Monday, March 31, 2008

It's A. . .

We arrived bright and early at 6:45 am for our anatomy scan this morning. I think that I had about two hours of sleep, and crappy sleep at that. I had all sorts of bad dreams and worries that kept me up for most of the night.

Our technician was nice and friendly, asking us if we wanted to know the sex "it it was possible." We eagerly responded in the affirmative.

She started at the head and gave us this beautiful profile shot. How gorgeous is this little one?

Then, she checked out the four chambers of the heart. . . and moved south. . .

Stomach? Check.

Bladder? Check.

Kidneys? Left and right? Check. Check.

Further south, until she reached the area that we had been waiting for.

And both of us thought we saw something, but she didn't say anything, so we kept quiet for a few more seconds. But she still didn't say anything.
My husband finally said, "Unless I am mistaken, I think I see boy parts."
To which she matter-of-factly responded, "Yes, it's a boy."
So, despite the guesses of about 99% of people that saw me in person and 58% of you that voted here, our baby is undoubtedly a baby boy. As evidenced by this shot:

Then, she switched to a different probe and let us see our little boy in 4-D. I cried such tears of relief and happiness. Regardless of gender, the health of our child is such a miracle.

After this amazing ultrasound, we went out to breakfast and then started our registries at BRU and Tar.get. I am exhausted, but I had to post here before taking a much-needed nap. Thank you for your love and prayers.

Oh, my gosh, we have a son.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

18 Week Belly Pictures

I was finally brave enough to ask my husband to take a belly picture in honor of reaching 18 weeks. This one is my favorite. . .

We took several, including the cheesy one below. . .

And finally, the "full frontal"!
Huge, large thighs, fat face, I don't care! I love my belly!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Calling All Girl Names. . .

We have picked out our boy name, but are drawing complete blanks on girl names. And according to the majority, both in our poll here and also to those that render guesses after looking at my stomach, this little one is a girl. (Although my husband and I still have no guesses or preferences ourselves.)

If you don't mind sharing some of your favorites, I would really appreciate it.

And yes, I know, we don't have to have the name picked out the same day that we know the sex of this baby. But I kind of wanted to start calling the baby by its name as soon as possible. Call me crazy. . . but give me some good suggestions, anyway!

Oh, and if you have really good boy names, we haven't exactly filled out the birth certificate, either! :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

And the Waiting Continues

As we approach the 18-week anatomy scan, I am a jumble of nerves and excitement. I was talking to pregnant friend of mine, who is five weeks ahead of me. She and her husband also used IVF to get pregnant. I asked her if she was nervous and she said that she wasn't, because she just figured that if it took this long to get pregnant, nothing was happening to her baby. I didn't point out to her that IF treatments do not guarantee a healthy baby. I kept my mouth shut and I envied her rose-colored glasses. I want a pair.

I honestly thought that once I was "this" pregnant, I wouldn't be so worried. If anything, I am more worried in the second trimester. After all, I've "done" the first trimester a lot. I know the lay of the land. I know what normal cramping feels like, I know what not-so-normal cramping feels like. In the second trimester, I am completely unsure of what is right vs. wrong. These cramps that I have been feeling the past few days? Are they normal? Everything seems fine, no spotting other than what followed my pap smear on Monday. What about the fact that I felt the baby move distinctly on Saturday, and besides a few possible baby moves, nothing since?

One of my other girlfriends believes that I might have post traumatic stress disorder. I am not sure if I would put any label that official on it, but I do think that my mind won't work "right" when it comes to pregnancy. Try as I might, I can't seem to really wrap myself around the concept that this pregnancy could result in a real live baby. I have all of these other scenarios in my head. And really, it's so much more rare for the baby to die at this point, really I would have some serious bad luck. All the testing that we did eliminated a lot of the reasons why women lose babies in the second and third trimester, so we can rule out uterine issues, blood clotting, hormonal factors, etc.

I know that my RL friends are getting bored with my constant worrying. In fact, I have really stopped talking about it with any of them, because I can see the roll of their eyes or hear the sigh in their voices.

As I told my OB on Monday, I am having a normal pregnancy, and I just can't enjoy it. I really hate that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Things People Say

Turns out that there are a lot of insensitive people out there. You'd think I would have learned that during the miscarriages. People just don't know what to say about loss. I get that. I've been there, on the other end of the phone or in person, when someone tells you bad news and your mind just blanks.

However, what I don't get is what is it about pregnancy that makes usually levelheaded people apt to say the darndest things.

These are some things that have been said to me in the past few weeks (since I have been showing). The italics are things that I wish I had the guts to say, but I think I managed an awkward smile.

"Your face is getting so fat*." Yeah, I'm pregnant. What's your excuse?

"You're huge*." Bite me.

"It must be a girl, because your thighs are so wide*." Again, bite me.

"Oh, good, you're still pregnant. I'm glad your body didn't kill this one off." No, but my body is about to kill you off.

"You did IVF, right? My best friend's sister's aunt's daughter did that and she had sextuplets. Are you sure there is just one in there? I'll bet it's at least twins." Well, after twelve ultrasounds, we're pretty sure it's just the one. . .

"Wow, [insert weeks along here]? Are you sure? You're huge." Bite me*.

*For the record, my doctor assures me that I am measuring perfectly, but as I have a foreward tilting uterus, I show faster and larger than some girls. I have not gained any undue amounts of weight and I was not overweight to begin with.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Your Vote Counts

I have put up my first ever poll to the left over there.

I feel like a bad Mommy, since most people have a "feeling" about the sex of their unborn child. I have not one inkling. What is really funny is that I have plenty of vibes about you pregnant bloggers out there. When I go to your page, I just get this feeling from just reading - and I have been right with every single guess. Now how come I can't do the same with my own body?

Most people seem to share a common opinion of what this little one is, but I don't want to taint your votes here.

So, if you can, please vote! And if you are so inclined, leave any of your thoughts on this baby's gender in the comments!

We'll know soon, I suppose, but it's fun to obsess in the meantime!

Monday, March 24, 2008

OB Appointment

I had my fourth month OB appointment today. Weigh in was a new experience for me, as the nurse had to push the bottom weight up to the next rung. After months of fertility treatments and 17 weeks of pregnancy, I am now heavier than I have ever been in my life, although she declared my weight gain to this point to be "perfect." She also said that I haven't even hit my growth spurt as far as weight gain yet and that should be either the next appointment or the one after that. After all we've been through, I honestly didn't think that the weight gain would really phase me, but I am still a woman at heart. When you've spent your whole life avoiding the climbing numbers on the scale, it is a change of mindset, to be sure. Ultimately, so long as the baby is healthy, I will be fine.

I had also not had a pelvic exam or pap smear to this point - I had asked that it not happen during the first trimester. With the pressure that I have been feeling lately, I actually requested one today. It was more uncomfortable than I was expecting, though not painful. Dr. S said that my cervix seemed nice and tight - completely normal, but that he would put a note on my chart to have them specifically look at it during next week's anatomy scan, since I am worried about it (he is not). He also warned me that the exam and pap smear would cause spotting and not to let it concern me.

In spite of his warning, I am still a little unnerved by the spotting. It was light pink this morning and has turned to brown, and logically, I know it is normal. But after so many miscarriages that started with brown sludge, it is hard to emotionally not freak out when I see it on the TP or my liner.

Of course, they always save the best for last, so we concluded with a listen to our baby's heartbeat. It was at a rousing 144 BPM. My husband asked how they could tell the difference between my heartbeat and the baby's, and he let us listen to the subtle sound variations between the two. Once he pointed it out, it was actually easy for us to differentiate. Of course, if my heart rate was that high, it would be cause for concern, but I am pretty darn nervous for these appointments, so you never know.

What is so neat is how fast he is now able to find that beautiful beat. It used to take a few minutes of probing, but now, you can hear it almost immediately after the doppler makes contact.

So, I have a clean bill of health until next month's appointment. Our anatomy scan is next Monday, when we will know whether this little one is a boy or a girl. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Egg Plate

One of my husband's favorite Easter treats is deviled eggs. Since I loathe anything related to eggs, I decided to leave the egg making to his mother. Every Easter that we spend with his family, I would bring up the hard boiled eggs and let her do the dirty work.

My grandmother also loved deviled eggs. By the time she met my husband, she had suffered a stroke and lived in an assisted living facility. She had a small kitchen, but it was primarily for show, as she took all of her meals in the dining room. I think we once boiled water for tea, but that was about it.

For emotional reasons, my father had not sold his mother's house when she reluctantly moved to Glennwood. He had promised that if she didn't like it, she could move home. About a year after she moved into the assisted living facility, she agreed it was time to sell the house. Despite her misgivings, she loved living in what she called "God's waiting room." There was always something to do, a hairdresser, nail salon, and church on the property. There were weekly outings to the coast or outlet mall, nightly games of cards or bingo, that became surprisingly lively. She had a group of friends that she called her "girls" and even a man that hobbled down the hall on his cane to escort her to dinner every night.

My family took her back to her house to start sorting things. A few years back, she had already labeled the bigger things, furniture, dishes, her doll collection, with post-it notes so that they would go to the right family members. But there were still years of memories in the form of various collectibles that were on shelves, in closets, or in the garage. I came home one weekend to help with the sorting. My sister, my aunts, my mother, my cousins, and my grandmother all sorted through her memories. She kept a few things that she couldn't bear to part with and the rest were distributed among her relatives or donated to charity. Some of the things that she elected to save were somewhat confusing. She had no problem tossing her entire thimble collection, but she had to have this one deviled egg plate.

It is a beautiful plate, clear glass with elaborately scalloped edges. . . but a deviled egg plate? Still, she had to have it.

A few years passed and my grandmother's health deteriorated. She had another stroke and this time developed pneumonia while she was recovering. She survived but was now unable to walk or move her left arm. She was wheelchair bound. Embarrassed by her condition, she did not want to return to her "Girls" and dinner escort at Glennwood. Also, she was really too sick to be cared for at the assisted living facility. It was time to move her into an adult care (foster) home, where she could be taken care of as needed.

Now, instead of a small, one bedroom apartment, she was moving to one room bedroom in a lovely home. She had to pare down to the essentials. It was time to get rid of all but a few things. Once again, I made the trek home to help with the packing and moving. We all knew that this would be Grandma's last move, so it was an emotional time.

She had already given most of her belongings away, but what remained were some of her most precious things. My aunts were given their mother's bridal jewelry. My mother got a beautiful necklace. My sister and I also got beautiful pieces of jewelry. But my grandmother had one more thing that she wanted to give me. She loved my husband and highly approved of our marriage. Since his name is the same as my grandfather's, she always seemed to have a bond to him. By this point, she was starting to get confused, but she remembered that "her" Mike and "my" Mike loved deviled eggs. She wanted me to have the egg plate.

I have to admit, with my strong aversion to eggs, this was not something that I really appreciated at the time. I thanked her, took it, and it got shuffled to the back of my dish cupboard.

It has been over three years now since my grandmother passed away. I miss her so much and wish that she was here to share in the excitement of my pregnancy. She loves new babies and was on us from the moment the ink on our marriage license was dry to start a family.

This year, my mother-in-law is up to her eyeballs in work to do. She let me know that she would not be making deviled eggs this year. Since these are my husband's favorites, I decided to try my hand at it. This was a true labor of love, since the smell of the egg yolks as I mashed them had my pregnant sniffer working overtime.

But as I carefully put the eggs in the beautiful egg plate, I could swear that I felt my Grandmother in the kitchen with me. I imagined the Easters that she had made the eggs for my grandfather. I remembered the day we sorted through her things and she lovingly caressed the plate before decisively placing it in her "keep" pile. I felt her love, not only for me and my husband, but for our unborn child. I felt her reassurance that she rocks our angel babies in heaven.

It's only a plate, but it held so much more than eggs today. It held the memories of my grandmother and all that I will pass on to my children.

Happy Easter, Grandma. And Happy Easter to you, dearest friends.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Kickin' It

This morning, I woke up and shifted position in bed. Right after doing so, I felt a thump, thump, thump, about two inches below my belly button. I literally stopped breathing and felt two more quick thumps . . . and then nothing.

It was such a strong series of thumps that I almost don't think that it was possible to be the baby. But I can't think what else it could be.

I love the mere possibility that it was a few solid baby kicks. Now, I want to feel more!

Friday, March 21, 2008


If you have a moment, please stop by Kathy's blog and let her know that Molly is in your thoughts. This is such an awful time for them.

It's Friday (yay!) and I think I might be getting a cold (not-so-yay!). I woke up with that heavy feeling in my chest and now I have this dry little cough. I feel pretty good, though, so maybe it's just a touch of allergies.

I hope so, because we have a busy weekend ahead, with plans to head to my in-laws for Easter. I wouldn't want to pass anything on to them. Also, a good friend of mine is having surgery today and I am supposed to be helping occasionally by going over with food and offers to give her mom a break from watching their eight month old son.

On the pregnancy front, my husband came into the kitchen today while I was making breakfast today and said, "Wow, your tummy is getting big." I didn't think it looked much different today than any other day, but it made me smile. Funny how if I wasn't pregnant, that comment would have earned him a fried egg in his face! As he was leaving, he bent down and said good-bye to the baby. That's the first time that he's done that, the bending down part. Very sweet.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Friendly Advice

Many of you asked how things had resolved with my friend from work and I wanted to update you.

I needed a few days to really think about things and how I wanted to go about approaching her with this information. I think I already knew when I wrote the post last week that I was going to get involved in some fashion. I just didn't know how to go about doing so.

I did call HR, anonymously and from a blocked line, to ask about company assistance programs and policies. I work for a very large company, with lots of resources. There is just about anything and everything that you can imagine. They are very supportive about Employee Assistance. However, we are all in positions where we drive company cars, so you can just imagine how careful they have to be about things that could compromise the safety of the employees, as well as innocent victims out there. The person that I talked to really wanted the name of my "friend" - although I think she thought I was talking about myself, but I didn't budge.

I also researched local AA groups and other resources, called for local meeting times and locations. Once I had some information on how she could get help, all that was left to do was the most difficult task of all - talk to her.

E-mail appealed to me most, but I ultimately decided against it, as I only have her work e-mail address. I didn't want to put anything in writing, for her sake or mine. E-mail is also so very tricky without the proper inflections or gauging the reaction to a statement and possibly changing approach. I thought about sending a letter, but for similar reasons, decided it was best to talk to her.

On Monday, I called J to see if we could get together for coffee or lunch sometime soon. Between her super-busy calendar and a few things we have coming up, we were looking at late May before we could manage a time that worked for both of us. I decided to bite the bullet and just talk to her on the phone.

I told her that I was hearing rumors, from several locations. I told her that I cared about her as a friend, and that after everything she had been through, I really wanted to see her happy. But I was concerned, based on some things that I had seen, that perhaps there was a grain of truth to the rumors and that I thought she might need some help. She vehemently denied any current problems with alcohol. She did admit to having a bit of a problem a few months ago, right around the time of the divorce, when we met for lunch, but swore that the rumors were untrue. She thanked me for bringing them to her attention, but she was also talking in a very abrupt manner. She seemed more concerned about tracking down who had said what than actually focusing on the issue at hand. Then she said she had an incoming call and pretty much hung up on me.

It went about how I expected it would. Knowing her personality, and how I myself would react to such an issue, I wasn't really hoping for a heart-to-heart. I was trying to let her know that the rumors were out there, so she could at least take measures to make sure that her behavior at work events was more appropriate. I also wanted her to know that I was here for her if she did need any help. We didn't really get to talk about company resources, but at a manager, I'm pretty sure she knows about those things.

So, thank you for your help with a sticky situation. I thought I would give her a few days and then call to check up on her again. I could tell she was mad when we hung up, but I am hoping that after she thinks about it for a little while, she can see that I was just trying to help. If not, then I decided that I am willing to lose her as a friend, because trying to help her was worth more to me. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Belly Button Lint

The last few days have been extremely stressful for me. I know that I created a lot of (all of) the stress myself, but I still think it's high time that I took a look at the lighter side of pregnancy for a bit.

What I am about to share is so extremely disgusting that you might not want to read it. I'm serious. Absolutely revolting. In fact, don't read it. Go to someone else's blog. Please

Why are you still reading?

Okay, you've been warned. . .

So, we have two dogs. Both are shedders extraordinaire. I love them, but hate their fur. It gets everywhere. And I do mean everywhere.

I am used to picking the little white and black furs out of my belly button. Sometimes, they really get wedged in there and I have to use tweezers. Ewww, gross, and it's only getting worse.

The other night, I was sitting in my favorite comfy chair, positioned in such a way that I could see my belly button pretty clearly. I realized that it was starting to widen a little bit and change shape. Intrigued, I prodded at it and realized that there was a clump of what looked to be five or six white furs sticking out. I went to pull them out and met some resistance. I tugged harder and. . . really, you should stop reading.

I pulled out a clump of what can only be described as Belly Button Goo attached to those five hairs. And it was stinky, too, kind of the smell that you would get after leaving a bandaid on too long. I was a little fascinated by the fact that these hairs might have been stuck in this previously unexposed region for years. Only due to the fact that my changing stomach is now forcing them outward was I able to finally clean what could be years of fur and goo out of my lint trap. I even used a little rubbing alcohol to make sure it was really clean.

My belly button is now fresh as a daisy.

My husband is disgusted. Especially after he thought about what might be lurking deep within his own button. And now you'll be thinking about it, too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Beat Goes On

I love the nurse at my OB's office.

The heartbeat was nice and strong and picked up right away. It had gone down to about 136 BPM, which is a lot lower than the 150s it had been at, but that is still fine as that tends to happen as the pregnancy progresses.

My heartrate was in the 100's itself, no doubt from all of the worrying.

The reason that I love N so much is that she told me that I should come in every week for a heartbeat check, if I want, even if it's for the rest of my pregnancy. She said that it's her favorite part of the job and that I shouldn't feel silly after all we've been through. Next week is my regular monthly visit with Dr. S and then the anatomy scan is the week after that, so I am covered for the next two weeks. But after that, I might have to take her up on more frequent heartbeat checks, if for no other reason than the fact that it might be the most beautiful sound in the whole world.

We also heard a louder, one-time thump, which she said was a kick. I didn't feel a thing from the outside, but it was cute to hear it. N also said that I could realistically start feeling the baby at any time, but that I shouldn't expect regular movement until 28 weeks or later. Basically, she was trying to prevent the freakouts that we all know are coming later. . . when Baby doesn't move enough!

I just have to thank you all again for your love and support. This pregnancy after recurrent loss business is tough and I am just so humbled by the time that you give to help me through it.

I am so emotionally drained right now, that I am heading for a nap.

Seeking Normal

Update: My husband is a good man. He called from work this morning and has rearranged his schedule so that we can go in for a heartbeat check together at 2 PM. He doesn't think anything is wrong, quite the contrary, but he doesn't want me worried for no reason. Of course, now I am nervous over going to the appointment, but most likely, I will hear a beautiful heartbeat and can breathe again. For those of you that have commented or sent e-mails, I am so grateful for your thoughts and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am still in conflict as to what to do today. The nurse has offered a listen to the heartbeat this afternoon, but my husband cannot make the appointment. Of course, it is in an emergency, he can, but he is really busy at work and the constant appointments of the first trimester really impacted his effectiveness. And he has been at every single other appointment. He will be at the next two, which are the next two Mondays. He could go in, but it would be so much easier if he didn't have to. He also keeps asking me why I am so worried. I can't really put a finger on it.

I have no logical reason to suspect that anything is wrong with this baby. I have had the occasional light twinge of round ligament pain, but not awful cramping or any sort of sudden, sharp pains that have signaled other losses.

I have had no spotting. I knocked on wood, threw salt over my shoulder, and made sure there were no open umbrellas or broken mirrors around before typing that.

I have still had the occasional bout of morning sickness. As recently as last Friday, breakfast refused to stay down.

It would be extremely rare for something to happen to the baby in the second trimester, after hearing the heartbeat just three weeks ago. Not that I don't do small percentages, mind you, but it is statistically improbable that we would lose another baby after so many reassuring signs (see blog title above).

I have always been a worrier. I have always created the worst-case scenario in my mind. I have done it since I was a small child. In fact, when I was born, the pediatrician came to the hospital and examine me. His conclusion? As he handed me to my mother, he said, "You have an anxious baby here."

Worry is what I do. It seems to be woven into my genetic cloth.

And yet, I have wanted so much to not be a worrier. I was really looking forward, and trying so hard to be, a normal OB patient. When we were at our last appointment with Dr. S, he offered us an appointment in two weeks to check the heartbeat. We declined. We want to be normal. We have no reason to believe that we are anything but.

I don't want to feel as if I am choking on fear. I don't want to feel the panic closing in. I don't want the desperate tears that sometimes run down my face when I think about something happening to this baby. It isn't all of the time. Sometimes, I feel very happy and comfortable. But then something new will happen, like this pressure, and I will fixate and focus and wonder. I get distracted, I can't breathe, I can't think, I just google the same words over and over again, looking for the words that will soothe me. The pressure feeling is just always there, but now it has worked its way into a lump of fear that has settled into my heart, my lungs, my throat.

It sounds so easy on the one hand: Just go in. Hear the heartbeat, know it's okay. On the other hand: My husband can't go with me. What if something is wrong and I am all alone when they can't find the heartbeat?

Not to mention the fact that it almost seems like I am losing some sort of personal struggle if I give in to the fear. I want to conquer it. I don't want my previous losses to take anything else away from me. I loved those souls with all of my own. When I lost them, at two days after the positive pregnancy test, or 11 weeks, it ripped my heart into shreds. I never want to forget what we have lost, but I want to embrace the future. I don't want to live in fear.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Can't Take the Pressure!

Updated: So, I do not have a urinary tract infection. I was told to drink more water and if the pressure continues, to either go to the walk in clinic or emergency room. I would definitely feel silly going to the ER. This isn't pain, it's pressure, and even if something is wrong, I don't think it's a medical emergency. I would maybe be okay with going to a walk in clinic, but again, I think I am overreacting.

The nurse was very kind and offered to do a heartbeat check tomorrow at 2 PM. I took her up on it, but then my husband thinks that he should be there and can't make that time. So, he wants to go into the walk in tonight so I won't worry. I just called and the wait is over two hours and they don't have an ultrasound machine. So if we didn't hear a heartbeat, I would have to go the ER for an ultrasound tonight or wait until the morning and my OB's office to open.

Oh, I hate that I can't seem to enjoy this pregnancy for five minutes. The fear is almost closing in around me. It's horrible and agonizing. I wish that the innocence and joy of pregnancy hadn't been robbed from all of us.

I did so well in my quest to be a "normal" pregnant woman. For about three weeks, I managed not to have any major freakouts. Okay, so I did call the doctor about what were most likely round ligament pains, but I have managed to steer clear of any sort of heartbeat-detecting or ultrasound device. Despite a few moments of anxiety here and there, I actually have found that it has made the time go by much faster not having our weekly appointments.

I think I am going to have to break down and call my doctor again today, though. This time, I think I might have to go in, but I don't think I will need to be seen by the doctor. I think I just need to pee in a cup.

When it comes to urinary tract infections, I am a frequent flier. I get them several times a year, and it's most likely due to a chronic underlying bladder condition called interstitial cystitis [IC]. Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish the symptoms from my normal IC and an early bladder infection. So, usually, by the time I realize that I have an actual infection, it's pretty bad: blood in the urine, fever, and often turning into a kidney infection. Coming into pregnancy, even before miscarriage and IF struck, I knew I would have to keep a careful watch on my symptoms.

Saturday, I started feeling a "heaviness" in my bladder region. Since my stomach is continuing to expand, I thought it was probably just uterus settling pushing against bladder.

Yesterday, that feeling got more intense, almost even painful when I put on my maternity jeans, since they seemed to push against my abdomen. I also started having to go to the bathroom a lot more - even more than in the first trimester - I am talking the minute after I am done going to the bathroom, I need to go again. I don't have a fever or the classic burning during urination that is my usual tell-tale symptom, but remember that I want to catch it earlier rather than later. I am having some burning after urination, which can be another sign.

Of course, me being me, I have had some significant thoughts about premature labor (that's another possible reason for pressure in the lower abdomen), but really, I don't think that is likely. So, I am waiting for my OB's office to open in about a half hour. I might not even need to see them, I am actually hoping to go in to the walk in clinic instead. It should be faster than going to Dr. S. Fingers crossed that a simple UTI is all that it is!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Name Game

Well, I don't know what we are naming the baby. Since we are only 16 weeks (today!) that isn't much of a problem. I am hoping it will be easier once we know what flavor of baby this is.

The other thing we are talking about is not telling people what the name is once we have chosen it. This post about my mother's reaction to our chosen middle name for a boy kind of explains why. Her hyena-laughter response is the strongest we've gotten, but it's not unusual that people to feel completely comfortable telling you exactly what they think about your ideas for names.

When naming comes up, people also love to interject their own suggestions. And then they get their feelings hurt if you don't want to use them. Or if you share what you are thinking about for potential names, they can think of a nasty ex-boyfriend that had that name, or the bratty girl in their second grade class that was always getting in trouble. It's open season when you haven't decided on a name, or even if you have decided on a name, as long as the baby isn't born. It actually bothers my husband more than it bothers me, but I still don't enjoy the name game.

So we have pretty much decided that we will not share the name that we have decided on until the baby is born. It has the dual benefit of not only being a surprise, but also hopefully safeguards us from the well-meaning suggestions and/or opinions.

I do have one name I'd like to share with you today. That is the name of my new favorite thing in the whole. wide. world. Sleeping has been getting a little less comfortable these past few weeks. I was never a back sleeper prior to pregnancy, but lately, I have been waking up on my back, panicked at what blood flow or oxygen supply I might have stolen from the baby. I have tried wedging pillows around me and even tying tennis balls between my shoulder blades.

Last night, my husband came home with this. At first, I was suspicious, especially when I saw the receipt and how much it cost. But after just one night with my new friend, I am a convert. It's worth every single penny. I slept better last night than I have in weeks. It was incredibly comfortable, so much so than the mountains of pillows that I was forever readjusting. It also kept me from rolling onto my back. Heavenly.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What Would YOU Do?

To completely throw you all off, I am going to post about something completely unrelated to pregnancy! Shocking, I know. But I am worried about a friend of mine and need some advice.

I was promoted to my current position about a year ago. The manager that helped get me promoted is about my age and we became friends after I was no longer her direct-report. She had two miscarriages last year, both at around 9 weeks, so we grew even closer due to that unfortunate common bond. Her husband was a complete jerk, not just about the miscarriages, but about everything. In August, their marriage broke up and she finally admitted that he was both physically and verbally abusing her.

I began to get concerned about her drinking at about that time. Every time she called me, it seemed as if she was drunk or talking about drinking, even if it was the morning. We met for lunch one time, on a workday, and she was on her second glass of wine before I even got there - and proceeded to have two more as we ate.

To the outside world, she is one of those remarkable people who seem to be able to weather anything. I remember her first miscarriage. She called me sobbing, after having just found out that she lost the baby and would need a D&C. Two hours later, she was up in front of our district, conducting a meeting like nothing had happened. I was amazed at her ability to pull it together. No one would have guessed a thing. People keep saying how "great" she is looking or doing. I see a friend that is getting painfully thin and drinking too much. Our relationship is complicated by the fact that she is still technically senior to me. I am no longer entry-level, but I am not management. I have tried subtly talking to her about my concerns, but she always brushes them off.

I have also heard rumors. Stories of too much drinking at managers' meetings. Getting drunk at the Christmas party that she threw. Pounding shots with her district. Like all "I heard from a friend of a friend" stories, I am sure they are part exaggeration, part truth. But the truth part is what concerns me. I care about her, but I don't know how to help, or even if it's my place.

At one point, it might have been easier, but since I got pregnant, our relationship has changed, which I completely understand. She swears that she is in a different place now, not even thinking about kids, and is happy for me. I believe her, but the return calls are a long time coming. Our daily conversations have drifted to monthly, if that.

Two weeks ago, I heard another rumor. This time, the rumor about her is that she was passed out drunk in the middle of the street and had to be picked up by an ambulance and taken to the hospital. This is the type of rumor that can ruin her career. And it's getting around. After I first heard it, I called her to see if she was all right, mentioning that I had heard that she was in the hospital. She admitted that she had been sick, with a bad case of pneumonia. With everything else I know for a fact, I don't believe her. I asked her if she is seeing a counselor, and she said that she is fine now and doesn't need to see anybody. Then, she changed the subject to the latest guy she is seeing.

So, I am at a loss. I am worried that if I talk to her about it, she will get defensive and shut down. But I also know that if these rumors continue, true or not, it will eventually hurt her career. My husband thinks that I should just stay out of it.

What would you do?

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I just wanted to post a thank you to all of those that sent e-mails or left comments on my whereabouts. I am sorry that I worried people. My parents were in town over the weekend, work has been crazy, and honestly, I haven't had a lot of interesting things to write about.

I think the baby is doing okay, but as it has now been almost three weeks since our last listen to the heartbeat, I can't be sure. I think that is why I am so excited to feel the baby move, although then I am sure that I will freak out when it doesn't. I am never happy!

I am in full-on maternity clothes now. Not the big panel pants, but the bigger maternity shirts. It just feels so good having clothes that fit and some of them take any question out of whether I am pregnant or not. It's fun having complete strangers asking when I am due. Of course, they all comment on how big I am for only being four months along. I take those comments in stride, but I have to wonder, just who in the world thinks it's okay to comment on a woman's size, pregnant or not? Still, I have been waiting a long time for this, so I am happy to be showing early and getting seats offered to me in public places and doors opened for me!

I really don't know how much weight I have gained, because I honestly don't know what weight I started at. If you go off of my pre-IVF gain (November), then it's almost TEN pounds. Yikes! If you go off of what I weighed at my first OB appointment (January), then it's only five. Since that sounds a lot better, I think I will go off of that weight. I was not overweight or underweight before, so I should be staying in the 25 - 35 pound range. I was hoping not to break 30, but I feel as if I am eating pretty healthy, and they say a lot of it is just your body's natural response to pregnancy. I am eating more lately, but a lot of fruit and veggies and low-fat dairy, although I do confess to a bowl of ice cream every now and then. I have an OB appointment in two weeks, so we'll see what they say at weigh in. I can't believe that I am even worried about it, but it's really not in a vain way. I just don't want to gain too much weight and put the baby or my own health at risk.

I am still fearful of this pregnancy ending badly. I am still a frantic "spot checker." But despite my fears, it seems as if it is all going as it should. So, I am just trying to relax and believe.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bumps In the Night?

Okay, for those of you that are farther along this pregnancy spectrum, when did you know for sure that it was the baby moving?

I am fifteen weeks, three days pregnant and am not sure if what I am feeling could possibly be some early taps, or just my hopeful imagination. Or gas.

I have a friend that is 20 weeks pregnant and only started feeling the movements late last week. And she tells me that it is way too early.

Give me your stories, tell me what it "felt" like. I am eager to feel this baby MOVE!

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's A Small World, After All

So today I met a friend for coffee (decaf for me).

She is not a friend that I see very often, but she does know (a little bit) about our infertility issues since we do talk on the phone a lot. She knew that I was pregnant, but this was the first time we had been face-to-face since the cycle started.

As we were talking about Pregnancy After Loss, she mentioned that she had another friend that had found some good resources online.

"In fact," she said, pulling at sheet out of her purse, "I wrote a few down for you."

This was the list that she handed me:

And. . .

Holy cow.

I am a resource.

Not so boring, huh?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

B is for Boring

I fear my blog is getting boring. This started as a miscarriage blog, then became a fertility treatment blog. Things were always interesting with cycling, I felt as if I had something to say.

I always was a little sad when the newly pregnant drifted away after they got pregnant. I wanted updates, I wanted to know about life on "the other side."

Now I kind of understand the silence. There just isn't a lot to say. Sure, I can complain about another ache or pain, but that annoys me. If it wasn't for the fear that the cramping instilled in me, it wouldn't bother me. I am fully prepared to take on any discomfort for this baby. And I know for those of you out there that aren't pregnant, it really must grate to hear someone going on and on about round ligament pains and the like.

I can talk about my latest craving or weirdest pregnancy dreams, but I wonder if anyone actually finds it interesting. Since my husband seems to be getting a little tired of my preoccupation with my changing body, I sincerely doubt that readers are captivated by it.

This is not to say that I won't be blogging anymore. And I am certainly addicted to keeping up with my blog friends and their lives. I just might have to reach for better material. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Public Service Announcements

1. A few posts back, I talked about the exercise video that I had ordered. A lot of you wanted to know the name. You can get the video here. I really do like the exercise program quite a bit. The pace is good and the level of difficulty not that bad. For those of you in far better shape than me, this video might be too easy, although you can increase the challenge with heavier weights or using a balance ball instead of sitting for some of the exercises. Also, although I think that the video is well-priced, it can get kind of spendy if you don't have all of the equipment that they used: balance ball, handweights, and resistance bands. But if you do end up ordering it, let me know what you think!

2. I was in Tra.der J.oe's this weekend and found something that can be a pregnant woman's new best friend. If you don't have a local TJ's, then you can order these online. They are called Fruit and Fiber bars and they taste great, they are basically dried fruit leather with soy flour and psyllium in them, both things that have a lot of fiber. I got the "bits and pieces" bag, which are all of the ends of the bars, so instead of paying 50 cents a bar, I paid $2 for a big bag of good sized "scraps." This is a great alternative for you ladies out their with some constipation issues who don't like prunes or those fiber chews or drinks (or are tired of them).

*Psyllium, also referred to as ispaghula, is derived from the husks of the seeds of Plantago ovata . Psyllium contains a high level of soluble dietary fiber, and is the chief ingredient in many commonly used bulk laxatives, including products such as Meta.mucil® and Ser.utan®. Psyllium-containing laxatives are considered class C-2 drugs in pregnancy, meaning that they appear to be safe in all three trimesters, although studies in pregnant humans and animals have not been done. Psyllium-containing products are considered class 1 (apparently safe) during breastfeeding

3. Also, I posted on my experience with's R U.s a couple of days ago. A good friend of mine gave me a great tip for when you register. Right by the registration table, there should be a display of books-for-purchase. Included in that display, should be the Con.sumer Guide for purchasing baby gear. Instead of actually buying the book, just use the book in the store whenever you are trying to make a decision on which stroller, crib, etc., you want for your baby. Just make sure to put the book back before you leave!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It Really Gets You Thinking

Okay, so I called my OB's office and spoke with his medical assistant. She said that any dull cramps or tugging pains are fine. She even said that shooting, quick pains can be okay, too - the infamous round ligament pains. However, she said if I had any bleeding, if the cramps didn't go away with rest, or if I was just still worried, then I should come in for a heartbeat check. Since I haven't had any spotting, I have decided (for now anyway), to be brave and believe that these cramps are just a normal pregnancy side effect.

I know that my pregnancy nerves are also increased when I hear about a loss. Pregnancy has always ended badly for me and when someone that I care about has a miscarriage, it reminds me of how much it hurts when it ends. I am not trying to make someone else's pain about me, but our losses are just so fresh and it just brings back the pain.

My friend, A, is having an early miscarriage. She has fifteen month old twins from an IVF cycle. She and her husband wanted a third baby and did their FET in mid-February. Her betas were low to begin with, but doubled appropriately. However, she is a POAS-aholic and her tests started getting fainter. She went back in and her beta was only at 21 on Friday. She started the spotting today and she is heartbroken. They had to thaw all five of their blasts to get two "good" quality embryos for the transfer, so they would have to do a fresh cycle if they wanted to try again. She was working and had good insurance for their first cycle, but is now a stay at home mom and they simply don't have the money for another shot. I am heartbroken for them.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Kind of Worried

So, it started last night.

A feeling of heaviness in my abdomen and some dull cramps. I have a lower backache, too, .

I did exercise this weekend, but only twice. And not strenuously. Seriously.

No bleeding, spotting, or anything of that nature.

Of course, I Googled. It said cramps are normal . . .unless accompanied by sudden lower backache and a feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen. I kind of feel as if I have both of those things. . . but is this just Cyberchondria rearing it's ugly head? I guess I could call my OB, but I am trying so hard to be a normal pregnant lady. I think part of it might be that this is the first week that we have no reassurance, no ultrasound, no heartbeat, that all is well. I have to learn to deal with this lack of assurance. Or drive my poor doctor crazy - not to mention my husband, my girlfriends, my blogging audience!

Why oh why did I let my husband talk me out of a doppler?!?!

Self-Indulgent Post

I have no motivation lately to do anything that doesn't involve this pregnancy, this baby. I have heard this from other preggers and it is so true. Really, I just want to sit on my couch, rub my growing belly, and eat, nap, or watch t.v., in no particular order. I hate the fact that things are expected of me. Things like work, cleaning my house, doing laundry, etc. Well, I don't hate it, but those things seem so. . . unimportant compared to what is going on.

My husband has been a bit grumpy about this preoccupation of mine, since it falls to him to do a lot of the things that I don't feel like taking care of. He didn't mind before, when it was truly that I was too sick, too lightheaded, too exhausted to do things. Lately, when I do have energy, I use it for what I consider to be the essential activities: my prenatal workout, or sorting through the bag of gender-neutral baby clothing that we got from a friend, or searching online for the perfect nursery furniture. Meanwhile, laundry piles up, our tax documents sit neglected by the computer, and dust bunnies the size of my cat roll by.

I am not proud of this behavior, yet I still try to justify it. "Well, all pregnant women are focused on the pregnancies." Or perhaps, "I've waited so long for this, I deserve to enjoy every minute."

And while that is true. . . I need to kick it into a higher gear. I need to remember that the world extends beyond my abdomen. This baby is important, but there are things that have to be done. Just as the world didn't stop turning when I lost my babies, it doesn't stop turning when one is coming.

I just wish it would.

P.S. Please don't hate me for this post. I don't really like my lazy attitude myself, but it is where I find myself lately. Even just writing it has inspired me to go get my act together, so it served some sort of purpose.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fourteen Reasons Why

Holy crap.

Fourteen weeks.

According to

Your baby's body systems are starting to work on their own. The digestive system practices moving food along the intestines and through the renal system and he can create and eliminate urine. He also continues to practice breathing the amniotic fluid in and out of his lungs. Your baby has tiny, soft nails on his fingers and toes, is growing hair and may even suck his thumb. Your baby is approximately 10-11.5 cm (3 ½ -4 inches) and weighs approximately 1.5 ounces.

Also, your baby's blood is beginning to form in the bone marrow and blood vessels are beginning to connect various parts of the fetus to another. The joints and muscles allow your baby full body
movement so your baby is able to move around. The baby's neck is getting longer and his chin is no longer resting on his chest. The eyes and ears continue to move into place. The hands are becoming functional and reflex movements often occur. Nourishment now comes from the placenta.

Fourteen Reasons Why This Pregnancy Is Different and Should Result In A RLB*

1) IVF
2) Lovenox
3) Great heartbeat on all ultrasounds
4) Consistent measurements - always ahead
5) Pregnancy vitamins - a different brand with extra folic acid
6) Phenergan helped me survive the first trimester vomitfest
7) Pure and utter faith
8) No spotting
9) Constipation
10) Fainting
11) Expanding waistline
12) Big breasts!
14) Heard the heartbeat loud and clear for the first time ever!

*Real live baby

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Work It Out

I am in horrible shape. I have never been very athetically inclined. In my younger days (pre-twenties), I was really skinny. I remember trying on 0's and 2's for my prom dresses and finding them too big. I worked at a fast food restaurant, and so ate whatever I wanted, however much I wanted of it. I never seemed to gain weight and certainly didn't work out to keep my figure.

In my 20's, this changed. I gained about thirty pounds in a year, probably just my metabolism slowing down, because I wasn't eating any differently. My husband also has to fight his weight, so we find it's easier to support each other and eat healthier together. By my mid-twenties, I had figured out that my body could no longer eat whatever it wanted and get away with no exercise. My husband and I joined a gym, and even though I was still heavier than I was in high school, I am pretty sure that I was much more healthy. I was in the best shape of my life. Not that I was running any marathons or anything, but my arms and legs were toned, I could run for an hour on the treadmill, and I felt really good.

Infertility really changed that. For most of the past two years, I have been either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. In TTC cycles, I had to start pelvic rest and low activity restriction (defined as lifting nothing more than five pounds and no exercise) immediately following ovulation. Of course, the other two weeks of the month, I could do whatever I chose. For me, the hardest part about exercise is getting into the habit. Once I am in a routine, I am actually pretty dedicated. But this two weeks on, two weeks off routine really messed with my ability to stay on track.

Now that I am in the second trimester, my activity restrictions have been lifted for the most part. I am eager to start to work some of this flab off. I am not trying to lose weight or anything crazy like that, but I just want to feel a bit more active and not have such wobbly arms and legs - especially considering that I will be heavily pregnant in the hottest months of the year and will be dying for sleeveless shirts. My husband had picked up a Fit Pregnancy magazine for me and I read about an exercise video that sounded pretty good, so I ordered it online this week and it arrived yesterday.

I really like this video. It incorporates a lot of different things, light weight lifting, exercise ball, tubing, etc. The one thing I will say is that it doesn't give you a lot of instruction as to what kind of accessories you need to complete the workout. I kept having to pause the DVD and go the garage to get the next item when they would begin a new set.

What I loved is that the instructor is pregnant and did the instructions in "real" time - the DVD is broken down, first by trimester, then by month. So, first you go to your trimester, then there is a special warm up section for that. Then, you can pick what month of pregnancy you are in and there is a fifteen minute workout session for that month. Finally, there is a cool down, also specific to the trimester you are in. The instuctor is as pregnant as you are for each month of the video. While I was jealous of her toned abs and solid arms, I did notice a bit of cellulite on her thighs, as well as some spider veins. I don't say that to be mean, just that it made me feel better that even a very fit woman would have some of those things during pregnancy. With the warm up, month-specific workout, and then cooldown, it is about 30 minuntes of working out. I was a little suspicious that such a short workout could do much, but let me tell you, I am sore this morning.

But it felt really good last night and I liked the pace of the DVD as well as the way that you can kind of individualize your session. I also got a prenatal pilates/yoga from my friend, so I will be trying that today. Sleeveless shirts, here I come!