Wednesday, January 30, 2013

honestly? i'm a little scared...

I'm not a morning person.  It seems like no matter how much sleep I get, I am still tired.  It takes some coaxing, but somehow I manage to get up and out of bed for an early morning (5:30am) run most days of the week.  But, I go to bed at 9:30 so that I still get my much needed 8 hours of sleep.  Where is this conversation going?  Well, I'm a bit scared about how much my life is going to change.  Now that I know how much work a newborn takes, I'm even more scared than I was the first time around.  And, mostly, I'm scared about how tired I am going to be.  And I'm scared about how much this little guy is or isn't going to sleep.  And how will I ever manage TWO?  Here are just a few things I'm scared of this time around...

In the early days of having Piper home, I was actually surprised at how good I felt.  Piper was a sleeper from day one and when we brought her home, she was already doing a 4-6 hour stretch at night.  Well, when we found out that she wasn't gaining weight fast enough, those stretches had to end as I tried to increase my supply and we tried to get her fat!  And even though we gave up exclusive breastfeeding at 2 weeks old (in favor of exclusive pumping and formula supplementation) and were able to "allow" Piper those 4 hour stretches, I was still exhausted!  I vividly remember being at a restaurant with my parents when Piper was 4 weeks old and feeling like I was going to die from being tired.  I'm really not looking forward to that feeling again.

Speaking of breastfeeding, I'm also a little worried about how well that will or will not go this time around.  With Piper, both MBL and I were very committed to giving her breast milk and not "ruining" her by giving her formula.  Everyone out there told me if I gave my child formula she would be fat and stupid, so I really wanted to make sure we avoided it.  Piper was a lazy eater.  She fell asleep every single time it was time to eat.  It didn't matter if she was naked and we were dowsing her in cold water, she just loved to fall asleep while eating.  That fact, coupled with a high palate, led to us having a very frustrating BFing relationship.  My supply tanked and I was told to feed more, pump more, drink more.  I did it all and took Reg.lan and fenu.greek until I smelled like syrup.  It didn't matter.  Our lactation consultant finally gave me what I needed--permission to supplement with formula because I had done all I could.  I cried.  I remember telling MBL that I knew it wouldn't matter when Piper was going into kindergarten that she had 60-70% breast milk and 30-40% formula, but it seemed like a very big deal at the time.  I'm not looking forward to that again.  I pumped for Piper for 6 months and it was SO worth it, but so hard to spend 2 hours a day just pumping.  I'm hoping that things will be different this time around, but I'm also trying to prepare myself for another long term relationship with my pump.  Blech.

Another thing that was tough last time around was how LONG the days seemed when Piper was itty bitty.  I would literally count down the hours until it was bedtime, which always seemed to come too early as it was summer and still light outside when I would go to bed.  In those early days I was so consumed with making sure I did everything right, that I know I exhausted myself more than necessary.  This time around, I'm a little worried that the days will once again seem long because I won't be able to cat nap if I need to.  I won't just have a sleepy little newborn, I'll also have my vibrant toddler!  Where in the heck will I find the energy to play with Piper on such little sleep?  Will I be able to feel rested enough to enjoy those early days?  Now that I know just how fast it goes, I want to treasure snuggling my newborn, but the realistic part of me wonders if it will all go down in a haze because of the exhaustion.  Oof.

Finally, I'm a little worried about how I will ever get out of the house with TWO little kiddos.  And if I do manage to get out of the house and to the grocery store, then where will I put the groceries?  If I have two kids, one of whom will be in the carseat, then how will I ever have room for what I need to buy?  I got out of the house with Piper LOTS in her first few weeks.  We took a road trip to Chi.cago when she was 3 weeks old and it was easy.  I brought her to meet my coworkers when she was just 6 days old.  I relished getting out of the house with her.  We went to Tar.get lots, just to wander and look at things.  I would take my time shopping, knowing that if I needed to feed her I could just go to their cafe and have a popcorn/diet coke while she ate.  I'm sure that won't happen with two kids.  I mean, the baby will probably be easy to pacify, but Piper won't be.  And will it really take me 2 hours to get out of the house?  I read some blogs from parents of more than one and several mention just how hard it is to get out of the house.  I mean, I know going anywhere with little ones takes preparation, but am I really looking at packing the diaper bag for two hours?

I know I am so incredibly lucky that MBL and I get to add to our family.  And, I know deep down that we will get through the early newborn days yet again, but part of me is really dreading the "getting through them" part.  We are in such a good rhythm with Piper, that I don't want to feel like I'm wishing the days away because they are good, but oh so hard.

Do you find two children much more work than 1?  What's your biggest challenge?  Any advice?  Want to remind me how fun and cute newborns are :)?

Monday, January 28, 2013

why snow days are hard.

I work for a school as a school counselor and I live in Mich.igan.  The combination of these two facts mean that occassionally I get paid to stay at home due to inclement weather.  Those early morning texts are always nice to receive as it means I can turn off my alarm and go back to bed until Piper wakes me up.  They also mean a day at home with my girl where we can run errands together, play, and just enjoy a nice, relaxing day at home.  Last week that text meant I could push back my daily run from 5:30am to 8am and that I could go an extra mile.  Just something little that was so good for me.

Today was another snow day.  When I first heard rumors that we might end up getting one last night, I immediately started praying that the weather would be bad enough for it to happen.  I spent Saturday in bed with some sort of virus and so I felt like I got jipped out of one day of my weekend.  Getting today off meant that I still got two full days of being able to finish projects around the house and play with my girl.  It also meant that I could run to the doctor for an antibiotic for the sinus infection I've been fighting without misisng work or family time.

So, it sounds like I love snow days, right?  Well, I do!  Who wouldn't like being paid to be at home?  The downside is that snow days are hard on me emotionally.  I know I sound a bit dramatic, but it's the truth.  I have worked in some capacity outside of the home since Piper was 3 months old.  At first I just worked two days a week and it was pretty easy peasy.  When an opportunity to move to full time opened up last April, I took it because we were facing having to do IVF cycles and my income would help us afford that.  We were hoping that I would get pregnant from that cycle and my full time employment would be temporary (lasting only 8 months).  Well, MBL lost his job and I accepted a new one and somehow I have now been working full time outside of the home for 10 months.  When MBL was offered his new job, I immediately started dreaming about quitting my job.  Don't get me wrong, I actually love what I do, but I love staying at home more.  I want to be the one playing with my daughter.  I want to provide for my family by caring for my child and taking care of our home (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc).  When it came down to it, however, it seemed really unfair for me to leave my job in the middle of the school year.  And if I stay until my doc writes me off for STD (I'm hoping for 37 weeks!), then I will get paid until August.  And considering we are looking at having to purchase two new cars and a new house in the next year, that income will definitely be put to good use!

Basically, I'm counting down the days until I will be a SAHM again.  As of today it was going to be 47 work days, so I guess it's 46!  I know that being a SAHM is a lot of work, but days like this remind me of all the rewards that come with it.  I love just watching Piper play and learn new things.  She seriously amazes me!  So, while I love having an extra day at home, snow days are hard because it reminds me of what I'm missing at home when I'm at work and that's a tough reminder.

Does your job give you snow days?  What kind of weather are you experiencing right now?  What did you use to do on snow days as a kid?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

where my babies came from...

I am writing this post as a part of the PAIL monthly theme post.  The topic for this month is "where do babies come from?" 

I've got to say that I'm pretty excited to be writing about this topic as it's something I've given a lot of thought to.  To be honest, when we were TTC Piper, I didn't put a whole lot of thought into whether or not HOW she came into this world would impact her.  I never planned on keeping it a secret, but I also didn't go into fits of panic worrying about whether or not this would harm her psychologically.  The truth is, that as a Psych major with an MA in Counseling, I don't really think that her conception will play a huge role in her mental well being.  Piper was made in a petri dish.  So what?  Actually, when I was pregnant, Mel highlighted a book all about ART.  When I saw it I knew I wanted to have it to read to our daughter:

I cried as I read the pages.  Creating Piper was an incredible process.  I didn't just walk into a doctor's office alone and walk out pregnant.  MBL and I went through months of treatment, months of heartache and through it all we stood by each other.  The process of getting pregnant was very emotional and it definitely brought us closer together.  My husband gave me most of my shots and came to each and every one of my appointments, even if it was just a follicle ultrasound or blood work.  He was there to hold my hand.  I look back now and realize that it really was a beautiful process.  When we got the call that we were finally pregnant, we were both elated!!  After 21 months our dreams of building our family were going to come true.  When we were preparing for labor/childbirth, I knew that MBL was going to be an awesome support for me because he had already seen me through needles, blood work, IVF retrieval, IVF transfer, 20 BFNs, and rounds and rounds of medication.  I knew that because of what we went through both emotionally and physically to get pregnant, that actually having the baby would be a walk in the park.  I mean at least we knew that the pain could only last so long!!  (unlike IF where it feels like the pain might just last forever).  I boldly share Piper's story because I am PROUD of what we went through.  We were suffering from the disease of infertility and we overcame it.  We desperately wanted to add a child to our family and IVF allowed us to make that dream a reality.  So, yes, MBL and I plan on explaining to Piper just how she came to be.  Mommy and Daddy wanted a baby and a nice doctor with gray hair helped them have YOU!  How special for her that she was so wanted, so loved even before we knew who she was! 

As for her brother?  His story won't be near as exciting.  He wasn't made in a petri dish and it didn't take any special medication to make him.  He is absolutely wanted and already loved beyond words, but I think Piper's story seems a lot more special.  Hopefully he doesn't get a complex about being "homegrown".

I do think that the stories about our children's creation will help them have a better understanding of how families are built and hopefully allow them to be open-minded, thoughtful people.  They will learn that families come in all shapes and sizes and are built in many different ways and that's a BEAUTIFUL thing!  I'm glad that our journey, our story will help them gain that important life lesson.

How do you plan on answering the question "where do babies come from?", even if all of yours are homegrown?  If you used ART or adopted your children, do you plan on sharing that specific story with them?  If so, how?

Monday, January 14, 2013

the storms of life


My ultrasound last Thursday went wonderfully! We got the profile shots that we weren't able to get at our 18 week scan (due to low fluid) and the reassurance that all looks good. Baby boy was measuring 1lb1oz and my fluid level had risen to 12.4cm. That's an increase of 1cm over the past 2 weeks, which made me really happy! My level is still not perfect, so the doc wants to recheck it at 30 weeks, but I shouldn't have to worry about it too much between now and then. My cervix was also a stellar 5.3 cm! Having a good appointment was such a relief.

While I got to be on the happy side of news, friends of ours were not. One of my best friends from college found out late last week that one of her cousin's 8 month old triplets was on life support. These triplets were the cause of much celebration as they happened naturally after her cousin suffered 3 miscarriages! When my friend texted me the news that they would be stopping life support, I could not stop the tears. What do you say to the news that someone is going to lose a child? I texted back that we would be praying and that I was so sorry for the pain they were experiencing.

This has been on my mind a lot lately. When I got back from Christmas break, I found out one of my coworkers had experienced a 2nd trimester loss, she was due in June. I guess I've just been feeling ultra sensitive to other people's pain, especially as it relates to children/pregnancy. But I'm sure this woman doesn't want to hear how sorry I am about her loss, especially because I am very obviously pregnant. And, again, what do you say to someone who experienced such a difficult loss? There really are no words.

I texted my friend this morning--the one whose cousin lost her 8 month old triplet--and told her I didn't know what to pray for, but that I was praying. She took that to mean I needed some suggestions, but really what I meant was that at times like this, there really isn't anything concrete I can pray for. I don't know that those parents will ever understand why this happened--I mean, what could possibly be the justification for losing a child? And I could pray for peace, but those parents have a right to feel upset and angry, they lost a child! So, I just prayed. Prayed that those surrounding them would refrain from saying anything hurtful. Prayed for the rest of their family (they have 5 other children). It's just so so so hard.

Last night, MBL and I snuck into Piper's room and just stared at her. I was feeling overly emotional about everything and just needed to look at my baby's face. She was sleeping soundly, unaware that her parents were staring at her. I revel in her existence each and every day, but on days when there is particularly hard news to digest, I drink her in a little more than usual. I give her more hugs, more kisses, and tend to go overboard with the squeezing. She's a busy 19 month old, so she gets annoyed with all the holding and smooching, but I do it for me.

I hate that anyone should have to experience such deep and incomprehensible pain. I hate that while some of us are celebrating good news (as we should!), others are aching in such incredible ways.

How do you cope when you receive difficult or heartbreaking news? Do you hug your loved ones a little longer?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

letting go

When I heard at 18 weeks that my little bubs had low fluid I just about went off the deep end.  I dreaded every day and felt like I would never get to a point where I would be able to enjoy this pregnancy again.  When it was further confirmed at 19 weeks I pretty much said good-bye to the idea that I would get to walk around like a big, ole happy preggo.  All I could picture was spending the rest of my days lying in bed or sitting in chair wishing the days away.  Oh, and I definitely pictured the scale just climbing higher and higher as all my muscles atrophied from lack of movement.  In case you couldn't tell, I can be a bit of a drama pants.

I started letting go of my fears when MBL and I set out on our holiday break.  I made up my mind to take it as easy as possible, but not stress out over spending long(er) periods of time on my feet.  I would sit when the opportunity arose, drink as much as possible, and just pray that everything I was doing would make a difference.  I played with Piper, went on walks with my mom, and managed to stop fretting about the situation.  I was feeling baby boy move more and I knew that fetal movement was usually a good sign, so that helped ease my mind.  Every time I went on a walk or did more than I thought I should, I would follow it up with a water bottle or two of water and some time on my rear end. I also started taking baby aspirin and tried my darndest to sleep only on my left side, but I also allowed myself to roll over to my other side if it got too uncomfortable.  I was doing all I could to help things, but not going overboard.  When I got the news at our level II that my fluid was back in the normal range, it made me feel so good.  Normally, I would love the idea of getting ultrasounds all the time (I just love seeing my little guy), but once it seemed like I might actually make it into the high risk category, I realized just how scary that was and that an ultrasound every 2-3 weeks was hardly consolation for all of the stress of having a pregnancy complication.  I have another ultrasound scheduled for today and I will probably request a follow up for 3 weeks from now, but after that, I don't really want another one until I'm in labor (MBL has requested I have one upon arrival at the hospital--he's so afraid the baby will be breech again and we won't know it!).

I've managed to let go more and more since getting the all clear from the MFM.  I figure he sees all the really scary cases and he's old enough to know what's really going to be a problem, so if he thinks I'm fine, then I'm probably fine.  I've been diligently drinking a gallon (or more) a day, but I've also been allowing myself to enjoy coffee and running again.  And I'm a happier person because of it.  Running really is the best therapy for me and I was really becoming a grump without it.  I did amend one of my goals--I had wanted to run a 5k every month of this pregnancy--but, with the fear of falling out on the icy sidewalks, coupled with my need for close bathrooms, I decided to give this one up.  I do hope to continue to exercise until the day I give birth and, ideally, I would like to make it until at least 38 weeks with running, but I'm trying to take the "one day at a time" approach.

So, here's hoping my ultrasound today shows an even more awesome fluid level and a growing baby boy!  If not, I'll just be thankful that I'm so much closer to 24 weeks than I was when I first heard the words "low fluid".

Monday, January 7, 2013

a reflection on years past


I realize that we are now a full week into 2013, but due to being away from the internet during that time, I am just now getting a chance to write this post. As we prepared to ring in 2013, I couldn't help but reflect on how MBL and I had spent the past 4 New Years together...

2008-We rang in the new year in beautiful, warm, sunny Florida. We were on our honeymoon and had been gifted with a gorgeous one bedroom suite right on the water. We were staying at a family friendly resort where the evening's activities were largely kid oriented, so we chose to ring in the new year on our own. We celebrated with champagne and watched the ball drop together.

2009-This was a really hard day. In stark contrast to the year before, we spent the day driving around town doing last minute year end stuff. We also made a trip to the local lab for a beta blood draw. We were sitting outside Salvation Army when we got the call from the RE's office that my beta was negative. I was not pregnant after our first round of IVF. MBL took the call and I just sat and cried. Even now, I can picture exactly where we were sitting in the parking lot. I can picture the snow falling heavily on our car and the dreariness of the Mich.igan winter day. I'm pretty sure I went home and ate until I passed out. Healthy, right? Needless to say, I was quite glad to say goodbye to 2009.

2010-Oh 2010 was good to us and 2011 promised to be even better! I rang in the new year with a nearly 20 week belly and the knowledge that the new year would bring us our much longed for baby girl! I went to bed early and MBL spent most of the night installing our new laminate flooring (with the help of an eye mask and earplugs, I slept right through it all). All I remember about Christmas break that year is sitting on the couch watching TV and waiting to see my belly move. It didn't matter that I wasn't awake at the stroke of midnight, I already knew that I would love 2011.

2011-Honestly, I can't even remember what we did for New Years. We spent the previous week at my parents and had enjoyed a romantic night away from Piper to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. I'm thinking that I barely made it to the ball drop before collapsing into bed. I was sad to see 2011 go as it was such a magical and special year for us--we became parents! I was certain that 2012 would not be as wonderful as 2011...

2012-What a year! There is no succinct way to summarize 2012. Parts of it were terrifying and stressful and at times I felt like I couldn't go on. To say that MBL and I went through significant struggles would be an understatement-at times it was bad, so very bad. But, there were also wonderful parts. Celebrating Piper every day, getting to see her grow, spending time with family, getting mentally healthy, and I ran my first half marathon. And in September, we got our natural BFP-our light at the end of a dark tunnel. My mom sometimes says that 2012 was he** for me and, at times, it certainly was, but there were so many good times to outweigh the bad. And, the truth is, that I am stronger and better because of what we went through. I know the same is true for MBL. So, when it came to ringing in 2013, there was only one thing I wanted to do--I wanted to get a room at a hotel with a pool and celebrate New Years as a family. We took Piper swimming and had a nice dinner out while Piper played with grandma and grandpa. We ate too much and resolved to be healthier in 2013. We put Piper to bed around 9:00 and then MBL and I made it to 11:40 before passing out. I know 2013 will be a good year because I can look back at the past and see how far we've come. And who wouldn't have fun knowing that the next year would involve raising this cutie:

2013 has a lot in store for our family and I'm really excited about what we are bound to experience!

How did you ring in your 2013? Do you usually stay up to watch the ball drop? Do you have any fun resolutions?