Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reunion Reflections

This weekend was my ten year college reunion.  It also coincided with a visit from my parents, so I decided not to partake in any sponsored events but to see a couple people coming in.  It is really amazing to see how ten years changes a person.  Take for instance one of my closest friends from college.  He was my polar opposite, he was a raver, did drugs, spoke to his parents only on Sunday.  If it was someones birthday, anniversary, or someone happened to be sick, you better hope it happened on Sunday or he wouldn't be a'callin'.  I on the other hand thought pacifiers were only for babies, had rounded out my tenure as Students Against Driving Drunk President before my freshman year of college, and spoke to my parents daily.  Today he is incredibly successful, went to Harvard Business School, is married to the sweetest girl, and just had his second baby.  He came over to meet Evan and we hung out in his nursery and talked baby stuff for 2 hours.  Never in a million years could I have foreseen this exchange 10 years ago.

At night, my parents and Greg stayed with Evan while I met some girls from my sorority at a bar.  Of the 7 of us, only one other had kids (pregnant with number two and had bought herself some boobs since college, but I digress.).  Another two were married. Of the marrieds, one had moved to the suburbs years ago and the other was leading this high powered life commuting between capital hill and her house a couple states away to be with her husband.  And then there were the fabulously single, traveling to Africa for work, acting on national commercials.  Then to hear what other friends were doing, was unbelievable.

When asked if I was going back to work since having a baby, I said, "no, not for at least a year, maybe longer.  It took a lot of work to get him, so I want to stay home and enjoy him for a while."  And it was left at that. 

After dinner, the group was heading over to a bar but I wanted to go home and check on the baby.  The married friend from the suburbs said, I got the impression you had trouble getting pregnant.  I said, "seriously, if you ever need to know anything about this stuff, feel free to call me, I feel like I know all there is to know."  She said,  "I doubt as much as I know."

Apparently, they have been trying for four years.  She lost 2 babies around 20 weeks.  It is some genetic disease and any baby they have will have a 1 in 4 chance of having it.  There is some test they could do on eggs, but they only offer it in Germany. We talked for a minute or two but the group wanted to go to the bar.

I am sure it will all work out for her, but emotionally, what a nightmare until that baby is born.  What I can't get out of my head is how she is even able to attend this reunion. You know one in three people is going to have a baby and you know there are going to be people like my raver friend that you would never think would have kids by now and has two, or people who were hard-core partiers or totally bitchy people and they have kids.  I just don't know after two horrible losses like that if I could stomach a reunion.

I think there is a kind of kinship among people who have had issues, so I feel really glad I made some comment about having had trouble.  Versus the pregnant girl with the new boobs who order a ginger ale and said "read into this however you want".  It just goes to show you that you never know what other people are going through.  But it isn't just about pregnancy.  One of the girl's mom was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer and given a grim prognosis.  Prior to hearing this I had said how my parents flew in for the weekend to see Evan.  She isn't married, doesn't have kids, and her mom might never see her have children.  For me, the reunion was a lesson in general to be a more compassionate person, which is ironic, because I think more often then not, people use reunions to show off about how far they have come since way back when.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby Boom

All of you trying to get pregnant should come hang out with me because it seems almost everyone I am friends with has fallen pregnant.  I am half kidding, but I do have about 7 pregnant friends now and one that I  suspect is pregnant.  And no joke, for all but 2 of them, it happened the first time out of the gate.

Now at this point, Evan is 3.5 months and the true light of my life.  I am completely fine with everything I have been through because if it hadn't happened, he wouldn't be here and it would be some other kid.  But I still deeply feel the pain of a couple of  my friends that have been trying for years.  And it isn't fair that it can be so hard for some, especially people you know would make fantastic parents.

A couple weeks ago, we were hanging out with a group a friends and another one of the couples announced their pregnancy, adding the third pregnancy to our little group of couple friends.  A little while after the announcement I was sitting and three of the guys were talking about how people act like it is so hard to get pregnant, but it was so easy.  The other two agreed saying it happened their first time and the other confessed it happened for them without really trying.

Herein lies this issue with family planning.  You have no idea if it is going to take 1 month or 2 years.  Even now, I have identified an ideal three month window to conceive a second kid (yes, we all know I am a planner), but what a joke that is. There is no guarantee we would be able to have another baby and particularly, one conceived in my perfectly packaged three month window to optimize the children's age differences and my delivering maternal age.  You would think I could be breezy trying for a second, but clearly, that isn't in my cards.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where's the Team?

I came across a great article in Self about infertility.  The crux of the article is since people aren't vocal about their fertility issues they aren't getting much needed support with family, friends, other people battling the same issues, or insurance companies.  There were a couple of points in the article that struck a chord with me.

1) If you have a disease, there are tons of organizations that offer support.  There are organized walks and people proudly wear ribbons in support.  Since infertility has been kept in the dark, many people don't feel like they can talk about it or where they could turn for help.

2) Who can help: The article tells of being in a fertility doctors waiting room. Nobody speaks or directly looks at someone else.  But in the chemo room, people offer suggestions for mitigating side affects. Recently my friend mentioned that at the fertility doctor her sister saw, it was all anonymous.  Another thing, the article mentions the group Resolve, that focuses on infertility support. Throughtout my entire process, from the day a nurse praticitoner handed me an infertility packet, through my surgery, to countless meetings with doctors and all the handouts available at the OB/GYN and RE's offices, I never saw literature or was told of Resolve or any other support group for that matter.  My sister-in-law said she bet there would be a group at the women's hospital.  There wasn't. 

I checked out the Resolve website,, and you can look up resources in your state.  It also has guides to insurance coverage for fertility treatments by state, overview of tests you can take to identify fertility issues, options for treatment/adoption, articles about how infertility affects your relationship, and how to get involved in advocacy issues.

3) The article accurately described many of the feelings I had trying to get pregnant.  In addition to dreading certain social situations, they mentioned how it was hard to plan the rest of your life, like trips, buying a car, house, etc.  Many times I thought about switching jobs, but thought I would rather stay at the same place if I am going to get pregnant soon.  I didn't want to plan trips.  We wanted a new car but I didn't know if we needed a bigger one.  We bought a bigger condo on the assumption that we would have kids soon, but I didn't feel confident to get one in the suburbs, because I didn't want the suburban life without kids.

4) It made me think about something I never thought about previously.  I feel like I am the eternal optimist when it comes to other people's fertility.  If it is someone who I had fibroid, I say look at me.  If it is someone going through IVF, I mention friends who have had successes.  You want people to have hope and I really do believe that it will happen in time.  But the article says, there isn't really support for people that it doesn't work out for.  And that is why these issues need more attention.

Here is the article. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Pressure is On

When you date someone for a long time, people always ask you, "When are you going to get married?".  And finally on your wedding day, you naively believe the pressure is finally off, until an overzealous aunt pulls you off the dance floor to ask, "So, when are you having kids?".

When you finally have a baby you think, the pressure is definitely off now, I have hit my milestones.  But no.  Pretty soon, you are not only asked by others, but find yourself asking, "when will you have baby number two?".

There are several factors I have begun to weigh in terms of not only when, but if there will be a baby number two.

In the let's get this going camp:
1) Factor 1: I love me some babies - For me, call it hormones, or joy of motherhood, but I get sad that Evan is growing up so quickly.  I dread when he becomes so squirmy he doesn't want me to cuddle him and I am fairly convinced he will not let me kiss attack him when he is fifteen.  I know all ages have great things about them, but I really am enjoying the baby stage. 

2) Factor 2: Age- I am already 32 and the doctor said I can't even conceive until at least 8 months post baby, which means the absolute earliest I could have a kid would be when I am 34.  But I don't really want two kids under 2.  So I likely would be 35 when I have my second kid and I believe that automatically puts me in the high risk category.

3) Factor 3- Fibroids and Fertility- yes, the two F's that have pretty much ruled my life for the last couple of years are back.  As of my c-section, I didn't have any new fibroids, but some can sprout up because doctors believe that if you have fibroids once you will have them again.  Assuming I don't have fibroids, who knows how easy or hard it will be to get pregnant again.  This makes me more inclined to start earlier than I ideally would have wanted.  Plus, I will be several years older than my first time around.

And in the why do in eight months what you can do in three years or never camp:

1) Factor 1: Savings- Last week my husband and I met with a financial advisor to discuss saving for college.  She estimated that when Evan and our second kid will be in college, tuition and room and board, will be between $80k-$120k a year.  So if we wanted to pay for private school for our 2 kids and retire at 60, we would run out of money at 68.  Awesome.  

2) Factor 2: Housing- We live in a condo in the city and would need to move sooner if we had a second kid because two kids couldn't fit in Evan's room and the room downstairs is too far removed from the rest of the apartment to put an infant or a toddler.  Plus, I don't want to move while pregnant or with a newborn because I know I will be the one doing all the work to pack and can't imagine going house hunting with a toddler and a newborn.

3) Factor 3: Career- I am staying home with Evan but plan to either go back to a marketing job or switch careers, but only take a couple years off.  If I had a second baby, my re-entrance would be put on hold.  Which I would be fine with, except for the fact that we apparently can't retire if we pay for college.  I have given consideration to a complete change of careers since I can't work the type of hours I worked before and be the kind of mom I want to be.  So this factor is a little more fluid.

4) Factor 4: All eggs in one basket- if we just had one kid, it would be more likely that we could pay for his college, we would have more time to spend with him and encourage him on all his endeavors and we would have more financial freedom in our old age.

I read an article a couple weeks ago in Time about only children and how society just assumes that you will have a second child.  When the author told people she was only planning to have one, everyone, including the grocery check out woman told her, "you will change your mind."  Why does this stranger think she knows better than the woman herself, that she will want more kids?

It seems there will always be a societal pressure telling you that you aren't on the fast track or the right track for that matter.  Whether it is finding a boyfriend, getting engaged, having an appropriately long engagement, having your first child in an acceptable amount of time,  having a second kid, buying a house, signing kids up for the right preschools, activities, SAT prep courses.  It seems endless.  These societal conventions can be a nice road map to life, but what if you don't want to married, have kids, have multiple kids or live in the suburbs?  What if you don't care if you kid goes to a top college or college at all for that matter? Perhaps this is the new version of keeping up with the Joneses.  It isn't about fancy cars, lavish trips, or big houses anymore.  It is doing what is expected of you at the acceptable time.  Maybe that is why it has been hard for some many to see people in their age cohort get married and have kids when those aren't possibilities for themselves at that time.

Practically speaking, it makes sense to have one child, but emotionally speaking, I know I will have intense baby fever in a year or two.   We will see how I handle the internal and external pressure.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Difference A Year Makes

A year ago tomorrow my life was quite different than it is today.  After having two miscarriages and about 3 months of testing, I was scheduled to have my mutant fibroid removed, in the hopes of ever having a child. 

On July 20th of last year, I was wheeled into the operating room for a myomectomy. I remember coming to in the recovery room, dazed and in pain.  I was just hoping beyond hope that the surgery would do the trick and I could one day have a child.  I tried to approach the surgery and recovery as steps to getting my baby.  I had been initially told we would have to wait until January 2010 to start trying again.

As my hospital stay drew to a close, the doctor told me I only had to wait six weeks to try.  It was so unexpected.  We had even planned a trip to Italy in October to help keep my mind off of not being able to try and enjoying what would hopefully be our last big trip before the baby.  We found out the day before we left for Italy that I was pregnant.

If you had told me on the day of the myomectomy that one year from then I woud have a three week old baby, I wouldn't have believed it. 

I definitely think my experiences of trying to get pregnant have colored my experience as a mother.  I truly feel so appreciative, even during those middle of the night feedings.  It goes so quickly and I know I will miss this time when he just wants to be held.  I will miss how he looks up at me when his pacifer falls out and he wants me to fetch it for him.  I am just amazed by him.

When you are in the thick of fertility issues, it is really easy to believe it isn't going to happen for you.  I definitely felt like that a lot and not even in a self pitying sort of way.  It is more of like coming to terms with the fact that you can only control so much.  Think about my story when you feel like this, because in a year, you could be sitting with your newborn baby.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two and a Half Weeks in the Trenches

Now that I have been through labor and home with a new baby, here are some thoughts on products I absolutely love and others I haven't needed thus far.
1) Since I ended up needing a c-section, I didn't benefit from this advice but have been told by two friends Dermaplast is a lifesaver.  I bought 2 bottles in prep for labor.  Basically, after a normal delivery it really burns (because of stitches) to pee.  So spray the Dermaplast, then squirt warm water with a water bottle, and then spray again with the Dermaplast.  The product numbs you.   I bought it at Target.

2) If you have a c-section and are in a lot of pain when coughing, sneezing, laughing, ask the nurse for an ab binder.  It looks like an athlete's version of a girdle.  It holds you in tight.  I wasn't given one with my fibroid surgery when I could have used it.  They gave me one on my last day in the hospital, it felt good, but for no good reason, I never wore it again.  If you aren't given one, hold a pillow into your stomach when you have to cough/sneeze to help brace muscles.

3) Breastfeeding: Bring the Boppy pillow to the hospital.  I did, but didn't use it.  So I should say, bring it and use it.  It is really hard to figure out how to position the baby that is flailing desperately to find your boob.  Also, realize they are supposed to latch on with a wide latch.  I didn't know this and got so bruised the first two days, I wanted to cry the following 5 days while feeding. 

4) Bottles: I was doing both breastfeeding and bottles.  Breastfeeding isn't going well so I think I am going to start transitioning to formula only.  I have been using Dr. Brown's bottles.  People say there are too many parts.  It takes about 5 seconds to put it together, I don't see the big deal.  I think they are good, they are supposed to reduce spit up.  Evan doesn't spit up much, so I am going to assume the bottles do the job.  Dr. Brown's also makes a microwave sanitizer.  I sanitized everything pre-baby.  The night nurse we had when I got home said just take a big bowl with hot soapy water to clean the bottles each day (I do about twice a day).  Once a week, I put them all in the microwave sanitizer.

5) Swaddle Designs receiving blankets:  I love these. They are very cute and nice material.  They are much more expensive than Carter receiving blankets but the quality difference explains the price discrepancy.  At the beginning we always swaddled him in these blankets.  Now he kicks out of a swaddle but we use these still most of the day.  They have a normal blanket material and muslin one.  I use the muslin one in the stroller because it is 90 degrees out and I want him covered from sun and germs but want the material to be breathable.  I have about 4 of each material, which seems like a lot, but spit up and pee happens, more than you'd like.

6) Multi-use pads: I got a pack of multi-use pads at Buy Buy Baby.  It is a water proof sheet.  I have on the changing table.  This has saved us many, many times, especially having a boy. Also, I have two kinds, one are fabric on both sides and the other has fabric on one side and plastic on the other.  I don't like the plastic sided one as much.

7) Bouncy Seat:  I try to make his crib a night time experience, so when he naps in the day, it is in his bouncy seat.  I have the Fisher Price Zen seat, but it might have been discontinued.  I don't use the music or vibration modes, I am saving those for fussy emergencies.  I also use this when he is being calm and I need to get things done, because I can strap him in.

8) 2 Strollers: We have a nice, expensive stroller (the Uppa Baby) which is fantastic because it handles so well and corners tightly.  It also has good shocks which is great because the sidewalks here are really uneven.  It has a bassinet for newborns.  It also has a sun shade to protect his face and most of his body. I also have a snap n' go that my car seat snaps into.  I keep it in the trunk and it is good if I drive somewhere and don't want to deal with taking the big stroller.  It doesn't however maneuver nearly as well as the Uppa Baby.

9) Cloth diapers: I had bought a ton of cute ones from Swaddle Designs, but I find I just use tons and tons of the cheap generic ones that I got in a ten pack from Buy Buy Baby.  I use about 3 a day.

10) Baby detergent:  I started off using Dreft for everything but it is a waste of money.  I bought a huge thing of the Costco free and clear detergent.

11) Formula: Speaking of Costco, the pediatrician told me to use the Kirkland (Costco brand) formula.  It is made by Similiac and significantly cheaper.  We have had no issues.  He isn't too gassy, sleeps well, and has put on weight. 

12) Video Monitor: We got the Summer Best View Handheld Video Monitor.  Our sound didn't work but I called and they are sending a replacement.  I am so glad I didn't get just a sound monitor.  It really comes in handy because sometimes in the middle of the night I put him down and he is fine, but not asleep.  And then I get back in bed and I hear a little fussing.  If I didn't have the monitor I would get up and check him, which honestly is so hard when you are very tired.  And this dance can go on and on.  But I just watch the monitor to determine if I need to get up.  Plus sometimes I see him flailing when he isn't crying.  So I know to get a bottle ready before he blows.

13) Big Sponge: For the first week or two, you can't submerge the baby in a bath because of the belly button or circumcision.  You have to give a sponge bath to a slippery baby.  They sell at Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby this oversized sponge that you can lay the baby on.  They have one that looks like a frog and one that is tan.  I got the tan one because it was bigger.  Just makes the process easier.

14) Books: I have a lot of books for a kid starting to read, with one or two words on a page. But I found when Evan is fussy, he likes to hear the sound of my voice, so I read to him.  I have gone through all of our longer books and I am getting bored.  I just went out and bought more today.  I suppose I could read him US Weekly or my book club book too, but at least this way I am growing his library. 

15) Bottle Drying Rack: Bottles don't dry in my dishwasher and also I don't want to wash bottles with soiled plates.  So I hand wash everything and then put it on the dryer.  I bought a Dr. Brown's one, but I don't know if it matters what you use.

16) Soothie Pacifiers: These are the only ones he seems to like and keep in his mouth.  I have heard this from other friends too.  We make a conscious effort not to give him the pacifier when putting him in his crib to sleep.  I have heard from friends this kills you for 2 years because they cry every time it falls out and won't sleep well.  I use it a lot when changing him and it is true, every time it falls out (happens several times a diaper change) he screams.

17) Footed PJs:  I should have bought more of these.  I have a ton of sleep sacks and sleep gowns.  The sleep gowns make it easy to change him at night (I am awful at all the snaps on the footed outfits) but Evan is a squirmer and within two seconds his legs are out and I don't want him getting too cold.

18) Gauze: If your son is being circumcised the doctor will tell you to dress the penis with Vaseline and gauze.  The Vaseline should be in the tube not the jar and the gauze should be 3x3 squares.  I bought all the supplies pre-baby so had no idea how much to buy.  First off, gauze is kind of pricey.  It is between $7.50 and $9.00 a box of 25.  I started off with 2 boxes of 25.  Well it wasn't nearly enough because he goes through at least 10 diapers a day and you switch it with each diaper change.  I think I ended up buying 5 boxes of 25 and 2 boxes of 10, so a total of 145.  I did have to continue using it for 5 extra days because he had some extra bleeding.  So assume you need 100.  I also used 2.5 tubes of Vaseline.

19) Pampers Thick and Sensitive Wipes: I thought all wipes were created equal until we ran out and my delivery of the next batch wasn't in.  I sent my husband to CVS to get some.  I told him I wanted Pampers thick and sensitive, if they didn't have it, get Huggies thick and sensitive.  He couldn't find these two words on either Pampers or Huggies, so he bought a CVS wipes.  They were horrible.  I would need 4 to clean up after a diaper, versus typically one, maybe two of the Pampers.  Plus I had to work hard to clean him with the CVS. 

Things I am yet to use:
1) A Swing: Luckily we borrowed this.  I am sure he would like it but I am saving it as a last resort when he gets really fussy

2) A Pack n Play:  Everyone told me I would have the baby sleep in my room.  I didn't think I would since his room is next to mine, we have a video monitor, and he would keep my husband up who had to work.  But I listened to my friends.  Before the baby arrived, we set it up in our room.  Now it is like a dumping ground for laundry I haven't had a chance to put away.  From his first night home we put him in his crib.  If I didn't have a video monitor, I would have had him in my room.  Some people do it because you are getting up so much to feed the baby, especially if you are breast feeding.  I found it was easier to sit on the recliner in his room with a Boppy then feed him in bed.  Also, until I got the hang of it, he would fall off all the time and cry and no doubt that would have made for a very grumpy hubby. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's All Good

We got the results back from the tethered chord test and it doesn't look like Evan has a problem.  It is such a huge relief.  I basically stalked the pediatrician for the results.  She said we would just monitor for other symptoms but at this point, she isn't concerned.

I was good about keeping myself off the internet during the scare, because let's be honest, I pretty much feel webmd is the closest I will get to having a doctor in the family.  Now that this crisis is over, I have given myself permission to Google his latest ailment, which is his belly button is bleeding, even though he lost his umbilical chord almost  a week ago.  Here is where the Internet is good.  Apparently this is very normal.

In other news, we went to dinner tonight with another couple and Evan and it was a roaring success.  I am shocked as I have found parenthood to be all about timing.  You have to make sure he is fed, freshly diapered, and calm before going.  A tightrope act that begins an hour before your departure.  And then there is the added element of luck that the feeding will be sleep inducing and not one of his wide awake sessions.

Baby is crying...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Marking his Territory

We just came from the first pediatric visit. Evan marked the occasion by peeing all over the scale.  Guess he learned at an early age, it is no fun being weighed.  He also spit up over the examination table.

The good news, he gained back a lot of the weight he lost after birth.  Also, the heart murmur that was detected in the hospital wasn't heard.  The bad news is she thinks he might have something called tethered chord.  His back isn't straight when it connects to sacrum.  It could be nothing or it could be serious.  We now have to go to get an ultrasound in two days.  If that goes well, we are done.  If it doesn't, we wait a couple months and do an MRI when he is old enough to be sedated.  And if that shows he does have a tethered chord, he would need surgery.  

I am keeping it together better than  I did over the heart murmur and forcing myself to stay off webmd.  It is just so awful to think something could be wrong with him.  I have been a mess over his circumcision, I can't imagine him going through surgery.

The doctor did say the practice sends about 25 kids a month for the ultrasound and only 1 to 2 have the surgery every year.  I am trying not to get ahead of myself.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Evan is Here!

Looking back on the last two years of miscarriages, surgery, frustration, pain, I can safely say it is all worth it and would do it all again just to have my baby.

Evan was born last Monday morning.  Of course he came into this world with  flare for drama.  I was scheduled to be induced on Monday at 12:30am.  Sunday, I woke at 4 am with contractions about 26 minutes apart. This went on for 5 hours.  I never went back to sleep.

At 7pm, they started up again.  I wanted to go out for a big dinner because I likely wouldn't eat for a full 24 hours.  At the restaurant, they were about 7 minutes apart.  Not too painful.  We got home and waited to go to the hospital for induction.

At 1am, we were taken to our delivery room.  The previous Thursday, I had been 2cm.  They immediately started me on pitocin.  Very quickly the contractions got painful. They said I could have the epidural at any time but be mindful I would be stuck in bed for up to 18 hours. 

My husband went to sleep, despite me panting loudly. They came in to break my water.  I thought this hurt, it was like the most invasive internal exam of you life.  And then the flood gates open.  You continue to leak and leak.  They said it would leak through delivery.  They put a towel between my legs to make it more comfortable. Around 3:30 it got what I considered unbearable.  If I could cry during the killer contraction that put me over the edge, I would have.  When it ended, I yelled to Greg who was somewhat far away on the couch to wake up, page a nurse, and get my epidural.

Around 3:45am, I was prepped.  At this point, my body was uncontrollably shaking, which they said is normal.  The epidural was no big deal.  He said it could take between 3 minutes and 45 to get it in the right place.  Luckily, he got mine in relatively easy.  First they give you a shot to numb you.  It barely hurt and I didn't care at that point.  They it feels like this weird pressure but doesn't hurt. 

Once it was done, they let Greg back in the room.  I could still feel my legs in a good way.  Each hour you turn from side to side because the bottom half gets more medicine.  Since I had some feeling in my legs, it wasn't too hard to turn. I could feel contractions to the extent I knew they were happening and was slightly uncomfortable during big ones, but it was totally doable.

At this point  I had been up for 24 hours.  I tried to sleep now since  I had pain relief.  It didn't happen but I was resting.  Around 6 they came and put oxygen on me and said the baby's heart was dipping with contractions and this should help.  Apparently it did.   I had heard this was common, especially with induction.

At 7:30 the doctor came in.  She said she had a c-section at 8 and would come by after.  She said I was 5cm and 90% effaced.  She said if there were any issues, another doctor from the practice would come in to see me.

At 8am, I had just dozed off and the nurse screams, "Dana, turn on your other side!".  I do.  And thirty seconds later she shouts, "go back to the other side."  In the next couple of seconds, 8 people literally run in the room, including the back up doctor.  I was so scared, there aren't even words.  Greg wakes up to this stampede.  They shouted to me, "get on you hands and knees now!"

Apparently the baby's heartbeat dropped to 56.  It should be between 120 and 160.  I started pleading with the doctor to just take him out now, I don't care about a c-section, just get him out.  She just rubbed my back and said, let's try this first.  They had me in this modified child's pose for 30 minutes, while his heartbeat got up to an acceptable range.  Pitocin was stopped.

At 9am, my original doctor came back and said she wants to give it another hour but he hasn't dropped enough, I am not dilating fast enough, and we are expecting a large baby which she didn't think would fit through me, but she wanted to give it a shot.  At 9:45  I hadn't progress and he wasn't tolerating contractions very well.

She said I could wait longer but at this point my c-section would bump other people scheduled for one and didn't want to make it an even more critical process.  I said get him out.  Within five minutes,  I had signed consent forms, my meds were adjusted for surgery, Greg was in hospital garb, and I was being wheeled to the operating room.

Once inside, I internally freaked.  At this point my legs were completely numb and they make you move yourself onto this skinny board of a table.  Then they adjust you by people holding sheets up in the air to roll you.  I thought I was going to end up on the floor.  I thought I was going to hyperventilate and asked for something for nerves.  They said they could but the baby would get it so I said forget it.  They put up a drape so I couldn't see my body and they brought Greg in.  They have your arms outstretch on these tables, so we were able to hold hands through the surgery.  I heard a couple scary things during the surgery, such as "I am having trouble getting him out" and even more alarming, "they are donating the cord blood as a benevolent act, I am not sacrificing their care for the blood, get back here".  At that point I was freaking again. 

Meanwhile you don't feel pain but you do feel pressure. When the pressure got intense and the baby wasn't out yet, I got nervous.  A minute or two later a nurse said, "he is coming soon".  About a minute after that, Evan Carter was born crying.  I started crying too.  I was so relieved and so happy.  They put him on the warmer which I could kind of see to the left of me.  But I was so tired and dizzy from sleep deprivation it was hard to stay focused.  Greg got up to cut the cord.  He took pictures so he could bring them back and show me.  The baby cried the whole time and then they swaddled him up and gave him to Greg.  He immediately stopped crying and looked at him with wide eyes.

They finished me up and at this point I could care less about what was being done to me.  Once I was transferred to the bed to wheel me to recovery, I got to hold Evan.  He is so adorable.  Oh, and the kicker, he weighed 7 lb 14 oz, not the 9.5lb they were expecting.  How crazy is that?

We stayed in recovery for 2 hours and then got transferred to my room.  I stayed four days.  He has been such a good mellow baby. And shockingly, we have been pretty mellow too. 

For those who have had a myomectomy, the pain of that surgery is about 10x worse then a c-section.  It is completely manageable and the pain absolutely pales in comparison to having a fibroid removed.

Here are some pics.
And here is one of the two of us.
And him in all his cuteness:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bump Watch 2010, but Maybe will Go to 2011

Seeing as my mom was in town, she was insistent on coming to the doctor with me.  I don't like people going to the doctor with me.  Not my mom, not my husband, but she doesn't care.

First they hook me up to the non-stress test.  At first he wasn't very active but he finally woke up and I thought everything looked good.  The doctor came in and she said there was one low heart rate and she wanted me to go to the hospital to be monitored after the appointment.  I thought it was overkill.  I told her, even though my blood pressure was 120/80 at the office, it had been higher at home the last couple of days but never more than 133/82, which is still in the safe range.  She said even though I didn't have protein in my urine, this was more reason to send me to the hospital for a full pre-eclamptic work up. 

She did my exam and I was still 2 cm, hadn't dropped, and hadn't dilated more.  I did have my bloody show during the exam.  I have read that labor is usually with 48 hours of the show but she said not necessarily.  She then sent me to get an ultrasound to check my fluid.  It came back at 16, so it dropped to a much more normal level.  I met with her after and she said that basically she was looking for something to induce me today.

On the walk over to the hospital, I ran into my fertility doctor whom I love.  We talked for a couple minutes and am thrilled she was staying in Chicago.  She was a fellow and not sure if she would get the full time gig.  She is so sweet, gave me a hug, and told me she had recently asked my OB about me.  I thought maybe I am having this baby today because it would be full circle seeing her on the day I had him.

We get to the hospital and I get hooked up to the machine in triage.  After 1.5 hours, everything came back normal, he was more active than I have ever felt him.  And I had 5 contractions while I was there.  The nurse said unfortunately they weren't regular and being past due, I should be having contractions.  Again she said they wouldn't induce because it increases the likelihood of a c-section.

I asked the OB about the induction process.  She wants me to start off with pitocin and once it gets going and I am uncomfortable, I can get the epidural.  They will break my water, but they need him to drop before they can break the water because to avoid a prolapsed cord which is very serious.  She said since I am going in at 12:30am, she thinks that I will have the baby late that afternoon or during the evening.

All in all no changes since last time, just a waste of a day, except I did get a really cute 3-D ultrasound pic.

And the bump watch continues...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

At Peace

I have made peace with the fact that I will likely see my 41st week mark come and go this Saturday.  One of my biggest fears of labor was being in excruciating pain and being sent home from the hospital or told I can't come in yet.  If I am induced, I won't have that issue.  I will have all the blood work done ahead of time so when I want the epidural, I can get it.  I won't have to be in the tiny, dingy triage room, there is a nice delivery room waiting for me.

Speaking of epidurals, this has been my birth plan since day one.  I was speaking to a friend of mine whose wife had a baby in May.  She went naturally because they were concerned the epidural would cause Autism, which I had never heard.  He asked if I was going natural and I said, "Oh, no, I want the drugs." And he asked, "Well you aren't even going to try to see if you can do it on your own?"

I was a bit shocked because he isn't a Birkenstock footed, hemp necklace wearing type of guy.  Not to say at all that people that go sans drugs are hippies, it just seemed so out of character for him. And let's not forget he is a guy.  It isn't like his wife who powered through natural labor is saying this to me.

So I said, "All my friends say they are miserable and then they get an epidural and everything changes."  So he pushes, "Don't you think you could be stronger than your friends?"

And I said, "No".  Wouldn't that be a clear example of hubris if I thought I was stronger and braver than my friends?  And everyone knows hubris is a fatal flaw.

So we won't see eye to eye on this one.  I see on the social networking sites that there are tons and tons of people who go without drugs and really look down on people who get epidurals. I even watched the Ricki Lake documentary, "The Business of Being Born" about the process of home birthing naturally with a midwife and that didn't sway me a bit.  My doctor said 98% of the babies they deliver use epidurals.  She said even people who think they will go natural switch during labor.  Personally, I don't want to have to be in pain if I don't have to, especially since you have your mental faculties about you.  To each his own.  I just can't wait to meet the blessed anesthesiologist.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Out of Hand...Literally

Another fun adventure at the doctor's office.  I want to start with a piece of advice- always try to get the first appointment of the day.  Since I am in my 40th week, I couldn't book my appointment much ahead of time and ended up with an 11:00 ultrasound and an 11:45 doctor's appointment.  I had to wait a lot longer than that because they got backed up.

I started off with the ultrasound.  He looked good, moving well.  My fluid is dropping (a good thing since I had a lot) and was at 19.5.  She did the weight estimate and are you sitting for this?  They think he weighs 9 lbs 1 oz.  That's like a toddler.  If I don't deliver until next week, he could be 9.5 pounds. He put on 1lb 7oz in the last 13 days.

I then when in to see the doctor.  I asked her to sweep my membranes.  She cautioned me that normally it doesn't work unless you are doing several days in a row, but she would try.  Well she begins the exam and says because I haven't dropped at all, she can't reach far enough to do the sweep.  She said I am still 2 cm for the 3rd week in a row and maybe if I am lucky 50% effaced but it is hard to tell because I am so high.

My blood pressure was a bit elevated but she wasn't concerned.  It could have been because I just found out I am going to birth a cute little turkey.  She said she isn't too concerned about the size now, we don't have to talk c-section yet.  She doesn't think he will grow much in the next week until my induction. 

Next steps, I go in Thursday for another NST (non-stress test) and a doctor exam.  They will re-evaluate if they shoud move up my induction.  Right now, I am scheduled to get to the hospital at 12:30am, early Monday morning of next week.

I really feel like it is never going to happen on its own.  I think because the fluid is still pretty high, he is pretty comfortable and happy floating around in there.

She said I could go any time if my water breaks, adding being late and the weather were on my side.  She added if they induced me now, when he clearly isn't ready, my chances of a c-section dramatically goes up.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Taking Matters into my Doctor's Hands

I am officially past my due date.  Yes, I am aware I am the same person that just wanted to make it to at least 28 weeks, then 32, and finally 37.  But now I am the person who spent what seems like forever waiting for the magical day, June 19th to arrive.  It is a strange feeling when your due date comes and goes and you realize it not only wasn't magical, it was pretty much meaningless.

I have to say I am not miserable.  Most people say the last month is awful.  I definitely am sleeping worse and feel huge but I am certainly doing just fine.  I am feeling external pressures though.  First, my parents.  Without my consent they bought tickets to come up to Chicago for June 18th.  I feel guilty that they are stuck up here for another couple weeks.  I do have to say they have been great about it.  Normally when they are here, I see them almost all waking hours and spend my life in the car shuttling them back and forth from activities.  Since they got here, I have seen them for about 4 hours a day.  They have taken more cabs than normal, and are great about saying go home to rest, we will be fine on our own.

The second external force is my husband.  In my 39th week, a switch flipped and all of a sudden he got really nudgy about getting the baby out.  He wants the baby here and yesterday.  He wants me to spend my days running the stairs in our house and keeps trying to make me take even more walks in the oppressive heat.  I am choosing to find it endearing.

And then there are the family members that put in requests.  My mother-in-law was pushing for a specific day because she was scheduled to work with someone she hated on that day and wanted out of work.  My sister-in-law was going out of town and told me I had to wait.  My sister said she didn't want it to happen this past weekend because she wanted to be able to get some quality sleep on her days off.

Tomorrow I will be 2 days late.  I am scheduled to be induced June 28 (a week from tomorrow).  I am considering asking the doctor to sweep my membranes.

I hadn't heard prior to pregnancy.  Essentially when you are close to your due date, the doctor, during an internal exam, sweeps her fingers across you cervix and detaches your membrane that supports the water bag from the uterine wall.  From what I have read, 50% of people will go into labor within 48 hours. 

The procedure is quick, typically under a minute, but reports range from uncomfortable to very painful.  Susposedly, it works much better if you are already dilated.  As of last Tuesday, I was dilated to 2 cms.  Some people are not impacted.  Some lose their mucus plug or have their bloody show (two things I have not experienced), which are signs that labor should happen soon. Many have cramps and contractions, although they don't always lead to labor.

I asked one of the doctor's in the practice two weeks ago if their group did it.  She joked she does it as long as she isn't on call- meaning she doesn't want to be at the hospital that night delivering you.  I think this bodes well for me, because the doctor I am seeing tomorrow is the one scheduled to induce me next week.

I do have apprehension about this.  My plan after the doctor is to meet my parents for lunch.  I fear having bad contractions or worse, my water breaking in public shortly thereafter.  My mom did say, if I am feeling anything, we will all cab back to my place, they will pick up lunch, and stay with me until my husband can get home.  I also am concerned that it will make me very crampy and have bad contractions that don't lead to labor.

Speaking of water breaking, I found out in the last 2 weeks my amniotic fluid level is high.  Normal at this point is 12-14.  Mine has been ranging from 21-25.  So I pretty much have twice as much fluid as a normal person.  I anticipate my water breaking will bring on quite the flood.  I am cool with that, I just don't want my mattress to be ruined if it happens at night.  I love my mattress.  I attribute being so comfortable in pregnancy in part to my amazing mattress.  I am taking proper precautions to ensure the safety of  said  mattress.  At first I was sleeping on a towel, starting about 39.5 weeks.  Then I asked the doctor for those puppy pad looking sheets they sometimes use at the ob/gyn's during procedures.  They gave me a bag full.  I decided it wouldn't be enough.  So now, under my sheet, I have a waterproof crib liner and a towel.  I am not messing around, I love my mattress.  Greg suggested I just sleep in the bath tub.  I think he was kidding.

I will keep you posted as to if I end up getting my membranes swept tomorrow, what it feels like, and if it works.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Case of the Uneventful Pregnancy

Givenmy rocky road to a sticky pregnancy, I freely admit, I felt fully entitled to an uneventful pregnancy.  I have been very lucky and have gotten just that.

Sure there was nature's cruel joke of anterior placenta, which meant I didn't feel the baby nearly as much as a normal person, which puts a paranoid pregnant person like myself in a tizzy every once in a while.  But the upside of this is his kicks and jabs really aren't that uncomfortable and I don't usually have trouble going back to bed after one of my many mid-night bathroom breaks because he can't settle down.

I barely had morning sickness, had good energy allowing me to work out through most of my third trimester, and am still pretty comfortable with only 1.5 weeks to go. At about 33 weeks, the baby situated himself in the most uncomfortable position rendering me miserable and after about a day of pleading with him and much time spent in downward dog, my sweet baby obliged and moved off this horrid spot.  So I truly was the keeper of an uneventful pregnancy.

I guess the kid didn't want to set the precedent of being a momma's boy and decided to stir things up this week.

Monday night, we decided to go out to dinner and while out, he was kicking something fierce.  I was so uncomfortable I actually left the table to get up and walk to try to calm him down.  During my 3 pee breaks of the night, I noticed I didn't feel him at all, which was unusual.  I normally feel him for a minute or two and then we both go back to sleep.  Tuesday morning, I got up around 6:30 and realized I hadn't felt him.  I did some of my tricks to stir him and nothing.  Given the anterior placenta, I didn't freak.  Around 9, while in the car on the way to the doctor, I resorted to my most annoying of tricks.  Essentially I pat my stomach to make a clapping noise and follow up by poking at his feet.  He hates this.  And yet nothing.

Once in the doctor's room, the nurse asked about movement and I told her it had been a long time since I felt him.  They immediately sent me for an NST (non-stress test).  I had had this twice before, once after the car accident, and once just to get a baseline given the anterior placenta.  They put these big bands around your belly with two receptors.  One tracks his heartbeat and one tracks contractions.  I was given a button to press when I felt movement.

As soon as I was hooked up, his heartbeat was detected and strong.  So I felt relief.  The nurse left for about 30 minutes and I hadn't felt him once.  The nurse returned and gave me juice to get things going and I maybe felt him twice after that.  This wasn't good. 

Then the doctor came in.  She said "I don't like what I am seeing.  He isn't being reactive.  His heartbeat is in a normal range so this test alone isn't telling me I need to get him out today, but if I don't see improvement in the next 15 minutes, I am going to send you for a biophysical work up and if those results aren't good, we are going to look at getting the baby out."  She then did my internal exam (2 cm!!) and said maybe that would irritate him and get him going.

Well it didn't.  She had the nurse come back and collect the print-out for the machine.  About 20 minutes later they told me I was going to need the biophysical work up.  You might be thinking I was freaking out.  Shockingly I wasn't.  Since his heartbeat was normal, I figured need be, we could get this baby out within the hour if we had too.  And since I have had the fibroid surgery, I am not afraid of a c-section.

About another 20 minutes go by and they take me in for the biophysical work-up.  This is just a detailed ultrasound.  They measured amniotic fluid, growth, and specific baby movements.  Everything was good and I got such cute 3-D pictures.  He definitely plumped out.  His cheeks are so cute you could eat them.  After this test, I had to wait 45 minutes to meet with the doctor to discuss my results.  She told me since the second test came back normal we didn't have to deliver me that day but they wanted me to come in the following morning for another NST.

I managed to stay really calm the rest of the day which is more than I can say for my husband and my mom, who currently isn't speaking to my dad because he had his cell phone off during the baby drama.  It wasn't until about 9pm that I started worrying what if something happens between tonight and tomorrow morning. Luckily he knew he had to go back to be a docile son and gave me some good kicks before I fell asleep.  This morning he was active too.

The test this morning went fine.  He improved since yesterday so they said I just need to be really vigiliant about movement and they would see me at my appointment next week.

This was a pretty eye-opening experience for both me and my husband.  I am completely prepared in terms of my hospital bag, his room, his things, addresses for birth annoucements, and so forth.  But I have been a bit of a freak when it comes to the brutal reality that he actually has to come out and what that entails.  My husband is quite the opposite.  He isn't worried about the birth process (likely since it isn't his parts squeezing out a baby) but hasn't done anything to prepare like packing for the hospital and turning in his FMLA paperwork.  When I was being tested and told things weren't going well, I just wanted him out that second.  I didn't care if it meant another surgery or a 3 day labor, I just wanted him safe.  Greg on the other hand started freaking out about random things, like the Hep B vaccine and the ointment they put on newborn eyes.  He started worrying about something at work that is due Monday but now might have to get down that day. 

And once his freak out passed, the oddest thing happened.  He wanted this baby here and yesterday.  He ran into our neighbor who swears she went into labor from having to go up and down stairs a lot during a move.  She went like 5 weeks early, so probably something else was up or the fact that she was lifting heavy stuff and going up and down stairs. So now he keeps telling me to start climbing stairs and when I push back, he said, let's get him out.

Even though this scare turned out to be no big deal, I can no longer say I have had a completely uneventful pregnancy.  Hopefully this means I will have an easy, short, 3-push labor.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Room with a View

Here are the pictures of the nursery!

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I have to admit, I was offended.  At dinner last Saturday, a friend of my husband's asked if I complained a lot and was emotional over nothing being pregnant.  My charming husband basically said yes.  I got pissed.  I rarely complain and I don't think I have had one emotional outburst related to pregnancy.  He admitted I don't complain much but do say I am uncomfortable a lot.  I shield him from about 90% of the weird things that have transpired over the last nine months.  He admitted I could be a lot worse.  I feel like he has no idea, but I let it go.

So not 24 hours after said conversation, I was sitting on my bed putting together an iTunes playlist for while I am laboring at the hospital, I find myself on the verge of tears.  Greg comes in the room and makes small talk, but I feel like if I spoke my tear ducts would betray me.  He asks, "why are you so quiet?"  I said, "I don't know, I just feel emotional."  He asked if it was the song. I laughed said no and then busted out crying.  Both of us were taken aback, since this is really abnormal for me.

On one hand, I felt sad that I wouldn't be pregnant for very long.  I will miss it.  Check back with me in two weeks on this emotion, but for now, I love feeling the baby in my belly.  And he is so easy.  We go everywhere together. Also, being pregnant is all-consuming.  Everything you do or don't do is baby related.  What you eat, what you lift, places you go, invitations you decline.  Then came the fear of child birth.  I know he has to come out and I know centuries of women have done it before me.  That's great for them, but I am apprehensive and don't know what to expect.  Given the agony of my false labor a couple nights prior, I started doubting my threshold for pain. Next I started thinking about how long it has been since I found out I was pregnant.  At conception, he was the size of a pen point and now he is about 7 pounds.  I started thinking how long ago it was the first time I saw him on a ultrasound and the sheer relief I felt to see his little heart flutter, or how it felt like a million years ago, that I went price gun crazy registering at Buy Buy Baby with my mom in Florida.

My better half helped me reel in my craziness, although he is less than sympathetic about being nervous about childbirth.  The rest of my meltdown, he handled like a champ.  And he was smart enough not to have a boastful moment about his declaration the previous night about me being overly emotional.

This week, I continue to focus on nesting, cleaning things that have been sorely ignored.  I also have been spending  a lot of time sitting in his room reading or talking on the phone.

As far as progress, not making much.  Still 1 cm, no change from the last two weeks.  I technically have 2.5 weeks to go.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Ad Wizards missed the Target

Yesterday, while at the doctor's office, I was sitting in the waiting room when my eyes fell upon a magazine that caught my fancy.  It is called Conceive.  The magazine is completely geared at getting you pregnant.

I kind of laughed to myself, because how in the world have I not heard of this publication.  I have spent a lot of time researching fertility issues and visiting sites about how to get pregnant and those that offer tools to help track fertility.  I have had visits with fertility doctors and conversations with my OB and internist about getting pregnant. 

I am the ideal target for Conceive magazine and I didn't even know it existed.   The magazine comes out quarterly and offers tips for trying to get pregnant and strategies for couples to cope when it doesn't happen the way you planned.

I perused the issue in the waiting room.  They had diet recommendations, yoga poses, and an article on something called the Fertility Ball, which was invented by Brenda Strong, the narrator on Desperate Housewives.  Apparently she has a line of yoga fertility DVDs.  The reviews on Amazon are favorable.  I did a search for the Fertility Ball (looks like a small medicine ball) and one site said it isn't available to June.  Here is a link to on of the videos if you want to learn more about her approach.

Personally, I think Conceive Magazine might be a good investment. It isn't expensive and had a lot of information.  I also like how they include articles on coping as a couple with infertility.  It can really take a toll on a marriage because it is such a stressor.  Even for couples to know it is normal can be a big help.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What Goes Bump in the Day?

I have had what one might call a cautious pregnancy.  Though not consider high-risk by my doctor, you know the one with the medical degree, I have decided I am a delicate flower.  My self-prescribed delicacy has manifested itself in many ways.  None more obvious that footwear. I have pretty much warn two types of shoes since getting that little pink line- Uggs and flip flops.  I ventured out in heels a couple weeks ago and skidded, only to be cushioned by a friend.  Thus I was proud of my decision to throw fashion to the wind for the majority of my pregnancy.  And I stopped working (which explains how I got away with the most casual of foot attire).  I got laid off during this time and decided it wouldn't be fair to start some place and only have a couple months to work before going on leave, so we decided to put it off until after the baby arrived and I had a couple months at home with him.  You should have seen me walking outside during the winter, I assumed any and all surfaces were ice sheets, waiting to wipe me out.  And finally, I have given up heavy lifting, save my dumb bells (16 pounds total) and my adorable niece (maybe pushing 20 pounds). 

So now Spring has sprung and I pretty much decided I was in the clear. Last week my parents were in town.  My dad left on a Monday and my mom was staying an extra day because we thought, though wrong, that the nursery furniture would be delivered and we could set up the room.  At this point I am slightly convinced the baby is going to be sleeping in a drawer.

Since we didn't have a room to decorate and I have purchased all my essentials and washed all the baby's clothes and linens, my mom and I had nothing left to do after we dropped off my dad at the airport.  She finally came up with an idea- to go to this store in a suburb about 40 minutes away, because they had something she couldn't find back in Florida that she had been wanting. 

It was a beautiful, clear day and we finally arrived to the picturesque suburb, you know the type, with a full-on main street filled with unique stores.  We come to a light and stop.  I am the only car there.  And then bam.  Rear-ended.  We jerk forward.  Admittedly, it wasn't a hard hit at all. 

We get out of the car and see this older SUV and the driver, a woman around 65, is just sitting there.  My car doesn't have any visible damage.  But I start getting worked up about the baby. Now you might be thinking, you were just bumped, your car isn't damaged, why are you freaked out.

I am a somewhat believer in signs, not a full-fledged believer, but that taken with my ill-founded belief that I am semi-psychic sent my mind reeling.

So here are the signs in no particular order:
1) In the child birth class my husband asked, one, yes, one question.  The teacher mentioned a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus and it is very dangerous.  He asked, "well how does that happen?"  She looking him dead in the eye, and with no inflection or emotion retorted, "car accident".

2) My husband and I are big fans of a bread of dog called a Wheaton Terrier.  They look like little teddy bears.  If we were ever to get a dog, this would be the one.  Well they aren't that common and when we see them, we act like it is a harbinger of a good day.  The morning of the accident I was driving him to work and we see not just one Wheaton, but the Wheaton twins, who must live in the neighborhood but I seldom see them.  I said to him, "remember we say a Wheaton the day [our niece] was born?  Maybe this means we are going to have the baby today."

3) About 5 years ago, I had this dreaded feeling for a couple months that I was going to get in an accident.  It really weighed on me.  About 3 months into this feeling I got rear-ended after a bizarre series of circumstances.  That bad feeling went away, until about 2 months ago, and it came back.  Weird, right?

Okay, so now I am thinking, let's say this bump detached my placenta, I need to get to the doctor so she can determine if all is okay, or if I am having a c-section and having this baby today.  Time was of the essence.

The driver doesn't get out of her car.  She rolls down the window and looks at me and I was starting to cry because of the baby.  And she looks at me blankly (btw, I am hugely pregnant, so it isn't like a big freaking mystery as to why I am upset).  My mom, who loves to exaggerate says, "she isn't crying about the car she is crying because she is nine months pregnant."  Truth be told I was 8.5 months pregnant.  But she loves to get sympathy on my behalf.  Such as after fibroid surgery, I would say I am doing better than expected and she would be on the phone to one of my aunts saying, "she is just so uncomfortable, poor thing can't get any sleep and it really hurts to move."  Got to love her for that.

The woman says, "Did I hit you?"  This is when I realize we are dealing with a world class space cadet.  I ask for her insurance card.  She goes through every signal membership card, credit card, business card, and possibly coupon she has collected since 1987 and finally hands over an expired health insurance card.  I said, "this is you medical insurance."  She looks at me blankly and says, "what did you want?"  I further clarify the need for her car insurance, when I notice she has a busted up front head light, from clearly another accident. 

I go in my car to call the doctor's office.  A couple minutes later I get out of the car and go to the passenger side to get her insurance card.  She can't open the window.  She literally cannot figure out why.  Here's a tip, you need to turn the car on in order to open the window.  Not an exaggeration, it took her about 35 seconds to realize this fact.  She confessed she didn't have a card, hands me her business card, and says her husband is driving over the insurance card.

There are 2 big reveals.  According to her business card, she owns a company.  She must have mental faculties because she works and presumably employs people.  She is the boss of someone.  Even more alarming than her at the helm of a business is that she had a car seat in the back.  Someone is allowing their child to be driven around by this woman.

Her husband rolls up and looks at me in all my curvy glory and says, "oh sweetheart, are you ok?"  He was super nice.  I tried to take a picture of the insurance card with my phone but the lighting was bad, so he opens the car door and we put it on the baby car seat.  She had her gaze forward the whole time, never spoke to her husband, and this nice man didn't even acknowledge the space cadet, who herself had just been in an accident.  I further deduced from their interactions and the busted headlight that this wasn't the first time he had to come clean up her mess.

My mom and I spent the next 40 minutes in route to the hospital discussing what we think she was on.  Our bet was prescription drugs.  And in case you are wondering, my mom didn't get the platter, I did offer, but she refused and just wanted me to get to the hospital.

We got sent to triage.  I had to change into a gown and they hooked up the Non-Stress Test (NST).  Essentially it is a big belt that measures the baby's heart beat.  About an hour into it, they said he looks like he is fine and the nurse would call my the doctor from my practice that was on call.  The doctor wanted me to stay one more hour and have an internal exam, they kind where they tell you if you are dilated and effaced.

I was secretly hoping I was one of those lucky first time moms that unbeknownst to her was walking around 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and when in labor, the nurse would be screaming for the doctor because the baby was going to slide out with the first push.

I have been warned that these exams are very painful.  It wasn't ice cream and elephants, but it was okay, I was so eager to hear that I was progressing more than anyone could have hoped, that I just grinned (more like panted) and bared it.

So the verdict, 0cm and 0% effaced.  Like I could keep my cervical information to myself.

Bottom line, you can wear sensible shoes, walk with the greatest caution on hazardous terrain, not lift anything heavy, avoid caffeine, alcohol, avoid the sugar I really really really want to be eating every day, and some drugged out lady can send you into a tailspin.

Luckily he was perfect.  In 2 days I am going for an ultrasound to see his position and hopefully I will get another 3-D image to share.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shell Shocked

Yesterday we attended the 8 hour birthing class called "Great Expectations". It honestly felt like a rite of passage.  Since pretty much everyone I know has a baby, I thought I knew what the class was all about.

Well, I was not prepared.  It left me wanting a c-section. I am only half kidding.  They showed several child births and all of them were natural.  No epidurals in the bunch.  The funniest part was not one person in my class was planning on going sans drugs.  Questions included, "At what point would I get the epidural?", "If I am having contractions seven minutes apart but they are horribly painful, can I come in for an epidural or will  I be sent home?".

My husband made noises like he was being sickened and averted his eyes during the crowning and delivery.  I cannot blame him.  After that scene, one expectant father inquired, "Is there anything you can give the dads so they don't pass out?"  The nurse leading the class looked at him in a judging way and answered, "a chair,".

The class and hospital tour just made everything much more real.  I have 7 weeks left until my due date.  In some ways, I feel like I have been pregnant forever but in other ways, I can't believe there is an end in sight.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Push the Push Present

I had never heard of a push present until about four years ago, when a friend of mine from Long Island told me about the concept.  Essentially, a new dad presents his wife with a sizable gift when the baby is born.  It is a token of thanks for the child, for carrying the baby, and for going through the pain of labor.

I thought maybe this was just an east coast thing, but in fact, it has fully migrated over to midwest.  My close friend got diamond stud earrings.  Another got a beautiful necklace.  I had one friend that was less than subtle about making her wants for a push present known.  She actually sent him a link to Tiffany's with two things she would want- either a necklace with the baby's first name initial or a locket to put his picture in.

Not only did she send him the links and harshly remind him, she even had me remind him, which I couched with, "I am only saying something for your own good, she will be pissed if you don't do it." Her thought was he never makes an effort for birthdays or anniversaries, he just never put energy into doing something nice for her.

Well delivery at 41 weeks came and went and there was no push present and she was in fact pissed.

Personally, I don't care about a push present, the baby is present enough.  However, I did tell my husband for my push present, I want a large diet coke with 4 lemon wedges pre-squeezed into my savory drink.  Ideally, I do want one of those beer helmets where I can put in two diet cokes (lemoned of course) and have the straws feed directly into my mouth.  That would be the most thoughtful gift of all.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just Sitting Here Remincising

It is Saturday night and my husband has been at work all day (minus a 2 hour break for our infant CPR class) and it doesn't seem like he is coming home anytime soon.  So before I settle in for a night with a Lifetime movie, I decided to spend some time cleaning out my e-mail inbox.
After sorting through way too much junk, I started deleting e-mails between me and my best friend.  After going through a bunch of recent messages, I thought it would be interesting to go back to see what we were talking about before and after my surgery, when I thought I was pregnant in September and wasn't, and when I was finally pregnant in October.

It made me really hopeful for all of my TTC friends (which is a club growing by the day).  In September, I was convinced I was pregnant only to find out that not only was I not pregnant but I had luteal phase defect.  I wrote to my friend that I just can't see it happening anymore.  I then started mapping out all these contingencies, like if I am not pregnant in October, then I can't do Clomid and IUI in November because we would be in Italy and my husband wouldn't have had a semen analysis which the doctor requires before fertility treatments. I wouldn't have been able to get the prescription in time and couldn't be monitored.  So for me, the pregnancy took me by surprise, because to a large degree,  I had given up hope.

Speaking of giving up hope, during my infertility journey, I met via email a friend of my cousin.  Both my cousin and I each had two miscarriages.  She had two good friends also having issues.  One of them had been trying longer than both of us.  She was actually the one that turned me on to Atkins, because her fertility doctor made her go on this extremely strict diet to help regulate hormones.  Well in the time since we were all in the same boat, my cousin got pregnant and now has a 4 months old and I am 8 months pregnant.  I think that is a tough pill to swallow - knowing people that weren't even trying when you started TTC and now have kids or are about to.  Well great news, the IVF finally worked, and she is 8 weeks pregnant with twins!  She had said this was her last shot because it was just talking a horrible toll on her.

As I mentioned before, it seems there is a new wave of friends trying now and I am really excited for them.  Some had tried before and issues were found that have since been corrected (like thyroid irregularities), others have tried casually but are now getting more serious with the beloved Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor, and some are just throwing their hat in the fertility ring.

The one thing I wish for them, which I wasn't able to maintain, is a breezy attitude and to know it doesn't matter in the scheme of things if it happens the first month or six months later.  I know if someone had told me it was going to take me sixteen months, but I knew at sixteen months, it would work, I would have been a lot more fun to live with.  There's a job for me- a pregnancy oracle.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Notebook

Today was my consultation with the pediatrician. My sister-in-law and good friend have both used the practice, which is good enough for me. Yesterday I put together a list of 19 questions and after another restless night with tons of time to think, I added one more for good measure.

First off, when you go to a pediatrician's office, without a child, the first thing you feel is tall. I was surprised at how sterile the environment was -where were all the toys? But then I realized, it seemed nobody cared about germs in the 80's when I was a kid and now we are pretty much all germ phobs.

After answering my 20 questions to my complete satisfaction, they doctor actually asked to photocopy my notebook because these they are questions new parents want to know but don't always seem to ask.

Here are my questions. I will also write short responses to some that are specific to her practice.

1. What medicines/toiletries/supplies should I have in the house?

A: Rectal thermometer, Vasoline, Desitin or other diaper cream, and a saline nasal spray (like Ocean Spray, but make sure it isn't a decongestant), Unscented Baby Products (not the traditional Johnson & Johnson in case they have sensitive skin). You don't need Tylenol for the first month or so because if the baby has a fever, we will want you to bring him in.

2. What are your policies for calling with questions? Is there a fee for after hours calls?

3. What is the schedule for well-checks? Do you see the same doctor?

A: At the beginning it depends on how the baby is doing but typically 1 wk, 2 wks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12, 15, and 18 months?

4. What are your policies for sick visits? Is there a separate waiting room? Will we get a same day appointment?

5. I have concerns about vaccines. Why don't you offer a modified vaccine schedule? What's your take on prophylactic treatment with probiotics/vitamins?

A: I won't go into everything because it was a long discussion but she believes there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism and she has never seen a kid regress from vaccines (though said they wasn't relevant because you need to really look at hundreds of thousands of practices). She also saw no medical evidence that treating kids with specific vitamins and probiotics does anything. I asked about why when I was a kid 1 in 10,000 kids was diagnosed with Autism and now it is approximately 1 in 50 boys. She said she thinks it is how we are classifying people now and cited a British study that looked at adults with mental retardation and found the numbers were the same. After our talk, I felt much better about vaccinating on the prescribed schedule.

6. What are signs to look for that something might be wrong and should call (i.e. fever)?
A: Fever when under 2 months, screaming in pain, lethargic.

7. When do you think sleep training should begin?
A: Technically, a baby can start being trained at 2 months. Once they start smiling responsively they can learn. Most people tend to start at 4 - 6 months. It is a personal preference.

8. What formula do you recommend? I had a bad reaction to milk based formula, should I start with soy? How will I know if he is having a bad reaction?
A: Enfamil, Kirkland, Similac are all good and pretty much the same. Kirkland (Costco's brand) is actually Similac. All have the omegas added in. Start off using milk based formula. If he has an intolerance he might be extremely fussy (6 hours of crying versus 2 or 3) and blood in stool.

9. Both my mom and I have a bad reaction to erythromycin (stomach cramps). I read the eye gel used at birth is erythromycin, should I be concerned?
A: No, erythromycin commonly creates stomach issues. Kid isn't going to go blind.

10. Why does an infant need a Hep B vaccine? Should I delay it until his immune system is more mature?
A: It isn't exclusively an STD. 1/3 of the cases origins are unknown. It is more prevalent in other countries and when people from those countries come here, our kids are exposed. 95-98% of her patients get it in the hospital.

11. How do we care for the circumcision and belly button?
A: You don't really need to do much for the belly button, just sponge bathe until it falls off. For the circumcision, for the first week, use Vaseline and gauze. The second week, you need to push back the skin. (I stopped her there because it freaked me out and figured I would ask at his 2 week appointment).

12. Should I wake him to eat? If so, when should I stop?
A: You should until he regains his birth weight. After that, you don't need to.

13. How often should we bathe him?
A: Every 3 days. Just clean with a washcloth daily in chin and arm folds, and of course after diapers.

14. Should I routinely use a diaper cream or only if he is irritated?
A: You don't need to unless he is irritated, but if you know he has sensitive skin and gets rashes, you might want to.

15. Any suggestions to avoid SIDS?
A: No bumpers, no stuffed animals, put him to sleep on his back. Don't let him sleep in his car seat for more the 2 hours. You don't want him sleeping in there for 6 hours at a time. I strongly discourage a family bed.

16. How soon until I can take him on walks? How do I protect from sun? How long until I can take him into closed places (i.e. stores)?
A: You can take him out the first day you are home. Don't use sunscreen until he is 2 months. I recommend Blue Lizard sunscreen. Just use the screen on stroller or cover with a blanket. You are going to have to take him to the grocery store, so bring him in his car seat and put a blanket over it, so people aren't breathing on him. (Another note: I asked my friend who is a dermatologist, she also said 2  months and don't take the baby out when the sun is the strongest. Do expose for about 10 minutes to get some vitamin D).

17. How much do we feed him? How do we know when to increase his food intake?
A: Weight checks, how satisfied they seem, urine output. You will learn the signals and we will go over this in the hospital. If you are breast feeding, he will just take it and your supply will increase to keep up, you probably won't notice. Follow up question: After 2 months, should I try to increase day time feedings so he needs less at night? A: Yes, if the kid is taking a 5 hour nap but is up every 2-3 hours at night, wake them up to give them more during the day so you can get longer stretches of sleep at night.

18. Is it ok to just use the filtered water in my sink or do I need to buy baby water?
A: Filtered water is fine. Room temperature is easiest for the parents because you aren't always figuring out how to warm the bottle.

19. When do I use a humidifier?
A: They have limited use. For one, they can get moldy. Also, if the room is big, it might not be that effective. But if the kid is sick, put it by the crib. Taking a baby into a steamy bathroom or steam shower a couple times a day also is pretty helpful when they are congested.

20. What are your thoughts on sleep positioners?
A: I am not crazy about them. They are like a giant bumper, a SIDS risk. Kids aren't really rolling over before 3 months and if their arm gets caught in the side of the crib, they can usually get it out themselves. But I had a patient at three months that was rolling on his stomach, so she thought he should use one.

That's it in a nutshell. Obviously some of these questions are specific to my medical history, but it might jog your memory. Happy interrogating!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mini Mick Jagger and the Hand Slap

Last week I had my first appointment in 4.5 weeks.  I was a little nervous because I had put on too much weight since the last appointment.  But there is a back story to this.

I normally weigh myself every day or two.  Well two weeks before my last appointment I weighed myself on a Monday, and then didn't the rest of the week.  That weekend I went out of town to visit my best friend who is also pregnant.  We are roommates from college and used to love Papa John's Pizza in college but they don't have one in Chicago.  So we ordered in Papa John's, because we could.  We also had TCBY during the day with Reese's Cups sprinkled on top.  But heck,we were pregnant.  I then get back and the next day had my Bachelor Party (a screeing of the Bachelor Final Rose, it is a tradition I have had for about 8 years for the people in my Bachelor Pool).  And so there was more pizza eating and some candy eating.  So yes, I threw nutrition to the wind for a 3 day bender. 

Well Tuesday, three days before the last appointment, I weighed myself and was up 5 pounds from the Monday before, not to mention a couple pounds from the rest of the month. 

I then started crazy workouts, like an hour and a half on the elliptical everyday.  I only got carbs from fruit and vegetables. And by my Friday appointment I lost 4 of the 5 Papa John's pounds.

Well two days after the appointment I put on those 4 pounds right away, to no fault of my eating or exercising, which had gone back to normal routines. 

During the last 4.5 weeks I put on 9 pound, but I like to think it was really 5 because of the 4 Papa John's pounds.  I told my webkins and they were all like, the doctor isn't going to say anything.  Wrong.  She did.  She she that was a lot of weight to put on in a month (four AND a HALF weeks, thank you very much) and then asked if I was drinking calories- nope, just water.  Working out- yep about 4 times a week.  So she said to watch portions and I would be checked again at my next appointment which is only 2 weeks away.  So that was the bad news.  She wasn't mean about it, so I didn't want to burst in tears, I certainly didn't want to hear about it though.

The good news is she too had anterior placenta. This is where the placenta is in front of the baby.  Normal placenta is behind the baby between the baby and the spine.  You don't feel much movement because it is like the baby is kicking a sponge and the shock is being absorbed by the placenta.  It is a total mindtrick and drives me crazy.  I go days without feeling a kick and then the next day he will be active.  I told her this so she sent me for an Ultrasound.  It has been 10 weeks since my last scan.

I got a 3-D picture. It is so crazy.  I had one at 19.5 weeks but he looked like a teenage mutant ninja turtle.  Now he actually looks like a cutey baby.  But he does have on noteworthy feature.  During her exam, the tech kept saying, "check out those lips".  I couldn't see much.  Well then she prints out the pictures and my kid has some massive and I mean massive lips.  No one that I know of on either side of our families has disproportionately large lips.  The tech said it could be swollen from all the fluid in the womb.

So I send my hubby the picture and he writes back asking about his mouth.  I met with the doctor again and she said it is probably the technology and this is why she doesn't like these pictures because it makes parents neurotic. 

We had decided we weren't going to get a 3-D at one of those places that you pay to go.  But I have to say, I am so happy we have a picture.  Even though it probably will look nothing like him, it makes it so real.  He is estimated to be 3lb 4oz and he looks like a baby.  As much as I loved him before yesterday, I think I love him more now, just because it is so clear there is a little person inside.  I definitely think our parents feel more connected too.

Check out the rock star.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where the Kid has No Name

If you haven't put it together yet, I am a planner of the highest order. I haven't met a checklist that I didn't love.

When I was trying to conceive, I had pages of estimated ovulation dates, I planned trips to accomodate my cycle, and systematically bugged my husband to make me a baby, all according to the plan. And guess what, the plan worked (eventually).

Once pregnant, I put together a check list of month by month what I needed to do to prepare for the baby. Items included paint room, have closet organizers installed, order furniture, buy must have items, meet the pediatrician, and so on.

One thing I failed to put on the list was name the child. Everything on the list are things I can do myself.  And right on cue, they are being checked off on time or earlier. But things that involve my better half are yet to be done.

The biggest one is the name. I only have 11 weeks left if I make it to 40 weeks.  We started talking about names in Italy when I was around 4 weeks.  We got to a point where we just argued about it and we decided to table it until we knew the sex.  So that was December.  Okay it is now April and my sweet little guy may be called "the baby" for the rest of his life. What a horrible moniker for a boy, notwithstanding all the "no one puts baby in the corner" jokes he will have to endure, when some creative Hollywood Exec has the brilliant idea of filiming a second  remake of the classic Dirty Dancing, which will no doubt happen during his gawky middle school period.

My husband doesn't understand the urgency. I guess it is two things.  One, I hate living under a cloud of indecision.  I am a very decisive person.  He is more of a hem and hawer.  He likes things to marinate. This has been an issue before when making big purchases like a house or a car.  He wants time, not that he does anything in that time like research, just idle time to pass.  I do my research up front and then want a decision ASAP. I am not the most patient person when I want something. Bottomline, I just wanna to know his name already (should be read with the whining tone in which it was intended).

I also need the name for his going home outfit. I saw this really cute footed outfit from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child (where his linens and rug are from).  It is the same color as the stuff in his room and you can get the baby's monogram on it.  I have envisioned taking him home in this sweet little get up for months.  Well you have to allow time for processing, monogramming, and shipping.  Who knows when I will go into labor and I need that outfit in my hospital bag ready to go.  And no, I am not that crazy, bag isn't packed yet.   Waiting until May, and yes it is on the checklist.

The next unchecked item on our joint to-do list is to create a plan for what happens when the baby gets here in terms of hospital visitors and help once we are home. He doesn't see why we need to figure this out now.  While on one hand, we will have to play some things by ear, some planning is needed to avoid hurt feelings (like I don't want his parents to sit in the room all day like they did with his brother's wife). She was very uncomfortable and wishes she had said something and I know from my surgery, I didn't rest when visitors were there because I felt  like I need to entertain.  So if we tell family to come a couple hours each day, but not all day beforehand, it isn't like we need to kick them out.  Also, we need a bit of planning because my parents live out of town and I doubt I am going to want to be deciding how long they should come for in the midst of contractions.  

I do wish I could be looser about this but it really makes me anxious.  If anyone has any advice on these issue, I am all ears.