Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Busting a Myth

Myth: If you just relax, you will get pregnant.


I’ve always been anxious.

When Rob & I decided to try to start our family, I was worried from the very first month. I voiced my fears to a counselor I was seeing at the time-- I was worried that we’d have problems. I was worried that I wouldn’t get pregnant. I was worried that the one thing I wanted most in the world, I would never have.

You know what she told me? “Just Relax.” (Which, in all fairness, she probably should have told me at that point, seeing as we’d probably been TTC for a few weeks.)

So, I tried, but the nagging feeling that something was wrong never really went away. I was one of those really annoying TTCers—you know the one. I jumped on a message board and complained about how difficult it was to see those BFNs month after month and how worried I was…when we had only been trying for 3 months.

You know what they told me? “Impatience is not a fertility issue.” (And they were right to say that. It's true.)

But somehow, I knew. Something was not right. So, I started meticulously charting my temperatures, my cervical position & mucus and every attempt we made—just so I’d have proof we were doing everything right, but that something in my body just wasn’t cooperating. Once I started charting, it was pretty easy to tell that something was up—my cycles were often 45-60+ days and often with no clear temp shift to suggest I’d ovulated. No ovulation = no pregnancy. And it seemed to be getting worse—almost every cycle was ending in a dose of Prometrium.

You know what friends and family told me? “Just Relax.” (And while this was starting to upset me, I knew that I hadn’t been diagnosed with any issues yet...)

It was right around the 7 month mark that I started reading infertility blogs—a bit premature perhaps, but I already felt like I could identify with these women. When I was down, they cheered me up. When I thought that we might have a chance during a particular cycle, they cheered me on. When I was worried, they encouraged me to go in for testing as soon as possible. (Special shout out to Secret Sloper, who was my very first infertility blog buddy, my lifesaver, my biggest cheerleader & my dear friend.)

One of the most valuable lessons that the infertility community taught me is that you have to be your own advocate. You have to read up on any issues that you think you might be experiencing, push the doctors for more tests and always ask questions, questions and more questions.

I was really lucky that my ob/gyn listened to all of the detective work I’d done and decided to do an infertility workup when we’d been TTC for 7 months. (Waiting the standard 12 months to officially be diagnosed with infertility would have been a waste of time.) There were medical issues that needed to be resolved— “Just relaxing” wasn’t going to fix any of them. When my TSH came back at 5.51, I was ecstatic to be able to pinpoint what could be the cause of our problems. What I wasn’t thrilled about was that that my ob/gyn tried to write these labs off as normal.

I had done my reading and I knew that the ideal TSH level of a woman trying to conceive is between 1-2. So, I left my ob/gyn and went to an RE (who I adore and will forever be grateful for) who immediately put me on Synthroid & a dose of Clomid. Not only was she determined to make me ovulate, she was determined to fix the reason I wasn’t ovulating. I got pregnant that month.

It’s possible that I felt more anxiety during my first medicated cycle than I did during any other cycle. I didn’t get pregnant because I decided to “just relax.” I got pregnant because I took medication that fixed what was wrong with me.

I’m pregnant again now— A total surprise after infertility. But this baby doesn’t exist because I relaxed, either—it exists because the universe has a sense of humor and decided to bless us with two children very close in age.

I say, “after infertility” simply because we struggled to get pregnant with Baby #1, but we didn’t struggle with #2. Every time I visit the doctor, my paperwork is stamped with “Pregnancy after Infertility.” Infertility will always be a part of me & a part of my experience bringing my children into the world. It has colored how I feel about pregnancy, birth and the miracle of motherhood.

So many of the women I know and love have successfully created families, and several others are so close. These women were made mothers by miracles, fertility treatments and adoption. The bond I share with these women is unlike any other-- My dream is that one day, we’ll all travel across the country to meet in person, show off our beautiful babies, have a drink & “Just Relax.”


To learn more about infertility click here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter in Photos

Liam's 1st Easter!

As a surprise, my parents tried to arrange an Easter photo session with our newborn photographer, but unfortunately, it didn't work out. (Check out her adorable shots with a live bunny here.) While I was disappointed to hear that we missed the opportunity, I think that if we wait until the Easter after next, the kids will be at a great age to do it-- they'll be 1 1/2 & 2 1/2. How sweet would those photos be? (Next year wouldn't be ideal because Baby #2 will be 4-5 months old-- I'd rather do them when he/she can sit up.) Anyway, when the professional session didn't work out, my parents did a mini photo shoot of their own & got some great shots!

Happy Easter, Everyone!

(And BTW, I'm 10 weeks this week.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Letters to Liam, 7 months

My Little Liam,

Another month has passed—I can’t believe how quickly the time goes. Each day you are one step further away from being a baby and one step closer to becoming a toddler.

You are sitting on your own! It’s funny—I thought that you couldn’t do it and I was surprised because you’ve hit all of your other milestones so early. Then, I realized that we just weren’t giving you the time to practice. Everyone loves you so much that they constantly want to hold you & the hardwood floors in our house don’t give you a comfy place to play. Once we put you down and let you practice, you caught on right away. You’re spending more time sitting up by yourself now and you love playing with your cars and your racetrack.

You have 3 teeth now & I can see the 4th starting to peek through. You got your bottom central incisors about a month ago & your top right central incisor just broke through a few days ago. It looks like the left one won’t be too far behind. You’ve been such a trooper about teething—you love chewing on cold teething rings, Sophie, and your banana toy. You’ve only had a few bad days, and a dose of Tylenol seems to make you feel better.

You’re still sleeping great (11-12 hours/night), eating everything in sight (sweet potatoes seem to be your favorites) and are drinking your bottles like a big boy (You hold them yourself now.) We’ve started giving you some water each day and have started to work on teaching you to use a sippy cup.

This week, we signed you up for “school” next year. You’ll go on Wed & Fri from 10am-2pm starting in September. It’s a Mother’s Day Out program, and while I know it’ll be hard to let you go, I think it will be so good for you to interact with other kids. You’re a little shy & sensitive (you often cry when other babies get too close to you) and I think that letting you experience some time away from Mommy & Daddy (and Marmi & Poppy) is probably going to help that. No doubt, I’ll be a nervous wreck the first few weeks.

You and Daddy have developed a fun routine together—Every day when he gets home from work, he scoops you up and takes you out on a “Touching Walk.” You pick flowers, pull leaves off of trees and touch branches. Sometimes you bring things home for me. The biggest challenge is making sure you don’t eat your treasures. You love this special time with Daddy—your face lights up when you see him. He loves it too and looks forward to it all day.

Your first Easter is this weekend! I have your Easter basket & I can’t wait to see what the Easter Bunny brings you! On Sunday, we’ll go over to Uncle Art & Aunt Carie’s house for lunch and your first Easter Egg Hunt. (You’ll have to share any candy you find with us, but there will be other treats just for you.) You have a special smocked Easter bubble to wear, along with new white sandals. You’re going to look so cute!

Every day I love you more and more, my sweet boy. After 7 months, I still look at you and can’t believe that you’re my son. I am so lucky to be your mommy.

I love you, bunny.

Monday, April 11, 2011

First OB Appt: 8 weeks

I can't seem to stay out of my OB's office. After spending every month, then every two weeks, then every week in there last year, I'm starting all over again.

We had our first appointment today & Baby Blakely (the sequel) was measuring perfectly at exactly 8 weeks:

We heard the beautiful heartbeat thumping away at 170bpm.

Sorry for the terrible photo-of-photo pictures. I don't have a scanner handy today.

It was a relatively quick appointment-- there really wasn't any need to remind me what I can/can't do seeing as I've only had a 6 month break from pregnancy. I had some blood drawn, we went over some prescription options (thyroid, acid reflux, asthma, allergies) and I met with the OB Coordinator who let me know what our insurance covers-- when she found out I had a 6 month old, she sent me on my way, saying that she was sure I already knew what I needed to know. I think I do.

We'll go back in 4 weeks. I was happy to hear that my ultrasound tech has been certified to do the NT Scan (which is scheduled for our next appointment), so now we won't have to navigate the big university hospital like we did with Liam. When I mentioned to my OB that we were able to see that Liam was a boy (with 90-95% certainty) at our NT Scan last time, she said that she is usually able to tell and that there's a good chance that we'll be able to tell this time-- I'm thinking about pushing my appointment to 13 weeks instead of 12 to increase our odds, with my OB's permission, of course.

Still feels crazy to me that we could potentially know the sex of our little surprise in 4-5 weeks and that we'll definitely know within 10 weeks. It's exciting, for sure. There's lots of things to start thinking about-- Names, to start with. Room decor-- If it's a girl, she'll get a new theme for the nursery & if it's a boy, Liam will likely get something new in his new room while the baby uses the bedding I made for Liam. I'm thinking about giving the new baby the crib and moving Liam into a toddler bed with rails...seems like a waste to buy another crib...but we'll see. Who will sleep where? We had just turned the guest bedroom ( 1 of our 3 bedrooms) into a playroom/craft space... looks like it will become a bedroom again! What kind of double stroller would be best for us? I have some time to figure all of these things out, of course.

The Zofran is working pretty well-- while I'm far from 100%, it's keeping things managable. (Well, that and Colace.) If things progress like they did with Liam (& so far, they haven't.) I have about 3 more weeks left of feeling yucky.

But who's counting?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's in there

Early ultrasounds are always nerve-wracking. What if there's no heartbeat? What if there's more than one? What if the baby's not measuring correctly? What if something's wrong?

I am so happy that my RE does early ultrasounds, because the wait for my ob/gyn appointment felt needlessly cruel. Monday morning, we paid a visit to her and introduced her to Liam for the first time!

After a quick date with wandy (hello, old friend!) we saw this:

One beautiful baby, measuring at 7 weeks, with a very strong heartbeat!

The ultrasound measurements can be off by about 2 days in either direction, so I think I may actually be a few days ahead of my estimated due date-- but we all know that the baby will choose when he/she wants to be born and that it doesn't really matter. Here's hoping that this one won't hang out a week past its due date like Liam did.

Baby Blakely (the sequel) is due November 21, 2011.

I'm feeling ok-- more nausea than I had with Liam & it's hitting me at night instead of in the morning. I broke down and called the doctor for a Zofran prescription yesterday. Armed with that and some Immodium, I'm hoping to start feeling a little better in the next few days. I'm tired, but the exhaustion doesn't seem to be as severe as it was with Liam-- but perhaps it's just that I have no choice. I came home every day and went to sleep at 5:30pm in the 1st Tri when I was pregnant with him. Now, there's no chance of going to bed before 9pm (and it's usually much later than that!). My parents have encouraged me to take a nap at their house when I pick up Liam after work, before heading home. I've only taken them up on it once-- I need to start doing it, just to help survive this next month or so.

It's funny-- Although it's still so early in this pregnancy, I can already tell how different it will be (and not just physically). While I'm sure the fact that this pregnancy was unexpected plays a role, I think it's more just the fact that it's the second baby. Liam consumed my every thought as he grew in my belly & while I think about this baby, it's in between taking care of Liam, spending time with my family, working & any other projects that life has thrown at me lately.

I think about our NT Scan, which we'll probably do in week 13-- that's less than 6 weeks away & that's essentially when we found out that Liam was a boy. It seems insane that we could know (a very good guess of) the sex of this baby in 6 weeks. I'm still trying to accept the fact that I'm pregnant! And even if the doc has no guess this time (boys are evidently quite a bit more obvious at that stage), we'll know for sure at our anatomy scan which we'll probably do at 18 weeks-- only 11 weeks away. How strange that 11 weeks seemed like a lifetime before & barely seems like a blip now.

I doubt that I'll post weekly updates here about the pregnancy, like I did last time. It just feels a little pointless, seeing as you all read them so recently. (Maybe I'll include a link to those posts when I'm writing other posts.) I'll certainly post ultrasound pics, videos & any news we get at doctor's appointments, but I doubt I'll do belly shots, either. I'm thinking that maybe I'll do them every month or every 5 weeks? I want this baby to have a record of how s/he grew, but I have to set some reasonable goals for myself-- I just can't do it all.

Creating a baby book for this second child is still really important to me-- I've been good about keeping up with Liam's book and documenting his firsts & filling it with dates and pictures. It's important to me that I do the best I can with the second baby's book, too. I realize that it won't be as well documented as Liam's, but I'm determined not to let it slip entirely. As Liam's grown, I've referenced my own baby book so many times to determine if he grew like I did & if he hit his milestones at the same time I did. My baby book is not as complete as my brother's (I'm the second child) but all of the important dates and information is in there. I hope to be able to do the same. I'll definitely be ordering another edma mae book-- I couldn't be happier with it.

I realize that this post is written as if I am positive that this baby is healthy, thriving & will join our family in November. I know that it is still so early in the pregnancy that we are, by no means, in a "safe" place yet. But I do believe that life is taking me where I'm supposed to be-- and if this baby is meant to join our family s/he will. I've struggled with so many feelings regarding the unexpected news of this pregnancy-- worrying about loss is something I just can't allow myself to do. I'm not trying to sound arrogant, like I know that everything will be ok-- I don't. But I'm overwhelmed enough with other worries and concerns that I've been able to put that one on the back burner. And, I'm really thankful for that.

Next Monday, I'll have my first ob/gyn appointment & I imagine that they'll do another ultrasound-- I will certainly post pics of what's in there, if we get them!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tweet Baby Girl: The Big Day

What a fantastic day! Everything went smoothly-- the weather was beautiful, all of the decorating was done, the food was delicious and the mama-to-be had a great time as we helped her feather her nest.

Without further ado, here are pictures from the "Tweet Baby Girl" baby shower I hosted this weekend:

And although I know that most of you do not know my family, I couldn't resist posting a pic of the gorgeous glowing mama-to-be with the grandmas-to-be...

...And the adorable and fun daddy-to-be!

The day was perfect & now we're all just counting down the days until "tweet" baby Millie's arrival!