Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where's my brain?

I once read a study that said a woman loses brain cells with each pregnancy. I remember giving my sister a hard time, since she has had four children. "That's why you're such a dingbat!" ha ha ha.
But it's no laughing matter. Pregnancy brain is real. The books say that doctors don't have an explanation for the problem but that it's possible that the mommy to be just has a lot on her mind, so she loses focus or it could be the hormones. My coworkers say the baby is eating my brain. Somedays, I'm inclined to agree with them.
Examples of my own case of pregnancy brain include: using the wrong word in a sentence and not realizing it until someone makes fun of me or gives me that look that says 'you're not making any sense;' Putting strange things in the refrigerator -- like the sugar; Missing the turn toward home not once, but twice one day after work; and the most obvious preggo brain episode -- showing up for work at 9:30 a.m. when I wasn't supposed to be there until 1 p.m.
I don't know what to tell you, I just can't think straight and most of the time, I have no idea that I'm doing something completely stupid. Greg thinks it's funny -- well, most of the time. And, my coworkers think it's hilarious. Of course, that could be because I haven't shown up at work three and a half hours late yet. That probably wouldn't be as funny.
A friend on facebook told me that she calls it "mommy mush brain" and that the sad part is that it doesn't get better after the baby is born -- she says it gets worse! She should know -- pregnant with baby No. 4 as I type this.
In any case, if I write something completely incoherent, at least you'll know why.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The infertility files

Today I am in the process of cleaning out the room that will be our son's nursery and trying desperately to organize and relocate all of the crap that is currently living in that space.
It's a job I haven't been looking forward to and the fact that I'm sitting in my sunny, clean, uncluttered kitchen writing this post could appear to some to be a pathetic attempt at avoiding the giant mess in that bedroom. But, I feel like I have something important to say and I needed a break anyway.
Greg did the easy part last week. He put together the new desk we bought at Ikea and relocated the desktop computer, set up our new monitor and left the rest to me. What remained in the room that we've been using as an office/guest room was pretty scary. Piles of paper, files, junk that somehow landed there and I'm guessing hundreds of magazines filed chronologically just in case I wanted to read them again. Hmmm. Scary.
I've never been a particularly good file keeper. I hem and haw about whether or not to shred a document or keep it and somehow I end up with piles of paper despite my best intentions. So this morning, I entered the room feeling determined, but was soon defeated by the sheer amount of CRAP.
I called Greg for moral support and he cheered me on. Just take one thing at a time. I'll help you figure it out when I get home. Don't worry about the magazines. I'll take them to the recycling center. You can do this! And so on and so on, until I felt somewhat confident that one day that room will be a nursery and not the place where all pieces of mail go to die.
I've worked steadily now for a few hours, reducing the piles into smaller piles. Filling a box for a garage sale I plan to have next month and trying not to be overwhelmed. But then, I found the "infertility" files. You know the ones -- page after page of your entire crappy infertility journey from those first tests to those failed treatments to the pictures of those tiny little embryos that might have been your babies. And, the work stopped and I leafed through the papers that document every step along the way of those infertility journey.
And, I felt so many emotions. First, I guess I was sad, because looking at those medical records always makes me sad -- sad for the babies that might have been, sad for remembering all the heartache those failures brought and sad thinking about how many years all those pages represent.
And, I admit it, I always feel a little angry when I go through our records. Why didn't the doctors at our first clinic design a better protocol for me? Why did they tell me to use donor eggs for future cycles and why on earth did we have to go through all of this anyway? Why us? Why couldn't it have been easy for us?
Yet, for the first time ever I felt a relief. Never have I looked at those files from this perspective. I've pored over them after failures looking for clues that might answer the question "what went wrong?" Or, "what could we do different next time?" But never have I looked at those pages from the perspective that I have today -- almost 21 weeks along with a baby boy growing inside me. Those pages are a very real, tangible reminder of all the hope, all the sacrifice, all the pain and all the loss that led us to this point -- cleaning out a room to make a nursery for our son.
Some of those pages are tear stained -- from the dark days of the past when the loss was so raw and the emotions so big. And, I added some tears today. Tears of sadness, tears of regret, tears of grief and finally, thankfully, tears of joy. I am so blessed to be at this point, crossing this river of infertility and finally able to see the shore ahead. I'm not on the other side yet, but I'm on the bridge and each day brings me a little closer to holding my baby in my arms.
For now, I've put the files away. Maybe one day, I'll be able to put them in the shred pile and say goodbye to all the sadness and pain they represent. Then again, maybe I'll always have them -- if nothing else, they'll serve as a reminder of how much we went through and how badly we wanted this baby and how blessed we are to finally have this pregnancy.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Right on cue

As if on cue, after I wrote yesterday morning that Greg had not been able to feel the baby's movements -- the little one kicked up a storm last night and Greg was finally able to feel it. The look on his face was absolutely priceless. After feeling several hard kicks (punches?) with his hand, he laid his head on my belly and let baby Elvis (we've been calling him that since that early ultrasound picture that looked like a cartoon mini Elvis) kick him right in the face. Greg would talk in his deepest voice "Hey boy, what's going on in there?" and Elvis would kick. Which made me laugh and that made Greg say "be still!" This went on for about 10 minutes or so. It was one of my favorite moments of my pregnancy so far.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Half way there

Posted by Picasa

Here I am at 20 weeks. I am not a particularly cute pregnant woman. In fact, some people don't realize I'm pregnant, because, well, I still just look fat. Please ignore the fuzzy hair and lack of makeup. I had the day off from work, so I just took it easy yesterday. I have gained about 8 pounds so far. And I certainly can see and feel big changes in my body. Here's a picture taken exactly two months ago just for comparison.

Posted by Picasa

I'm glad to be at this 20 week milestone. It means we're half way there. The time has gone by fast for me. Sometimes, I'm a little overwhelmed with all that we need to do and buy to get ready for having this baby, but during those times Greg reminds me that we have plenty of time left to do all that has to be done. One way or another, it will all come together.

The baby's movements are very distinct now. He is most active around 9 or 10 p.m. when I am probably at my least active, vegging on the couch. For now, Greg has not been able to feel the movements though his hand has been perfectly positioned over dozens of little kicks and punches. So, that is another little milestone to look forward to.

The name game is not going well. Greg is stuck on one name and won't really entertain other options. Yesterday, I bought a big fat baby name book and told him he has to come up with at least 3 or 4 other names that he likes. I want to have options! The worst part, he hates the name Rowan!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The advantages of peeing in the dark

Yesterday morning started off relatively normal, but quickly spiraled into one of those horrible days where you think you might be losing your mind. Ever had one of those? Warning: TMI ahead.
I noticed during a trip to the bathroom to pee that the discharge on the toilet paper was tinged a brownish/pink color. I didn't want to panic, but I was worried. I consulted Dr. Google who explained that some spotting in the second or third trimester can be normal, but that you should always call your doctor.
So I called the doc and left a message and headed to work. Of course, I kept going to the bathroom to see what was going on. I told my dear, sweet co-worker about it and she is one of those people who knows what to say in a situation like this, so she made me feel a little better. But I still had that nagging thought -- what if?
A couple of hours later, the nurse called and asked what was going on. I told her I felt fine, I just had this wierd discharge and she asked if I'd had any pain or cramping. I told her that I'd been constipated over the weekend but that was the only abnormal thing I'd noticed.
Apparently, for those who are as ignorant as I am on this subject, you can cause spotting if you strain very hard to have a bowel movement. Obviously, I was less worried after hearing this, but Nurse B said they wanted me to come in for a little look see anyway.
So, yesterday afternoon (when everything was back to normal down there) I went in for Dr. Carter to make sure everything was OK. The baby's heartbeat was just fine at 153 bpm and Dr. Carter couldn't find any trace of bleeding. "Your little cervix is as normal as normal can be," he said.
He explained that during pregnancy the cervix is so engorged with blood that almost anything can cause slight spotting due to a busted capilary -- sex, straining to have a bowel movement, or just overdoing it at work. He said some of his patients are so nervous that he tells them to pee in the dark so they won't see the tissue.
Basically, Dr. Carter said -- "stop worrying. All my IVF patients are the same, they keep watching and waiting for something bad to happen, and that's certainly understandable. But you are a perfectly normal girl. There is nothing high risk about you. You just had trouble getting pregnant. You're not going to have any problems staying pregnant. Everything looked great on your ultrasound. You don't have anything to worry about. Go home and live your life. Be intimate with your husband, go to work, enjoy your life. And, pee in the dark."
I was so relieved to know that a) nothing was wrong and b) I am just as crazy as all the other IVF ladies out there. ha ha.
So, my monthly appointment that was supposed to be next Wednesday was cancelled and I have a new appointment in a month since Dr. C did all the things he would have done next week.
I felt pretty dumb after finding out that I went through all that worrying because of something so silly. But I suppose it is better to be safe in a situation like this because if it had been something serious and I had ignored it, I would never be able to forgive myself. Nervous Nellie strikes again.

In other news: We had a great weekend trip to Dallas for shopping and to see the Red Sox play the Rangers. The Red Sox won on Saturday night, but the Rangers ultimately won the series. We bought a desk so that we can move the computer out of the baby's room and into the kitchen and we found two things for the baby's room -- a shelf that also holds a quilt and a cover for a changing table pad that matches our bedding. Now, we are studying paint colors, which is proving to be almost as difficult as agreeing on a name!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Taking chances

Here we are at 19 weeks! Almost half way there! It's still surreal to me sometimes and I know it is to Greg as well. I feel like I spent quite a bit of these past 19 weeks in a sort of strange limbo, waiting for the bad news to come but hoping and praying it wouldn't. Overall, though, I have felt blissful. I love being pregnant. Now that I can feel my baby boy moving inside of me, I am in a constant state of awe and joy and gratitude.
I've never been happier in my life. Of course, falling in love with my husband was a very happy time for me, but this is even better.
I dreamed of my son a couple of nights ago. I dreamed I was touching his sweet face and nursing him and when I woke up, I told Greg, "I just dreamed about our baby. He is so cute! I can't wait for you to see him!" Of course, Greg thinks I'm a little nuts at this point, so he just sort of grumbled "that's nice" and went back to sleep. The next day, he asked me if I remembered the dream. Of course, I told him yes. He said "you do realize that you haven't actually seen the baby?" Ummmmmm. I wasn't sure how to answer him. I mean, yes, I am fully aware that I have not looked at my baby. But I feel like we've met, face to face and, ladies, I tell you it was true love.
I've been wary. I still feel wary at times. But, then I wonder what good is it to be scared? What will be, will be whether or not I'm feeling scared or not. As part of that fear of what might happen next, I've only bought books for the baby. It didn't seem to risky to buy a stack of Dr. Seuss books. But, since we found out we're having a boy last week, I've felt the urge to start getting things ready. I've ogled over crib bedding on-line for weeks and on Friday, I happened across a set that I instantly loved. The problem? It was $450 -- a little out of my price range. I even emailed the link to Greg to ask his opinion. Of course, he would rather have sports them for the nursery so we don't exactly see eye to eye on this. When I got to work, I told everyone about this bedding. My new manager told me they sell this brand of bedding at a boutique in town. I happened to remember seeing an add in the paper for a big anniversary tent sale at this store. So, on my way to work on Saturday, I stopped by the sale to see if they had any good deals and lo and behold, there was the very bedding I'd found online the day before. It was marked down from $442 to $199. The catch? All sales were final. No returns, no refunds, no exchanges.
I called Greg for his opinion and like a good husband, he said "whatever you want, honey." Still, I was nervous about buying the bedding. I mean, what if I angered the gods or something and they decided since I was cavalier enough to purchase $200 bedding that couldn't be returned, maybe they'd show me just who is boss. But no, that's not the way it works. So I said a little prayer standing there with the bedding in my arms. Please Lord, let me lay my little boy down on this sheet and cover him with this blanket. I took a deep breath and let it out. And, then I bought the set. It's a leap of faith.
Here's a picture of it from the web. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's a ...


After dreaming last night that the ultrasound tech found a puppy dog tail in there, I was quite relieved to see my precious baby moving around and "waving" to us. You know how that old rhyme goes, boys are made of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails!

Everything looked good. His heartbeat was 144 bpm and he weighed about 8 oz. Here's another picture of his not so private parts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I heard from my friend Anna today (you might remember that we recently visited with Anna and her mom in Dallas). Anna and I met when we first moved to Italy and we became fast friends. We had a lot of good times and a lot of tough times during our four years there. She bravely battled cancer and I limped along this road of infertility. We just sort of leaned on each other through it all. She is one of my dearest and most beloved friends.
And, today, she shared the happiest news I could have imagined for her. She is pregnant!
Her son D. is 8 years old and since the chemo and the other health problems that came after the cancer treatments, she wasn't sure she'd ever have another child. So, you can see why this news is so wonderful.
A few years ago, in the darkest days of Anna's treatment and after our failed IVF, I couldn't have imagined that one day we'd be pregnant at the same time. I said to her today, "I didn't dare dream this!" But, she reminded me that someone did dream it -- her husband. About two years ago, he dreamed that he was in a park with three little girls -- one was his and the twins were mine! I didn't get the twins, but maybe Anna will?!
I remember several times at New Year's or Christmas, we'd talk about the year to come and the one that had passed. For the first couple of years in Italy, we'd say "next year has to be better because it sure can't get any worse." And, then, of course, it would get worse. So we stopped saying that because you have to be careful what you speak because sometimes it comes true. Instead, we'd toast to our friendship and to a new year and all the possibilities it can hold.
So this day -- this day that we didn't even dare dream about -- has finally arrived and my heart just isn't big enough to hold all this joy. My cup runneth over.