preservation is what I call it. And some of you may do that too. I wouldn't blame you. But the idea of my going on and on about something that you may click on for amusement and then just leave hurting in the end for the longing of what you may not have.... Well, I just didn't want to do that.

2. I have had probably the most amazingly easy babies ever. She has never had any colic, health issues, tantrums, you name it. She is just happy, alert, a great nurser, great scheduler, great sleeper, and just perfect. My little buddy, I call her. And some of you going through IF and then having babies, who may read my blog, may feel pain with my success at having a good baby. So I didn't want to cause hurt there either. (On a side note, no, she's not sleeping through the night!!!! I haven't wanted her to. I love my nighttime nursing sessions. She goes 3 hrs during the day between feedings, and 4-6 at night. I nurse at 12/1am and 5/6am. I'd love to drop the 5/6am one. But I want to keep my supply nice and full, and I also treasure out nighttime cuddles and how drowsily she nurses. So don't measure my success as a parent by something I don't care about.)

3. Working 20 hours a week (with a desire to put in 30 hours a week), with a deployed husband, and a baby all to myself, working out my post-baby body daily (yay for Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and my stepper), a Bible study, church small group, and various friend get-togethers mid-week, and well there isn't much blogging time!

There you have it. And yet I feel like now I should at least post an update. Maybe I'll be better at this, maybe not. I am still subscribed to about 50 IF bloggers (and former IFers); I just don't comment anymore. Largely because I am too lazy to switch my usename back and forth between my personal google account and my IF one. How about some of you comment and tell me if you'd like to still read. I won't be offended if I don't get comments. Some things are just part of seasons of our lives... I'd resume this when we want to try IVF again, of course, maybe in 2010.

So, honestly this is how I feel about motherhood: If anyone had told me how utterly amazing and fun and wonderful it is, and I'd truly understood, I would have had an ever harder time waiting to be a momma. Motherhood fits me like a glove. I love every single minute of it. Really. Nursing has got to hands down be one of my very favorite, close, bonding, wonderful experiences. It took a while for me to truly adore it. The first few weeks I loved it, but with her nursing every two hours for an hour at a time, I had only about 45 minutes to do any task! So it was exhausting, even though rewarding. But Baby Girl is now on a 3-hour schedule, where she will Wake, Eat, Play for 1.5 hours, and then Nap for 1.5 hours. Repeat. All day. It suits us beautifully.

She went from taking an hour to eat, to 45 minutes, to 20 at around 9 weeks! I kept worrying she wasn't getting enough, because I guess I expected her to gradually get fast at eating. But I'd pump one side while she nursed, and I'd get 4oz every time in 10 minutes. So I knew she was getting around 6-8 oz if she ate at the rate I pumped. Plenty of good wet diapers and good skin elasticity as well, and weight gain, so again, proof she was well-fed!

I continually read about her development at what it should be, and what's coming up. She is always right on or slightly ahead. She loves being read to, and we go through all of her short books every day pretty much! I lie on the ground next to her, and hold it above my head so she can see the pictures. She loves this! She loves toys that dangle and shake and have bright reds and yellows. She does well for short periods of quiet time where I set her in a chair or swing just to watch me work in the kitchen or take a shower. In fact, every morning I wait to get my shower until she's up, so she gets 10-15 minutes of quiet time learning to sit and play by herself. Daily showers are not something I've ever missed since she was born, and I'm not ready to either! I have made it a priority.

She is however, very spoiled with all my attention. If I have someone over or have to put her in the car to drive to Atlanta, she will fuss and cry eventually because she is not getting face-to-face time with me. I have to be making eye contact with her. It's not good enough for her just to see me. I have to interact with her. Yes, I've created a firstborn with needs for my attention, but I love to lavish it on her, I don't know when she will have a sibling (whether via IVF or adoption), and so I'm willing to lavish lots of love and playtime on her. In fact, if she's awake, I try not to do much else, unless again I'm intentionally giving her the "quiet play time." I want her to learn that.

When she was firstborn, we pretty quickly implemented the 5 S's from Happiest Baby on the Block. They fit her to a T! She loves any kind of white noise (and now music, in the car, she loves), she adores being swaddled (I adore it too, so cute!), she likes the paci at times (it's a lifesaver when I've got 5 minutes to checkout at the grocery, but she's done. it'll buy me a little time!). I read in that book about the chart with how much newborn to 12 week old babies cry... Usually it was at least an hour a day. I felt shamelessly blessed, since she cried and still cries about 2-3 minutes a day. Less than 10 definitely. 10 if we've got a nap in the car or carseat if I was out running errands. Amazing.

I love carrying her in my whole-cloth wrap the best when I'm out at Wal-Mart or whatnot - she enjoys it so much as well! And my sling, if she's sleeping. She not as into that one now that she's bigger.

What else? Well, that's enough for now. Lots for you guys to read. And of course, here is the little princess!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Announcing Baby Girl!

As you probably guess by now... our beautiful baby daughter, Elyana, came into the world on Monday, January 19th at 4:05pm. It was after 35 hours of labor, but naturally (i.e. unmedicated), as I wanted!!! She weighed 7lb 13oz, 20 and 3/4 inches long!!!

My husband was amazing - I would not have continued on natural childbirth without his encouragement and clear-headedness at all the times I needed it! Here's a bit of a synopsis of her birth story.

My labor contractions started by waking me 5:30am on Sunday morning. I labored at home until about 8:30pm, when we headed to the hospital. There was never a "this is it" moment, or a surety we weren't going too early. But went we did. I was 4-5cm dialated, but with contractions 60-70 seconds long and ~3 minutes apart, so we did what we thought best. In retrospect it made the night very long and uncomfortable for J (at least at home he could have really slept in his own bed for a few hours!). I did not need heavy coaching during all that time, although he was coaching and helping me from the very beginning.

I was a classic "putterer" case, in Bradley-speak (I realized that myself, by Monday morning when I was only a 6-7cm dialated, and even told J that). My midwife had taken the weekend off entirely, and turned her cell phone off (I knew ahead of time she was doing it, but never really figured I'd go early). As it was, it did not matter because J was entirely what I needed. We had awesome nurses that were so so wonderful (another God-send), but they pretty much left us to labor ourselves as J had it well in control. By 12 I had the urge to push, and 12:50 started after the doctor came by and checked the baby and me (at this point, I let them break my water, since we thought it could hurry things up and I was tired of being in labor at this point). Let's just say after an hour and a half, the baby had moved further back! And the doctor started giving us a lecture on trying pitocin, possibly an epidural, and the moving to a c-section if those failed. He was ready to go and called me "failure to progress" (seroiously, after only 1 1/2 hours). J and I knew we should continue, as the baby had been doing awesome on the fetal monitor with every contraction. Let's just say, an hour and a half later, Elyana came into the world! Another doctor delieverd (which I was glad for) and it was amazing!

We are so so overwhelmed with this little girl. She is precious and so good and is just beautiful. She has stolen our hearts. Being a mommy is the most wonderful thing, I am loving it so much and treasuring every moment with her, even the sleepless nights. It is amazing how a child like this can erase the intense pain of the last three years. We stand in awe at what a precious gift she is.

Here are a few beautiful pictures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Baby Yet...

So, I'm 39 weeks today. No sign of when Baby Girl will make her grand entrance into the world. On Friday, I started having contractions. They were very different than Braxton Hicks! I'd always read that BH weren't painful, and I found that to be untrue. However, in light of hours of real contractions, I quickly realized the difference. BH are very uncomfortable and there is a lot of pressure, but it's not painful. Not truly anyway. Real contractions are obvious when they start (whereas my BH sort of dawns on me). Also, you have to concentrate or breathe or stop through a real contraction. BH you just sort of wait for the annoying sensation to go away. Anyway, I monitored them by writing the duration and length apart that they were for about 2 hours. They came between 4-7 minutes apart, and lasted from 25-35 seconds. I would have to concentrate through them, but could talk sometimes and I'd smile when they were done. If any of you have read the Bradley book on labor, you'll notice all these signs indicate I was still only in stage #1 of the emotional roadmap of labor (the 3 stages of labor are: Excitement, Seriousness, and Self-Doubt). At the time I didn't know where it was all leading, but by 11pm (they started near 11am) I went to bed, knowing I needed a good night's sleep anyway. By the next morning they were tapering off. I got out the Bradley book and re-read the chapter on labor out loud to my husband and it helped us immensely. We were able to identify where I was and where I never got. It should make next time much easier with this fresh in our minds after the real thing. I don't call this false labor, it's basically my body readying itself to get the baby out, but taking its time.

The good thing about all that too was that we finally got serious about really being ready! My bag and the baby's are all packed now, the car seat is ready to go, her clothes are all washed and ready to wear, we have newborn diapers at last (I had tons of size 1's from showers, but no newborn ones), and the room is ready (it's devoid of decorations on the wall, but everything functional is there)!

My appointment yesterday wasn't that great. I had a +3 protein level in my urine, but minimal swelling and my BP is its steady 100/60. So pre-eclampsia is something they're watching for (asking me to watch carefully for blurry vision, swelling of face/hands, headaches) and to monitor my BP over the next few days. I also went from measuring 36cm at 38 weeks to 35cm at 39 weeks. Not good. I'm always 2cm behind, but the baby's always been spot-on for gestational age. So they ordered an ultrasound for this Friday to check the baby's growth and amniotic fluid level. At first I freaked out and cried and worried (once I was in the privacy of my car), but now I'm just going to pray and not worry. The fact that they didn't make me do it right then and there shows me it can't be that urgent. (Right?) I know I'm small and maybe the baby just dropped more. She was at a minus 1 station last week.

Anyway, assuming I make it to Friday, I'll hopefully have some good news on the baby. At this point, I'd rather meet her in person than get an ultrasound. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Warning!!! Baby Girl Pictures

Today I just feel like making a happy post... I got 3-D pictures of baby girl about 2 weeks ago and I finally am uploading them to share. She is just beautiful. I can swear I see my husband's nose on her (I hope so, he's had nightmares that the sperm got mixed up at WH and this wasn't his baby!!!). I think she smiled at us in one of the pictures. I have been utterly pleased with my doctor's ultrasound equiptment. I don't think I've yet witnessed anyone who gets pictures at the same weeks as I do who has better quality. Which is surprising considering what a smallish town I live in.

We are planning on traveling back to NC (an 8 hour car trip) for the week between Christmas and New Year's. I don't know that the midwife will like it, and frankly it really unnerves me, thinking that at that point, I could go into labor, be 36 weeks, and be considered full-term. I don't want to have the baby without a midwife, without anyone I'm familiar with. But I guess I have to weigh the risks and stakes and be ok with going. Which I guess I am. Hmmm.

I doubt the baby is permanently head-down yet. They said she was at 33 weeks, but I know she's not "engaged" yet because I know what that feels like, when she's really settled in. I am not afraid of labor, but I do feel it's a huge, huge unknown that I'm really unprepared for, even as much as I read or practice.

I have had two baby showers now and felt utterly humbled and grateful and unworthy. I cried at each one, but made a special point to explain that I valued everyone's support, love and prayers that got us to this point, and I rather felt they should be the ones receiving the presents for going through "the trenches" with us. I am grateful for all the help with getting stuff though, because babies take a lot of stuff apparently!

So for now, I'll close with this, and some pictures that make my heart ache with happiness. I'm thinking of you all as another holiday approaches, especially those of you facing another milestone without the dear child you're so lonigng for. May this be your very last.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm not dead, just a bad blogger...

So I bet you all have wondered what planet I fell off of.... Believe me, I have been incredibly busy. But this blogging as the pregnancy progresses contains a huge amount of guilt for me. I guess because I had such a hard time reading about most others successes, that I know were I in the shoes of some of you (waiting to cycle, after a failed cycle, lost babies, bad cycles, taking a break, TTC naturally for a while), reading a blog like mine would just hurt. And all our you have helped me so much, and been such a support, that the last thing I desire is to cause someone pain by visiting here.

But I am living "the dream." This is what we're all praying, hoping, dreaming, striving for, is it not? We all desire a pregnancy with a live baby at the end of it first of all. Sometimes that door closes, and we pursue other options. But I guess I want to be honest, and my living truth is that the pain and money and time and negative after negative are so worth it, when you're this close.

I am just now 8 months pregnant (31 weeks). This Baby Girl kicks and moves and hiccups and plays games with her Daddy. He will poke at her, and she will kick back. It's very intentional, when she chooses to play that game. My husband has only been home a little over 2 weeks from our 71 day deployment, and I have been in heaven with him here again!!! The very first night back, Baby Girl very obligingly moved underneath his hands and he was enamored with her. He loved my new pregnant shape, and was amazed at how active this baby is. When he left, she was so tiny only I got to feel her little "flutters". Seeing his heart melt at her just now, makes me that much more eager for her to come in person and me to be able to watch him with his long-desired and much-loved daughter.

The pregnancy goes well most days. Occasionally I have a day with tons of Braxton Hicks and round ligament pain, and it is annoying if it coincides with a planned outing or shopping trip. But I would put up with so much more. Plus, all things considered, I've had so few problems this pregnancy, and I've mostly just had regular expected symptoms. Pregnancy you don't always feel beautiful and glowing and wonderful, but feeling the baby move makes all that fade. I love pregnancy for that one reason only. It's this special connection only I share with her right now.

Getting this far has done something to my mind, though. I no longer distrust my body. For the first 28 weeks, every pain and ache I was sure was a foreshadowing of something terrible, and threatening to the baby. Then finally, around week 28/29, I realized I trusted my body. I did not think it was going to betray me or the baby, and that it would keep nourishing her like it should, and it would work like it should to bring her out at her time. It was odd, after 3 years of feeling like my body could only fail me, to suddenly not distrust it.

And yet, around that time-frame, I was sitting on the couch, and I got a pain that was so reminiscent of a period cramping. And with that simple pain, that I haven't had since March (before I started BCPs for IVF #2), all the feelings of what a those cramps signify came in on me and for a minute I felt angry, hurt, bitter, sad, failure, and dispair. That feeling brought on the wave of emotions you get after TTC so long and getting repeated failure. Yet there I was, with Baby Girl safe inside me, free to realize those feelings did not relate to today, but were stored up from the past. But it made me wonder what kind of life lies ahead, when my body starts to cycle again.

I don't know. I can't figure that out. I let my mind wander occasionally to what may happen, or what or when we'd choose to try with our two frozen embryos. I can't even begin to figure that out, and I shouldn't, but I am aware, in the back of my mind, that trying again, even with a precious baby girl in my life, will probalby still involve emotional pain, tempered with the beautiful joy of knowing we have succeeded once. We have gotten what we prayed for. And for that, we will always always give thanks and remain humbly grateful for what we never though we'd get.

Infertility has changed me forever. Miscarriage changed me forever. Those scars are still there, and always will be, through they aren't as tender as they once were. Having a live baby will change me forever. I can't be as hurt and negative as I once was. I can only pray for all of you, that in your lives, whether you're pursuing ART, natural TTC, adoption, surrogacy, donor embryos, or peace with your life as a couple right now, I pray your lives would be blessed with a child, in the future, and that the waiting time, when it's over, would hold no more power over you for sadness.

Monday, September 8, 2008

2 Weeks Down, 8 To Go

Thank you guys so much for the support about my husband being gone, and for the kind words of thanks for what he does. Thank you also for the excitement over Baby Girl.

J and I were just never made for separations. We don't do them well at all. When we are together, and he's home from work, we just rarely spend time apart. Even if we're doing separate things (maybe he's reading a magazine and I'm writing a letter), he wants me in the same room, on the same couch preferrably. Long ago in the first months of our marriage I abandoned what I thought was a good use of my time: getting laundry folded while he watched tv. While I do that occasionally, I try to keep it short, because he would much rather me be snuggled right next to him that getting something done. And my mom always taught us the importance of putting our husbands first, over our own priorities. When we go to bed at night, we always curl up with just about every inch touching the other person. And as we shift positions at night, if we end up away from each other, we at least leave our feet touching the other's or with our hands held together. We hate not to have physical contact!!! Ever since being married, ever single morning we've showered together when possible. We eat all dinners at the table together, most breakfasts, and occasionally lunches if he happens to be home. He may only have a 6 hour day to work, but sometimes he'll text me to meet him for lunch just so we don't have to be separated that long....

Are you getting the picture? We're still crazy love-birds just as if we were newly in love. It's the companionship, the friendship, the sharing every part of life together. I could care less if his being gone means I have to do the yard (ok, J hired someone this time but I have in the past) or finanaces or change my own flat (so fine, someone helped me there on Friday). I am very capable and not at all intimidated. But it's being without this man who is my best friend and life partner in everything. That's why I email ever day, I send a personal letter every day, and when we can webcam, we will do it as many hours as his schedule allow. We got 4 hours on Sunday (usually we get 2 every other day)!!! Ah what bliss... Top that off with a last-minute win in the Panthers vs Chargers game, and it was a pretty swell day.

I went to see my soon-to-be brother-in-law graduate from Army basic training on Friday in Ft Benning, 2 hrs from where I live. I got the flat on the way home. I was quite prepared to change it, J having shown me twice how do to that. But help came along so I just watched. :)

I hate every piece of clothing currently, except long pretty dresses. I hate that someone thought the Bella Band was a good idea. I am just now getting uncomfy in my regular pants/skirts, and it feels much better to leave the top buttons unbuttoned. Yet the stupid BB doens't do squat in leaving you a nice smooth profile like I want. Sure, it keeps your pants up, but your options are then limited to very full babydoll shirts to cover the ugly waistline. I want the pretty smooth belly, people! Bleh. I just don't fit maternity wear yet. Suggestions???

You're all the BEST!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What We're Having....?!?!

That's right.... today at 18w2d, we found out we will (Lord willing) be welcoming a beautiful little girl into our lives in January. A girl!!! We are so happy, so grateful, so amazed. I feel like it's something of a dream - can this all be a reality someday? It was so beautiful to see her on screen, moving about, cooperating perfectly. We got this scheduled just 4 days before J was deploying, and then afterward picked up a crib we'd found at Baby Depot for a great deal the other day on the way home that we've now put together - our first baby purchase!

It was weird. Neither of us really had a "feeling" but we kept referring to the baby as a "he". I guess because my husband thinks boys should come first. :) He's firstborn in his family, my older sister is our firstborn so I naturally thought girl were pretty good too! So while I really wanted to give him a son, we are so thrilled to be welcoming a daughter!

I am all done with morning sickness (whoo-hoo), and the nausea just comes and goes every now and then. I can eat whatever I want that I did not develop an aversion to. At my 16 week appointment they told me my hemoglobin had gotten worse (from a 10.4 at 11 weeks to 9.3 at 16 weeks). They told me to really try hard to research and eat iron rich foods (I'd been on an iron Rx since 11 weeks). I hadn't felt any symptoms of anemia, but then at 18 weeks it just hit. Rolling over on the couch at night seemed like too much effort. Unfortunately, decreased appetite is a side-effect of anemia, so it doesn't help when you Really need to eat and just don't have any interest. But J and I researched it out, and went to the store and he spared no expense putting things into the cart that were iron rich. Lots of red meat, lots of dark green leafy veggies, lots of o.j. and citrus to help the iron absorbtion, and lots of cereal fortified with 100% RDA of iron. In just 10 days of this my iron was at 10.2! It took longer for me to really feel strong, but I am now! So I've got to keep it up, along with the liquid chlorophyll I've been drinking. I was ready to ask for the injectable iron the doctor spoke of, but it looks like I might not need it (yet). Anything to stay healthy!

I have steadily gained 2lb every 4 weeks since my initial 7wk appointment, which puts me at a 6 lb weight gain so far. I am showing, but just not a lot (picture in next post, perhaps). When I mention I'm expecting, everyone looks so shocked at how "far" I am (to them). It's all new to me, but I feel healthy so I feel good! For now, I'm going to just post pictures of little girl!

And to close off, please stick around because as of yesterday at 2:30pm, my precious husband and I are separated for another agonizing 70 days... He has deployed to the middle east once more. We were so distraughtand devastated... Those last 24 hours were hard, were precious, and were just heartwrenching. I love him SOOOOOOO desperately, I don't know how I'll een survive to the halfway point without him. We HATE this.... It is rough! So please.... stick around because there'll be a lot of deployment stuff to post about and I need all the support I can get....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Camping! (No "P"-related stuff)

Well, here's a fun story not revolving around the pregnancy.

My husband and I, we love outdoor adventure. We love to boat, hike, camp, SCUBA dive, fish, hunt, and so on. We love out-of-the-way places. For instance, we honeymooned on a small island(2000 acre) in the north-west coast of Scotland. Automobiles weren't even allowed on the island. We were in a secluded cottage and spend hours exploring and hiking the island, rowing to the ruinous castle nearby (and breaking in) out in the wild just loving the beauty of nature there. We also spend our one-year anniversary scratching the itch for a beach-vacation. But where did we choose? Why, the little island of Grenada of course! Very little tourism there (by Americans, more by Eurpean, though still not a lot), but an island with some beautifuly secluded beaches and a gorgeous and small "nature center" we stayed at (more like a resort, but you were left to do as you pleased and it only had about 12 rooms, so very intimate). Our idea of a great vacation always involves doing things that are a bit rustic or uncommon - possibly involving hiking through places others wouldn't venture, just for that "perfect" sunset view or to explore some intriguing spot.

So, this weekend we were to go to Savannah, just for Friday/Saturday. We were meeting up with J's brothers so they could deep-sea fish all Saturday while I enjoyed the beach and a good book! (I love to fish with him, but as our last trip I was over the side throwing-up the entire time, and cut short the fishing part by a few hours, it was deemed best by all that I not accompany them.) :) Ah, but guess where we stayed Friday night? Camping, primitave camping, in the Georgia heat (so like, 90 degrees and 80% humidity at night!). Just tents, sleeping bags, and a spiket of water not too far. It actually was pretty fun. Not comfortable, but fun nonetheless. As we lay in our tents that night, I couldn't keep myself from laughing out loud for a while, because the uncomfortable-ness of the situation. Who camps in that heat??? (Oh yeah, those wanting to spend only $6 on lodging at the beach, right!) And believe me, by the next morning, Starbucks Iced Chai in hand, as I sat on the beach at 8:30 with my book, I pretty much felt, "This is the Life!" Nevermind the 10+ mosquito bites I'd gotten breaking down camp that morning. It was well worth it!

So that, my friends, was my weekend. Pretty glorious. Now just a week until we go to a real vacation-house in Florida for 8 days on our pre-deployment get-away. Hard to look forward to, because it's the Beginning of the End. But I won't let that spoil the time, we will savor every minute.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Into the 2nd Trimester (Me?)

This is such a huge, huge milestone to me.

I have somehow managed to make it into my 2nd trimester.

It is so hard to believe I am here. 10 weeks to viability. I made it past the scary and miscarriage-laden first trimester. I did not expect that, I hardly dared hope. I just prayed every single day. I fearfully stopped at every pain to wonder if it was a cramp or just a regular, expected pain. I still check for blood, but I find that it's not every single time I use the bathroom (that would be, once an hour now, which would be tedious at best).

And making it to the 2nd trimester has been such a boost to my heart. I am very attached to this beautiful child inside me. Every single day when I get my doppler out (I miss about one day a week), I am so in wonder at finding that heart beating away. I know I have nothing to do with that. I didn't cause our first child's miscarriage, and neither am I the one keeping this child alive. It's out of my hands. It's something I don't earn the right to, it just happens. And that leaves me grateful for every single day. I call it grace, because that by definition is unmerited.

I haven't had a lot to say. Well, I guess I have, but like every other blogger with a BFP, I just don't want to use this as a place to drone on and on about symptoms or to gush about how happy this makes us. While that's fair I can do that, I don't think this is the place. I know I appreciated reading others' stories as they went on with their BFPs but we all know it's painful too. I wish I had something else to write about. :/

I did have my 13 week NT test. I showed up for the appointment 10 minutes early, only to be called to the desk 20 minutes later as the receptionist asked for my insurance referral. My ob's office (who sends you to a perinatologists office for this test) had totally dropped the ball! And if you undertsand military insurance, they like to take days to get a referral through. I insisted I was in the office for my appointment now, leaving for out of town for 5 days, and when I returned I'd be 14 weeks and too late (all true). I felt bad for the military office since it was totally the ob's fault, but then again how hard is it to get someone to not procrastinate to do their job? So I got it all settled and had my appointment a few hours late. The peri's office was super nice about that. That, along with the triple-screen, set my odds for Trisomy 18 and 13 and Downs at 1:10,000. I'm happy to get that good news. I was almost not wanting to call, just not ready for any possible risk factor or bad news to have to deal with.

Nothing else of interest. I have a 16 week appointment and a 20 week one. The anatomy scan is at 20 weeks. Unfortunately, my husband deploys again right around 19 weeks (or a few days prior). He SO loved the 13 week ultrasound, I wish he could be there for the 20 week one (16wk is nothing but an appointment). We had seen the baby looking like a real child on the screen, hiccupping, sucking its shumb, wiggling all 5 fingers. It was so precious. I guess I can request a video, maybe? All that I can talk about at the 16 week. I hate thinking I'll find out the baby's gender without him... If I do, I want a clever and memorable way to tell him. I've already decided it won't be through email, has to be phone so I can hear his reaction live!

Anyway, he'll be gone through early November, 70 days once again. I feel like we just went through this. It breaks my heart to think of him gone again. He's really my best friend and we share so much of our lives together, I am just not ready! So with that sad note, I'll end this and go curl up in his lap for the evening.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

11 Weeks!

So, yesterday I turned 11 weeks and had my appointment. All in all it was fast (45 minutes at most) as opposed to the first appointment that took 2 hours! After all the initial tests they run, the doctor walked in and took the doppler out to hear the heartbeat. Side Note: My midwife is on vacation, and I am required to have appointments with the two OBs on staff, in case they end up delivering the baby due to complications. Anyway, he's real nice & a father of 8 himself (just like my dad!). He found the heartbeat in less than a minute. It sounds just like they say it should - kinda like a train! I was so relieved. I was a bit bummed it didn't display a read of the heartrate. :( My iron was a little low at 7 weeks (11.4) so he perscribed me some to start taking. All the foods it interacts with and how it's best taken on a fasting somach is a bit overwhelming - I don't know quite when I'll be able to ideally take it. Anyway, nothing else of note.

So when I got home, I decided to take my doppler out (which I've not used in a week) and see if I could hear the heartbeat, since I watched where the doc found it. Sure enough, within a minute, I'd found my own little one's heartbeat! It was glorious and astonishing to hear. I was so touched, I started crying. Not a happy, gentle cry. A cry like something was wrong. Though it wasn't; I just felt so emotional over knowing my baby was still alive and I could now actually hear its little heart beating away on my own. I guess it was the first time in private I could experience the emotions. It was so wonderful!

I tried again this morning, and got it almost instantly. I only intend on using it every few days if I can contain myself. :) It's just a great way to start the day, hearting that little one whose making me so sick!

My husband continues to serve me every single day. Makes breakfast if he can, makes dinner. Tries to think of enticing options to eat if we're out. He's amazing, because he never complains, and serves so wonderfully. I hope to be rid of the nausea soon, though, and get back to making my own meals. Until then, I think we've used the grill every single night so I don't have to smell foods in the house! My big aversions are chicken and seafood (gross)! I prefer cold food to hot, always, since there are less smells on cold food.

I'm getting the nuchal translucency test within the next 2 weeks, and not seeing the midwife until 16 weeks. They said I was off their typical schedule (8, 12, 16 wk), so if I could wait 5 weeks to the next appt, they'd like it. But they said if I got to worry I could always come in for a quick scan. They never make it sound like a hassle on them, which I appreciate. I haven't had a reason to worry so far (just mental ones), but I'd go in a heratbeat if I had cramps or anything of the kind. Maybe it's good they're 30 minutes away, just so I don't abuse that. :) I should be able to handle the 5 weeks wait, b/c there's an ultrasound for the NT test, which then makes my wait only 3 weeks from that. Plus, I have my doppler now.

Now with all this happy news, I do want to say one thing. Nobody tells you that in pregnancy you can be miserable (physically) all the time. Seriously. It's either nausea, or pressure to go to the bathroom every other hour (without ever feeling fully relieved), or tremendous gas pains, or headaches, or you name it. Seriously, everyone talks about the "glow" and the good stuff. And it's totally worth it, but I wasn't prepared to just feel icky and be in pain so much of every day. This is my FWIW to all you ladies in your early weeks. But as I said, I'd never trade this for anything.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

10 weeks now

Well, I made it to 10 weeks today. So hard to believe. Yes, I've had a hard time believing that it's been 3 weeks since my last appointment and I had proof that the baby is still alive and kicking. Just one more week to go! I actually have decided to not worry all the time, and believe and pray and hope everything is fine.

The funny thing is how I ushered in the 10th week... With a lovely vomiting session this morning. The apple and tums really sat wrong with me. Although I didn't like it, I was secretly kind of glad to have had real morning sickness (no boats needed). This has been my worst day in terms of not being able to be vertical or walking around for very long. Unfortunately, my cat's completely out of food, so I absolutely have to go to the grocery later tonight. I think I can, just not right now.

I did buy a doppler, but it's not a great quality one, so I'm never 100% sure what I'm hearing (my heartbeat or the baby's). I have only tried 3 times with it, and I'm just going to wait until the doctor tries next week with their doppler. Then I'll know exactly what it sounds like.

Yes, I still am tempted to worry a lot about how this is going or will turn out, but I do not want to be consumed by it or driven by it. I'm trying to maintain a good balance. And so far, I have nothing to give me cause to worry. I just can't wait for next week's appt! (June 2nd)

Anyway, there's been some great news in the blogosphere with both Sam and JJ getting great betas... And with Glenna getting her son home... And Elaine 6wks along... And Chris getting a potential match.... And lots of sadness too with Andrea and Baby Dreams getting negative IUI betas... Anyway, click over and offer some words if you get a chance.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Really, I Did Find It This Time

I can officially rename my blog. Morning sickness has been found. However, as I'm only 8weeks 1day today, I have realized I actually want more than m/s.... I'd like a real live baby. But I can't change my blog to "In Search of a Real Live Baby" because, well, no one would know it was me. And I like me old name.

Anyway, yeah, morning sickness hit with a lot of force sometime around week 7. I still don't actually throw up (hold off for story), but I am nauseous all day long. I can rarely think of more than 1 or 2 foods a day that don't make me sicker to eat. Water has become pretty unbearable, so it's been gatorade lately. And I'm a stricty water and coffee-based drinks gal. No anymore. I rarely can tolerate coffee either. My husband's many offers of Starbucks have been turned down all but once (when I agreed to share one with him if I could). Yesterday, I managed pringles and golden raisins all day. Then when J was headed home he wanted to get me some soup. I requested chicken noodle in a box. He came home with 3 boxes of 4-serving size packets each!!! Is he not the sweetest? He picked up barley too, seeming to think I could add that to the chicken or beef bullion if I can manage that. I love how he's trying to take care of me. I haven't been able to fix him lunch or dinner for a few days now, which makes me feel terrible in my job as a wife. But he's been more than understanding.

Now, want to hear a funny story? Well, we decided to take a 4 day weekend this past one to go to Savannah to the beach there. We rented a little condo and got there ready to have a great time. And every day we spent lots of time at the beach, took walks at night, collected shells, visited the cute downtown area, and ate terrific seafood. We also joined a boat club where you pay a membership fee and you get to use any of their boats whenever you want, and when you're done, you just leave it to them. They take care of fueling them up, cleaning them, maintenance, docking them, etc. Back in '06 we owned a 27 foot boat we kept in Corpus Christi when we were living in San Antonio, so we're well aware of all the work owning a boat is. This seemed like a great opportunity to get all the fun without the hassle, at least until we move.

So, Tuesday we decided to use a boat to go 12 miles offshore to fish over some sunken stuff that gets lots of spanish & king mackrel, cobia, & whatnot. 1-2 foot seas was projected. We left at 8 and by 9 it was SOOOO choppy! We had to go about 12 mph, and we still had like 9 miles left (approximations). I got really beat up and was feeling very sick (it was also close to 100 degrees out and going slower meant less wind to help alleviate the heat). J put out some fishing lines as we went so slow, in case anything wanted to bite. All the while, I'm feeling awful. He then said we could speed up now, and could I reel in the 2 lines. I tried to, but literally was stopping every 10 seconds to just breathe and not look at anything. I felt horrible! I then tangled the lines, and he told me he'd need to fix them, so could I drive the boat. At this point, I told him I didn't think I could (I had driven about 30 minutes prior, and that sort-of put me over the edge, nausea-wise). I found my way to the edge of the boat, hung out there, and then just hurled. But first, I surprised myself by crying. Yes, actually cyring I was so miserable. Even I didn't think I would cry from just being sick. I cried as I threw up (which made J ask, "Are you laughing?"). Anyway, he wanted to turn around, but I figured we'd gone this far, we should try to go on. He agreed if I threw up again, we'd turn around.

I felt better instantly, good enough I thought I was done. Ah! But another 30 minutes in the heat, waves, lolling, getting beat around, and well, I foudn my way to the other side of the boat to heave again. This time no crying. J was saying, "We're going back" as I hurled, but thru heaves I practically yelled, "No! We've got this far! Stay!" I just felt it'd be a big letdown and waste to do that. Plus, I could take it.

So, he agreed to fish an hour. Unfortunately, I curled up on a towel and just laid there. He had to pilot the boat, watch 2-3 rods, and bait everything. I don't know how long it was, but he did get 4 fish, 2 keeping size. Yummy ones in our freezer now. By about the hour or hour and a half mark, I had enough of thinking "I'm so sick, I'm so miserable, I hate the heat and smell and movement." that I asked, "When are we going home?" And he decided to then and there.

The ride back was just as rough, but I did not throw up anymore. I stayed out of the direct sunlight and I kept my eyes closed. I know that helped. But the nausea was there the rest of the day!

I've never been sick on a boat (thought I've felt it at times). I've never been purely morning sick. But I think that was morning sickness, as close as I get. Yes, I'm tired of feeling nauseous all the time every day now (I know, it's only a week). But I so have high hopes baby is growing and causing this. And I will do anything for that little baby. Just keep growing!

Question: I want to buy a fetal doppler. When is the earliest you tried & got a heartbeat on one?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

7wk Ultrasound & Remembering

Well... we went in today for the 7 week appointment. I was scared the baby might not be alive. Afterall, I'd had two cramps the evening before, and cramps send me into panic mode.

Ah, but no.... I caught the little "flashing" on the screen. Baby measuring 7weeks 0days (exactly what it should be). Heart rate 140. Wow. Could we be this fortunate?

After the ultrasound I had to have the regular ol' OB first timers visit. It was weird! Most of the conversation with the midwife was about the nuchal fold test & triple screen, delivery options, forming a birth plan, and how good I'd feel in the 2nd trimester. I kept sitting there, wanting to interrupt her, telling her this was too early to talk about this! That she should save her time! That I... might not get that far. I know, that's terrible. But I do not take even one day of this baby's life for granted that it'll go on. It was just out of place, unexpected. Even my husband agreed, although to him it was more of a reality, "wow, we might get a live baby." We assumed with pregnancy #1 = baby. This time, no such assumptions.

I have to wait 4 weeks to go in again. Then they'll try to hear the heartbeat with the doppler. If they don't get it, we'll do an ultrasound. She did tell me if I started to get too worried/paniced, they'd gladly have me come in earlier to do an ultrasound. It's reassuring I have her blessing on that. I hope I'm strong enough and have no good reason to use that.

And lastly.... because it was such an incredibly terribly busy day at work yesterday, and then afterwards dinner was such a hardship to fix w/o being sick, and then I just needed to lay down.... I actually forgot what day it was. June 3rd. My first baby's due date. I know if I were not pregnant right now, that wouldn't have happened. I would have cried and the day would have been so bitterly painful. Instead, I try to focus on the possibilities ahead of me, while remembering what we've been through to get here. I miss that child not being in our life right now, but I am grateful to have renewed hope beating away inside me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My husband thinks I should change my blog name...

He thinks is should be, "Morning Sickness Found."

I am not so optimistic.

I just can't call what I've got morning sickness yet until I... you know.... throw up.

You see, growing up my family took a lot of car trips. Since we eventually reached 8 kids (but started the trips when there were just 6 of us kids), flying was OUT of the question! So they'd pile us in the van, start a video, and drive for 18 hours. Yes, we had a VHS player in there, probably a huge salvation to my parents sanity. Instead of listening to hundreds of "When will we be there?" they just heard, "Can we start another movie?" Smart, huh? Dad still knows all the songs in the old Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory simply from hearing it so much. We adored these vacations and trips. Often Dad just didn't want to go on a weeklong business trip without us, so he'd just bring everyone. He always made it fun. I don't remember any stress, and as we got older we helped with the packing and eventually took over entirely. But back then, it was just fun, fun, fun. I love that my Mom was so game she never said, "I can't/won't do this."

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, more than a few of us would proclaim, "I'm sick!" or "I feel like I'm going to throw up." from the back seats (especially when we graduated to a 15-passenger van, the back gets very bumpy). However, only one of my sisters ever actually had to get a trash bag or the car stopped so she could, um, take care of that. Dad's reply to us all (except her) eventually became "Promises, promises". Mom would always try to make us feel better (crackers, gingerale, moving up to the front). But innately I knew it was just motion sickness and I shouldn't make a big deal, because nothing would come of it anyway.

Now that I'm older, I still get motion sick in cars and boats (not in 4-seater airplanes, amazingly). But nothing ever comes of it. So I don't feel it's worth mentioning.

That's how I feel about my current "morning sickness." I feel horrible a lot of mornings. The shower is always too hot, and all I can do is sit (or not take it yet like this morning). All day, the thought or sight or smell of food makes me sick feeling. I fight nausea in waves. You'll hear me breathing heavily as I try to control the urge. I literally haven't been able make myself eat a solid except cereal for some days (until evening - and if you put something in front of me, already prepared, I can eat that). Cold always sounds good, hot not so much. I hung out at the toilet yesterday hoping something would come up. Only by gagging enough did it, but it wasn't true gut-wrenching sickness.

I know I have symptoms, but I just can't call it that until I guess I have valid proof. Yeah I feel bad and have lots and lots of food aversions, but this isn't to me what I can call morning sickness.

One more interesting side affect? Mouth ulcers!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I called the OB today because of the sharp pains in my left abdomen. They've been present all day and eventually really bothering and worrying me. Apparently whoever I got on the phone today, when I mentioned "sharp pains" "in vitro" and "ectopic" she got the messages to the nurse, who then called me within 5 minutes and told me if I could be there in 30 minutes, I'd get an ultrasound. They didn't think this was something to not attend to. They were very surprised I wasn't still under an RE's care, but when I explained I did IVF in San Antonio with the miltiary, they kind-of understood. I guess they didn't before. So, even though I live 30 minutes away, J was home and drove me there. Took us 40 all said and done, but we got in, and I got "fast tracked" into the ultrasound room. I explained (as I had on the phone) that while it was sharp, it wasn't excrutiating, but they never made me feel like I needed any more reason to come in. I loved that I didn't have to feel pressure from them for "worrying." With that said, the tech put the probe in and started around. This felt eerily like my ER visit, where I could see plenty of uterus and ovaries on screen, but nothing resembling all those grainy u/s I see everyone else get....

Until, I see something in the uterus. I hear her mutter "a sac." My eyes well up with tears - I was so worried all the drive there. I kept telling my husband, "I'm not ready for bad news, not ready for this to be over." Wow. She looks around and sees a very enlarged left ovary, and lots of cysts and some free fluid. Enough that she wants the doc to look. But then she tells us, "This is your baby here, flasting right at us. That's the heartbeat." I couldn't believe this was me seeing all this. I wanted to cry, but was too relieved to actually happy-cry.

The dr came in, saw it all too, and while he said it would be very unlikely to have a uterine and tubal pregnancies, it could happen. If I got worse pain, I should come in for another ultrasound. They were so nice, I thought it was their job to deny ultrasounds! He asked a fair amount of our history, cause of IF, how many times we did IVF, why we weren't under an RE's care still, etc. If I don't like the midwife (or feel she's knowledgable enough) I'd go with him. He expected me to be on progesterone and estrogen, and this made me think he'd at least had IVF paitents before. Anyway, quite reassuring.
So without further babbling on.... I'm going to share my ultrasound picture. Those who this is painful for, please don't go any further. I have been there more times than I care to count. I only wish you were all here with me.

6 Weeks Today, Everything Quiet

So, today I am 6 weeks. Every week is a milestone. Shoot, every day is around here!

What do I have to report? Zilch. Nada. Well, that's not entirely true, just nothing interesting.

Now, last pregnancy, I stopped temping the day of my 2nd beta (baby was 4w1d). I also stopped taking HPT's a few days after that. I just expected everything to be ok. When I started bleeding, at 6w4d, my HCG was already 42. Don't know how long or fast it had been dropping, but at least if I'd taken a test that morning, I'd have seen the lighter line and known something was up.

So this time, I've refused to stop either. I take my temp every morning still. And it's consistently nice and high. Sure, there have been two lowish temps, but that's nothing to bother about. I've been taking the HPT's twice a week (after every day that first week, just for the fun of seeing them): one on the day I change what week I am (for example, today since I turned 6weeks), and one 3-4 days after that. They have increasingly gotten darker. Today the test line was finally really darker than the control line, so now I have no more way to just the "darkness" of the line, but I can at least make sure it doesn't change for the next week. I imagine I'll stop the HPT obsession once I get that 7 week ultrasound. I just have to make it that far...

Symptom-wise, the morning-sickness has continued to be elusive. Not that I want to be sick, but I would appreaciate at least a few days for my body to be signaling to me that it's actually doing something with this pregnancy. I hate not feeling anything except pains and aches. If I had to describe this pregnancy so far, I've not liked it. Simply because I fear every single ache and twinge and pain. I haven't had anything I'd categorize as a cramp, but I've had heavy & light pressure, abdominal pains, and sharp pains in my left side. I'm hoping the sharp pains are cysts, not an ectopic. Right now I just want proof that there's something good happening inside. I dispise waiting for 7 weeks, but I just have 7 more days to go. I think I can make it.

Thank you all for following along in this crazy roller-coaster....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Birthday... & Update

So yesterday was my 27th birthday. Honestly, I had one of the best birthdays in a long time! My husband already had to drive up to Atlanta for a memorial day servive for all of Georgia's fallen service members in this war. So I went with him, for my birthday lunch. After the ceremony, he took me to Cheesecake Factory. Yes, it's a chain, but I just adore their food and dessert! We did fine dining in San Antonio and when we had our post-deployment trip to New Bern in April, so I feel I've been spoiled enough in the last two months anyway! Besides, I loved it.
I got my favorite meal: The Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic. Mmm!
And of course, Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake! We had a coupon that if we spent $60 we could get $20 off, and we were so close, we just ended up getting 3 pieces of cheesecake rather than 2 so we could use that. So we brought them home (we can never finish a piece in less than 3 sittings!)! Sooooo delicious!
Then I opened my present from my husband. He honestly is a terrific gift-giver. Sometimes birthdays are big, sometimes not as much, it all depends. I have asked for this gift for years now, but never felt like I "deserved" getting spoiled with it (since my $40, 12 year old Mr. Coffee one has worked fine). Yep... It's a true pump-driven espresso machine. Luckily, I had decaf espresso on hand to try out immediately! The espresso had the most rich crema on top, the most strong, fabulous taste! I am in heaven!

Anyway, on the pregnancy front, I hadn't been feeling that well. Yes, fatigued. But I have pressure everyday in my lower abdomen. Not cramps, just heaviness, a pressure is all I can call it. Yes, it worries me. I get twinges on my left side, but just twinges. I've convinced myself not to worry about an ectopic with no real reason. The twinges only last a few times a day. The pressure? About 30-50% of the time, coming and going. Sometimes worse when I sit, sometimes worse when I stand.

This morning, I had my first different/new symptom. I got up about 3 to go to the bathroom. I felt very dizzy, as in running into a door dizzy. Kinda nauseous. The same thing when I got up at 6. Definitely dizzy and a little nauseous. From what I know about myself, it's my blood vessels dilating causing my blood pressure to drop, thus the dizziness. It's called orthostatic hypotension. Since my blood pressure runs "low normal" anyway (like 90 over 60), & since it was low post-retrieval causing me to be in recovery 1.5 hours, go through another bag of fluids, and get me dizzy & throwing up after that... well it makes sense as a symptom for what I know about my body. I'm taking this as a good sign. I'm 5w2d now, right when I had my 1st intense doubling-over cramps last time. None so far, and please stay away is my prayer every single hour every day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beta #2 for IVF #2

Beta 14dp3dt came back at 528. A doubling time of 47.48 hours. Pretty darn prefect, even though I'd rather see it doubling quicker, I know it's right where it should be. Now how on earth I manage the next 16 days until my ultrasound.... I have no idea. I keep trying to concoct ways get a 6 week ultrasound as well as my 7 week....