Friday, December 30, 2011

a new year.



I have to admit, I'm sad to see 2011 go. This year has been one of the best years of my life and I'm a little bit scared about what 2012 will bring. I knew 2011 would be good because I started the year off preggo. I knew that 2011 wouldn't be filled with crying in the bathroom over AF and failed cycles. Instead, I knew that it would bring us our daughter and the joys of parenthood. And bring that, it did. I can look back at 2011 and see all the good the year brought. I can't say the same for 2009 or 2010. Now that I am staring at the start of 2012, I find myself anxious.

What am I anxious about? Seeing this:



I hate negative pregnancy tests. HATE. One single, negative pee stick can bring all the emotions of TTC and IF flooding back to the front of my mind. And despite the fact that I did (eventually) get a pee stick to come up positive, that experience was not enough to erase the 21 months of crying over AF's arrival and the one freaking line I saw over and over again. Not to be dramatic, but a negative pregnancy test seriously has the power to break my heart.

As silly as it sounds, I am afraid of seeing those tests again. I really hate infertility and the pain that comes along with it.

That being said, the good thing about our journey of TTC #2 is that we have goals in mind and a definite end point. After our last appointment with our RE, it was made very clear to us that we do not have all the time in the world to try the old fashioned way. So, after talking about it, MBL and I decided that we would try naturally until May and then proceed with IVF. We probably won't do any IUIs this time as they only slightly increase our chances of getting pregnant and we want to put all of our money towards IVF (rather than spending $300-$500 a month hoping an IUI will work). We definitely didn't think we would be considering IVF again, but we are happy that we know the drill and that we will be able to positively use our time naturally TTC.

What do I mean by that? The fact that we are waiting until May to do IVF again means that we can use the interim to reach some of our goals. As cliche as it is to say we are beginning the new year with new goals, that is exactly what we are going to do. So, what are my goals in the next five months?

1. Keep tracking Points Plus. I have been mostly good about this since I purchased a $1.99 app for my phone. And now that I am totally weaned off of Zol.oft, I have noticed that I am losing a bit of weight. I (finally) saw a number I haven't seen since last summer. Granted, it was only 1 pound less than where I had been hovering, but I'm happy to see the number going DOWN.
2. In addition to being responsible with my food intake, I want to keep running. My sister and I are planning on running a 25k (15.5 miles) in May and I want to be in good shape to do that. We actually ran three times over Christmas together and it felt AWESOME to keep up on my running and I discovered I actually enjoy running with other people :).
3. MBL and I need to get our budget on track. This goal bums me out because I know that I have been irresponsible with spending in the past and I really don't like it when I'm in the wrong. We currently don't have a budget and this is a serious problem. I want to be held accountable for my spending and I want to cut out extraneous expenses. To get a kick start on this goal, I checked this book out of the library and I'm hoping it will get me geeked about budgeting.


Those are our top priorities for the new year and I am thinking they are totally attainable and simple goals. I have additional goals for the future, but, right now, they have to take a back burner to the three listed above. But, I'll share them anyways :). Here are some things I want for the future:



After saying for years that I would never drive a minivan, I have serious car envy over all my friends who have one. Turns out, I was a fool to think I didn't want one.



No, I do not want twins (although, I would take them gladly). What I really want is two more babies. Most people don't have to worry about not reaching the ideal size of their family, but we do. And I am praying with all my might that we are able to have two more.



Finally, I want a nice camera. MBL has bemoaned our lack of one for years, but it was only after using my sister's camera at Christmas that I realized what we are missing by not having one!! Holy pete, those things can take awesome shots!

What are your goals for the new year? Are you excited to ring in 2012?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a life changing appointment

So, this morning MBL and I got up early(ish) and headed to our Chic.ago based RE. We were going there to talk about our last IVF cycle and get an idea of how long he thought we should TTC naturally before heading to IVF again. I appreciate him as a doctor because he is caring but honest to the core. I knew that he would give us a realistic picture of our fertility timeline. I guess he kind of thought it was funny that we were there to just chat about our successful cycle and spent the first five minutes trying to clarify why we were there. When it comes down to it, we went because I had the inkling that there might be more to our IF equation than male factor. I didn't want to admit it, but I was beginning to wonder if I played a role in our IF troubles.

Our appointment was mostly uneventful, we talked about how much we like being parents and how we want to do it again ASAP, then we moved onto our chances of conceiving naturally (he says about 5-15% over a year). Then, I finally asked about my fertility and whether or not the fact that I had low(ish) AMH a year and a half ago and less than amazing results from stimulation meant that I might not really have the fertility of an average 26 year old. He said that I probably don't have as good of ovarian reserve as other women my age, but I got the best results possible from IVF: a take home baby. He then also confirmed my suspicions by saying that it is likely I will go through menopause early. He said I won't go through it in my 20's, but he would guess I would start between 38-44. That's early, but not a significant problem for us as I am 26, making the low end of his guesstimation still 12 years away. Keeping that in mind, he agreed that we should redraw my labs on day 3 of my next cycle and do an ultrasound immediately to look at my antral follicle count. As we were leaving his office (to head to ultrasound), we were joking about having twins on our next cycle. And then things got interesting....

I settled myself in the stirrups and got ready for my first encounter with wandy since September of last year. The nurse had the screen turned away from me, but MBL could see what was going on. First she measured my uterine lining and mentioned that it looks like I either just ovulated or will ovulate in the next few days (yay!). She then went over to the right ovary and counted the follicles she could see and came up with 8. She also told me that my dominant follicle is on that side. She then moved over to the left and suddenly looked very concerned. After a few seconds she told me she measured 3 follicles on the left. NOT what I was expecting to hear. I had a total of 11 follicles. NOT GOOD. A year ago, I had 27. In a year and a half, my count has dropped by 16!! That's bad. I just kept telling MBL that the results were not good and the nurse just agreed with me, but she said that it was good I didn't wait to come back for #2. She said that I might not have had many options if I had waited to come back when I was 30. Wow. MBL and I went into the appointment thinking we were going to have months of TTC naturally with some IUIs thrown in there and then (hopefully) a BFP. We were hoping to avoid IVF. We left planning on returning in the next few months for our next IVF cycle. If we want two more babies, we need to get going. I may be biologically 26, but my body thinks it's already in it's thirties...

Basically, I feel like my world has been turned upside down and I'm still trying to process it all...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the latest

I meant to up my blogging game, but failed miserably at that. I have good reason. This week I will have put in 40 hours at my job. Considering the fact that I normally put in 20, this was a significant change in our daily routine. I work 10 hour shifts, which meant that I was away most of the hours during which Piper was awake. All three of the days that I worked this week, we had an event in the evening. One night I had dinner with a friend, another night we went out with a bunch of MBL's work colleagues, and the third night MBL went out with his boss' boss. That last night, Piper and I were home alone in the evening and it was so special to just spend time with her. I fed her dinner, gave her a bath, and put her to bed by myself and I just loved all the snuggling and playing we did! I used to find being alone in the evenings stressful, but now we're in a groove where I find it enjoyable. Plus, I had such little time with her the rest of the week that I needed every second I could get with her!

Speaking of loving baby snuggles, have I mentioned that I want another one? Now? Oh, I have? Well, it's still very much the case. We are on our first month TTC and I'm already over it. On Wednesday we have an appointment with our RE in Chic.ago and I'm hoping to get a good picture of what our fertility really is and what our chances for conceiving naturally are. MBL really wants to make a baby the old fashioned way, but I'm not holding my breath. There really isn't any reason we shouldn't be able to, but considering all it took to get Piper, I'm trying to hold off from believing that pregnancy "cured" our infertility.

To show that we are serious about this TTC #2 thing, MBL is scheduled for surgery (again) on the 30th. He had a varicocelectomy in March 2010 and we did notice higher spe.rm counts post surgery, but his most recent S/A showed poor morphology (19%). We went back to the urologist (actually we went to a new urologist in the same practice as our other one) in February and he ordered an ultrasound which showed that the surgery wasn't as successful as it could have been. We finally made another appointment with him about the findings in February at the beginning of this month (december) and he said he could go back in and get us better quality. That's exactly what we want!! So, MBL is going under the knife again on the 30th and my plan is to get preggo in March. It doesn't work that way? Well, crap!! Actually, I am thinking we will go back to IUIs in March. We will have only been TTC naturally for four months, but I'm crazy and want another baby bump ASAP. Seriously, I loved being pregnant and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mom, so I really cannot wait to do it again.

Now... The only negative is that I am registered to run a 25k with my sister in May. I really want to run the race with her and there is no reason for me to think that I will actually be pregnant by the time May rolls around... But, part of me is still hoping that I will have to drop down to the 5k or 10k because I am pregnant. I am NOT, however, going to let our TTC efforts keep me from training for the race. I let that happen for far too many years and I don't think it helped keep my mood and my spirits up. I am going to keep running and working out and I will stop if/when I need to. And, boy oh boy, do I hope I need to (soon)!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Back at it!

I'm finally getting back into my groove and getting on here to post!  I can't believe that it's been three weeks since I last posted.  I traveled way more than I had originally intended over Thanksgiving, so that left me with very little time to get on here and read updates or even update myself.  But, I'm back now and I'm going to try and be better about posting on a regular basis.

One of the most exciting (??) updates is that I'm finally cycling again!!  The return of AF is only welcome because it means we are officially back on the TTC wagon!  Oh how I loathe that wagon...  But, maybe, just maybe, it will be easier this time around?  Or, at least, cheaper?  I haven't had a real heart to heart with MBL yet, but I set up an appointment with our fertility doc for December 21st.  No, we're jumping into treatments right away, but I want to check in with him and hear his thoughts on our IVF cycle.  You see, we went to an out of town clinic to do the IVF cycle that actually got us pregnant and we really liked to doctor...  So, as long as we are going to be back in his neck of the woods for Christmas, I want to have a face to face chat with him.  We know that I can get pregnant (via IVF), but I want to hear his thoughts on us getting pregnant naturally.  During that cycle I had all sorts of testing done (because we were doing shared risk) and one of the tests done was AMH and my results came back at 0.9.  Normal is between 1.0 and 3.0.  Anything above 3.0 could suggest PCOS and anything below 1.0 could suggest low ovarian reserve.  AMH does not measure egg quality.  When that result came back I was shocked.  How could I, at 24, have a slightly below normal reading?  When I voiced my concerns to the nurse, she explained that it's a newer test and they take the results with a grain of salt.  They use my other tests to get a better picture of my fertility.  Well, I have a great antral count (28-30), low FSH (around 6.5), and a nice looking ute.  Plus, I have been able to get pregnant (with the help of $25,000 and a medical professional).  BUT, I worry that maybe I do have a fertility problem.  All along we thought it was MBL who was functioning subpar, but what if I contribute to that equation?  Both of my egg retrievals resulted in more drugs and less eggs than expected.  Our last cycle resulted in only 4 mature eggs/embryos.  Is that a symptom of reduced fertility on my end?  Especially when you consider our other cycle resulted in only 3 embryos?  I have been so scared to voice these concerns because I don't want it to be me.  Low egg quality is not something that is easy to fix.  BUT, I want to know what the doctor thinks because if it is low egg quality, then MBL and I need to be serious about cramming these babies in!  MBL wants to putter around with naturally TTC for a while before we seek treatment again (which I can totally understand--wouldn't it be exciting to get pregnant from s.e.x.?), but I don't want to waste precious time if my eggs are headed down the crapper.  I feel so blinkin' lucky to have Piper, I really do, but I want her to have a sibling or two!  My goal is to be done having babies by the time I'm thirty (in approximately 4 years) and to have three children.  So, I need/want to fit in two more pregnancies.

So...  In about two weeks MBL and I will be even more officially back on the TTC wagon as we enter into our first two week wait post Piper.  My test date should be right around our 3rd anniversary and, I have to admit, I am praying with every fiber of my being for a miracle BFP!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

the ache never does go away...

Last night as I was doing my best to fall asleep, I couldn't help but think about our infertility journey. We are at the point where we are facing TTC again and I am completely scared out of my mind. A part of me liked the fact that AF has been absent while I've been pumping for Piper because it meant that I didn't have to think about timing things, temperature taking, and peeing on sticks. The 21 months leading up to our BFP were so unbelievably painful. And, unfortunately, a BFP and a healthy baby haven't "cured" me from being an infertile. No, I have no idea how long it will take to conceive #2, but I'm gearing up for the long haul. Even though I am prepared for a lengthy journey, I am not immune to the jealousy and heartache that comes along with struggling to conceive. I swear, up until two weeks ago, I felt nothing but bliss about my new life and pregnancy announcements didn't bother me. Now? I'm back to longing for a bump of my own. One of my closest friends just told me that in light of a recent health scare she and her husband may begin TTC in the next few months. This means we would be TTC at the same time. My last friend to announce this to me showed up at our next get together (3 months later) and announced she was 13 weeks pregnant. Which means she got pregnant on the first shot. I wasn't really upset about it then, I had a newborn and my mind was not thinking about TTC. But now? I'm sad. And scared. It seems silly to say that I'm scared, but what I really mean is that I am SO not looking forward to all the emotions that come along with BFN after BFN. I'm scared about the amount of time it will take. I'm scared of the jealousy I will feel towards my friend should #2 take as long to conceive as #1. I'm scared of the decisions MBL and I will have to face if it comes down to needing to see the RE again. I'm scared of going back on fertility meds. Most of all, I'm scared that I'll never have what I so desperately want: my family of five.

Infertility is particularly frustrating because having children seems like such a simple task to the majority of the population. You time things right a few months (or WOOPS! you forget to use birth control) and nine months later you are holding a precious baby. For those of us in the ALI (adoption, loss, infertility) community, things aren't that easy and the difficulty and pain we experience during the process of building our families is often misunderstood or brushed off by those who haven't experienced it themselves. Which makes it even worse.

I have blogged about this before (many times), but MBL and I are pretty open with what it took to get pregnant and just how Piper was created. We feel good sharing our story because, in doing so, we hope that we are able to help others understand infertility a little better. We are trying to put a face with a disease that so many people view as just an inconvenience. Doing this has both positive and negative consequences for us. The positives are obvious: we are increasing awareness about IF and the treatments for it. We are trying to debunk myths about infertility and, I think, we have been fairly successful at this. The negatives are a little harder to understand, but now that I am a mom who longs for another, it's hard because everyone knows about it. They know we are going to try again right away. The know we had a hard time the last time. And, the tough part, is that I want them to ask me how it's going. I want them to care that it took a lot to get Piper and that our journey to #2 and #3 might not be easy. I want their sympathy and their listening ears, but, at the same time, I feel embarassed that we struggle with infertility. I want to conceive easily like my cousins. I want to be able to live a life without REs or fertility drugs or fear of losing my pregnancy. In short, I want to be a fertile. I want to be "normal". Really, I want to not be obesessing about how much time it may or may not take to get pregnant again!

I guess all of this proves that the saying is true, "Once an infertile, always an infertile." At least I have a community who understands!

Monday, October 31, 2011

embracing my story

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my story and how I got to where I am today. I've been through a lot these past three years. First it was everything we went through to get pregnant, then it was being scared out of my mind for 9 months straight, then it was troubles nursing, then it was low supply, followed by post partum anxiety... And, now, we're facing TTC #2 and as much as I want to be hopeful, I'm planning on it taking a bunch of work to get pregnant (again). As much as all of those things sucked and, if I had it my way, I would rather that things came easily, but they didn't. What I can do, though, is learn from all of it. Embrace who it has made me.

When I think back to when MBL and I started TTC, I can remember just how certain I felt that we would return from our honeymoon and I would get a positive test. As a matter of fact, I had a box of tests waiting for me. Little did I know that the next 20 months would involve a whole heck of a lot of negative pee sticks. I don't know how I would have felt if I had gotten a positive that first month. But, I can tell you that a positive after all that time, was incredible. And being a mom after dreaming about the experience for nearly 2.5 years, is better than I imagined it would be. If I had become a mom at 23 after only trying for one month, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it, but would I have loved it as much as I do? Piper has spit up on me, pooped on me, drooled all over me, and my response is always the same, "I went through a lot to get to this place." I don't take the little things for granted and I think a lot of it is because of all I went through to get here. And, even though IF is an ugly witch, I am grateful that it taught me to be thankful for the little things that come along with being a parent.

One thing that IF taught me, is to be open with my story. And experiencing PP anxiety and supply issues only increased my openness. Now that I am involved in mom's groups, I get a lot of questions about BFing, being a mom, and having more children. Instead of pretending like I have it all together, I make it known that I have struggled. The things I have gone through are all kind of embarassing. No one wants to struggle to conceive, be unable to provide enough food for their baby, and feel like they can't handle parenthood... BUT, I know I'm not alone in my struggles and by talking to people about what I have gone through, I open the door for them to share their struggles. Plus, all of those struggles have relieved me from the pretense that I am perfect or that I have it all together :). And I like it that way. It's not what I would have originally chosen for myself, but I'm choosing to embrace my story. It's shaped me into who I am and I'm pretty happy with that.

So, do you think now that I've learned all of that I can get pregnant with #2 on the first try? Please?

Friday, October 21, 2011

a new journey...

Hello to all here from ICLW :). Most of my story is on the left side of my blog, but in a nutshell, we went through a year of fertility treatments before we got our BFP on IVF #2 last September. Our beautiful baby girl was born on May 25th and we are loving each and every day with her!

Now what is this new journey my blog title is hinting at? The journey of ttc #2. Obviously, we are well aware of what TTC entails. It took us 21 months to get our sticky BFP, but I feel like I will be approaching it with a new mindset. As an infertile who has experienced pregnancy, part of me is hoping that my body is now "fixed" and that MBL and I will be able to get pregnant with just a roll in the hay. A huge part of me is terrified about what will happen if we are unable to get pregnant that way. I am SOOOO not looking forward to having to do more infertility treatments/medications. I would LOVE to skip that!

In order to get the TTC #2 train rolling, however, I need to stop pumping. I was all ready to quit about 4 months ago and, somehow, I'm still going strong. BUT, I am apparently sensitive to prolactin and AF isn't going to come without weaning Piper. I was spotting a bit yesterday and I was beyond excited...it's so weird to actually want AF to arrive! I'm hoping that November will bring me my first PPAF (post partum aunt flow) and that we will be able to officially start TTC. In my head I've decided that if we aren't pregnant by Piper's first birthday, we will begin treatments again, but I know myself too well and I may want to start sooner than that (if necessary and if I can convince MBL :). Temping, charting, and OPKs will soon be a big part of my life again. And, I imagine, so will BFNs. I just hope there is another BFP in my future. Now that I know what a joy it is to be a parent, I can't wait to do it again...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

old familiar places...



Monday was a good day. First, I went to my moms' group and we put together an apple pie. I didn't actually bake it as I can't be trusted to be home alone with an entire pie. I froze it to use for my small group dinner next week. After a somewhat cranky day at home with Piper, I dropped her off with MBL at work and headed to my favorite running path. It was around 80ish degrees here on Monday and I wanted to take full advantage! As I was running around the path, I couldn't help but reflect on how my life has evolved over my 7 years as a runner. And that running path? I've been going there that entire time... Although, I did have to take a two year hiatus during our IF treatments. When I started running that path I was 19 years old, single, and going to college... 7 years later I am married, happy, and a mom! That path has seen my deepest frustrations and hurts and, on Monday, it got to see the best of me. The happiest and most fulfilled I have felt in years. My birthday is next week and I can honestly say that I am exactly where I want to be. I am sure, in the future, I will run that path again and I am so hoping that as time goes on I am able to be as sure of myself as I was on Monday. Happy and content and exactly where I want to be.

Another familiar place I will be visiting again? This lovely city:


And this time? We are attempting it with a 5 month old!! Yep, that's right, we're bringing the baby. MBL is pretty excited about showing her one of our favorite cities. And I'm pretty excited to go there again! The last time we went was in November of 2009 and we were just about to start our first IVF cycle. We were full of hope and certain that by January we would have our much desired positive pee stick. One sore point of the trip was that we had applied to get financial help with our IVF meds as we were paying out of pocket and I was about to leave on a day of sightseeing when I got the call that we were denied coverage. I remember holding back tears at each museum I visited. I was crushed and so certain that it meant doom for our journey to baby. But, that is just about the only IF related sore that I remember from that trip. Mostly I remember having a great time hopping from museum to museum and going out in the evenings with MBL. I LOVED the city and I'm both excited and anxious to try and navigate it with a baby in tow. I'm sure there are other people in NYC with infants who get around just fine :). I am so thankful that on this trip I won't be holding back tears or worrying about shots. SO. THANKFUL.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A decision?

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back here and update on our "are we moving?" situation. Basically, since my initial post, there has been a lot of back and forth communcation between MBL and I. Yes, it's odd to say that I am "communicating" with my spouse, but we have been crazy busy here and we've nearly had to schedule time to chat!

To make a long story short, we decided to tell International that we are interested in having MBL take a temporary position with them. The way it would work is that MBL and I would go over to The Netherlands for 3-6 months so that MBL could get to know the office over there and establish himself as a knowledgeable and dependable part of the team. We would then come back here and MBL would continue to work for International for the following year and a half. At that point, he would go back to his current position at the US side of the company. We realized that we cannot move to Chic.ago or The Nether.lands full time right now because our house is not in sellable condition. We would have to put quite a bit of money into to get it on the market, and it is highly unlikely that we would see a return on that money... So, we are keeping our home base here :).

Nothing is official yet, as MBL has to send International the "number" he is thinking as far as salary. And I have more exciting details to share, but I will have to come back here to do that, as I am wiped out from a week of single mom-ing it and my bed is calling out to me!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

changes are coming!!

**Before I get started, I want to say that if you know me in real life, please do not post about this on FB or mention this to any of my family members as I want to be able to share the final outcome when the time is right...**

Now that I have you all sufficiently scared/interested, I have to say that this week was a big one in our house. And it has absolutely nothing to do with Piper or adding any new babies to the mix (although, I am still wondering where AF is...).

The big news is that it is very likely that we will be making a big move in the near future. For a few months now, MBL has known that the international side of the business where he works was interested in bringing him on board. They had discussed potential job opportunities with him back in July, but he was told that the money for those positions was not approved and so it was unlikely anything would happen until next July (when the new fiscal year begins). So, when MBL was called into a meeting with two of the head honchos from international on Friday, he thought nothing of it. And then they told him that they want him on board. Now. When MBL asked about the timeline for this position, like when it would start, the response was, "Tomorrow?". No, they do not actually expect us to be able to make such a huge transition quickly, but it is clear that they want MBL as soon as possible.

Why does this job opportunity mean big change for our family? Because this means that we will be making a big move...

Option #1


Option #2


Basically, MBL is on his fourth trip to the Nether.lands in the last year and that is where most of the work for his new role would be focused. This does not mean that we as a family have to move there, but it would certainly be convenient for his new job. He was told that, at first, it will be crucial for him to have a presence there. The head of international did not move there, but said that he basically spent a whole month there when he first started work. I do not think I would do well with MBL gone for a whole month, especially since we live so far away from family (well, not really far away, but not down the road either).

If we do not move our family there, then we will definitely be moving from our current location to be near my parents. If MBL is going to be gone abroad several times a month, then I will need the support of my family to make it through. Right now we live out in the country and it's just not possible for me to maintain the house/housework, work part time, and raise Piper. And while I am resigned to having dirty floors in exchange for precious play time with my daughter, living here in the winter without MBL around to clear our driveway is just not reasonable. Plus, I get lonely when he is gone and it would be so nice to have my parents near by. So, if we decide to stay here in the states, then we would likely move to the Chi.cago area.

As you can see, no matter what we are faced with a huge life change ahead of us. MBL and I basically spent most of yesterday in silent shock over the reality of what this means for our family. On one hand, this is exciting! MBL is basically being offered a significant promotion and this job offer shows us just how much his company values his work. It would be a great career move for him and a new adventure for us. We both love to travel and would be thrilled to instill that love in Piper at such a young age. At the same time, we are terrified. I have lived in this area since I started college 8 years ago and MBL has lived here for 10 years. That's a long time! As much as I hate the winter, I've grown to enjoy our small city. I know where the farmer's market is, I recently joined a mommy group, and I have fantastic friends. I am comfortable here. But, I do not think it would be appropriate to allow our fear of the unknown to drive our decision.

As I was laying in bed last night, still trying to process it all, a compromise of sorts came to mind. We may decide to move to The Neth.erlands for a short(er) amount of time and then move to Chic.ago. That way, MBL could get to know the staff in the Nether.lands and be available locally during his transition into his new role, but we wouldn't have to commit to permanently living there. After six months or so, we could move to Chic.ago and then MBL would travel there when he was needed. It is likely that he would travel a week or so every 4-6 weeks, but if we kept our home "base" in the US, then we wouldn't have to worry about making family travel internationally to visit us. Plus, I really don't want Piper's grandparents/aunts/uncles to miss out on the first two years of her life! But, as of right now, no decisions have been made... We're still trying to process it all!

So, there it is, our big news. I'm all at once excited and scared out of my mind about this new chapter in our journey!

Monday, September 19, 2011

everything that comes to mind...

Sorry for the lack of blog posts. Our busyness has continued into the early fall. My baby sister got married the weekend after Labor Day and because of that we spent four day in Chi.cago. Piper was the flower girl. MBL escorted her down the aisle and it was absolutely precious. We had a blast and when it was time to pack up, we could not believe we had been there for four days! One of the things that has been keeping me from posting here is the fact that I keep thinking of too many things to blog about... So, I am going to make this a bullet point post, that way it won't seem so strange that my topics aren't interrelated.

•I am still pumping. Still doing it three times a day and still only making around 7oz. I actually don’t mind it that much, but if I haven’t gotten PPAF (post partum aunt flow) by the time Piper is six months old, I will stop. The reason for that is that we want to TTC as soon as we can and take advantage of the supposed post-pregnancy fertile time and if I haven’t gotten PPAF by that time, I will need to stop pumping in order to get her to come back.
•Speaking of TTC #2, I’m already worried about how long it will take and if we will even be successful. It’s so silly to worry about it before we even begin, but that doesn’t stop by from doing it! I just want to be able to get pregnant the “easy” way. I don’t want to have to go through all the meds and money again. I know it’s selfish, but I don’t want to try clo.mid again… I’ve just gotten back into running and I can’t do that if I’m on fertility meds. I also do not want multiples… I know that my chances are low on clo.mid and I would surely be happy with whatever success we achieved, but twins would be a lot.
•MBL and I would really love to have 3 kids and I really hate that because we have fertility problems I can’t just assume that we’ll be able to achieve that. We kind of decided that if we need IVF for #2 that’s all we’ll have, but I wonder if I’ll really be able to give up our dream of having three children. Would we try IVF again to get #3? Would I always regret it if I didn’t? IF still sucks.
•I will say, though, that IF has made me really grateful for the gift I have been given. Every day of being a mom isn’t easy, but I really love it and whenever something stressful/disgusting happens I try to think, “I’d rather ¬_____ and have Piper than not have ¬¬¬¬___ and no Piper." For example, the other week Piper pooped all over herself and me. FUN! And while I was mildly grossed out, all I could think is, “I would rather have poop all over me and have Piper than not have poop on me and not have Piper.” All the time I think of those of you who are still waiting… Waiting on adoption papers, waiting to begin IF treatments, or waiting for your BFP (for #1, #2, or whatever number you want!). I am so thankful that I have Piper. It doesn’t erase all the pain of infertility, but it certainly eases it. And because I am aware of the pain of IF, I am thankful every day that I get to be a mom.
•All right, I have to go wake Piper up from her 3.5 hour nap… Poor little pumpkin has her first cold!

Friday, September 2, 2011

a different kind of anniversary...

Today is a different kind of anniversary... One year ago today Piper was one of three embryos that we transferred! When we got the call three days after retrieval that we were going to have a three day transfer, we were crushed. Our RE prided himself on 5 day transfers and so we figured our embies were no good. But, we decided to go into it with as much optimism as our other treatments. Afterall, I had read plenty of successful three day embryo transfer stories. When I was handed the picture of our three embryos, my heart sank a bit. They looked nothing like the perfect pictures of embryos I had seen online or on our RE's website. When we asked our nurse about our embryos, she said that there was nothing wrong with them, they were just what MBL and I created together. She went on to say that they transferred perfect 5 day blasts all the time that turned into BFNs and "ugly" embies that became beautiful babies. I was too embarassed to post this a year ago, but here is the picture of our three embryos:



Those of you who have googled "three day embryos", know that those are not textbook embies... But, you know what? One of those turned into this little girl:



I can't believe how lucky we got. I also can't believe that it was just a year ago that MBL started giving me nightly PIO shots. It seems like it was forever ago... And now instead of those nightly shots, we spend our evenings feeding and playing with our IVF miracle.

And, now, knowing the joy that being a parent is, we are anxious to add to our family. I'm sure other people would think we are crazy, but we are being hopeful infertiles and praying that it doesn't take 21 months, 2 IVFs, and a bunch of $$$ to get #2... And don't even get me started on our hoping for #3...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

things that surprise me...

Lately I feel like my whole life has been turned upside down... And, really it has. In May I become a mom and last week I took on a new title of working mom. There is so much about my "new" life that surprises me...

-For starters, I am surprised that I am still pumping. I was going to give up back in June when I got mastitis for the first time. I then realized that I could pump 3 times a day and still get the 7-8oz I was producing when I was pumping 7-8 times a day. I've never made enough for Piper, but it makes me feel good that she is still getting some breastmilk. MBL had a TON of allergies as a kid and we know that breastmilk can help prevent some of that, so we both feel like it's good for me to continue pumping. I did get mastitis AGAIN, but it didn't make me want to give up, so for now I'm going to continue carting around my BFF: the pump.

-Another thing that surprises me is how much I LOVE staying home with Piper. I absolutely adore it. Why does this surprise me? Well, to be honest, as a babysitter, I sometimes found hanging out with kids ALL DAY to be kind of boring (please don't throw stones!). I mean I love kids and all and I think it's so neat to see them interact and change, but sometimes it was quite daunting to have to "entertain" kids all day. Well, as it turns out, it is WAY different with your own kids. I LOVE sitting on the couch and "talking" with Piper. It's funny because she actually tires of me before I tire of her. I'll want to sit and chat and she'll start fussing and as soon as I turn her around to face the world, she is happy as can be. There have actually been a few times where I've been trying to soothe her by holding/bouncing her and she doesn't stop fussing until I put her in her bouncy! Funny girl.

-On the note of loving staying home, I'm actually also enjoying going to work. I don't love my job, but the first day back was far easier than I expected it to be. It was nice to have other responsibilities than just being a mom (and I use the term "just" loosely as I personally believe it to be a perfectly fantastic job to hold). With my schedule, too, I feel like I get the best of both worlds, I work Wednesdays and every other weekend. She goes to daycare one day a week and then on the weekends when I work she will be home with her daddy. I'm actually glad that MBL will get a chance to parent her by herself... I think it will be good for all of us! Plus with the IVF debt we still have and my school loans coming due, it's nice to have the extra income! We could definitely make it work for me to stay home all the time, but it would mean sacrificing a lot and, at this point, it makes more sense for me to work. And, thankfully, I'm learning that it's not so bad.

-What else is surprising? Just how HARD being a working momma is! I work 10 hours days and I am the one who picks up Piper from daycare. I leave work, go pick her up, head home where I am greeted by a dog that has been neglected all day, and then have to tend to the nightly things like dinner, dishes, feedings, diaper changes, and preparing for the next day. I don't want to start a debate on this, but I am beyond impressed by mommas who do this every day... My hat goes off to all those working moms who somehow manage to get it all done! I don't think I could do it.

-Speaking of that, I am surprised by just how much work being a stay at home mom is. I knew it was going to be tough, but I'm surprised by how wonderful and yet equally difficult it is. Trying to accomplish all that needs to get done on a daily basis is truly a large task. I don't know how households with two working parents do it. My house is a disaster, even though I spend a large part of my time trying to keep it clean. I am convinced that if I worked full time we would need to hire a maid.

-Lastly, I am surprised by just how ready I am to start trying for #2. I am equally surprised by just how eager MBL is, too. I've decided that I really want my kids to be close in age. Ideally, I'd like to be done by the time I'm thirty, which gives us 4 years and 2 months to have two more children. I know I'm being rather bold by assuming I'll be able to have those children, but I'm holding on to optimism over here :). Actually, MBL and I have decided that if it takes another $25,000 to get our second child, then we will probably just have two kids. I really want three (at one point we wanted four...), but I don't want to sacrifice future family trips and weeks at camp in order to get to that number. We're just waiting for my cycle to start and then we'll begin the fun process of temping and timing and waiting and hoping... All over again!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

whirlwind...

Wow! I feel like it's been forever since I was last on here! The title of this post fully explains the type of summer we have had... A whirlwind. We returned from our family vacation on Monday and it had been 17 days since I was last at our house. Crazy, right? We were in Chicago for my sister's shower and I stayed there for a few extra days while MBL went to San Diego for a conference. And, I joined him there without Piper. That's right, we've already had our first baby-less trip! I was really nervous about leaving her, but she was with my capable parents. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up; my parents were available to watch Piper, MBL's flight was paid for and so was most of our hotel, and we used miles for me to fly there. We could have brought Piper with us, but I was too nervous about exposing her to all the germs on the airplane and too nervous about navigating four airports without any help. I LOVED San Diego and would totally move there in a heartbeat, BUT my parents are here in the Midwest, so this is where we will stay (for now).

When I returned from San Diego, we packed up and headed to a cottage on a lake for our annual family vacation. It's one of our favorite weeks of the year and this year was no different. We had a blast going out on the boat, taking Piper swimming, playing with our nephews, playing games late into the evening, and going to the zoo. It went by WAY too fast!! I love being surrounded by family and waking up to a house full of the people I love. I SOOOO wish MBL and I lived in the same area as my parents because spending time with them is just one of my most favorite things and I love that they are getting a chance to see Piper grow up. Eventually we will live closer than three hours away...

So, I can't believe it, but Piper is already 11 weeks old!! We had her two month appointment on Monday (overdue because of our vacations) and she is 22.75 inches and 11 lb 1oz. Her weight is the 40th percentile, her height is in the 48th percentile, and her head is in the 87th!! I swear she doesn't look like a bobble head doll! We also got her vaccinated, which was great because she starts daycare next week. Speaking of that, I cannot believe my maternity leave is nearly over. I'm absolutely dreading going back to work. I only work one day during the week and every other weekend, so Piper will only be at daycare one day a week, which is really ideal. Although more ideal for me would be if I didn't have to work at all! BUT, we still have about $5,000 left to pay on our IVF and then we have to start working on my school loans. Because I work 20 hours a week but only two days, we're maximizing our income while minimizing our expenses... I just wish I didn't have to work every other weekend! I hate that I'll be missing out on quality family time with MBL and Piper!

There is so much more to update on, but I need to get some chores done before Piper wakes up from her nap. So, I will leave you with two pictures; the first is when she was one month old and the second is from Monday (2.5 months). I can't believe how fast she is growing!

One month old:


Two months old:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

why I love a little blue pill...

I debated on whether or not to post about this. It's quite personal and people I know in real life read this. Also, I feel somewhat embarassed and self conscious about my problem. I feel like people like me shouldn't have this kind of problem. But, I want to be honest in my blog and in my life. I don't want to hide what is really going on. So, here goes...

It all started two and a half weeks ago. Well, actually, it probably started at Piper's birth, but it came to a head two and a half weeks ago. You see, quite unexpectedly, I ended up being quite the nervous nelly about caring for Piper. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right, if I was spending enough time talking to her or playing with her each day and every time she cried I worried about how I would calm her down. These fears/worries are pretty typical of a first time mom, I would assume. It's overwhelming having a new baby; balancing a new role all the while trying to figure out a new person for whom you are responsible. But right around the time I got masti.tis (lots of fun...), these fears/anxieties escalated to an unhealthy level. I started panicking about how I would care for Piper in the coming months, if I would be able to play with/entertain her all day long. I started worrying about how I would handle having more children, panicking over caring for/entertaining more than one child. I worried about being able to handle the little kid years, I wasn't sure I could handle the stress of it. One day I essentially had a panic attack and called my counselor to see if I could get on the cancellation list and, thankfully, she ended up having an appointment open up for that evening. It was perfect timing because I was supposed to have my 6 week appointment the next day (actually at 5 weeks post partum).

My counselor is a specialist in post partum issues and so I knew I was going to someone who could really help give me insight on what was going on. I told her exactly how I was feeling and she told me exactly what I was hoping to hear, which was basically that my hormones were all out of whack and it was causing me to experience extreme anxiety. I don't have a history of anxiety or depression, so she was surprised I was dealing with post partum emotional problems, but she encouraged me to speak with my OB about getting on some meds. As someone with a counseling background, I'm not keen to jump right to medication, but I honestly felt like no amount of counseling would stop the panic attacks/anxiety. Sadly, I got a call early the next morning that my OB had to do an emergency c-section and my appointment needed to be rescheduled. So, I called my general doc and tried to get in to see her, but despite calling every few hours, she didn't have an open appointment until the next day. I ended up having a pretty significant panic attack that evening and called MBL and asked him to come home (it was already after 5pm, but he rarely leaves work right at 5:00 and I knew I needed him home). When he got home, I just sat there and cried. So sad that I couldn't just enjoy my baby and so scared about how I was feeling. I was pretty sure I would never feel normal again. I basically counted the minutes until my 3:15pm appointment with my doc.

After a 45 minute wait (a LONG time for someone with anxiety oozing out of their pores), my doctor came in and looked quite worried. She, too, was surprised that I was having such intense anxiety. The good thing was that she agreed with my psychologist that it was due to my post partum hormones and that it was unlikely I would feel like that forever. She suggested I start taking zo.loft and ensured me that within the next two weeks I would start feeling better. She also wrote me a script for xan.ax just in case I had any more panic attacks. Over the next week I ended up needing to take the xa.nax most days (but just once a day) as we were visiting family and I didn't want to lose my head around them.

Then, finally, this past Monday the zo.loft had built up enough in my system to ease my anxieties. I woke up and felt better than the day before. I still felt anxious, but it didn't consume my every thought. I even got to the gym and was able to drop Piper off in their childcare area without flipping out. The next day I went to baby story time at the library and actually truly enjoyed myself. The last two days have been the best of all. On my worst days I seriously wasn't sure that I would ever feel like myself again and my raging anxiety kept me from enjoying my time with Piper. It was robbing me of cherishing these early days with her. And know that I don't spend every second worrying, I'm able to see how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be home with her. Instead of looking forward to the future, I'm relishing every moment of the present. And that is why I love a little blue pill, because without zol.oft I would still be walking around in a worry filled haze. Instead, now, I walk around so in love with my daughter and the time I spend with her each day. I cherish it when she falls asleep on me and I can just sit on the couch and hold her, knowing that she won't be this small for long. I am beyond thankful that the fog has lifted and that I am now able to truly love my new role as a mom.

Friday, June 24, 2011

was that a bus?

I feel like I may have been run over. The fatigue is seriously out of this world. I feel terrible for admitting that, but I am exhausted beyond belief and I just can't figure out why. There are a few factors that may be contributing to it, but I'm not quite sure how to pinpoint which one is causing it. And, no, it's probably not the baby. You see my little bundle of joy is sleeping through the night. Yep, she's four weeks old and has gone 6-8 hour stretches for the past week. She actually probably would have done that starting at birth if it weren't for the pesky weight gain problems. I usually go to bed at 9/9:30 and then wake up to pump when MBL feeds her a bottle between 4-5am. That means I am getting 6-7 hours of sleep in a row myself and, then, usually 2-3 more hours after that. I'm up for at least 45 minutes to pump and help MBL with the feeding/diaper changing, but then I am usually able to go right back to bed. With that amount of sleep, why am I so tired? I seriously feel like I am being robbed of these first few precious weeks with Piper because I am a zombie! I felt better for a few days this week, but yesterday and today, OH BOY!

I'm wondering if maybe it's the Regl.an that is making me so tired. One of the side effects is fatigue and another is restlessness... The weird thing is when I get so exhausted, I end up feeling like my hands have restless leg syndrome (if that makes any sense). Another thing I think it might be, and this seems totally crazy (and perhaps a little TMI), but my post partum bleeding has always been light and it stopped late last week. Then all of a sudden in the middle of this week it picked back up and is bright red. I'm wondering if it's PPAF?? Someone posted on my due date board that they felt exhausted because of it and maybe that's why I've been having the hit-by-a-bus feelings? I just wish I could get to the bottom of it because every day when I start feeling this way I want to give up on pumping and I feel TERRIBLE about that! I want to be able to provide Piper with some breastmilk (she gets about 40% BM and 60% formula), but it's draining! Perhaps that's not a good enough reason to give up? Pumping is hard and I wasn't prepared for our feeding issues and the extra work it takes to BOTH bottle feed and pump all day by myself. Maybe that's why I'm tired?

Sorry to be so darn whiney when so many of you would love to be in my shoes. I just wish I was prepared for how tired I am and I wish I had a solution for it. I don't want to walk around like a zombie during these precious months!! I guess part of it too is the fact that most of my friends do not have babies, so I don't have anyone to turn to and see if my feelings are normal and when do they end? It reminds me a lot of when we were going through IF... I felt so alone and confused and wishing there was someone there to tell me it was all going to be okay. BTDT moms, will it all be okay? Will I ever feel rested again? Am I going to be able to enjoy my baby without feeling like I'm going to collapse? Help!

Friday, June 17, 2011

the good, the bad, and the sometimes sad

Piper is 23 days old today. I can hardly believe that my baby has already been out of my body for three weeks! They have been the shortest three weeks of my life. Time is flying by already!

The good of the past three weeks? Getting to know my sweet daughter! And getting to know myself as a mom. I kind of feel like I was thrown into this role and I'm having an interesting time figuring it all out. I told MBL that I'm making it up as I go. For example? I read that I should keep noises at a normal level during the day so that Piper knows it's day time. So, I also decided that I should make her naps different than when we put her to sleep at night. At night we swaddle her and turn on her white noise maker and have the room very quiet. During the day I have her sleep in her swing or her bouncy and I don't swaddle her so that she sleeps lightly. I have no idea if this is "right", but it's what I'm doing for now. The good is that she seems to have straightened out her days and nights pretty well. She always goes at least 3 hours at night and more often than not goes 4-5. We've even had two nights of 6-7 hours in a row!! I consider us to be very lucky for that and pray that our stretches of sleep just get longer and more consistent. Another good thing is that I am already down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Actually, as of today, I am one pound below it. I still have 13-16 pounds to go before I'm at my pre-IF/comfy weight, but I'm glad to be closer to it!! I know it's vain to care about my weight when my baby is only three weeks old, but since I'm by no means a stick, I figure it's okay to be happy about smaller numbers on the scale! And since we plan on trying again when we get the green light from the doc, I'd like to reach that number in the next few months.

The bad? The only things I can think to put in this category are the fact that MBL had to go back to work this week (after having three weeks off) and the lack of sleep. The latter point? OH. MY. GOODNESS. There are days when I totally understand why some people choose to be one and done. I have never been so tired in my life. The funny thing is that each night I get between 7-9 hours of sleep, but those hours aren't consecutive and that, apparently, is key. Taking several 3-5 hour naps over a period of 12 hours and being awake for 30-60 minutes here and there during that time is not what my body enjoys. I'm not suprised by the fact that I have to get up several times a night, I'm just surprised by how much I resemble a zombie by mid-afternoon and how I long to go to bed at 6pm each day.

And now, the sad. What could be sad about having a baby after IF? Well, being reminded once again that my body doesn't like to do what it should and feeling like a failure because of it. Prior to Piper coming, I wasn't that excited about breastfeeding, but I knew I wanted to do it because that is what is best for the baby. So, I went to a class and intended on being gung-ho about the whole thing for the sake of Piper. Well...what I was not planning on was having a total crap supply. As it turns out, I am not a human cow. Right after Piper was born, the hospital did their best to get her to latch and feed right away, but it was a few hours before we got our first feed in. Then, the next day, she went 8 hours without eating a lot. Not for lack of effort, she just wouldn't stay awake long enough to get what she needed. The LC at the hospital ended up having my pump and feeding Piper through a tube (using her finger). I thought we were just off to a rocky start and that soon I would be overflowing. Nope. At Piper's 8 day appointment, she was still at the weight at which she left the hospital. I nearly burst into tears at the doctor's office. I went and met with a lactation consultation who basically told me that the problem was me. Simply put, I was not making enough to make Piper gain weight. That night we had to start supplementing because Piper was inconsolable. Talk about feeling like a total crap parent. My baby was hungry because my body can't do what it should. The supply issues have hit me harder than I imagined. I have friends and even a cousin who have similar issues and I always thought, "Oh poor them" while simultaneously thinking, "I'm sure that won't happen to me." Which, incidentally, is exactly how I used to view IF. Something that happens to other people, not me. It makes me incredibly sad that I can't provide Piper with all the nutrition she needs. I'm taking medication and supplements and my supply still hasn't gotten to where it needs to be. Oh, and I have to pump instead of nurse because Piper doesn't empty me when she nurses and otherwise I'd have to pump AFTER I nursed AND try to feed Piper the additional ounces she needs. The whole thing is completely frustrating and infuriating!! I'd like my body to just work a little bit better (please?).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

birth story continued!

All right, I'm back to continue my birth story!

So when I left off I had asked for nu.bain to help with the contractions and, like I said, it basically didn't give pain relief but just made me care less about the pain I was in. What I really think would have helped with all the contractions is a heating pad. I brought my own from home, but upon arrival was told I couldn't use it because it had not been approved by the hospital. BOOO!! They did get me one of their "heating pads" but it didn't work very well and did not get as warm as I needed it to be. My mom and MBL were great help during the contractions, MBL would come rub my arm or hold my hand and my mom would put counter pressure on my hip. It was awesome to have their help! I actually ended up feeling the most relief when MBL came and got into the hospital bed with me and just snuggled me. Something about having his presence so close helped me relax and made the contractions more bearable.

FINALLY, it was 3:00!! The anesthesiologist came and talked to me about the spinal and how things would go once we were in the operating room. My main concern was that I would throw up while on the table. He told me that most people do and that it wasn't a big deal...not exactly what I wanted to hear. I told him I wanted an anti nausea med with my spinal and he said he would give me one if I needed it. He then gave me a salty tasting drink that he said would make my stomach less acidic in case I did throw up. They then brought in the wheelchair for me and loaded me up. Once we got into the operating room, I started shaking (I was told it was from nerves and all my hormones). I kept praying that I would have a contraction before they started the spinal so I wouldn't flinch when there was a needle in my spine and, thankfully, I had one right before he started. The spinal itself was not bad, I jerked a bit when he went in with it, but I think it's because he hit a nerve that made my foot move. They reminded me to stay perfectly still. Once the spinal was in I could feel the medicine rushing into my spine and as soon as he was done, they made me lay down immediately and started getting me prepped for the section. The anesthesiologist was upset because my OB wasn't there yet and apparently once they do the spinal they like to have the doc in immediately. I later found out from my husband that she had gone to OB triage thinking we were there and that's why she was late. He said he knew it was her running because of the click clack of her heels. My OB has fantastic style :). The rest was kind of a blur, MBL came in and sat by my head and held my hand. They tested my belly to make sure I was numb and then started cutting. They were very chatty through the whole thing, like it was no big deal. It actually made me feel better to hear them bantering. In what seemed like mere seconds, I heard a cry and my OB was yelling, "Lower the curtain, lower the curtain!!". She then held out my daughter for me to see and then went and plopped her on the warmer.

I was in shock that a real baby just came out of me. To be honest, whenever I heard women talking about wanting "to be present" during their births, I was confused. How could you not be present? Now I totally get it. Having a csection was a completely bizarre experience...and it felt so surreal to have a baby just pulled out of me. Oh, and I should mention that when the pulled her out, the OB said, "A double cord!" As it turns out, Piper had the cord wrapped around her neck TWICE. And that is why they don't let first time moms deliver breech babies, because there is no way to tell if the cord is around the neck until the baby is in distress. Anyways, MBL left my side and went over to the warmer where he asked the nurse if he could touch Piper and she was like, "Of course, she's your baby!" The csection team was awesome! They thought MBL was so cute in his shorts and scrubs that they were taking pictures of him. They made the whole experience so wonderful. After I was sewn back up, they wheeled me to recovery with Piper and MBL. They gave me water and tried to get Piper to breastfeed. This part of the section was a total mess...Piper wouldn't latch and was screaming and I started throwing up. I am impressed that the hospital did such a great job of trying to get BFing started right away, but it just didn't work out for me.

After an hour in recovery, they wheeled me to my post partum room where my mom was waiting to meet her new granddaughter. The first night in the hospital was not the greatest as I was hooked up to all sorts of machines and the one taking my pulse kept alarming because I kept dropping below 50bpm (I have a low resting pulse when I'm not pregnant) and they refused to shut it off until 4am. I ended up being quite exhausted on Thursday, but I was blessed to have loads of visitors who wanted to meet Piper. Those first few days with her in the hospital were just magical, with visitors stopping by to see our new little one and having time to bond with MBL and our new addition. All in all, even though my birth story is not what I was imagining it would be, I feel so blessed to have a beautiful daughter who got here safely.

Oh, and one interesting point is that my hospital doesn't do VBACs due to the risk of uterine rupture. So it looks like if/when we're blessed with another little one, I will be having another csection. Pretty crazy!

Here is another picture, of MBL snuggling with Piper:

Friday, June 3, 2011

she's here!!!

Sorry I've been MIA... I have a good reason, our baby arrived last Wednesday!! Here are the stats:

Name: Piper June
Birthdate: May 25, 2011
Weight: 7lb
Height: 20.5 inches

I went to my doctor last Tuesday (may 24) for a NST and my weekly checkup. The baby did not move at all the first 20 minutes, but then passed the test the second 20 minutes. The doc checked me and I was 3-4cm dilated at the bottom of my cervix and 2cm at the top. She said that I was dilating like a woman who had given birth before. She scheduled my induction for May 31st in the evening. I told her that I was too concerned to wait that long and asked if there was anything else we could do. The night before my appointment, Piper hadn't moved at all over an hour and I just about had a heart attack. So... I was not keen on waiting a whole week for my induction, not knowing if I would go into labor before then. Thankfully, my doctor is incredibly understanding and got on the phone with the hospital and moved my induction up to that evening. I had to call the hospital at 6pm to make sure they had a bed. I did that and they told me it would be until after midnight or early the next morning before they would have anything. During this time I called my mom and told her it was go time so she could head up here from Chi.cago. She arrived around midnight and we talked for a bit and then we both went to bed. Around 3:30am I woke up to go to the bathroom and realized that I was having what felt like period cramps with my contractions (I should mention that I had been contracting regularly for over a week but they hadn't been painful). I started timing them and they were coming every five minutes. I tried to sleep because they didn't feel painful enough to warrant going in right then...but that was pretty much pointless. Eventually I got up and finished my nesting and at 6am I woke MBL up and told him it was time to get up and get ready to take me to the hospital. My contractions were getting more painful and at times coming every 2-3 minutes. I could tell that he was in disbelief that it was actually time and just kind of meandered about trying to figure out what to do. Right before we left I decided to eat one frozen waffle to give me some fuel for the long day that was likely ahead of me.

We got to the hospital and they checked me in right away. They brought me up to L&D and said that they were actually going to call me because they had a bed ready. I got changed into the glamorous gown they had for me and then got hooked up to the contraction and fetal heart rate monitor. I continued to have painful contractions that ranged between 2-6 minutes apart. Because the contractions were not happening at regular intervals, they wanted to break my water and start pitocin. I couldn't believe that we were actually going to be meeting our daughter soon! When the resident broke my water she checked my cervix and I was at 3cm and 60% effaced. She was letting out all of the "pockets" when she suddenly asked, "When was your last ultrasound?" MBL and I told her it was at 26 weeks. She then said, "This baby is not on it's way out!" And, at this point, I'm two seconds away from having a panic attack...wondering why the resident wants to know when my last ultrasound was and how could my baby not be on it's way out?? She went and got the machine and put it on the bottom of my belly. I couldn't make out a head so all I could think was that my baby didn't have a head!! She then lifted the wand up to the top of my belly and showed me that her head was actually up at the top of my belly!! She was breech!! The resident asked if I knew what that meant and I said, "Yep, c-section."

She said that I was exactly right and then asked when was the last time I ate. Remember the ONE waffle I ate before we left? That ONE waffle meant that I had to wait at least 8 hours before they could do the section. Because I was hooked up to pitocin, my contractions started coming more frequently and were more painful. Basically, I ended up having to go through 8 hours of real labor knowing that the contractions would never accomplish what they were created for. I tried to go through it without any pain meds (all they could give me was IV narcotics), but the contractions became unbearable and I ended up asking for something. They gave me nu.bain which they claimed would "take the edge off". What it actually did was make me high and sleepy without really taking away any of the pain. It did make me care less about the pain I was in, but definitely offered little relief from it.

I'll have to continue this story later as my little girl is demanding to be fed...

In the meantime, enjoy this picture:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

something on everything...

I'm feeling a bit all over the place these days. I can't seem to keep my mind focused on anything, and so this post is going to reflect that :). To make it more interesting, I've included lots of pictures.

I mentioned in my last post that MBL and I are going to cloth diaper. We are very lucky to have a local store that stocks new and used products and has lots of tips on how to best use cloth diapers. We stopped there again yesterday to look at their stock of resale cloth diaper covers. We were only able to find one, but here is a picture of the one we bought the last time we were there. It is so cute and I am SOOOO excited to use it!


One thing MBL and I are kind of nervous about with having a baby is our dog. No, we're not worried that our dog won't do well with the baby, we are nervous about the attention we won't be able to give him. He is, after all, our first baby. We got him when I first started to think we might have a problem conceiving. Taking him on walks and seeing how that simple act made him so happy, helped me make it through the months of BFNs. This pregnancy has already meant that he hasn't had as many walks as he deserves (I've had terrible round ligament pain) and that breaks my heart. Poor little guy! I'm hoping that once the baby is here, MBL and I will be able to go for lots of walks! I mean look at this little guy, he's just too cute:

I just hope we are able to give him ample attention, both because he deserves it and because I've heard that dogs sometimes get naughty when a new baby comes along and steals all the attention and I don't want to be mad at the dog all the time!

With just one day left until the baby gets here, I am happy with our preparations for her arrival. Our house is still under contruction (unfinished basement and lots of little projects), but I am happy to say that the baby's room is complete! We were VERY lucky to have my dad here a few weeks ago to help with the finishing touches, like putting in a new window and drywall because we discovered mold and a leak! With all that construction, it meant that I had to wait to put her room together and it felt like it took forever! Thankfully, it's all done and everything is in it's place. In case you're curious, we painted the walls brown and have white trim. There are accents of avocado green in several places to give it a pop of color. It all ties in to the bedding set we chose (gender neutral, because we're hoping we get to use it again):


Finally, I am due tomorrow and I am kind of surprised with how I feel. I have woken up the last four mornings crabby about everything! It feels like I have PMS to the 100th degree. I am so ready to meet this little girl! I want to be the calm, collected, go with the flow 40 week preggo lady, but I am SOOOO not. I have been having contractions since last Saturday and they have been timeable and consistent since Wednesday night and, yet, nothing! Yesterday we even got to the magical 5-1-1 point, but because my contractions were not painful, I was told it was probably best to stay home and wait it out. GAH!!! I think part of why I am so upset is that the contractions are regular and uncomfortable enough that they wake me up/keep me up at night, so I'm not getting the rest I need. When we had our appointment this past Wednesday, our doc told us that if my contractions were consistent we should go to the hospital and she would have them keep us. The only problem with that? Our doc is not on call this weekend, another doc is, and when we talked to him yesterday he was in no rush to get me in. So...we are left waiting and wondering. We have our next appointment with the doc on Tuesday and we've decided that at that point we will schedule an induction. I don't like the fact that I've been having contractions every 5-10 minutes for 5 days at this point. All those contractions mean that I don't feel the baby move as much as I would like (aka as much as would put my mind at ease that all is well in there). I'm very lucky because my OB is beyond understanding. I don't know how, but she gets my fears and doesn't make me feel stupid for being anxious. I would love to go into labor on my own, and there is still time for that, but I just feel like my body is at a stand still and my emotions are out of control. I should be in good condition for an induction, as I am already dilated and effaced and I can only imagine that I've made progress since the last time I was checked (5 days ago), but we will see how things are going in there on Tuesday. Unless of course I start having painful contractions or my water breaks before then....(please, please, please!!!!)

Oh, and just for fun, here is a picture of me from our maternity photo shoot at 35 weeks:

(I love my belly, but I'm so ready to meet the baby who's living inside there!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

still here!

And I am still pregnant! I am trying to keep myself busy and keep my mind off what is ahead of me. This past weekend was supposed to be my graduation from grad school, so my parents' were in town from Chi.cago. During the middle of last week I just wasn't sure that I actually wanted to attend my graduation. It was 2 hours away and the closest hospital is just not top notch. I was leaning more towards not going when I got a call from the school that the campus was being shut down due to the rota.virus and graduation was being postponed to this upcoming Saturday (the 21st). That helped me with my decision :). I decided to think of this past weekend as my last without children and just enjoy lots of adult time. We went shopping, out to my favorite restaurants, and stayed up late playing cards. It was awesome.

Also, on Saturday, MBL and I had a date at the local cloth diaper store. I don't know if I've mentioned it on here, but MBL and I are planning on cloth diapering. It was always my intention to cloth diaper, but it took some convincing to get MBL on board. I had done my research and decided to get a good supply of pocket diapers--I have mostly Bum.Genius one size. They seemed like they were easy, reliable, and well rated. MBL has it in his head that prefolds would be the best for him, but I wanted to check them out in person. Thankfully, we have a local store where we could go and check them out. The woman who runs the store is incredible and was so helpful! She showed us exactly how prefolds work and gave us helpful tips on washing/using them. I have to say, I think MBL may be right on this one! I am so excited to cloth diaper her, it is ridiculous! The plan is to start using cloth diapers as soon as we use the supply of disposables that we have (one box of newborns and one box of size ones).

Speaking of her getting here, I find myself in some sort of limbo. Every night I go to bed wondering if she will be arriving the next day, sort of excited and sort of scared. I want to meet my daughter and get this parenthood thing started, but I'm also completely aware that her arrival will forever change our lives. I guess after going through infertility, I just never considered that I'd actually get to the point where I would need to prepare my life for a baby. Sounds silly, right? With all we went through to get here, actually bringing home a baby seemed too unrealistic. And now she is coming! I've been contracting off and on since Saturday, I've started to dilate, and we've completely prepped her room. Now all that is standing in my way is labor and delivery and then I will be a parent. And, truthfully, it still hasn't really sunk in. I mean, I can go and sit in the rocker in her room and look around at all the baby furniture and I'm still in disbelief. During my first trimester I wrote a post about feeling like I was holding my breath, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Someone wrote a comment on how they held their breath all the way to the delivery room. I thought they were crazy! All I could think was, how could you be pregnant for 9 months and still not believe there would be a baby at the end? Apparently it's not that hard because here I am, full term, and still in shock that in mere days I will be giving birth to my daughter. I guess the sting of infertility really hasn't gone away.

All I can say is, I think the only thing that will smack me back to reality is actually going through labor/delivery and holding my baby in my arms...then it should all sink in, right?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

you just can't make me happy...

Today is a weird day for me. I just don't know what to do with myself or my emotions. Last year was TOUGH. For a recap about how the day went, you can go here. A brief summary of last year on this day? I got my period. I had to work a ten hour shift. And I felt forgotten (although I did have one amazing friend acknowledge all of the waiting for our BFPs mamas). I'm sure I cried. What I remember so vividly is that this day HURT. Like deep down in my bones emotional pain HURT. I grieved what I was lacking, what I wanted so badly.

Today? I am the epitome of a mom to be...just about bursting at the seams! I have received text messages from all but one of my sisters, a card from my mom, a text from my cousin, and face.book acknowledgement of the fact that I can now "celebrate" Mother's Day. While I am grateful for the beautiful, thoughtful texts I have received, I really just feel weird about the whole day. I'm beyond grateful to have this baby in my belly and it's such a gift to not be spending the day crying over my period, but I can't help think of just how crappy I felt last year. How much this day stung. Infertility is an awkward disease, one that lots of people don't know how to handle/address. I imagine that most of my family didn't know what to say to me last year...I don't even know what the best thing would have been for them to say.

I was thinking of how we could rework the name of this day and it's all very PC. It could be "Happy Women's Day" or "Happy Women's Health Day." But even those don't seem to work. It's not that I think it's wrong to celebrate mothers. My own is an amazing woman for whom I am immensely grateful. She is one of my most favorite people on this planet and I love spending time with her. I would love it if my older sister and I lived on either side of my parents because we would have a blast (youngest sister, I'm assuming you would still live with Mom and Dad ;). I am lucky enough to have really amazing female relatives. My youngest sister once described my older sister as "fierce" and I really think that describes us well. I blame my mom for that, she didn't want us to be doormats or dumb blondes. I have been blessed with an incredible Mom and I love celebrating her.

My point in all of this? Is that it seems you just can't make me happy on this day. I was devastated last year and this year I'm just passe towards the whole day. I just wish there was a way to acknowledge Moms, Moms-to-be, Women who want to be moms, and Women who are either too young to be moms or aren't sure they want to be moms. So, maybe I should make this day, "Happy You're an Amazing Woman Day"?! That could work.

I just want all those still waiting for their BFPs to know that I am thinking of you and I remember how hard this day was. I just hope you know that I think y'all are amazing and strong and incredible women and deserve acknowledgement on this day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

a few thoughts and an update!

I am 3 weeks from my due date today! That's only 21 days! Wowza. As I near the end of my pregnancy, I thought I would share some thoughts on being pregnant and what I am anticipating for my birth experience. Here it is:

-I have really enjoyed being pregnant. It's been an incredible experience and even though I am now over 9 months pregnant, I still don't feel *that* uncomfortable. Sure I have to get up 2-3 times a night to pee and getting up off the couch makes me feel quite large, but other than that, I feel pretty good! (and, yes, I realize that I am very lucky for that!)
-While I do enjoy being pregnant, I am REALLY looking forward to meeting this little girl! I want to see what her little face looks like! I want to kiss her face, feet, and hands!
-There are two things that bum me out about pregnancy, and, yes, they are totally vain. The first thing is that up until 32 weeks I did not have a single stretchmark. I read that this meant I probably wouldn't get any. WRONG. In the last two weeks, my lower belly has exploded!! I have lots. It's totally worth it, but it still makes me sad. The second thing is that I have put on weight in my thighs/butt. I was hoping to be a belly only person, but the lack of consistent exercise (up until 24 weeks) has meant that my legs are suffering for it. Thankfully I have a closet full of maternity dresses that hide this quite well!! Just like the stretch marks, my thicker legs are totally worth it in the end :).
-As I get closer to actually having to deliver this baby, I have had to decide how I would like things to go. The basic gist of it? Get the baby out safely and soundly, whatever that entails! Really, I am hoping to deliver vagin.ally WITH an epidural and I would like to hold out on getting the drugs until I am 4-5cm. Up until that point, I am planning on walking around and using the birthing ball to help get the baby in prime position.
-Related to that last point, when I was with my mom a few weeks ago I found out that her water broke with her first three pregnancies! Considering that happens in only 10% of pregnant women (before labor starts), I am now planning on it happening to me. Also, bizarrely enough, with two of those she had to be induced because labor didn't start after her water broke. And she still had vagin.al births! I'm hoping that if I need to be induced, I have the same fate!
-I just started packing my hospital bag. It seems so surreal that I actually need to be ready for her arrival!

So, as it turns out, the positive results my mom had from induction might end up being very important to me. In the last two weeks, my picture perfect, complication free pregnancy has taken an interesting turn. Normally I have incredible blood pressure. My systolic is usually in the low 100s and my diastolic is usually between 50-60. I've even had readings in the 90s. These numbers have continued in my pregnancy, up until recently. Over the last two weeks it's slowly been getting higher. On Friday I was at work and felt really weird so I went to the medical office (conveniently right next door to mine) and took my BP/HR. My BP was 139/85 and my HR was 102!!! I took it again an hour later and it was 135/82 and my HR was 113!!! I called my doc and she told me that I would probably need to be taken off of work (even though I work a desk job) and that I should go in to the hospital if my BP remained elevated over the weekend. Well, it did stay up, but I did not go in. I just wasn't sure what they could do for me. I am planning on waiting for my appointment on Wednesday to speak with the doc about what this means. Even though I rested today and did a whole lot of sitting around, my BP was still high. I'm guessing the doc will take me off of work and have me rest lots until inducing me. From what I've read, they usually like to have you go to 39 weeks, if possible. Now, if I start spilling protein (which I haven't yet), then it may be sooner. All I can say is that having my BP and HR be so high (again, for me) is really scary and makes me feel all sorts of weird. I will probably ask for an ultrasound on Wednesday to make sure the baby is handling all of this well. I really looking foward to getting some answers on Wednesday!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

it's just soooo not about that...

So, I debated blogging about this because it's kind of personal, but after giving it some thought, I decided I need to express my feelings about this matter.

Last weekend was our baby shower in Chi.cago. That's where I grew up and where most of my extended family still lives. We don't have any family nearby (my older sister lives the closest at 2.5 hours away)... Actually, we don't have any of my family nearby and MBL's family is just not the type that gets together that often (they live 45 minutes away). Anyways, whenever we have a shower or celebration, it's always in Chi.cago because that's where my parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles live. So, naturally, our shower was there. (Oddly enough, the point of this post is not the location of our shower...) For our baby shower, my mom arranged to have it at a restaurant basically right across from their house. Everything about our shower was perfect and more than I could have asked for; from the delicious food to the decorations to the picture perfect diaper cake my sister created. MBL and I both felt so special and the whole day was a celebration of this new little girl we are adding to the family. Such special people attended the shower, including my beyond adorable great aunts and even a great uncle. I have an amazing extended family and it felt so nice to see them and to have them celebrate with us.

Besides their presence, our guests also showered us with presents. To have people go out and purchase items that we need and want for our daughter, to show their love and excitement for us in that way, is just so special to me. Their mere attendance would have been enough, but we were given an abundance of items that will hopefully make our new journey as parents a little easier and less expensive (let's face it, IVF is NOT cheap). We received most of the items that were on our "must have" list and a lot that will just be fun and cute to have. After all the presents were opened, I thanked everyone for coming and celebrating the joy of our upcoming arrival with us and I sincerely meant every word. Even if we had been given 100 receiving blankets and none of the items on our registry, I still would have felt so blessed that our family and friends took time out of their busy schedules to celebrate with us.

Which brings me to something that really peeved me off. Without getting too specific, a certain attendee at our shower who comes from money made a comment to a member of my immediate family about how boring our shower was and how all we did was eat, talk, and open presents. He then went on to say that the shower was really pointless as my parents likely spent more money on the shower than we received in gifts!!! Seriously??? That's what matters? How much the sum of our gifts comes out to be? I must have missed the memo on that one. Thinking about that comment still makes me feel sick. And I'm peeved that hearing about it made me feel bad about the cost of the shower. My mom and dad are generous with their time, love, and, yes, money. They don't have a lot, but they enjoy spending it on their children...I know they were happy to have the shower for us and never would have thought about the cost of the shower versus how much we received. After hearing about this comment, my mom even said that they could have given us the money they spent on the shower (instead of actually throwing us one), but that throwing the shower was so much more meaningful. And I know she means that. I just hate that this one person had to go and rain on my beautiful day. And I hate that there are people out there who think that way. I hate it because MBL and I both realize just how freakin' lucky we are to be having this baby. We know that there are lots of couples out there who would love to have their own baby shower. Couples, who like us, don't care about the presents they receive because they know that they have already been given the most precious one. As an infertile, I was thanking God that my dream of having a baby shower for our baby was actually being realized. I was not always sure that the day would come... So, even though our baby didn't receive a solid gold rattle as a gift, I still feel so flippin' fortunate for what we have been given and the people in our lives who are able to recognize the important things in life (like celebrating with family and friends and not focusing on material possessions).

(Oh, I should add that this attendee is planning on TTC at the start of 2012 despite spending 20 minutes at Christmas telling me just how much he can't stand children and how loud and disruptive they are... So, of course, he'll probably "get pregnant" on the first month of trying... Grrrr!!!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

thirty five...

So, this post is a little late... On Monday I reached a magical point, 35 weeks and 35 days away from my due date! I first heard about that milestone on another blog and could not imagine ever reaching that point, but I did! And now I'm only 32 days away from my due date. After 21 months of TTC and 220 days of pregnancy, 32 days seems SOOOO short! I'm still in shock that in a very short amount of time I will have a daughter! Here are some thoughts on my impending due date and my journey thus far:

-For starters, I am VERY lucky. I think about that fact every. single. day. A week ago, MBL and I were talking about what we went through to get here and all he could say was, "We are so lucky." And, we are, we really are.
-I have been to my parents' house twice in the last three weeks and the last time we were there, I could not help but think about when we were there for our IVF cycle that got us pregnant. I told my mom that I could not believe that while we were sitting there playing cards after my transfer, our little embryo was dividing and implanting and becoming our baby. Even crazier is the fact that we have a picture of our daughter when she was a 3 day old embryo!! WOW. Science is cool.
-MBL and I are both surprised and happy with how well my body has handled pregnancy. I still feel pretty good (most of the time) and getting around is still totally doable. Lots of women on my due date board are complaining about how they are unable to do their every day tasks because of how they are feeling and I have to be honest, I cannot relate! While I may not be able to reach my toes (or lotion up my legs), I can still run errands, clean, and do what I need to do! Again, I realize that I am VERY lucky that pregnancy has been so kind to me.
-While I am still feeling well, I am still pretty excited at the prospect of her arrival. I'm not ready for her to come out right now, but I'd love it if she came a few days early. I just want to meet her!! She's been rolling around a ton and sticking her booty up in the air and I just want to examine her toes, fingers, and face in person!
-I think about my fellow bloggers who are still waiting for their miracle every.day. I pray that each of you get what you want on this journey!!