Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ain't life grand?

Just a little update - We are all doing well.

My little girl has turned out to be a very sweet, healthy, strong willed little munchkin.

We've had only minor problems in the growth department, and sleeping was bad for a while but every little minor bump in the road has been followed by her growing out of it.

I haven't posted because I just haven't had that much to say.  I've temporarily lost some introspection and permanently lost the ability to think about myself first.  I also don't really use my computer much anymore - I try to keep the electronics to a minimum.  Couple that with being short on time and . . . .well you get the picture.

It has its good days and its bad.  Running through and airport with a febrile infant with diarrhea to try to make a flight probably tops the list of the bad days, but all of my days are made better by a little smile or a hug, or even some hair pulling or the newest trick of nipple biting.

I am permanently changed.  Before my life revolved around work in the dance around a tight schedule.  Now I stress out and work my tail off when I'm at work, but when I get home I get to sit back, relax, and enjoy my family.  I'm still struggling with being at work without guilt but I am loving being a mom.   I admit it is harder than I thought in some ways, but its a good kind of hard.  I've been told its something like running a marathon . . .but I wouldn't know because I haven't set foot in a gym since before the IVF.

Long and short of it - I'm in love and loving life.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


1 year ago today my little girl and all my future children were conceived.

Its a little weird to think of that way.  Most people when they find out that they are pregnant have to count backwards to figure out when they conceived.  (And for some people this makes the difference in trying to figure out their baby is going to look like Larry, Moe or Curly)

Not us.  We knew the hour our kid was conceived.  Nothing left to the imagination.  The nice little embryologist randomly plucked a sperm out of a dish and randomly chose which eggs to put them into.

Its weird to think of all of these chances given the millions of sperm and the unimaginable combination of our genes coupled with the fact that we selected just one of them to grow into our little wonder.    Its a lot of chance that went into it but I have to thank the embryologist for making the choices she did because any other choice and our lives would be completely different.

So anyway I have deemed July 8th as family day.  I think we will celebrate it every year as just a day we spend with each other each year.  Later when the kids are older we will let them in on the secret that it was the day they all were made into embryos.  But for now it is a time to celebrate all that we have.

It is our anniversary of a couple turning into a family.  We are blessed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back to reality

I had to go back to work last monday . . . sigh.

Monday wasn't too bad.  MY whole clinic was a group of patients that had been waiting for me to get back from leave, and it felt good to see everyone.  I missed the little squirt, but Daddy was staying home with her and Grandma coming over to help . . . so I wasn't worried at all.

Tuesday was a little sadder, but I happened to be working close to home that day and I came home to breastfeed at lunchtime.  Made my day a lot better.

By Wednesday,  I lost it.

I just kept pulling up her photo on my iphone and staring at her, wanting to be home.

Days are her fun happy time, nights are not.  So all I get when I get home is a grumpy little munchkin that cries when she sees me.  I thought she was too young for the stare into your face and cry as soon as you get home thing.  Apparently not.


I haven't really cried too much over it - I am still happier than I was a year ago when I had only the hope of pregnancy, and a few months ago when I was physically in pain all the time and worried about having a preemie.  But the new challenge is one that will be there for the next 18 years.  The one about work life balance and the question of can I "do it all".

I think the answer is that I can do it all, but I can't do it all well all the time.  Already I feel that no matter where I am I am neglecting something.

There is a nice article on the atlantic mobile by Anne-Marie Slaughter entitled "Why women still can't have it all" talking about why she left her high powered government job for her family.  Its a nice acknowledgement that we don't all have to be superheros.

I'm not trying to be a superhero - I'm just trying to learn to function in both rolls.  Baby steps . . . I guess.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

new nightmares

okay so I had some whopping nightmares when I was pregnant - must have been the hormones.  But ever since there has been a sense of peace, and up to recently also an extreme lack of sleep.  When i would fall asleep it would be so deep I would wake up confused and incoherent.

So funny enough I have not been (at least remembering) dreaming lately . . .that is until now.

I think it is my upcoming return to work that is starting to stress me out on the subconscious level.  In actuality I think it is going to be fine, and probably nice to converse with adults again . . . . but alas my subconscious seems to be worried.

Usually my nightmares have the following in common:
1) they are usually set in school - college most often.
2) they usually have some assignment I have not completed or I am trying to cram for the final of a math class that I thought I dropped at the start of the semester
3) there is something that I usually cant accomplish and I panic until I am sobbing

So last night I had a dream that started out in a college class - I was taking an unnecessary class in summer school.  I cant remember the subject, but it was something I had already taken and it was a round-the-clock class for a week that I had to stay in a dorm for.  (Keep in mind I am not claiming it makes any sense)  I realized that I didn't really need to be enrolled in the class and all I wanted to do was spend time with the baby anyway.  So heres where it turned bad.  I went to pick up the baby from the daycare center and they wouldn't give her to me unless I completed the class.  I begged them just to let me breastfeed her and they would not let me have her.  I cried that she is having weight problems and she needed to be fed and they assured me that after sleeping 12 hours last night in her crib that she had taken 6 ounces that morning.

This is when I think I began actually panicking in my sleep because 1) the kid doesn't go more than 4-5 hours 2) she wont sleep on a flat surface and 3) she has never taken that much in a feed.  I all of a sudden felt that nobody was taking care of her and that she was in the hands of people who didn't care - and then I lost it.  I cried and begged but I could not see her.  She was locked in what resembled a psychiatric ward in a hospital and they would not release her.  Thats when I woke up crying.

I am very fortunate that my mom-in-law will be looking after the kid at first. . . so I don't know why I am panicked about daycare.  But I suppose its just separation anxiety.

Still, I haven't been away from her for more than a few hours.  I think this is just my dreams telling me it may be harder emotionally than I am prepared for.  I guess I will see soon.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Toddlers and Tiaras

Okay so I admit that occasionally watch an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras - I am a bit fascinated.  I could care less about the real housewives of whatever city because I hate the drama of adult women as there is too much in my life anyway.  But there is something about these kids and parents that I find intriguing.  Unfortunately it does not usually leave me with a positive impression of either one.

Some people have a big problem with pageants, and I can see their points.  The sexualization of prepubescent girls is an big issue, and some of the dance moves and outfits seem wrong to me.  (Fishnets on a 3 year old . . .come on!)  And the money that goes into these for coaching, outfits, makeup, tanning and hairdressers is impressive, and sometimes appears to take priority over other things.  But when it comes to childrearing, I kind of believe "to each his own".  These parents are intimately involved with their child and spend a lot of time with them doing all the above activities.  And some of these kids learn about practice and working towards a goal and good sportsmanship so it can't all be bad.

However, I think it is safe to say that I don't think I will be a pageant mom.  I can't see myself plucking my 4 year olds eyebrows and I just don't see myself emphasizing what my child looks like on the outside.  Yes I know that its a superficial world and she will have to deal with it at some point, I just want her to have some time before she has to think about what she looks like.  Although I do admit that I am biased and think she is adorable, I also admit having 700 photos on my phone of my kid is a little nutso.  I use the excise that I am enjoying being with her every day and don't want to forget her being this little, but in reality I think she is pretty cute too.

 I have been thinking about what type of mom I will be and what I want for my little girl.  The awards I want her to win are not for her beauty, her brains or her athletic ability (or lack thereof which if she takes after me will be non-existant). I have decided the best emphasis is on enjoying her childhood and enjoying learning.  When she starts school I want her to win awards for the most books read, being nice to other kids and perfect attendance.  I would like her to work hard at whatever it is that she enjoys and I hope she finds activities that she is good at and ultimately I think I will support whatever she likes as long as it is safe.

I just hope that isn't pageants.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boob worship

The upside to breastfeeding . . . Boob worship.

The way my husband and my daughter both look at these things is hilarious.  I know one day after I finish this they will be flat pancakes, but right now they are D- cups.  This on the girl who was an A in high school.  If I could get my waist to go down more maybe I could fit in at the beach with all the plastic girls in their twenties.

Who am I kidding.  a) I look older, b) I now have stretch marks and loose skin, c) I don't have time for the beach anymore, and if I do in the future its to build sandcastles . . . not to lay out in a bikini.

But the one thing that makes breastfeeding worth continuing is the boob worship by the little one.  In the past couple days she has realized that the hooters are in fact attached to me and that I am a package deal.  Its kind of a funny thing but before it was just for eating, now she looks up and stops for a second, realizes shes looking at me, looks puzzled and then goes back to her business.  Before she knew that if I entered the room when she was crying that she would be fed, and she realized what these milk supply body parts could do for her.  But it was fun watching her put two and two together :)

I "get" to go back to work soon and I was thinking of transitioning her to bottles during the day and me to pumping, but alas I want to enjoy this as long as I can.

She sure does.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Postpartum birth control . . . . ha!

I think the concept of being on birth control is just hilarious at this point.  I mean really . . . what are the chances that with my history plus my incredible prolactin levels (from the breastfeeding and the galactogogs I am taking) that I would have any chance at all of conception.

However that being said - I am back on birth control.  I only intend to use pills for a couple of months just to avoid the "irish twins" that seem to happen in my extended very catholic family.  (I had to explain this to my non-catholic husband that they are 2 babies born within a year of each other.)

It is interesting to look at the family tree, mine especially, to contemplate how fertile my relatives were.  In my family there is the concept of go big or go home.  Most couples had about 4-5 kids each, but among the tree there are also quite a few dead ends.  Knowing my family's religious preferences and the belief that contraception is a sin (theirs, obviously not mine) it always makes me wonder how many of those dead end branches were really just infertility before there was any therapy.

So my gynecologist asked me when I was planning on the next one.  I really have no idea at this point, but I think in a couple years we will likely try again.  She wanted to know if I wanted a longer term contraceptive like the IUD and I told her that I really wasn't going to use anything after the first few months.  And then it dawned on me . . . after everything I have been through I still haven't given up hope of a naturally conceived child.  I can't believe that I want to put myself through the ever-negative pregnancy test routine again.  Its like I can't get it though my thick skull that I am really incapable of doing this without medical help even though logically I know we will be doing IVF again.  But I guess that's because thick skulls are a part of every branch of my family tree and my little apple won't fall far from this one.

So anyway, . . . .just because I think I should . . . I am on the mini-pill.  It feels so stupid to be contracepting, especially since I wouldn't even have a twinge of regret getting pregnant again.  My job however needs the recovery time . . .  but thats a different post all together.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How bout them jugs?

My breasts are the most disappointing thing I have dealt with since my ovaries.

You might think this is a complaint about how they look - but no . . . it is a statement as to their lack of function.  I have never had a good relationship with these two things that sit upon my ribs.  My mother had breast cancer when they were developing . . . so theres not much more to disliking a part of your body when you are developing than thinking one day it might kill you in your forties.

Okay . . . that was depressing . . . but unfortunately how I have looked at them.  Moving to a more humours reason for my dislike . . . THEY JUST GET IN THE WAY!  For the non-lactating individual they serve no more than a sexual attraction purpose, and quite frankly I don't understand the attraction to two sacs of fat that just hang there.

just sayin

So anyway - Mine don't work correctly.  Something I did not anticipate.  I did anticipate difficulties with latching and nipple problems because of their inversion, but I never anticipated that I would have problems actually making the milk.  After talking to many people about this, apparently some fraction of women with PCOS have serious supply issues and I happen to be one of them.  The theory is that there is a high androgen level during pubertal development and the breasts just don't develop correctly.  Unfortunately I didn't know that theory before which made me more disappointed in my lactational status and secondly it made me look kinda dumb.  Everything people say is that it is a supply and demand relationship.  Bull***t.  I have been demanding extra since she was born and I still have puny production.  I am even on multiple (not exactly FDA approved) medications to make my prolactin levels increase.  As much as they help, I can't keep up.

I feed and pump and supplement breast milk followed by formula with the bottle every 2-3 hours and we still rely on formula supplements to feed the kid enough.  This all was fine and dandy until baby girl decided that she does not LIKE the formula.  Now I have heard of picky but this is redicluous.  Its been 2 months and being born at an average size she should be over 11 lb by now.  Instead she hasn't even hit nine yet.  Super frustrating.

Breastfeeding is a lovely, wonderful, natural process that is the best for the baby.  This is all people have kept iterating to me to keep me going.  But seriously . . .  at what expense?  I haven't had self esteem issues like this since I was in middle school going through my very akward stage.   It has given up any chance of sleep that I could get if I wanted.  (people ask me if she is sleeping through the night and I just laugh being on this 2-3 hour regimen . . . and its not like I can just roll over, supply the boob and go back to sleep.) And Anxiety . . . yup.  You get lots of personal issues when you feel that you cannot provide for your infant's most basic need.  Also, people make you feel that you are a horrible person who doesn't love their baby if you even think of giving it up.  I have thought of it, but I don't dare verbalize that.

I had a little breakdown one day thinking that I was never meant to have kids (which still is probably true) and that if I had been back before the time of breast pumps and formula that she wouldn't have survived.  My friend settled me down and reminded me that in the history of man it usually took the village to raise the child, and that likely there would have been another lactating woman around to help me out.

I like to think that is the case . . . that everyone would chip in to feed this little girl.  That my postpartum inadequacy could be overlooked even in prehistoric times and people would help me keep her healthy.  But alas, for the present . . . she gets to try a new formula and I get to renew my commitment to the pump.  I may dislike these two milkbags, but we kind of need them right now.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A baby story

First of all I will preface this with saying that labor was not at all what I expected.  I expected it to hurt more.  Way more.  I have always suspected that after the baby is out there is some blissful hormone that makes women forget how much it hurt and how horrible labor was - but labor wasn't bad at all - and not just because I got a baby at the end.

It started out like any other night - me lying in bed contracting waiting to fall asleep.   I wasn't even contracting more than usual, but for some reason I was just feeling that night like I couldn't sleep so I sat and played solitaire on my phone.  About 1 in the morning I got up to use the restroom about 20 minutes after I had just gone but since this was pretty typical I didn't think much of it.  Until I went and discovered that I was bleeding.

It was the exact same sensation as was at 19 weeks of shock and immediate worry except this time I put my hands on my belly and just prayed for her to move.  I thought going into labor would be something that got worse over time or that I would break my bag and start contracting worse but really I felt nothing different from the way I felt in the several months preceding.  When I had previously imagined how labor would start I thought I would be contracting for a while at home and would probably have time to get a shower in.  No such luck since I was starting to freak out that I was bleeding and she wasn't moving.

I woke the husband, grabbed the bags and we made it out of the house within minutes.  Fortunately once in the car she started dancing around which made me feel infinitely and instantly better.

We got to the hospital, I checked in and got checked and there I was 4 cm dilated and contracting every 2-3 minutes.  Everyone kept asking me when the contractions had gotten stronger - I didn't know quite how to answer being that the contractions were exactly the same as they had been for over a month albeit a little more regular and frequent.  Since I had been about 1.5 cm 2 days prior they admitted me for labor even though I wasn't really sure I was in labor - there certainly was no going home after that amount of bleeding.

So I sat there for several hours not really making any progress and not really transitioning to active labor so I let them start some pitocin and sure enough it pushed me over the edge.  My water broke, I got my epidural (which was absolutely fabulous by the way) and went from 4 to 8 to complete in 4 hours.

For my final check we did a couple test pushes, realized she was right there and once everything was ready I pushed for a matter of minutes.  I actually could have probably done a bit less personal damage if I went slower but there was a point where we couldn't hear her heartbeat on the monitor and I just realized that I wanted her out.

In the next moment - there she was.  Open eyed, looking around, stunned and in my arms.  She didn't cry - only wimpered as she just snuggled into my chest.  Between me my husband and the nurse we were all trying to stimulate her to cry to get her lungs opened up - but she was perfectly content from the get go - and so was I.

Usually really crappy things happen to physicians when they are in labor.  Its usually a 2 day induction for preeclampsia followed by an arrest of decent of the baby followed by an emergency cesarean.  Usually pediatrics needs to be there for some complication and overall the labors can be nightmarish which is what I was expecting.  But mine was about as straightforward and minimal on pain as they come.  Yes I had an epidural and it worked well and I am glad I did - for me it allowed me to really relax and enjoy the process.  I actually kept it at a level that the contractions still hurt somewhat so I could feel what was going on.  My only complication was a bit more blood loss than usual and continued bleeding after which left me on the border of transfusion, but I escaped because of how anemic I was to start.

Medically - I was a nothing-burger.  I came in, I had a baby and I recovered and went home.  In a pregnancy stacked up against how things were supposed to go, this was a nice refresher. I came up with an interesting conclusion to this story: my body may have been incapable of conceiving, have struggled holding a baby in until term but I was meant to give birth.

Something had to work right :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm Baaaaaack!

Wow - can't believe its been almost two months.  There is definitely truth to the "time flies fast when you're having fun", but also the fact that when you are so busy you can look at the clock and have it be the end of the day without noticing.

So in my upload of pictures after the first week (yes I have been having way too much fun with the munchkin and my camera) I managed to crash my computer.  Let's also just say that I have not had the time to fix it until now.  So I am back and boy do I have some stories to tell.

Briefly though  . . . things are good.  Munchkin is just that . . . a munchkin.  We are having lots of difficulty keeping her on the growth curve because of multiple feeding issues - but I'll talk about that more after her next weigh-in tomorrow.  Otherwise she is healthy although limited in the happy department because of a bit of colic.  She's pretty wonderful though - even when screaming.

Hubby is good and enjoying parenthood.  He's pretty cute with the baby - I knew he would be.  Working a lot at baseline and extra to cover a colleague's maternity leave and has not complained once.  He's a keeper.

I have been well.  Still battling to make milk - but I've got a whole story for that one too.  My weight has unfortunately settled back to my peak residency weight before I lost it all to try to conceive.  I'm a little disappointed in that but I can't really diet right now because I can't afford to loose any more milk production.  I am now living proof that once you gain weight to a certain point, your body always wants to return to that point . . .even if you kept the weight off for 4 years. Hmmmph.

I can't say I've really done much else besides be a stay at home mom.  I am working on a small project for my job but even that was on hold until I got my computer functional again.  I am pretty proud of myself on the days where I accomplish bathing, eating, sleep and laundry all in the same day.  There is very little contact with other adults so I have started talking to the munchkin and I have realized I have few intelligent things to say that aren't congratulatory statements about milk consumption or diaper deposits so forgive me if I lack some mature insight in posts.

This has been the longest amount of time I have ever been away from school or work.  I very rarely had a summer vacation without summer school in my education years and I have never had the financial capability to take time off between jobs.  I am very thankful for FMLA and my job for being agreeable to the 12 weeks post delivery off - and I am even more thankful that they didn't count the preterm labor time in that 12 weeks (Otherwise I would be back already).  The fraction of my normal salary that I am getting won't pay the bills and I can't live off savings much longer so I go back in a couple weeks.  I am still thankful that I get a little something.

This has all been a very interesting learning experience . . . and one thing I have learned is that despite the infertility I really was meant to be a mother.  But that's another post too :)

More to come . .  .

Monday, March 26, 2012

She's here :)

I am happy to announce that as I write this post I am sitting here with a perfect healthy little baby girl in my lap.  Born 7 lb 1 oz, 20.5 inches long on 3/18 - it was the most incredible moment of my life and continues to provide a daily joy like nothing else I have ever felt.

Labor and delivery went better than it had any business going and she did end up coming out the normal route without complications.  We've had some minor issues postpartum but nothing huge.  I apologize that it took a week to post but this is literally the first time I have had a chance to sit at a computer, but thats just because I have been so busy falling in love with this little one.

I will post the full story later when I have another moment - right now I get to go feed her again :)  I am so lucky.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Retrospect - ICSI

There are some decisions we made in the infertility process that I have been thinking about in retrospect and since vision is always 20/20 after the tincture of time I thought I would start to comment on them over a few posts. (Plus I needed something to distract me from my current nausea and vomiting.)

None of this is meant to be medical advice (remember I am not an infertility specialist) - just the decisions we made in our journey and how I feel about that now.

ICSI - this is the biggest one I have been thinking about lately.  Husband has great sperm - I was very lucky for that.  We were dealing with so many issues on the female side it was nice to actually have his stuff working.  So ICSI was initially completely optional for us.  We got lots of eggs retrieved and we probably would have had more than enough with normal insemination and the ICSI.   We really wanted this to be as minimally invasive to the embryo as possible (a crazy thought in retrospect) so we initially were not going to do it. . .  EXCEPT that we found the presence of anti-sperm antibodies.  So we decided to just pay the extra to do ICSI.

Boy was that a good decision.   It was piece of mind that we were giving every egg the best chance for fertilization but the thing I didn't appreciate at the time was the possible increase in number of embryos.  Now I will be the first to admit we had an incredible amount of luck in getting all the embryos we did but ICSI most likely played a role in that.   There is nothing that has made me feel better about this infertility process thank to think about the next pregnancy knowing that a) my children are frozen with the downs risk of a 34 year old b) that I (likely) will never have to stimulate these ovaries again.  Also, on the financial side - the money we will save by getting pregnant through frozen cycle(s) in the future far exceeds the cost of the ICSI

We always had the goal to keep things as "natural" as possible.  We are both believers in science but we are also believers in 'if it ain't broke don't fix it".  While science can approximate a natural process, there are limitations and long term unknowns.  Still because of the above reasons I am happy we chose to do ICSI.  Its also funny now that people ask me if I am planning a "natural birth" -I figure there has been nothing natural about the way she got in the uterus - I don't care about how natural it is when she comes out.  Poke me with needles, give me meds, cut me open if needed - healthy is all I am going for.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

the length of a pregnancy

My husband made an funny observation the other day.  He stated that this pregnancy just seems to be taking a really long time.  When other people get pregnant they usually tell you after their first trimester and you see them a couple of times - watch their belly grow and the next thing you know - theres a baby.  When you are knee deep in it - especially since we have hit quite a few speed bumps on our journey - it seems to take much longer than the requisite 40 weeks.

But when I look at it closer it is beyond just seeming longer than normal - it HAS been longer than normal.  I cleaned out an old purse the other day I hadn't used in a few years and I discovered my 2010 calendar (before I had an i phone) and amongst all the work commitments and listings of birthdays there was a symbol in each corner.  Red letters to indicate how heavy my period was that day, positive and negatives (actually just really negatives) for the LH testing, little smily faces every other day mid cycle and sad faces at the end of each cycle to indicate the negative pregnancy tests.  Then it got more intense with the dieting (seriously calculating every calorie I consumed), the records of workouts and the development of little symbols for different meds from progesterone to clomid to injectables.  All ending the same with punctuation by a series of unhappy faces.

If I had gotten pregnant when I started trying I would already be working on a second baby.  This is like a two and a half year gestation - thats longer than an elephant.  And the other side of it is that I have been painfully contracting for so long I am really ready for them actually to get worse so they will eventually stop.

So anyway - I am ready.  More ready than most.  I'm not nervous about labor or delivery.  I don't worry about how much it will hurt or if I will need a c-section.  I just really need her out.  Yes I want to feel better than I do now, but I really want her out so I know she is ok.  It all sounds so completely stupid but  the only thing I am anxious about is her.

Not that the worries will go away once she is an infant but I think I am ready to close the book on this chapter of my life.  Don't get me wrong - being pregnant has been a little slice of wonderful - and I still consider myself lucky that it only took a couple years to get to this point.  For me though, this has always been about having a family to me - not so much the journey getting there or the time being pregnant.

The road has been long and I can see the finish line and with every step closer I am obsessing about tripping.  I am trying to have patience but I just find myself hoping that she will come sooner than later - partially from anxiety and partially just from pure excitement.  Maybe after all of this I am just overly ready to be a mom.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I'm TERM!!!!!!!

So to celebrate the end to my bedrest I decided to go to target.  After 3 weeks of being on house/couch arrest you would have thought I would have come up with something more creative but I had a few things I needed to pick up so off I went.

I had a list of about 5 things I needed - I successfully got one.  I got so tired and winded walking around target I finally just dragged my rear through the checkout and waddled back to my car to sit and pant.  Its amazing how little exercise tolerance I have at this point.  The only muscle in my body that seems to be in good tone is my uterus although I have no idea how I am going to actually push out a baby when I can't handle getting across a store.

Although I would much rather have it this way than going for daily NICU visits!  I am amazingly happy and relieved even though I am really out of shape.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The hubby and I were doing the taxes last night in anticipation of not really having any time as it gets closer to tax day.  We got to the category marked medical expenses and we pulled out the file of receipts that I had been saving.

Holy smokes Batman!  Lets say I was a little anal in keeping every clinic, acupuncture and pharmacy receipt.  We ended up with quite a bulky file.

While the added amount of what we accumulated in out of pocket infertility costs is a little disturbing we had a good laugh about it.  I'm not done with the tally yet but my non-infertility medical costs were about $300 for teeth cleaning, glasses, contacts and a couple acne gels, my husband spent a whopping $189.  Kiddo took over 20K just to get her there (and that was just 6 months of 2011 not counting the 2010 cycles.)

We laughed at the pile of receipts from each ultrasound visit and the fact that as we were inputting the dates into a spreadsheet that often they would only be a day or two apart.  We laughed at the mail-order pharmacy receipts for each shipment of follistim and laughed harder when we found the $5 copay for the pre-cycle birth control pills (which was the one drug my insurance covered).

It feels good to laugh about it now because we certainly weren't then.  We were both working extra shifts to try to make up for a fraction of it, but it was a bit of a tight time with no end in sight and certainly no guarantee of results.

I am the type of person who clips coupons and doesn't buy things unless I need them.  I bought most of my maternity clothes at garage sales and I have sewn quite a bit of things for the baby because I see something that costs more than I can make it for.  All of these things I do save pennies compared to what we spent on infertility but I can't say that I regret it at all.

Sure I regret that we had to go through it, but I regret the pain it caused, the tears we shed and the stress it inflicted.  They say that money can't buy happiness, but this may be an example of where it actually can and did, although I also know how lucky we are.

Monday, March 5, 2012

a touch of irony

So yesterday and again this morning I felt better than I had in at least a month.  I didn't want to jinx it by saying anything but I was actually contracting only about once an hour and not too bad at that.

It was a great day, a restful night and a great morning to start.

A couple weeks ago when I was in the hospital I had a few little slightly concerning findings on the monitored strip and so I ended up going to antenatal testing twice a week.

Irony #1: as much as I have been worried this pregnancy - I am not usually worried about her and how she is doing in there.  One thing we are taught in medical school is that a baby who is moving is generally getting enough oxygen... and this baby moves like crazy.  (I love it)  So I have never really needed to worry a lot about her - all it takes is a little nudge and she's off kicking.

So today she had a bit of a problem with a contraction in antenatal testing.  I got sent to labor and delivery where they watched her for a bit of time - and again a little bit of an issue tolerating contractions.  Now through all of this the was doing little jumping jacks in between contractions so I knew she was fine, but this bought me a contraction stress test.  Basically a pitocin infusion until you contract 3 times in 10 minutes while watching her on the monitor to see if she tolerates it.

Main point and source of relief - She did great.  (insert maternal soccer mom pride - its like she just scored a winning goal - I'm still beaming)

But enter Irony #2: for the first time in a while my contractions were actually pretty minimal.  If I had contracted like I do at night I wouldn't have necessarily needed pitocin, but again I was feeling a bit rock-star this morning.  So not only did they need pitocin to get going but it seems to have reset my uterus back my baseline and I'm once again breathing through several per hour.

Anyway I am happy she's happy and thankful she is ok.  Just an interesting day.  And with that I am going to go lie down. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bun still in the oven - officially par-baked!

Made it to 36 weeks - at this point I am asking for nothing from fate when it comes to this pregnancy except for #1 healthy baby and #2 the ability to have an epidural.

I am kind of in shock that I am still pregnant.  The other night after several hours of regular painful contractions I finally fell asleep when they slowed down.  I probably should have gone in but I was so exhausted that I just passed out.  When I woke up my belly was smaller again.  Her previous kicks in the ribs are now slightly above my belly button again.  (Poor little head must be so squished cuz I know my bladder is.)

I am now so in tune with my uterus, I've realized that I have 4 different levels of contractions.  (although really I sometimes wish I was one of those people that had them and didn't feel them . . .  but I digress)

Level 1: ooohh thats a bit tight, maybe I should pee.
Level 2: uuumph that hurts (but still able to talk), will go pee.
Level 3: ahhh, I can't breathe, must pee now
Level 4: can't talk but somehow explicatives exiting my mouth, who cares about peeing
And . . . I am sure there is a 5th level that I just haven't gotten to yet :)

Anyway - this is just further fuel for the fire that my reproductive system is somewhat broken - my husband has witnessed enough of these runs to be as shocked as I that baby is still inside.  I'm in antenatal testing because of some previous minor issues and the nurses just stare at the runs of contractions and the breathing and wincing and ask me if maybe I need to go to labor and delivery.  (My response is that I am better than my baseline and since they know me they let it go!)  Maybe I am just the largest wimp on the planet but when I had my big belly surgery I took no pain medications for the first 24 hours so I am not sure that is the case.

So defying all common sense of the teachings of obstetrics - I remain pregnant and thankful.  Now just waiting for something to happen and ready for it when it comes.  Next week I am going to actually start to go on my walks again and I have been cleared for "other activity".  My OB said she would laugh if I had to be induced post-dates and as much as I can see the irony - I don't know that I can see the humor in it yet.

So - I will leave this up to the baby - she has dominated my life before she was even conceived and will continue to do so for the next 18 years or more likely the rest of my life.  I have surrendered control - but in waiving the white flag I am still excited beyond words.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The name game

So we decided that since there may be an impending arrival we better get some things ready.

furniture - done
carseat - check
pack of diapers - can get at the store later
name - uuuugughhhhh!

My husband and I have been working on a name since she became viable - but literally we couldn't get it down further than a one page single spaced word document. So we sat in the hospital room the first night and narrowed.

When you have been infertile and you have watched everyone else have babies - there are a considerable amount of names that your friends have already taken.  There have always been names that I've thought I could name my daughter - but slowly and surely over the past few years several of them have been picked off by friends more naturally prone to procreation.

But the ones that have been picked up since I got pregnant just seem unfair.  There is a name that we have liked from the beginning but then around christmas we saw one of our old friends (not too close - someone we see yearly) and their new baby has that name.  This name is in the top 10 in popularity so I think its fine to use - but my husband just doesn't feel right about it.

Fast forward tot he hospital the other night we actually picked a favorite and actually got a little attached to it.  The problem . . . a really good friend from college (whom I have not spoken to in the past 9 months mostly out of negligence on my part and new-mommyhood on hers) named her kid that name.  I had completely forgotten because her daughter has only been referred to by nickname since she was born, and I cant say I've been too smart in the past few days because of how not-well I have been feeling.  I figured it out about a day later and now the hubbie and I are disappointed all over again.

You would think that with my 10,000 names baby book that we could come up with lots of names - and maybe we could - but there is a certain amount of obsession to it at this point.  It has to be perfect - we've put so much into her already we want to make sure that we love her name at least a fraction of how much we already love her.

So now we have a shortened list to choose from - I think at this point we are just hoping for more time so we can get excited about another one.

Friday, February 17, 2012

discontinue IV, discharge home, undelivered!

Well - its been an interesting ride lately.

Long and short of it . . . I haven't posted much lately because things haven't been that great on the uterine front.  Slowly and surely the contractions have been progressively worse - culminating early this week with a really long uncomfortable day on monday, contractions waking me from sleep monday night to a purely torturous day on tuesday.

I tried to ignore it - tried to just get the job done well and I did.  Its amazing how much discomfort you can ignore when you are focused on the work - but afterwards I knew I felt terrible. Wednesday morning I got up and realized my fundal height had dropped by about 6 cm and the pelvic pressure was intense.  So what did I do - hemmed and hawed and tried to ignore it.

Yup . . . major denial . . . not proud of it at all.  But what got me is that she slowed down her movements.  There was no denying that.  So I went in - of course was dilated and contracting and now officially in preterm labor with her little head wedged down in my pelvis.

Anyway fast forward to today and I am 34 weeks, steroid exposed and still pregnant.  I am home after a 2 day hospital stay.  But the way I intermittently contract is not looking promising, and medications are not really looking like a good long term option.  Things have been intense in the middle of the night so I am hoping I make it through tonight without meds because my blood pressure and baby do not tolerate the medications well.

I'm not sure if I am mad at myself or if there is a component of anger for there not being any options on how to really take it easy at work.  I hate that I was pushed to my breaking point but maybe that is my fault.  I just wish there had been a way to work a little less - especially since I think I could have worked up until my due date and work would have been better served - now the people who have to cover for me are hosed for weeks more than anticipated.

On the other hand . . . I am really thankful to be at this point . . . and really thankful I can try to go longer.  34 weeks has been a BIG goal all along.  Chances are at this point baby girl will do fine.  Probably will have some feeding and growing issues but hopefully she can breathe without assistance and not be in the NICU too long.  But I do want to be a little greedy and incubate her as long as I can.

This is my only job now - I am not going to be a physician for months which is far longer than any break from education and career I have ever taken.  I hope I do a good job of it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

analogous to survivors guilt

I am officially T minus 60 days!!!  hoorrrrahhhhhh!  And I am feeling better.  

Now I actually feel pregnant like I should.  Feeling huge and exhausted and uncomfortable - please forgive me for bragging but its kind of awesome.  No longer stressing out about dropping this baby in the middle of a bout of contractions because I am down to a few an hour.  (my body is odd - but I knew that already)

Up until this point I haven't been too obvious about the pregnancy and white coats can hide a lot - but now . . .  there is no doubt to anyone I walk by . . .  and no doubt to my patients.   And there is where the guilt starts.  Sure I feel like I deserve this opportunity, but out of everyone who deserves - not everyone gets to be in my shoes.  I just hate having to take care of patients that are struggling with their own devastating reproductive challenges and seeing the point where their eyes glance from my face to my belly.    It makes my heart sink.

Don't get me wrong - these are the women I love to take care of - the ones that I can actually try to help and when I do it makes me feel better than anything because I know how much it means.   Some of the time I have been there - other times nowhere close, but I can relate.  However, its not my place to interject my story into their care.  They have only so much time for an appointment to be heard- and that appointment is certainly not about me at all.  But I remember the feeling well that "everyone is pregnant" and I remember the anxiety of feeling like I was around a bunch of bellies and infants.  Now I am on the other side adding fuel to the fire.

I am sorry.

Sometimes I try to make a subtle acknowledgment when they recognize that I am pregnant that it wasn't exactly easy as a way to try to make them feel better,  Most of the time though I am just trying to be subtle in what I wear and how I stand as to not to rub it in.  I try to make sure the jacket is on and there are no inadvertent touches of my hand when she kicks or I contract.   I tell people I will be on "leave" for a few months but don't want to mention the reason.  But they always know.

Sure most people don't care because they are there for other reasons and they have never struggled, but for the few that could be hurt - I promise I am trying.

But in the end I am excited inside.  I know the blessing I have and I am thankful.  And I promise to everyone that I will do the best job I know how to make sure I raise her well.  I hope that counts for something.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Da funk

Sorry its been a while since I posted - things are good here . . .just been in a bit of a funk.

The good . . .no make that fantastic news . . . is that I have made it to 30 weeks and she is still cookin' in there.  I am seriously thankful on a daily basis for that.  My uterus has developed a mind of its own and has now started having little trial runs of painful regular contractions without any provocation.  This has been nerve racking for me and for my care providers because I am not following the textbook rules of being a pregnant patient. I sometimes act like I am in preterm labor and squish my cervix and get very close to needing steroids and the works - and then things relax and go back to baseline.  Fortunately I have discovered Nifedipine (a blood pressure medication used to stop contractions - really only proven to help for short periods of time).  For the first time in months I have had little periods of time where I can feel and move normally albeit lightheaded.  When I am not at work my rear is on the couch, but this week for the first time I finally got to go to the store and look at carseats.  Now I know thats not what it is intended for but I was taking the med out on a test drive. Doesn't sound like much but I have not been able to go to any store for 6 wk so it was pretty thrilling.

The funk news is that work has kind of been circling the drain.  I am not sure if people are angry with me for ditching them for 3 months or if I have offended people that maybe work isn't going to be my first priority anymore.  I am coming back "part time" when I return.  I was supposed to be 80% time like most of the other moms with little ones, but instead I only got to drop to 88% because of the way my job is structured.  I don't think some people are especially happy with my decision and where I am dropping the 5 hours from and there are now meetings behind closed doors regarding staffing.  (meetings I had always been invited to before - hmmmmm)

I have tried to do everything I can to be fair to my job.  As my husband says "its not like they didn't know this was going to happen or that there wasn't time to prepare."  The people I work with closely been aware of the infertility and ttc for a long time and they were in the first group of people to know I was pregnant.  (before this child's grandparents mind you).  But now people are starting to freak out at work that I will be going on leave soon at such a busy time and I have had to stand back and say "I'm sorry but I can't be the one to help you now".  Its a different position that I am not used to taking.  I am usually the person if asked to work extra that will usually oblige.  Priorities have definitely changed, but I can't say that they are incorrect.  I still take just as much time and care for my patients - I just can't take on many new ones.

On a happier note . . . kiddo actually is kicking so hard it hurts with her sharp little heels!  Most people don't like to feel pain, but it makes me so happy to know that she is getting strong in there that I just relish it.  I'm getting pretty excited and the nesting instinct is nuts.  My mom-in-law is going to help me this weekend with some of the things I can't do myself to get the nursery ready.

I got to lay in bed this morning (woke up at 3 something unable to sleep) feeling her moving and feeling my husbands arm laying across the pile of pillows onto my stomach while he snored.  It was just an awesome moment to have so much love in one place.