Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back pain, a new job and a shower invite

Last week was rather eventful, as far as weeks go, at our house. On Monday, Greg was playing his regular pick-up basketball game during lunch with a bunch of guys from work and he somehow managed to move just the wrong way and injure his back. Tuesday morning found us in the ER where the doctor said she suspects a herniated disk is the source of the pain. I had back surgery many years ago for this exact thing and I know very well how bad it hurts. My heart breaks to see Greg in so much pain when I know how badly he just wants to get back to normal. He goes Tuesday to see his regular doctor and we are still planning to leave for our trip to NC on Friday or Saturday, but I think the long drive is going to be difficult for him. He is still in quite a bit of pain and though we were hoping time would make things better, it seems to be getting worse. Hopefully, he will be feeling better by the end of the week.
That's it for bad news. The rest is all good, so bear with me. The first good thing that happened is I got a new job! You probably recall that I used to have a real career as a newspaper reporter and I've been looking for a way to get paid to write since we moved back to the states last year. I haven't really had any luck (though to be quite honest, I haven't put a tremendous amount of effort into the search either). Last week, a former co-worker and friend of mine let me know about a job opportunity with the comapny she works for and I applied. My friend put in a good word for me and lo and behold, I got the job. I'll be working from home writing for the web. I can make my own schedule and work as much or as little as I want. I went through some on-line training this week and though it's a lot to take in, I feel confident that I'll be fairly good at this type of work. This opportunity couldn't have come at a better time for us. With me leaving my job in retail when the baby is born, there will be a shortfall in our income. Now, I'll be able to make up for part or possibly all of that with my new job and Greg will get his raise for his upcoming promotion around the start of the year, so that will work out great.
I'm still considering working at Talbots after the baby is born -- maybe one night a week and one weekend a month -- just to get out of the house and have some adult interaction. I know I'm going to miss my work friends so much, seeing that they are pretty much the only friends I have in this town. Of course, I will make that decision after the baby is born and after I've had time to settle into my new role as Mommy.
And that brings me to the other exciting thing that happened this week. My shower invitation came in the mail. I tell you, ladies, opening that envelope and reading that invitation brought tears to my eyes. A big part of me never thought I'd ever get to this point. Seeing the names of the hostesses -- many of the women I hold most dear in my life -- just choked me up as I thought about how each of those women in small and big ways has helped me through so many hard times and are now here celebrating with me in the happiest time of my life. I see this shower not as just another baby shower but sort of as a celebration that the years of heartache and longing are over. It's like a culmination of all those prayers and wishes that friends and fammily members sent up for us over the years. I think it's going to be a joyous time for us and for all of those people we love so much.
In other news this week, a co-worker called to tell me she's pregnant. This friend has really been a great supporter through my IVF and FET and through this pregnancy. She cried when I found out I was pregnant and always says things like "I have a vested interest in this baby!" I couldn't be happier for her. She had an IUD removed just last month and in no time, she had a positive test. That's the way I wish that it worked for everyone -- the way it should be and this friend, who has a heart of gold, deserves every happiness.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Insight into the male point of view

I have read Oprah Magazine for years now. And, as someone who dreamed of being a freelance magazine writer at one time, I've always enjoyed the higher quality of writing that O presents to its readers. Several articles stick out in my mind and, not so surprisingly, most of those deal with topics close to my heart -- like infertility.
I was paging through my newest O last night while Greg watched some mindless TV and I ran across this article. It broke my heart, made me cry and left me feeling like I've probably been a little selfish and a lot insensitive to my own husband's feelings as we walked this bumpy road of infertility together.
I just thought I'd share the link in case any of you are interested in getting a little insight into the male perspective on infertility and loss.
I really admire this guy for putting this out there. We expect them to be so stoic but they hurt just like we hurt. I just thank God that my husband has been such a rock for me all these years and at the same time, he has always been my safe place to land. What more could a girl ask for?

Friday, September 17, 2010

What's your name, kid?

The great name debate at our house has entered a new phase. It's called compromise.
Greg wouldn't even talk about possible baby names until we found out we're having a boy, while I, on the other hand, had lists of possiblities for both sexes. But, that doesn't mean he wasn't thinking about names. Oh no.
I know this because over lunch immediately after the ultrasound revealed that our wee one is a boy Greg says, "how about Carter Alan?" and I said, "I like it." And then I waited for other options.
He had none. He likes this name and no others. I managed for a while to convince him to put Harrison on his ultra-short list of names, but yesterday he said he didn't want our son to be called "Harry," essentially crossing that one off the list and here we are back to Carter. Alan is Greg's middle name and I like that he wants to pass that name down to our son.
Meanwhile, my list has at least a dozen possibilites on it -- and Greg can find fault with each one.
Rowan? Your family won't be able to pronounce it right (and he might be right about that). Winston (my father's middle name)? Sounds too old fashioned. Justin? Too common. Caleb? Isn't that a girl's name? (No, Greg, you're a dummy). Holden? Is that even a real name?
Obviously, my husband was not as enamored with the Snyder brothers on As the World Turns as I was when I was young. Caleb and Holden sound like perfectly good, strong boy names to me. Not to mention they sound very handsome.
For such a laidback guy who usually just goes with the flow, my husband is being pretty hard headed about this name thing.
So, I find myself inching closer to Carter each day. I like the name. It's classic and strong and though it doesn't have a particularly interesting meaning, it is relevant in a couple of ways. My dad had a dear cousin named Carter who died young and said he'd be proud to have a grandson by that name. I've always adored that peanut farmer from Plains, Ga. who served as our 39th presidnet and later won the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, the baby name book lists Carter under a heading called "future Democrats," which is just fine by me. Frankly, I think this would could use a few more of us. And, lastly, you might recall Carter is the name of our doctor.
Now, I've always cringed when people name their babies after doctors. It just seems silly and if we were to name a baby after a doctor it should probably be the doctor who created this miracle -- Dr. V., whose last name is quite a mouthful and whose first name is David, a name already in use several times over in my extended family.
Our nurse laughed when Greg told her his pick for a name on Wednesday. She said, "you'd be surprised. There are a lot of little Carters running around out there."
Of course, Greg didn't get the name from our real life Dr. John Carter. His inspiration came from the other Dr. John Carter. You know, the one played by Noah Wylie on ER. I'm pretty sure that faithfully watching ER for all those years lodged the name Carter securely in Greg's brain only to surface now when we find ourselves faced with the overwhelming task of choosing a name for our son.
And, it is an overwhelming task. A name is permenant. It has to be just right. There's so much to consider -- will other kids make fun of it? Do the initials spell anything horrible? It it a good adult name and a good child's name? Does it sound masculine enough? Is it too feminine? Will people know how to pronounce it and spell it? The questions go on and on.
Who knows what name this baby will end up with? Sometimes, Greg rests his head on my belly and asks "what's your name?" He then jokingly puts his ear to my belly and looks back at me and says "he says Carter." ha ha.
But, when he gets here, out little guy's face may say something completely different.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

24 weeks

Here I am at 24 weeks! I feel like time is passing more quickly now. We leave for our trip to NC in about two weeks and then when we get back, we'll be at 29 weeks if all goes well. Then, with the holidays beginning and child birth classes, and breastfeeding classes and all the other stuff we will have to do, I think January will be here before we know it.
I had my monthly checkup today and it was a very pleasant visit with Dr. Carter. He even bragged on me a little for my weight gain so far, which was nice to hear. I've gained a total of 11 pounds. He said I should expect to gain about a pound a week from here on out. I will have the glucose test and the Rhogam shot because I am RH Negative at my next appointment.
We also met with the woman who handles all the insurance claims for the office and she gave us a large stack of magazines and brochures and lots of good information. Thankfully, Tricare covers all the cost associated with having a baby. I wish I could say they also cover the cost of making one, but I'm not complaining. Every penney we have spent on infertility treatments and meds got us to this point and it truly is priceless.
This past weekend, Greg painted the nursery. It's very exciting to begin to prepare for the arrival of our son. I chose this bright happy blue for the walls because it coordinates well with the bedding and it just fits the image in my mind of a boy's room.

It's a little plain though, and I'm toying with the idea of painting a horizontal stripe around the room. The edges of the stripe would be white and the inside would be green. The only problem is our walls are textured. I researched how to keep the paint from seeping under the tape on a textured wall and found a couple of suggestions including using caulk and a clear glaze to seal the edges of the tape. Anyone out there have any experience with this?
Greg plans to put the crib and changing table together tonight while I am at work, so I am looking forward to that.
So that's where we are at 24 weeks. I am so thankful for this miracle and I'm loving every minute of this pregnancy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That old sting

Friday night was Greg's Senior Non-commissioned Officer Induction Dinner and Ceremony. This is one of the many formalities that can precede a promotion. He told me about this event about two weeks ago and since then, I stressed over what to wear. There are many phrases that can strike fear into the heart of a pregnant woman and I've learned that one of them is "formal attire."
I went to Motherhood and they had two dresses that would have worked, except they make dresses for women with breasts as large as my head and I am still waiting to get those giant pregnancy boobs everyone talks about. It just isn't happening.
So, I tried shopping in the regular dresses, but I ran into all sorts of problems. My middle is just too thick at this point. I even tried to wear something I already own because I have a wide array of sizes in my closet thanks to my weight fluctuations over the years but none of those dresses were right either.
On Thursday, I ventured into more stores before going to work and out of sheer desperation I went in Target -- where I found this plain black maternity dress for $12.50 on clearance. I took it to work and my boss gave it the thumbs up and paired one of the best necklaces we have in our store with it to dress it up.
So, off we went on Friday night -- with me feeling a little self conscious wondering if my dress was formal enough. I looked fine. Some of the ladies there seriously needed to visit me at Talbots for an intervention and others were dressed to the nines.
It's odd, now that I'm pregnant and most people can look at me and tell that I am pregnant, you would think that the stinging comments that go straight to your heart and bring tears to your eyes would be over. But, sadly, that is not the case.
Two examples from this event will explain what I mean. A guy my husband works with asked if he could buy us a drink. Greg said he'd have a beer and then said "of course, my wife isn't drinking." And, the guy looked at me funny and then seemed to suddenly recall that I'm pregnant. "Oh that's right," he said. "Is this your first?" Then after my response, he said to Greg "You're almost 50 years old and you're just having a kid? Did you have to go to the sperm bank?" ha ha ha ha ha
I felt that old familiar sting and I frantically searched for a comeback, but my baby mush brain came up with nothing. Fortunately, Greg is better at this type of thing and he said, "Yea, and I told them to give me the most athletic SOB they had so we'll be rich in about 20 years."
Later, this same guy says. "So, are you guys going to have more kids after this one?" Again, I felt that hurt and I looked to Greg to step in and be my voice. "I think one will be enough if he's anything like his dad," Greg said. And, his co-workers all laughed and chimed in with comments like, "ain't that the truth."
On the way home, I asked Greg if he thought anything of this guy's comments and he said this man is very inappropriate in work and social situations so he wasn't surprised that he would make insensitive comments.
Of course, you can't let people like that get to you, but in the moment it does sting and I guess that will always be true.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ramblings of an occasional blogger

It's not that I don't still enjoy writing this blog. I do. It's just that sometimes I wonder what the point is because hardly anyone is reading -- well, hardly anyone commnets. Maybe lots of you are reading??
Oh well, readership is not really important anyway. This blog is just a way for me to put my thoughts and feelings down and it still works very well for that purpose.
I am feeling good these days. We will be 23 weeks tomorrow and that is very exciting.
Greg spent the weekend playing softball in Texas. I worked Friday and Saturday and then had Sunday all to myself. I cleaned the house and walked the dog and read and watched Benjamin Button and cried my eyeballs out. I know, I'm probably the last person on earth who hadn't seen it but I didn't see a lot of movies when we were in Italy.
Last week, we ordered our crib and changing table. My parents bought these as a gift for the baby and we are very thankful for that. We also purchased a travel system with the car seat and the stroller. And, yesterday, we went to the Carter's outlet and they were having an amazing sale. We bought two little outfits and a hat for the wee one. These are the first items of clothing that we've bought. The one I picked says "Bananas over Mommy" and the one Greg chose says "Daddy's Rookie of the Year." The little hat says "Dog Gone Cute," and it is.
I also ordered four prints to frame and put in the baby's room. I got them during Zulily's Labor Day blow out sale. A sale so big, it literally blew out their site for a couple of hours. Luckily, I got my order in early.
So, things are starting to come together albeit very slowly. I am overwhelmed when I think of how much we still need before the baby gets here and how much that is going to cost. But, my sisters are giving us a baby shower in October when we go home to NC, so that should help. Within the next few weeks, we have to register so I've started a list of items that I definitely want to put on the registry.
A lot of Greg's co-workers and softball friends have asked if we'll be having a shower here. It's like they think we should throw ourselves a shower. How tacky is that? We've just told them that we don't really know anyone here very well, so we probably won't be having a shower. Though I was really hoping someone would take that as an invitation to throw us one. Is it selfish to want someone to give us a baby shower? This is just further proof of our lack of true friends here and it really sucks.
Baby Elvis is rocking out in there these days. On Sunday night, he kicked steadily for about 30 minutes --- kicks so hard I could see my belly jumping. I think he must have known I was a little lonely and decided to entertain me.
My next appointment is next Wednesday. Since we're going to be in NC for so long in October, we're planning to do our childbirth classes in November. And that is pretty freaking fantastic.
So that's about it for me. I'm still working about 20 hours a week and enjoying my shortened five-hour shifts (I didn't ask, my boss is just very thoughtful). And, I'm really looking forward to October when I get to see my big ole' crazy family and my dear friends.