Thursday, February 24, 2011

putting it out there...

I haven't mentioned it a whole lot on here, but currently I am in the final stretch of earning my Masters in Counseling. This final stretch involves completing a 100 hour practicum and 600 hour internship. The first portion of those hours I spent at an elementary school doing social skill lessons. I transitioned to the high school a little over four weeks ago and I absolutely LOVE it! After being at the elementary school, I wasn't sure that I still wanted to be a school counselor, but now that I am at the high school, I want to be one more than ever. But, that's really besides the point. Besides the age of the students, what I also enjoy about the high school is the comraderie among the staff members. Each day the staff in the office sit down to eat lunch together and, as someone who loves to socialize, it's totally up my ally. One of the best parts about lunch is that the cafeteria has an amazing selection of food, so if my frozen meal is looking less than appealing I can just hop downstairs and find something better (although, I try not to do it too often as the food isn't the healthiest I could choose).

Where is this leading? I've almost forgotten! day I went down just for a side salad and ended up getting a turkey reuben. I'm a sucker for reubens and I just couldn't resist giving in that day. BUT, because the sandwich was made with deli meat, I decided to microwave it, just to make sure my risk of listeria was really low. Two of the ladies in the office (the secretary and the registrar) saw this and kind of looked at me funny. I decided to just tell them the truth: I was microwaving my already warmed up reuben because my husband and I tried for two years to get pregnant and I'm not willing to take any unnecessary risks. I think they were surprised by my response to such a benign question, but lately I find myself looking for ways to share our infertility journey however I can. They asked what IVF was and I explained that it's the procedure where my eggs and my husband's sperm were mixed in a petri dish to creat embryos and those embryos were then put back inside me. I went on to say that this was cool because it means we have a picture of our daughter from when she was three days "old". The registrar then shared that there is a teacher in the building going through the exact same thing and she was having a really hard time. Apparently this teacher got OHSS and they cancelled her egg retrieval...and now the teacher wasn't sure she still wanted to go through IVF. The registrar then asked if she could pass along my information to this teacher in case she wanted to talk to anyone who had gone through the same thing. I said "OF COURSE!!! I went through it twice and it is soooo hard!" The registrar left it at that and hasn't mentioned much since that day, but you better believe that I have been thinking about her, wondering if she was cycling again.

Well, today I got my answer. I happened to be leaving at the same time as the registrar, so we walked out together. She told me that the teacher who joined us (briefly) at lunch was the one going through infertility. She then shared that last Friday was her egg transfer and next Wednesday is her beta. I felt hopeful for the teacher because we had two snow days this week, Monday and Tuesday, which means that the teacher had five whole days to sit on her butt and let the embryos settle in. And boy do I hope they do!! It's funny because I've never officially "met" this teacher and yet I feel like she and I have a connection. We're both infertiles. We've both had heartbreaks from IVF and we've both managed to still go on. All I really want to do is give this girl a hug and some chocolates and tell her that I am rooting for her! I want to commiserate over how much IF sucks!! I want to exchange cycle stories. But, since I can't do that, I will just root for her and continue to talk about my infertility with others in hopes that just knowing someone else has gone through it is somehow helpful. I know having friends who shared their IF journeys helped "normalize" it for me...I didn't feel like a failure because I knew I wasn't alone. Hopefully knowing my story somehow helped this teacher...gave her hope...and boy do I hope she gets a positive on Wednesday!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

my big love.

Today marks the 34th birthday of my big love AKA my husband! To me, birthdays are a big deal, or, at least they should be. MBL does not necessarily approach them with the same fervor that I do. Case in point? He spent my birthday moaning about having to go places with me (dinner, the store, etc...). He will even openly admit that he was a bit of a boob that day. I think he behaved badly because holidays/birthdays stress him out because of the pressure he feels to make a big deal out of them. Anyways, when I was thinking of what I could do to make MBL's birthday a big deal without spending a whole bunch of $$, I decided that it would be fun to make a bunch of treats for him to bring in to his coworkers. I asked him what treats he wanted and he was like a kid in a candy store when we went to pick the groceries up. It was adorable to see him get all kinds of excited over orange supreme cake mix and the prospect of cupcakes made from it. In addition to the cupcakes, I also decided to make buck.eyes and ore.o truff.les. With my tight schedule I knew that I had to pound them all out in the three hours I had between my internship and my monthly small group dinner. When I first started the baking extravaganza I was feeling overwhelmed and defeated...all I really wanted to do was lay down and take a nap. But then I started thinking about why I was putting all that time and effort into baked goods that I wouldn't even get to enjoy.

In order to fully comprehend my appreciation for my husband I need to give a little background on my romantic history. I didn't really date in high school as I was a total geek and thought grades and extra-curricular activities (like student council and french club) were more important than boys. Plus, my high school didn't have the greatest selection. I became less crazed about grades in college and, thus, was better able to date. I spent those years dating here and there, but it wasn't until my senior year that I had my first "serious" relationship. He was my first love and the biggest disaster. I think of that relationship now and just shudder. Blech.

After that ended, rather messily I might add, I felt completely out of place. All of my friends in town were either engaged or close to it. I spent most of my Friday and Saturday nights watching movies alone in my apartment. I was lonely and miserable. I decided to do something about it (after several months of self pity), so I joined an online dating site. I met some nice guys through it and went on several pleasant dates, but never really felt the "connection" with anyone. In June of 2008 I moved to a new apartment, by myself, and joined a new website. One of the first few emails I got was from a VERY handsome guy who seemed to have a lot in common with me. So, I emailed him back. After a month and a half we met in person and he was even more charming in person than he was through email. I fell and I fell hard, he absolutely swept me off my feet. By the end of 2008 we were married and we've been living happily ever after since then. Back to my original story, yesterday when I spent three hours standing in the kitchen baking I couldn't help but think about how flippin' lucky I feel to have my husband. He's more than everything I ever wanted in a spouse and I still wake up most mornings in absolute amazement over the good looking man sleeping next to me (heck, I even find myself laughing when he snores because oh my freakin goodness I have a handsome man in my bed and he is snoring!). The thing is, I don't know that I would appreciate my husband near as much if I hadn't had that one absolutely horrific relationship. As a matter of fact, I know I wouldn't. And MBL has said the same thing about his past relationships, that he knew I was the one because of how different (and easy)* everything was. We both appreciate and value each other because we have been in bad relationships with people who were not right for us and we know just how awful that can be.

And, of course, I have to bring this full circle and relate it back to infertility. On Monday night I got in bed and my feet felt rather throbby, so I took a gander at them and discovered they were twice their normal size. I pointed this out to MBL and he agreed that they were rather puffy and then he asked me why I was smiling at them. I had really been hoping to skip the whole swollen feet thing this pregnancy, and, truthfully, I expected it to bother me a whole lot more than it did. When I thought about why I felt so "pleased" over my fat feet, I realized it's because I spent a whole lot of money for my feet to be that ugly. And yesterday when the baby flipped in such a way that I literally almost peed my pants? I also couldn't help but smile/laugh. You see all these things that most people think of as annoyances of being pregnant, I see as absolute miracles. Much like I find my snoring husband to be absolutely endearing. I know that not everyone gets to meet and marry their soul mate and I know that there are women out there who would kill to have fat feet and a weak bladder. And because of this knowledge I will treasure the time I have with my husband. And when this little girl joins our family I will do my darndest to appreciate even the most stressful of situations (like getting up every 2 hours and functioning on no sleep)...because I'll know that I am beyond lucky to have that "inconvenience"** in my life.

*No, I'm not easy in that way...just less high maintenance and more open about my feelings.
**And, no, I do not think having a baby to be an inconvenience, but I know of plenty of parents who consider having to get up several times a night to be one.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today marks 100 days until my due date!! It seems unreal that we have reached this point already. I have been on auto pilot for so many months that I am in utter disbelief that tomorrow we will be in the double digits to her expected arrival. When I realized that this day was coming up, I wrote it in my day planner, our family calendar, and my weekly scheduler. It just seems like such a milestone. How am I celebrating? By working. I am currently on day five of my ten in a row before I get a day off. At least work is slow and I have time to blog :). I'm truly fine with being at work, as long as MBL is at home working on our mile long list of projects! To give you a taste of how we will be spending our next 100 days, here is what we need to get done before our little girl comes into this world:

-We need to prime her room. We bought the paint a few weeks ago, but when MBL went in to do some pre-priming work he discovered that the former owners had painted over wallpaper in just some places in the room... So, he had to scrape and peel and "mud" the walls before he could even consider putting primer up. It was just one more thing in our house that showed us that the people who used to live there were complete morons.
-Next we need to paint her room!! I might actually help with this. I don't mind painting and the process goes by so much faster with two people. I read that I can paint as long as the room is well ventilated and I take plenty of breaks. Considering the fact that I have to pee every 30-45 minutes if I stand for longer than 30 seconds, that shouldn't be a problem. Oh, I should mention that we are painting her room brown, toffee crunch to be exact. Some people may think brown is dull for a baby's room, but I like the mellowness of it.
-After that we will need to put up trim. I don't participate in this process because MBL likes to cut his own and saws scare me.
-Once the trim is up I get to do what I am dying to do right now...DECORATE!!!! Right now her room is such a disaster that I can barely picture it all put together and I so want to see it all ready for our baby. This is another reason I don't mind being at work and not at home... I don't have to look at all that needs to be done and have a panic attack! We have had her crib since August. I actually bought it during our (successful) IVF cycle. They were having a sale where if you bought the crib you got the changing table for free and my mom graciously offered up a $75 gift card towards it's purchase, so we went for it. At that point I figured I'd either get pregnant through our shared risk IVF program or we'd adopt, so there was no way I wouldn't have a use for a crib!! We also already have our bedding. I picked it out early on, it's gender neutral because we're hoping we will be able to use it again. I just *love* all the girl bedding out there, but overall I'm glad we went with something neutral and playful. You can see our bedding here. When we were at IK.EA over Christmas break we also picked out a leaf that will go over her bed and a frog clothes/diaper organizer that we will hang either on the wall or on the back of the door.
-Once I get all of our already purchased items in the room we still need: a rug, a rocker/glider and ottoman, wall decor, and a dresser. So, we don't have a ton to buy, which is nice! Something I really want to do is put her name up on the wall...I will eventually need to pick out the letters/decorations for that.
-Outside of her room we still need to rearrange things in the living room to make it more baby/mom friendly. Right now it is very cluttery and I can't wait to move the big stuff to a more permanent location!!

Other than the above, we don't have too much more that we absolutely *have* to do before she gets here. Don't get me wrong, we still have a lot of projects to do in our house, but that list encompasses all the must haves.

I was getting kind of scared that nesting was never going to kick in, but I think this post proves that I am ready to prepare our house/lives for this little one!!

p.s. MBL and I decided on a name this week! But, I'm a butthead and won't be sharing it until she's born!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

one step forward.

Yesterday I took a big step. Well, actually big steps. After getting a glance at myself in my skivies Monday evening, I decided that I need to take action and get back into a work out routine. Actually it was more than just the view of myself that caused me to come to the realization that I needed to get back into exercising. Last week I found myself watching quite of bit of tv and basically just sitting on the couch until my left hip fell asleep. That accompanied with my dimpled thighs got me motivated. I went into Tuesday knowing that once I got out of my internship I needed to change into my workout clothes and get back on the proverbial horse. I haven't taken a single step for the purpose of my health since Thanksgiving when I walked a 5k with my family. And before that I hadn't worked out since before my BFP, so I've basically been on a 163 day hiatus. Now in my defense, I haven't been working out because I am so dang scared that doing so will cause something catastrophic to happen like my water to break or contractions to start. Those fears have been the primary reason I have put it off for this long. That and the fact that sometimes sitting on the couch is just so much more enticing than walking or doing one of my two pregnancy workout videos.

I decided that I shouldn't really let those fears keep me from doing something that I know will not only benefit me but also the baby. Everything I have read suggests that working out in pregnancy is not only safe, but also quite beneficial for the birth process and for post baby recovery. And since my pregnancy has been remarkably uneventful I really have no reason to be scared of working out, except for the fact that I am an Infertile and therefore believe that this amazing gift will be taken away from me at any second. You could say I've been holding my breath for the past 6.5 months. Part of my motivation for lacing back up my sneakers was that I wanted to give infertility the one two punch and show it who's boss (me). My return to the treadmill was better than anything I could have expected. I decided from the get go that I would only go as fast as felt comfortable and if anything felt "off" I would get off immediately. With that in mind I hopped on and started walking. I ended up going for 2 miles and I felt awesome. Sure I was a little jittery when I got off, but with all the extra blood I have pumping through my body that's to be expected. Overall, I felt awesome. It felt good to be doing something so healthy! In a lot of ways I felt like my old self again and I realized that I really like that girl.

All that being said, I have to admit that all the jostling definitely caused "stuff" to move around and I had to keep analyzing whether or not what I was feeling was contractions or just gas. Turns out it was the latter. So while I enjoyed the walk, I still spent most of it trying to convince myself that I was not going into labor. Oh, and just to make things more stressful, last night I dreamt that the baby's heart stopped beating. I pulled out the doppler as soon as I woke up and her little heart was just fine. PHEW!! I could do without that nightmare after my next walk...

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I have a confession. I am a worrywart. Now this does not normally interfere with my every day activities, but due to the current season (brutal winter), I find myself concerned about each thing I do. For example, I am finishing up my internship in school counseling and I literally live right across the street from my placement. It's perfect because it means that I do not have to drive icy roads to get there. BUT, I still have to park and walk into the building and as much as they try to keep the parking lot and sidewalks clear, they can still be quite slippery. Normally a one minute walk from my car to a building wouldn't make me think twice, but due to my current condition, I spend the whole walk praying that I make it into the building without falling. I realize that this sounds like I am bordering on becoming a hermit, but I promise it's not that bad. I guess I just realize that the worst case scenario is always a possibility. I know that I could fall on my way into my internship and that doing so could cause my water to break or a placental tear or pre-term labor and now that I am so close (and yet so far) from holding this baby in my arms, I am freaked out that something is going to happen.

To help you understand why I think this way, I need to go back about 5.5 years. When I was in college I spent every summer working at a camp with 4th-6th graders. In July of 2005 I was working as a lifeguard at the camp, but one Friday I got special permission to leave early so that I could meet up with my family. I was able to leave camp on time and I headed south towards my family. I made it to the main highway, merged on, and then was passing a truck when my car started to shake uncontrollably. I knew that I needed to pull over immediately so I started to slow down when all of a sudden I loss all control of my car**. The semi I had nearly passed was now directly beside me and when I looked up I realized the front of my car was facing the side of the truck. I hit the side of the truck and then flipped three times on the highway. That accident changed my life forever. It was the kind of accident where I should have died, not many people survive hitting a semi and flipping three times on the highway. I knew that I was lucky to be alive after that, but the accident left me with more than a deep appreciation for the life I had been given. It left me with the understanding that even when we think we know what is going to happen, even when everything looks perfect, the unexpected can happen.

In light of what happened to me 5.5 years ago, I know that I cannot just walk through each day expecting it to go as it normally would. And while I don't want my worries to paralyze me, I still need to approach each day with caution. I can't just walk across a snowy/icy parking lot without considering what could happen if I were to lose my balance or footing. I also can't let MBL drive to work and just assume that he will make it there and back safely, instead I have to remind him every time he leaves the house to drive safely. He doesn't totally get it. He thinks I'm just being paranoid. But I know how special it is that I am pregnant and I will do just about anything to protect myself and this little girl inside of me. Because while I may not always be able to predict the outcome of each day, I can do everything in my power to make it through safely. So, when the blizzard hit us I made up my mind that neither MBL nor I would be taking any unnecessary risks. I arranged with work to have someone else cover my shift on Wednesday and made MBL stay home. I had a snow day from my internship on both Wednesday and Thursday, but I was supposed to help out at a training Thursday night. Well, according to the local news the roads were still icy on Thursday and the training was 25 minutes from my house. So, I made the decision that it was not worth it to me to drive all that way, on less than ideal roads, just to help out with the training. The training coordinator gave me a less than understanding response, to my email all she had to say was: :/. An emoticon that suggested she disproved of my decision. I was furious!! While I totally believe in following through on commitments, I do not believe in risking my life to fulfill them. And for me driving there would have been just that, taking an unnecessary risk. And ever since her email I have felt the need to defend my choice. Thanks for listening/reading so I could do just that :).

**I should note that the accident happened on a completely dry, summer day. After investigation it was discovered that the tires were faulty and the tread had actually separated from the tire, something that should not happen. There was absolutely no way I could have done anything to avoid it happening which makes it all the more scary...