Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Late periods, PCOS and weight loss.

You guys are the best. Thank you. I would never wish our journeys on anyone but the community of support you guys provide? Everyone should be so lucky. I hope I do the same for you.

The thoughts on my last post were precipitated by my first period this month. The hope began flickering- a period meant hope of future periods- of ovulation. I grew more hopeful about three weeks ago when I had the telltale signs of ovulation right on time. I am not ready to try again, but I took this as a sign that I'd be one of those people whose bodies became normal after having a child.

No period.

I'm now quite late- I've been bloated, crampy, PMS-y but- no period. It might come. I hope it will. But now its late. It's late. And it means that my friend PCOS is still here ready to party.

I'm not on Metformin, the one that helped regulate me because my OB said to hold off while I am nursing- so I'm trying to figure out what to do. The weight- despite my greatest efforts- is not budging. I can't fit into most of my clothes pre-pregnancy and the weight issue is beginning to take over my thoughts. This isn't me. I feel like I'm wearing a warm winter coat over my real body. But thanks to PCOS losing the weight is infinitely harder.

There are many reasons to lose weight. Feeling confident, fitting into clothes again, preventing diabetes, but most of all its getting rid of PCOS. My doctor says if I can lose the weight, the PCOS will go away.

Now that he's on solids I'm trying to be stricter with my diet. I want to fix this. As much as PCOS is a culprit hurting my metabolism, and making me fight harder than other people to see a drop in the scale- the truth? The truth is I do eat thing that are bad for me and I have to give myself longer than a month of not seeing the scale budge before I give up.

So here's hoping. Hoping that by May. My son's birthday- I can be at a normal BMI again like I was once-upon-a-time- I'd like to think that I don't want to try again until I'm there- but then I wonder if I'll ever get there so I am hesitant to make such a bold assertion.

PS: I don't post much here because I am posting more at my regular non-anonymous site if you want the link just send me an e-mail- I've gotten over my paranoia on that :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thoughts on doubling joy

If anyone still reads this, just a note that this is about kids and might be the type of post I found hurtful or painful when I was in the trenches of IF.

Once upon a time I wanted four children. By the time I convinced my husband five years into our marriage, I was content with the idea of three. And then infertility and loss hit me with their anvils and I wondered if I would even get one.

Despite my deepest fears, I have my baby boy. And I am happy. For the first time in a very long time I'm not 'happy considering' or 'happy to the world though my heart is breaking in a million pieces inside." I did not realize it, but the past 2.5 years I was a very depressed person. I look back on some of these posts and I scarcely understand who wrote them? That wasn't me? It was infertility and loss and they had taken over my body and had spread their tentacles over my soul.

And for this reason when I think of adding to the happiness. Doubling my joy. Trying for number two. I feel. . . overwhelmed. I want another child. So does my husband. Its important to us to have a sibling for W if we are lucky enough to conceive again. And this love for W- its like crack- and I'm an unabashed junkie now.

But.

W is my miracle baby. Conceived after a miscarriage when I bucked doctor's order to wait a cycle and just tried before even getting my period- it worked- he's here. He came because my second miscarriage gave me a normal ovulation after five years of wonky ovulation. The first time. Its dumb luck I convinced K to ignore the doctor. Had we waited, I can't be sure if I'd even have a child today.

So the thought of counting cycle days. Having sex and then wondering what may happen. Of Clomid. Of ovary monitoring. Metformin. Lovenox injections. Ultrasound appointments. And the ever present, always present fear of a miscarriage- of something going wrong- I have tears in my eyes as I consider it all. The destination is beautiful- it is marigolds and roses and unicorns- but the journey is scarier than the path to Mordor.

And I want so badly to try again. And I'm scared so badly too. Scared to relinquish my joy for worry once more. Scared of the waiting. The wondering. I'm sorry to sound graphic but if I have one more fetus slip through my body onto a cold floor I don't know if I can handle it.

But I have to handle it. I have to get used to blanks on pregnancy tests again. The feeling of failure. And scary doctor visits. I have to if I want what I want. Its just scary to consider right now.

I dont know if anyone still reads this but if you have any advice I would appreciate it very much.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Looking into the looking glass

We went to Red Lobster today. Ten dollar coupon. Endless shrimp. Why not, we thought. We sat down at the round table placed for us with just enough space to wedge W's stroller in so it was out of the way. He was on cute baby duty it seemed. He was giggling and squealing with delight. He was playing with his stuffed animals and trying to devour his toes. After a while he got squirmy and I lifted him up, and he grinned and babbled and sucked his thumb. He was Gerber Baby. Brown Gerber Baby. People kept stopping by to coo over him, to chuckle at his giddy joy at everything- the straw, the plate, my hair, everything he saw.

But ofcourse I saw the one couple- in their 40's sitting right across from us. The lady wore a pretty green shawl and had stylish black glasses. Her husband sat across from her with sandy gray hair and his shoulders slightly hunched. They stared at him too, and they smiled- but I recognized the smile. Dammit. I recognized it and I knew there was heartbreak behind that smile. I know I'm assuming. Maybe she is the mother of twelve bouncing boys all too busy to join their parents for dinner, but you know. Sometimes you just know. Because I could see myself from the outside. This couple sitting in the middle of the room, bouncing a baby boy, singing to him while he giggled and cooed- and I know I would have looked over my shoulder and smiled just like that while a million knives stabbed my heart.

Its not like I feel guilty all the time. But moments like this hurt because I see it from their eyes and I want to hug them and I want to say it will be okay- except I don't know that. Except that for some people, its just too late.

Does it get easier? This survivor's guilt?


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Twitter, oh dear

Well I decided that since I'm trying to get a book published- I should get active on the social networking sites that everyone talks about: twitter. I'm slowly getting the hang of it, its kind of fun. Are you guys on it? If so please leave me your handle (or whatever they call it) and I'll add you so I can follow you :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Infertility and Trains

On the airport train en route to our flight to Denver, I smiled as all the passengers of the tram smiled and cooed over my baby. What a smile! His eyes light up! Aw what a flirt! I grinned and nodded and thanked people for their congratulations and kind words. One passenger turned to a woman, in her early fifties if I was to guess, standing next to him, a colleague it seemed, and asked how many kids do you have? She smiled and said none. We tried since we got married but it never happened. She paused, the smile still frozen on her face. Yep, we tried, we wanted it, but it didn't happen. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

My husband and I looked at each other. We didn't have to say a word. We knew what the other was thinking. And I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you because you know exactly what it feels like to be her. It hurt my heart that this woman had to endure a train full of people oggling a baby making statements like this is what life is all about all the while she stood there smiling politely. When I can I do tell people the struggles I faced, but on this train ride, a full minute in length, throngs of people gripping metal bars surrounding me, how could I?

We had lunch with a co-worker of my husband's today. She loves kids and also could never have any. She held W and kissed him on the cheek. He giggled and cooed and adored her. She doesn't know I was in her shoes too. . . and at a meal of project cuts and site visits where the mention of infertility never even made a peep how could I tell her?

And who does telling help? Does it just help ease my survivor's guilt? Does it really matter? It doesn't change the facts. They did not get their heart's desire. I try not to pull myself into a tailspin at moments like these of why me not them? Because what good does it do? It never helped when it was the other way, why them, why not me? It surely can't help now either.

Moments like this remind me that I may have a child but infertility and loss have forever changed me. I kiss him more than I probably should. I find myself gazing into his eyes unable to look away. Sleepless nights. Tearful tantrums. All things that I thought I would surely lose my patience on, I handle with a grace that is not typical of how I normally operate when faced with challenging circumstances.

That's the good side of life after infertility. The other side is the way your stomach drops when you meet someone still in the trenches. When you remember what you left behind. For better and worse, whether I have just this one child or five more, infertility is like a bullet lodged deep within me, one that no matter how hard you try will remain exactly where it is. You are free from its dangerous grip- but its imprint will always remain.

Friday, August 27, 2010

This and that**updated

  • It's been a while since I've posted. I post slightly more at my other site, and since I can't find the hours in the day to send out the e-mail I will most certainly take down the link by the end of the weekend but if you want to follow me over I'd be most honored. I love comments, but please no references to this blog :) This is my private one where I can write about things I don't want everyone (i.e. family, friends) reading.
  • Little guy is not sleeping anymore. We went from 5 hours stretches, to 6, to 7!! And then down to waking every 2-3 hours nightly like clockwork. I am feeling like a zombie due to sleep deprivation, as though I've been transported back into the early days of having a baby. Not just that, he used to lay in the crib without a fuss and coo and chat to himself and fall asleep, now its a 45 minute production of tears and screams to get him in bed. I thought it got easier, not harder?!
  • I'm worried my milk supply is the cause. Last night we gave him a bottle of formula for its purported ability to keep a sleeping baby sleeping longer and I pumped out of curiosity to see how much milk I was making. 3 ounces total. 3 lousy ounces to feed a 14+ pound baby. I've heard that baby extracts more than the pump so I might have more but I'm wondering if milk supply is the reason.
  • Although this theory was a tiny bit eroded last night since he woke up 2 hours after the bottle screaming. This time I gave him tylenol, he instantly quieted down and fell asleep. So maybe this is all teething related? The white buds are under his gums waiting to come out. He's got a lot of teeth- I guess I'll be sleep deprived for a while if this is the case.
  • But my doctor thinks its my diet. I joined weight watchers. I was doing GREAT on it. Losing 2 pounds a week for a total of 7 pounds to date. I NEVER lose weight like that (thank you PCOS) but his sleep deprivation coincided with this. I talked to a LLL volunteer who also agreed it might be my diet. I've been advised not to lose weight at all, but I feel like I'm wearing a fat suit and I want to get out of it! And WW does give you points if your'e nursing. I'm able to eat VERY well on the diet. I mean, two eggs with toast for breakfast, pasta for dinner! I'm not exactly starving. I don't get it.
  • Do you have any advice on baby sleep regression? I can't imagine letting him cry it out. I tried it for four minutes last night and I was a hysterical sobbing mess. Just can't do it. Any advice on weight loss? Milk supply issues? Battling the inability to sleep once the baby is asleep because your'e lying in wait for him to awake next?? I've ordered fenugreek, I eat fennel seeds every day as is, and I'm now adding oatmeal. Sigh.
  • But let me be clear, the fat suit, the insomnia, the hysterical shrieks of my bebe- wouldn't have it any other way. I am happy. So happy he's here. I don't take THAT for granted.

Updated to add, the past two days I ate whatever I wanted, like a nut, and today when I pumped I got out 6.5 ounces. Yep- food is definitely a factor. Sigh. I really want to lose this weight but not at the cost of giving up nursing which I worked SOOOO hard to stick to and which I actually now love doing. It's weird to bemoan that I MUST eat to my heart's content but I really feel motivated to shed the weight. weird.

Kate, I was told that if you start solids at 4 months it can issues but everyone I know who has started at four are just fine. Did you do any reading on this?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Well that didn't work

I thought I would just e-mail everyone who asked because on wordpress when someone leaves a comment you get their address too. Apparently blogger doesn't do this. Hm. If you were one of the people who did not get an e-mail from me, that's why, I didn't get your e-mail address, if you can please leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail. Ergh. Sorry.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pregnancy After Miscarriage- Doctors Weigh In

Just read this article that said that doctors now tell women to TTC again ASAP after having a miscarriage because it boosts your chances of a successful pregnancy. I can understand wanting to wait to TTC after a miscarriage if you need to recover emotionally, but physically speaking I can't agree more and I WISH more doctors told their patients this. Were it not for me NOT heeding my doctors advice and doing what this article said, I would not have a baby snoring loudly in the swing across from me.

Erm. Whoops.

Little guy sleeps his longest stretch as five hours from about 12-5am, I hear this is called sleeping through the night. For two nights in a row he was only giving me three hour stretches so last night I was beyond fatigued so last night when he woke up at 5am I was so tired I walked over gave him a pacifier and went back to bed. He didn't cry (he never does at this hour), he just wiggled around and grunted loudly, but then the next thing I knew it was 7:00am and he was FAST ASLEEP. He ultimately got up at 7:30am and even then he wasn't crazed with hunger, he actually grinned at me and then began pouting.

Is it okay that I let him sleep that long without feeding him?

Motherhood: feeling happy about the same thing you feel guilty about.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blogging Post IF

When I began this blog years earlier I had a vision. I planned to write here anonymously about all things IF. After a year it became all things IF and loss. And then all things pregnancy after IF and loss. I had a lot to say on these topics, and I blogged nearly every day. Sometimes twice a day. But I always had a plan. I had a vision that one day I would reach the promised land of baby and I would end this blog with a picture of my smiling baby and another website of hope for someone who stumbles across it feeling the pain I felt when I began.

But this was a plan I made before anyone really read my blog. This was a plan before I got to know any of you and the wonderful support you've provided me on this journey- I really can't put it into words so I'm not even going to try- IF cost me many things including friendships I had in real life. There were times I had no one to talk to about what I was going through and it was with you all that I could say what I felt freely without fear of judgment. I am tearing up as I say this: You guys will never know how much your support means to me.

So it became hard to leave like I planned. So I changed the look of the blog, told you a bit more about myself, and decided to keep on blogging here. But this is proving to be challenging.

You see, I have another blog. One I've written in for over six years. It's read by my family and friends. For that reason I've never blogged there about IF and loss because unlike many of you who are brave enough to own that part of your life publicly, I'm not. While most of my friends and family do know now what I've gone through, my other blog is still just not the space where I would like to be public about this. While I went through my IF and loss struggles I updated that blog very infrequently. But now, I update there more because it feels strange to me to update here, on this blog of IF, about happy-happy-joy-joy stuff about parenthood knowing that many of you reading are still on the journey, still hurting. It feels like I'm adding salt to wounds and so I find myself not having much to say here, but more to say there.

But, I miss you guys. Susan suggested that others might be interested in reading about the other side of me. The other side I write about on the other blog now that my mind is not as one track as it had been for 2.5 years. I'm not taking away this site. It stays. I still have things to say about IF and loss, and when I do, it will be said here. And one day, if and when we try for another baby, it will likely be here that I will document that as well. But in the meantime, for all the other stuff, I think instead of juggling two sites I'm going to do it over there. If you're interested in reading the silly things I have to say about life and want to get the link to the other blog, please shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment. My only request is that if you are interested, that you please not mention this blog in the comments or anywhere else. It's not that I'm ashamed of what I have gone through. It's just that I'd rather my in-laws not trace me back here. I've moved my IF blog three times now, and I really want to keep my IF blog parked here for now.

I will take down this post in a week, but in the meantime if you're interested, I'm honored. See you on the other side.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A year ago today

This weekend last year was spent in bed praying that the red spotting would not lead to more. This Sunday last year we went to the ER. As I stepped into the dressing gown I lost my pregnancy on the cold tiled floor. This time last year I passed out from the pain medications. My husband thought I died since it took some time to revive me. This time last year my parents drove up to comfort me as I endured my second miscarriage in nearly as many months.

If I had not had that second pregnancy I would not have had this third. The second miscarriage gave me my first normal ovulation. Two weeks from today, one year ago, I ovulated the egg that became the child sleeping in the Moses basket next to my bed.

I ponder the what ifs on days like today: What if I had listened to my OB and waited a few cycles before trying again. What if I couldn't convince Jack to try that night when ovulation was certain. What if I didn't have lovoenox. Or extra folic acid. Or baby aspirin. What if. What if. What if. The what if's take my breath away. The idea that he could so easily, just by Jack saying no, just by one small twist of fate, this baby would not be here. This living breathing reality that I feel I've known all my life. That I feel was meant to be here from the beginning with such certainty I can't fully comprehend how it almost could possibly not have been. But these are the good kind of what ifs. Not the kind of what ifs that haunted my life this time last year.

I look at my life just one year ago. I read my old blogs at what was and how I felt. I can't believe how much life can change in the course of one year. One year ago I was leaving an ER empty, and now life is more beautiful than words can give justice to.

Thank you to all the powers that be. I hope I will always remember how fortunate I am.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My New Look

I've always liked my anonymity here. I have another blog which is less anonymous where I wear my race and faith on my sleeve. I'm used to the 'burden of the minority' which is when you are part of a minority your actions can often be taken to represent the beliefs and views of all of your particular minority. I handle this well for the most part. I strive to break the negative stereotypes but when I began a blog about IF and loss I wanted to not have to go into that part of myself. I wanted a place where no one would see my name or the color of my skin and begin to make assumptions. I could write about family politics, or anger or sadness without worrying that anyone would accidentally make a sweeping generalization of my faith or race as a whole. I liked that. I kind of didn't mind keeping it that way. And then came Faisal Shahzad. The seemingly nice and normal assimilated Muslim-American who decided to try and plant a bomb in Times Square. Stupid. Idiotic. Deplorable. And then I read Zeitoun. The heroic man who stayed behind in Katrina to help and was thrown into a Gitmo like prison system without any regard for his rights. And I decided that though I'm not comfortable going completely unanonymous- maybe its good to share a little of who I am beyond the IF and the loss. Maybe its good that you see my faith and my race. So you know that there are Pakistani-Americans, Muslims, who struggled like you. Who are good. Who are hard working contributing members of society. I'm just one of billions. And I'm more interested in the color of my baby's poo or the buzz on the movie Inception. I'm the norm. But people like me don't make headlines. We don't make news stories. So in my little corner of this huge internet sea- I'm going to tell you who I am. And hope that it doesn't matter to you at all.

What she said she said

Just read this post from CeCe about how sometimes loss makes you fully cherish what you have. I don't presume to compare my miscarriages to the loss of a child you've held properly in your arms but I began to wonder, do my losses change the way I mother? I think the answer is unequivocally yes. There is hardly a day that passes where Speck or Bug don't cross my mind. Not formally. I don't sit and stare at the ultrasound pictures. Or journal about them. Or cry. But I think of them when I see the child of a friend whose son would have been the same age as Bug. Or I look at the calendar to figure out when we'll start solids and realize Speck would be chomping down rice cereal by now. That they would have names by now, real ones, not cute pet names. It's there. It's subtle but its there. It is always there. And as time passes I think this is not an entirely bad thing.

I know without what I lost I would not know how much I gain in sleepless nights, mysterious crying spells, spit ups, poopy diapers, and frustrating percentile growth charts. I know that because I had to face the reality that I might never be a mother I kiss him more and hold him longer and never forget the blessing that is him. While I wont say the dreaded it happened for a reason, it did happen and I am a different, and arguably better parent because of it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Losing the baby weight

The first six weeks post-bebe I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. I ate pizza, icecream, cupcakes and cookies. It was beautiful. More beautiful was the fact that I was eating like I was prepping for a sumo wrestling competition and yet was gaining nary a pound. Nada. Zip. Imagine when I actually start eating right and working out? I thought. I'll be a skinny minnie in no time!

Wrong.

Once the six weeks was up and I got the go ahead to exercise I began working out one hour daily on my Wii Fit. I started cutting out all sweets and stopped eating after dinner. I figured the weight would drop like its hot but that didn't happen. Just like before, my weight did not go up, nor did it go down. For ten days I did this and I got increasingly fed up until I just went and ate a bunch of fries. The next day I dropped a pound.

I haven't had to think about weight loss for years while I struggled to get and stay pregnant. Now its time again and the old frustrations rear their ugly heads. I thought nursing would help the pounds fall but I've since learned this is untrue. I read scientific journals stating that there is no conclusive evidence that breastfeeding causes weight loss. My OB said for some it does, and for some BFing can actually make you hang on to weight as your body ensures you have enough fat to continue breastfeed. Body- I HAVE ENOUGH FAT you need not worry!

I have PCOS. Before I got on Metformin I could never lose weight. On Met by following a reasonable diet and exercersing my weight began regulating. But my doc wont prescribe it while I nurse.

I started weight watchers last Wednesday. In the past it was the only thing that worked for me. This week I lost 2 pounds, but I'm not going to be convinced until I see continual droppage since I fluctuate with those two pounds anyways. My hope is that weight watchers will help me realize if I'm eating more than I think I am, and if I am doing everything and sticking to the WW guidelines and still not losing weight at least I'll have some proof to show my OB and perhaps convince her to give me my Met again.

I am refusing to buy new clothes for this new looking me. I need to get back to where I was. And how sad since where I was is not where I ultimately want to be. In the meantime I wear stretchy skirts galore and hope that sooner or later this weight will come off!

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Travel With A Newborn

Susan asked me to share how it was to travel with a baby so I felt it only right to oblige with some words of wisdom on the art of airflight with a newborn:

1) Bring copious amounts of pacifiers. Seriously, stock up. Never know where they'll spit it out and you'd hate to be without it when they most need it.
2) Nursing covers at least two
3) Or bottles, maybe twelve, for take off and landing
4) Board books incase child needs distraction of the visual sort
5) And rattles if that fails to interest
6) Parenting books dog eared to "traveling with newborns"

Watch as people request seats not next to you. Feel hurt that they find you so unlikeable. Realize its because you are with a baby who holds within him the potential to reach untold decibels in a closed space. Settle down nervously waiting to discover said baby's lung capacity and then proceed to watch as he sleeps the entire duration of the flight take off to touch down and all the way home.

He makes it look so easy but I'm convinced that when ultra-prepared for worst-case scenarios Murphy's Law works in reverse.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Damned Percentiles

Ofcourse you didn't hear me complaining about percentiles before. That is because at his last doctor visit his percentiles were great. 75th for height. 50th for weight and 25th for head. Well, the head worried me a bit but the doctor said we did not have particularly gigantic heads ourselves so no biggie. Yesterday we had our two month checkup and:

Height: 23 1/4 up from 22 1/2 but fell from 75th to 50th percentile
Weight: 10 lb 10oz up from 9lb 10oz but fell from 50th to 25th percentile.

I tried suppressing it but anxiety did creep up. Am I not making enough milk? Is he starving? Is this the reason? I asked the doc and he said that they'll check him again in a month and see if he continues to decline in percentiles they'll talk but they're not too worried. Well, I am. They also asked how much he eats. About 9 times a day on average. They said this is too frequent for this stage and he should be down to 6-8 times. Again I wonder: Is my milk quantity weak?

I'm not freaking out but I am worried. I know breastfed babies tend to show up lower on percentiles for weight but he's on the low end on even breastfed baby charts. When I pump I get out between 3oz in the afternoon and 5-6oz in the mornings. . . I don't pump that much but I'm hoping that means I've got stuff in there.

Heading to Florida (with a baby. on a plane. and the flight is booked. and I was told I picked a seat that is not baby compatible. UGH). So will try to push the worries out of my head.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Two Month Birthday

Dear W,

You are two months old. The differences between you today and just four weeks earlier astound me. Its been a busy month. You met aunts, cousins, and grandparents and future friends. Your favorite way to interact is to lie flat on a playmat and kick your hands and wiggle your legs while chatting up a storm with us. You also discovered your hands this month though you do not seem yet aware that they are yours.

This is the month of your smile. It blows me away every single time because it is so pure and innocent and without guile. Your smile immobilizes me. It erases the sleep from my eyes. It is daffodils and marigolds. Your smile makes the world brighter.

You rolled over this month! You stared at us with a triumphant grin each time. We took tons of video and then suddenly just a few days ago you stopped. You lift your head up now and start grunting as you seem to want to crawl forward. On to bigger and better already baby?

You also made your first friend, the dining room chandelier. When we lay you down on your changing area [formerly known as the dining room table] you stare at Chandy and hold lengthy conversations. What they are about we can only imagine, peace in the middle east? the world cup? I think we could leave you there all day and you would be perfectly content.

I hold you, kiss you and cuddle you as much as my heart desires. Some say it creates a habit where the child always wants to be held. Always? Will you want me to hold you and kiss your fingers and toes ten years from now? Even a year from now? Doubtful. So I let myself take in your sweet baby smell and cuddle that sweet soft baby skin. This newborn time is a precious time, it will be gone within a blink of an eye.

Your legs used to stay curled in fetal position despite the open space around you. I joked that you thought yourself still inside me. But just today I see your legs no longer curl, they stretch into space you now realize you have. I was surprised by my reaction to this development: tears. Children grow up and we wonder where the time went, or how they grew up so fast, I look at your legs that now straighten instead of fold and I realize it happens subtle moment by subtle moment. You will always be a part of me but bit by bit the distance between us begins to stretch.

Grow up baby, but don't grow up too fast.

Love,
Your Mama

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Because THIS is why women go to sperm banks

Watching a rerun of Law and Order SVU "Design" while I breastfeed Sunflower and there is a scene with a well dressed woman in a sperm bank as her daughter bangs on the piano in front of the owner. She's furious. Why? You see, she paid 20k for the sperm of a musician to ensure her daughter would be the next Mozart. I want my money back! she screams. She can't even play chopsticks all she does is bang on the damn keys! The owner says you did get sperm from a super musician! She responds then why did I get stuck with her? All while the child is sits there.

OK I get that Law and Order is not a prototype of reality. If so all crimes would be solved within a week like jigsaw puzzles and law professors would not bemoan the show for the incorrect way they handle the law giving laypeople horribly misguided expectations. But is this really what sends a woman to a sperm bank? It's like those horrid articles discussing donor egg and sperm in this very vein, like people prefer this method to create their family as opposed to their own DNA or having a partner for the sole purpose of raising super-geniuses. Granted, maybe there is someone out there who did this like the fictional Jan on The Office did, getting pregnant with donor sperm while dating Michael Scott because she didn't want his DNA in her baby. . . [and I let it go on shows like the Office since they are supposed to be humorous and not necessarily grounded in reality] but such people would be a very small minority.

As a minority I'm used to the media taking the actions of one and speculating the motives of all. Maybe if I wasn't part of the IF and loss community I'd not notice the generalizations that are created by episodes such as this, but I see it, and I guess when you're in the minority you are always at risk for the actions of few and media sensationalizing setting the judgmental tone towards many.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The OB appointment

Jeez has it been that long since my last post? Me of the two posts a day? Each night as I try to drift off to sleep I compose long eloquent posts in my head but somehow these thoughts haven't been making it to an actual post.

The OB post-partum appointment went OK. They didn't check my blood sugars because I wasn't fasting and it had to be a two hour test. No one had told me this and no one seemed particularly in a hurry to get me checked for this. The OB told me just to do that on my next annual check up. I was terrified of the pelvic exam. T.e.r.r.i.f.i.e.d. I heart my OB but that woman checks me out down there like she's working on a car and I'm usually biting my lip to fight back tears. So naturally I was scared of the pain when she did it, but what actually happened was much worse: it didn't hurt at all. Like, I could hardly tell she did anything. Why aren't you doing cartwheels about this? You might ask. Well, um, (TMI. . . BUT-) how big am I now down there? She said see? It didn't hurt that's because a baby went through you. Yikes. We haven't done the deed since the baby has arrived and our eight year anniversary is Sunday- and um, I'm scared now.

She said that because I have a third degree tear that they would offer me the option of having a C-section next time because the nature of the tear meant I could have a risk of destroying my rectum area (or something like that). She said the risk was low but there. Great. Anyone with a 3+ degree tear have any insight on this by any chance?

I asked for Metformin and she said that since I'm nursing she didn't recommend it. It wasn't bad for nursing she said, but since the reason I'd be on it is to ovulate regularly and I'm not TTC right now, why not wait? I told her my weight is easier to lose when I'm on Met because it regulates my hormones but she said that wasn't a good enough reason to take Met and that nursing should help me get the weight losing boost I need. Sigh.

I asked her if I'd have to have Lovenox the next time (its cracking me up that I'm all assuming a next time but you gotta hope) and she said yes, we can't be sure it was the lovenox that saved this pregnancy but you had two miscarriages without it and one successful pregnancy with it so why rock the boat? She's right, but I guess it means I'll never have an option to have a natural birthing experience.

Our conversation left me wondering for days now, rolling her words over and over my mind, I had a successful pregnancy with it, without it, I miscarried. I have my baby now and I thought once he was here the pain of what I lost would vanish but the holes remain. What if I had lovenox then? What would Speck or Bug have been like? Out of all the combination of us that existed, which one would they have been? Seeing Sunflower, holding him, I'm so grateful and there are moments I'm wistful because he makes their possibilities more real. It's strange to feel that way because if I had them, I would not have him. In fact, because of losing Bug, I have Sunflower. This time last year I was pregnant with Bug though I did not know it at the time. That loss gave me my first normal ovulation ever and it was that cycle that my son was conceived. I shudder to think if I had listened to my OB who told me to wait a cycle before trying again. I shudder to think if I couldn't convince Jack to ignore that recommendation. I still remember that night, pleading. And now he's here. One day I will tell him what we went through to bring him into this world but I'll never guilt him with the shots I took for him or the labor I went through for him because as much as it was for him it was for me. because it was all selfish, so I could melt a million times over holding him in my arms. And he is worth everything.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Questions Questions

I'm heading for the six week OB check-up on Monday and I'm nervous. What happens at this visit?? I'm nervous about the sugary drink they'll give me to recheck to see if the diabetes went away. I have PCOS and am insulin resistant so won't by numbers remain wonky? And, the real thing I'm worried about is the exam. I had a third degree tear. I am scared to death of what that means. Will the exam hurt like hell? Will I never have sex in the same way again?

I just got a post-partum belt because my friend told me it helps you get back into pre-baby shape faster. I'm not sure if it will help but I'm hoping. Any of you have good experiences with this?

Thank you in advance for any advice you may have!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Visitors, Sigh.

We're having our first visitors haul in tomorrow. I say first despite the fact that my cousin, parents, and brothers have come through and been with me on and off since Sunflower was born. My family came and took care of us. They swept up, got groceries for us, cooked, and pretty much helped keep the house running and my sanity intact. When they were coming I felt relief, not stress because I knew that a messy house would not offend them and they would not be offended by frozen pizza and canned soup.

Tomorrow however we are having visitors. My in-laws. I am organizing, cleaning and dusting. It will not be perfect, this house. I'm accepting that my bedroom will remain in a post-hurricane like state and the fridge while devoid of moldy foods will not be sparkly as it normally is. Basically, I'm making sure the toilets, towels, and sheets are cleaned and beyond that I can only do my best. [I'm shocked at even say this since in-law visits usually spark level three panic in me causing me to run around searching for dust behind the fridge and under the oven]

I hear Jack on the phone right now and the first question MIL asked was what have you guys cooked for the weekend? Sigh. While I am capable of making food and have cooked since he's arrived, the prospect of planning out breakfasts, lunches and dinners from Friday to Monday makes me kind of woozy. Granted, MIL will likely cook some stuff once she sees the pizza delivery guy for the second time but its still weight on my shoulders. I feel so selfish and like a bad daughter-in-law saying that, he is after all six weeks, not one week old. At some point I do have to start doing more than just getting by- just wish it was on my own terms.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Breastfeeding, in conclusion

I thought I should update on the breastfeeding saga in the hopes that my story might help someone else. I started out breastfeeding hating it. I had a hormonal reaction to the act of nursing. I felt depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. The frequency of the feedings did not help matters either. I got to a point where I stopped breastfeeding and just offered him my milk in bottles via pumping. This helped and I was readying myself to pump and feed for the remainder of our time nursing, but then one day about 12 days into this method I ran out of pumped milk and he was screaming too loud for me to defrost any so I nursed him and- I didn't cry. I didn't want to sink into the depths of sadness. I felt just fine. I tried it again, and once again, the feelings I once had, were gone.

This could have been a great ending except that at the same time I stopped crying, little guy began crying. I think he got used to the bottle and was annoyed with the change of protocol. Why hike for your water when you can get it handed to you? Whatever it was, he began eating and then 10 minutes in turned red and screamed like I was pulling his toenails out. Not fun, I tell you. I experimented and fed him with a bottle and while fussy he didn't scream bloody murder. I kept at it though. When he got hysterical, Jack took him away from me, calmed him down, and we'd try again, and repeat. It was not fun. Then, one day, in the middle of crying as I tried feeding him he stopped. He looked up with a furrowed brow and just stared for a good minute. Then he went back to my breast and ate quietly, without incident. Since then, about nine days, we've been breastfeeding just fine.

Because of acid reflux, the pediatrician says he has a hard time knowing when he's full, so he will literally try eating for an hour if I let him and then promptly vomit. So now I feed him ten minutes on each side and when he cries I give him a pacifier. He weighed in at 9lb 10oz at the doctors office today so he's gaining about an ounce a day and the doctor said my method is fine.

I never thought I'd say I don't mind breastfeeding but I actually prefer it now to pumping and serving. I put my feet up on the coffee table and go through my DVRd shows, or read a book, or use one hand to scroll down my google reader and catch up on your blogs. Now that its only 20 minutes at a time, time flies.

I went from hating breastfeeding with a passion, to finding it tolerable but just barely, to now wondering what was my deal before? I am so glad I talked to lactation consultants about what I was going through and that I took it one feed at a time. Now, my goal of keeping this up for six months seems fine and not scary in the slightest. Who'd have thunk it??

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy One Month Birthday

Dear W,

When I was pregnant with you the days crept at snail's pace and now that you're here time shows no promise of slowing down. Some days I forget what day of the week it is since days and nights blend together seamlessly [as evidenced by the fact that your birthday was officially several days earlier!] This was a month of firsts. Your first car ride, your first doctor visit and first shot (ouch), your first cuddle and kiss. Sometimes I catch you staring with wide-eyed fascination at the fan, a brightly colored pillow or the gentle glow of the lamp and I'm reminded that everything is new to you, everything is a first. I wish I could ask you someday what it feels like to experience the world so new but like everyone before you and since you won't remember these moments that I will never forget.

On the surface it could seem like a mundane month. You eat, you sleep, you poop. But there is already so much more to you. Each day you grow and change. I'm amazed how someone so small dictates the life of everyone around him. I wake when you wake. I sleep when you sleep. You cry, I run. You smile, I melt.

I've held other people's babies before. Babies who in my arms turned from cooing angels into crying trembling creatures who I could simply not console. While pregnant with you I harbored a secret fear: what if I could not console you? The day they handed you to me you were indeed a crying trembling creature in but once in my arms your cries stopped, your eyes widened and you stared at me as if you had been searching for me your entire life.

Once upon a time I was a teacher and I met an amazing student. An Afghani refugee. He had seen his father die and his mother lose a leg to an IED. The things he endured could break a grown man and yet he came to school each day with a large smile and a zest for life. He was so funny, not like a little child, his sarcastic sense of humor made all the teachers laugh. The children respected him almost as an elder, as if they knew that inside this little boy was an old wise soul. Some people have a nur [light] that radiates from them and touches your heart- he had a special nur that touched everyone he met. In the middle of the school year he told me he was moving to Sacramento. We hugged each other and cried. I never saw him again. His name was W and he was easily one of the most special people I ever met.

Welcome to the world, you may only be one month old but you've been in my heart all my life.

Love,
Your Mama

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy One Month Birthday

I planned a newsletter filled with updates on his first month but little guy got acid reflux and Jack is out of town this week. . . so I'm a bit busy. In the meantime, a real quick happy first month birthday! Time is flying far too fast for my liking!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Breastfeeding and motherhood

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is getting better. We have our bad days where there are tears on both our parts (including today) but I no longer cry from the act of feeding [though I do cry sometimes when he screams at my boob for 45 minutes). And he now weighs 8lb 10oz at his last doctor check which is very very nice.

I've now been breastfeeding over four weeks. He will be one month old Monday! The only way I made it with breastfeeding this far was taking it one day at a time, one feed at a time. I'm a type-A personality. As a lawyer I was trained to anticipate future outcomes, and map out plans. With breastfeeding I couldn't do that. The thought of sticking with it for six months made me want to have a panic attack... but one day at a time I've made it a month. To be honest, the thought of breastfeeding for six months still makes me feel overwhelmed but I'm taking it one day at a time. I hope that this lesson, that one day at a time you can make it through what you think is impossible, will stay with me beyond this.

It also helps to strengthen my resolve when I get Si.mil.ac and Enf.amil ads daily in the mail with things like feeding issues are normal- see our $5 coupon inside. And it disturbs me they had a brown baby on the cover. Are they targeting me?

Motherhood

Being his mother is awesome. I thought long and hard how to describe it, but there are no words so this inadequate word of awesome- it will have to do. I thought my love would just spring up like a geyser when he was born and while I did love him from the start, the depth of my love, it grows deeper each day. There are still days I can't believe he's here, that he's mine, that I am not living in some dream that I will wake up from.

I was worried that I would continue worrying once he got here as I worried through pregnancy but I'm not. Becoming a mother. . . I don't know how better to explain it but it feels like the razor that rubbed against my heart has finally been removed. I can turn off the one track mind- the hamster wheel that was my brain on infertility. Jack mentioned the other day that I seem like a different person. Ofcourse, I am but its not that I'm a truly different person, its that I can finally go back to who I was. Infertility is very ugly and it holds you in a vice. You don't fully get that until you are free from its clutches and can look back. Each smile, each cry, each coo, each diaper change and spit up- he's healing me.

Monday he turns one month old. I'm looking forward to my first newsletter to him. As a boy, I wonder if he'll ever care enough to go back and read these when he's older, but in truth, I'm doing them for me I guess. One month. Time is no longer standing still- its whizzing by- tell me, how is this fair?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts on Sleeplessness

Sleep. I once guarded my sleep like a jealous husband. Sure I enjoyed a late night hangout with friends but the magic number was eight. Namely, I required eight hours of sleep to function be it all in the night hours or trickling into the afternoon. Even in law school where all nighters were a given, I might have stayed up past 3am on many a night, but that only meant I woke up at 11am the next day. Eight. Consecutive hours. I stress the consecutive because while my little boy respects the number eight, [heck he'll even sleep 18 hours on some days] he missed the memo on the whole consecutive thing.

During pregnancy veteran mama friends urged me with bleary eyes to rest as much as you can now! Sleep in for as long as you can stand it! Except that as humans, as opposed to bears, we can't really stock up on sleep via hibernation. So all the lazy Sunday mornings waking up and lazing about don't really help me at 3am as I rock a beautiful babe to sleep.

I snatch sleep when I can but heavy lids are now a constant companion. This past weekend Jack took a night shift, and my visiting parents took an early morning shift and I got two nights of six consecutive hours of sleep. It felt amazing. I heard there comes a time they sleep six hours in a row on the regular. Right now this sounds as mythical as the land of Oz but one can hope.

They say the best things in life are free. As I remember my sleep I know this to be true, but this lack of sleep is because of the truly best thing in my life, the one that has no price because it is truly priceless. Him. For him a thousand sleepless nights are worth it a thousand times over.

Sleep is one of our most intractable attachments. We claw and clutch and crave it. We adorn and worship it. We four hundred thread count it. It is our one sovereign domain. We hide out there; we fantasize and burrow there; we think we can't live without it. You will see that you can live without it- just enough. -Momma Zen

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No one track mind here, nosirreebob

K: What do you want for dinner?
Jack: I was going to warm up the frozen pizza
K: Is that going to be filling enough?
Jack: Well if not we can supplement the feed with the food your mom made.

It's entirely possible that it requires three hours of sleep to find the above exchange absolutely slapstick hilarious, but I seriously love how even our conversations about something as mundane as dinner has so subtly altered.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Breastfeeding- final thoughts hopefully

I don't mean for this blog to become an all about breastfeeding blog but I wanted to give an update on how its going. Since last posting I stopped directly breastfeeding him, choosing to pump instead. Yesterday I had no spare milk and he was starving so I decided to nurse him. It went bad. We tried for 45 minutes and he screamed until his throat went hoarse. I guess this is what they call nipple confusion. I gave him to Jack who fed him formula and I ran upstairs and cried my eyes out in the dark. Today after a day of pumping and feeding I decided to try breastfeeding again. Again, he began screaming but Jack would take him away when he cried and soothe him and we'd try again. Finally he latched and though it took us a lot longer than it should he nursed successfully. And you know what? His eyes closed, his arms resting on my breast, it felt nice. When we got done he looked at me as though he was seeing me for the first time. He smiled at me and cooed and while I'm sure at this stage (three weeks) its probably gas like the books say, his little smile flew right into my heart and melted it completely. It gives me the strength to continue. I can't say the issue I've had with breastfeeding is over, after all, this is only a one time thing, but today I didn't cry instantly and I felt some hope. It also helped that Jack took a night feeding shift and my parents are visiting so I've actually managed to get more than four consecutive hours of sleep. When you feel more rested, things don't seem so dire.

It was hard to give formula. I wept and felt like such a failure. Then I read a passage from Momma Zen (seriously, if you're pregnant or parenting you must buy this book). She urges you to see food as food, to not look at it as representing failure or success. I've been fixated on breastfeeding = success and formula= failure that the feeding became way more than about the feeding, it become a matter of ego, a matter of me. This reminder helped me let go. Sometimes he will get formula- and its okay.

Another difficult issue about breastfeeding has been the time commitment. A feeling of being trapped (and I'm not alone in feeling this way). A lactation consultant told me law school required you to focus to get through it. Its hard but you did it because it was worth it. I'm trying to see it this way. Quitting law school tempted me countless times but I took it one day at a time and found my way through. Mama Zen talks about how parenting requires facing your ego (I swear she's not paying me to plug her!) I've lived thirty years and eight years of marriage on my own schedule. I'm not sure but perhaps this is playing a part here too.

I've heard at two months breastfeeding will get easier. Today I feel strong enough to get there. Maybe when I'm sleep deprived again I will feel differently- but I'm hanging on to this feeling today. I can't tell you how beautiful it felt for him to nurse on me and for there not to be instant tears springing to my eyes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Done Waiting

I'm trying to take this feeding thing one day at a time. Each day is the day we're going to try the formula to see how he reacts but each day I end up rushing to squeeze another pumping session in. I only get a max of 2-3 oz per session. I heard I should pump at night to maintain supply but I can't bring myself to do it so I either directly nurse him at night or use a saved bottle of milk. If I go too long without nursing or pumping I wake up a disgusting leaky mess but its difficult to figure out how to choose between that or getting some precious drops of sleep in.

People keep telling me to stick with it and after three months it will get better. No. No. No. I will take it one day at a time. I can manage that but I am not waiting for three months. You see, I am done waiting. I waited a long time to get pregnant. I waited a long time to have this baby but now Sunflower is here. I'm swimming in his beautiful glossy eyes. His silky soft hair. His soft baby skin. I'm inhaling his baby smell as I soothe his cries by cuddling him against my body. He's beautiful and perfect and I waited a long time for him. I can hardly believe I saw him when he looked like a shrimp, then a peanut, then a skeleton waving hello. It was a long wait to meet him and now? I'm done waiting. I'm focusing on living and enjoying each moment. I refuse to stare at calendars any longer and miss out on a thing and what that means for my breastfeeding success is secondary to enjoying this miracle of mine in the here and now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Two things they never told me

Three days. It's been three days since the baby blues have left the building. Thank you GOD. It truly feels like I was living in a fog and its finally dissipated. There are some things they never told me about in the books I had read, like 80% of women experience the baby blues. And that just because you struggled with IF and loss doesn't mean you're spared. I'm grateful for you all, and dear friends who helped me not beat myself up for the ugly thoughts that passed through my head. Letting myself feel the feelings helped them pass through me quickly.

Also, despite reading tons of articles, and books on breastfeeding, none of them told me how difficult it can be. I just finished a book that literally said there are no downsides to breastfeeding. And yet there ARE downsides, there are hormonal reactions that can happen, the act of feeding is exhausting and the constant requirement that one be available at the boob can be draining on a woman. I wonder if more women give up on breastfeeding because no one talks about this stuff. Had I known I could have prepared for it, instead I cried constantly and felt like a bad selfish mother. Little guy is still 100% breastfed but honestly I'm not sure how long I will continue. Formula is not acid and each day its siren call to me grows stronger- but you know, seeing his little face, it gives me the strength to try to hang on for one more day [I call it his Zoolander pose][Katery, recognize the outfit?? :)]:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breastfeeding

I've read your comments at least three times, its given me comfort to know that its okay to feel the way I do about breastfeeding. In case someone comes across this blog looking for information, I wanted to share the articles people left in the comments that I found fascinating and have helped me make sense of what I'm going through.

Anonymous shared this article about the studies about breastfeeding. While perhaps better than formula the over hype may be unwarranted.

Suzanne Jones (can't seem to link to your blog!) shared this about the rise of women pumping exclusively. This made me feel so much better.

Alyssa shared this website about a condition called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reaction, an emerging condition that is being researched where a breastfeeding woman has a drop in dopamine due to the act of feeding which triggers negative emotions just like I've been feeling.

Yesterday I pumped exclusively all day and felt like a fog was lifted from me. I could enjoy my baby without the hormones clogging up space. I didn't celebrate just yet because I couldn't be sure if I was out of the woods.

At night though, when I planned to breastfeed him, he grew frustrated and cried so much trying to eat, probably because a bottle is much easier and he had gotten used to it. Eventually he ate but it took a long ten minutes to get to that point. I began wondering if I needed to breastfeed him more so he didn't lose the ability. . . so today I breastfed him before going to the dentist and all the emotions bubbled up again. It's like an instant reflex, feed = blues. But then, at the dentist I began missing him and despite wearing breast pads I was a leaking mess. When I got home he was hungry and I didn't have time to pump so I fed him directly and did not have the negative emotions. It could because the emotion of missing him was stronger.

Jack was talking with a colleague who used to be a lactation consultant (It is SO weird that he keeps meeting lactation consultants) and she said for some women there is an instant trigger of tears with breastfeeding, particularly women with good supply, and that it can take a month or more to resolve that and she said I'd naturally want to breastfeed more than pump as time went by. I don't know if that's true or not but its nice to think so.

It feels weird to pump, clean the pump and bottle, feed him from the bottle. I'm adding steps that don't need to be there but at least now its what works. I literally fantasize about going to Costco and buying buckets of formula. I sit and just visualize it and smile. It would be easier but I've heard this is the hardest time so I feel determined to push through. . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Emerging

I can't believe I'm in the second week of parenthood. It has been an incredible ride so far. I can tell you about his cute little toes and how they curl when we bathe him. Or how he smiles in his sleep and the way his hair is so silky soft I can't stop touching it. This is all true but I also want to be honest and tell you I've also been experiencing what they term the 'baby blues'. I'm scared to admit that on an IF blog since I know I have what all of us want, a healthy happy baby. He is just that, he is the answer to my prayers, I could not have asked for a better baby and yet- I've struggled with the baby blues and I'm praying that they will not escalate into the scary PPD. I'm scared to talk about it because I don't want you to judge me, but at the same time, I remember Mel once said that IFers have higher rates of depression post-baby than other populations and maybe the reason is because we don't talk about it and when we don't talk about it the dark thoughts fester and spread like cancer.

I have the usual weepiness over small things which I hear all mothers have. I also have a root canal issue I'm trying to resolve which doesn't help. But the biggest struggle has been breastfeeding. Namely- I hate it. And this both shocks and depresses the shit out of me. I dreamed of breastfeeding him. I was one of those people nuts for breastfeeding. So far- he hasn't taken an ounce of formula but the act of breastfeeding is triggering my blues. I have what seems to be good supply, he latches well, but I find myself weeping almost every other time I feed him. I can't figure out why. I thought breastfeeding triggered happy feelings but for me it triggers tears.

Jack met a girl to buy an edger off Craigslist and as they small talked she told him she was a lactation consultant. Of all the careers right? She also worked at my pediatricians office. She told Jack to tell me to call her. I did and she told me its hard at first but after six weeks it gets easier. She gave me advice about feeding and this helped, I took it as a sign from God that I needed to keep going and it helped to feel this way for about a day- but then today, I again wanted to cry each time I had to feed him.

I want to enjoy Sunflower. I waited SO long for him and yet this breastfeeding thing is taking over everything. It's taking away my joy. Today I just at the dinner table and wept for nearly an hour about the guilt I feel at not liking it. Jack and my mom are urging me to just stop but how can I when its the best possible thing for him? I tell myself in six weeks it will be easier but right now six weeks feels far away and I don't want to wish away six weeks, I want to enjoy this child I waited for so long!

I don't mind pumping- its annoying sure, but it doesn't trigger the same emotions and again- I can't tell you why. I'm experimenting for tomorrow and will pump and bottle feed him during the day and see how that goes. (Again- irrational as it sounds I don't mind breastfeeding him at night). I know that pumping mostly instead of direct breastfeeding can affect supply in the long run but maybe it can help me hang on longer than it would otherwise.

If that doesn't help I'm so confused. I feel such guilt considering formula so I feel stuck in a catch-22. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. I'm just afraid that this issue will spiral and I might get postpartum. I don't have that right now. I'm not depressed, but I'm frustrated and stressed and weepy about this issue.

I want to do what's best for him. I know my milk is best for him. And yet the act of feeding is affecting me in ways I never knew it could.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunflower's birth story

First, if anyone wants to file a class action lawsuit with me against TLC for their "Baby Story" series please let me know. I intend to sue for messing with "mothers-t0-be expectations of birth" and if this is not yet legally actionable then perhaps we can take a trip to Congress to make it so. Just kidding. . . I guess.

I went in to the hospital Thursday night around 4am because of painful contractions. They checked me and I was still only 1cm dilated but the contractions implied labor seemed ready to perhaps kick start but they told me to come back in a few hours for my scheduled induction. Jack and I went home, we cleaned up a bit, and went out to eat dinner at Boneheads. It's just a fish joint but it felt almost sacred eating since we knew it would be our last meal as a couple.

We checked into the hospital around 7:30pm. They put the IV in wrong (and left it in like that for the entire labor process causing my right hand to swell to triple its size) and inserted the cervadil. They kept trying to get me to get an enema but I was in so much pain I said no. I don't know other people's experience with Cervadil but mine was brutal as the contractions I was already getting ramped up to the umpteenth degree. They offered me Morphine. I was trying to refuse it since we saw it had adverse reactions to animal fetuses. But the pain. I listened to soothing music. I tried breathing techniques but the pain got so brutal I wanted to die and so I asked for the shot of Morphine. The morphine did not help at which point the nurse offered me an epidural. This pissed me off since she could have offered that to begin with. While they went to get the anesthesiologist my water broke. The cervadil induced contractions ramped up to beyond "hospital policy" so they removed it. Once the epidural was in, I felt like myself again despite being numbed from the waist down. At least the pain was gone. The doctor looked at my water and said it looked like the baby had passed meconium. She told me a team would be there upon baby's birth to suction him out so I would not get skin-on-skin contact immediately. I said that was fine since baby's health ofcourse is most important.

From 5am when my water broke onwards, they began the pitocin and my cervix continued to progress 1cm every few hours like clockwork. Around 6ish the doctor came in and told me I could be ready to push at any time and when I felt the urge to let her know as she had another woman at the same stage of the laboring process as me next door. I told her I couldn't feel anything waist down so how am I supposed to know if I'm having an urge to push. She hesitated and then offered to check. When she checked she said with surprise that Sunflower was already in my birth canal and I needed to start pushing now.

So I pushed. I thank the nurse with me because she was so caring and encouraging. But. That pushing. On no food. No water (fuck the IV that doesn't help my dry throat) and pain (because it kicked in now) Is hard. I honestly did not think I could do it. It was the most draining, most difficult process of my entire life. It took me 40 minutes and then he was born into this world at 7:02pm.

The rest was a blur.

The doctor did not let Jack cut the cord saying they had to quickly get him to the neonatal team. This makes me cry as I write this because I saw his crestfallen face. Still, you have to do what you have to do. I got a third degree tear so the doctor was stitching me while my son lay under yellow lights getting suctioned. He sobbed hysterically until they brought him to me and then- he stopped. Just like that as soon as he laid eyes on me. He stared at me with his big eyes as if he knew me already, as if he had been wondering where I'd been.

As I held him I began feeling dizzy. I asked Jack to hold him. Then I told the nurse I was seeing black dots and then the next thing I knew I was out cold. I would come to and then fall back out of consciousness. I think this went on for 10-15 minutes.I have no recollection of what happened during those 10-15 minutes but when I came to I was told I spiked a 104 degree fever and my blood pressure had dropped dangerously. Apparently I was not fully unconscious during those 10-15 minutes because I told everyone I was dying, I told Jack to love our son and tell him his mother loved him. I don't think I was in danger of dying but apparently this is what I said. I slowly began recovering but still was too weak to hold him. Each time I tried my hands started shaking. I couldn't stop crying because he was moving his lips and his tongue rooting, trying to find my breast but he couldn't. They then had to take him away because they had to make sure he did not have any infection like they suspected I had. Jack stayed with him, and held him and bonded with him and I'm grateful because I did not get to hold him until about 5am. Nine hours after giving birth.

It's interesting isn't it? It's like was teaching me a lesson. Expect the unexpected. I wanted a vaginal delivery for only one reason. To have the skin-to-skin contact. To hold him right away and despite a vaginal delivery he was away from me for nine hours.

I can never explain the feeling when they brought him to me. The nurse undressed him and lay him across my chest. And he just snuggled up to me. Nope, I may call myself a writer, but words can't capture how that felt. Even now I find myself crying just remembering it.

They had to prick my son with so many needles to test for issues because of my health and we ended up having to stay a bit longer than we would have otherwise have had to because of it, but the tests thank God were all normal, as were mine.

I thought I was going to lose some weight considering I let go of a placenta, and a nearly 8 pound baby but my weight loss is only 3 pounds. The doctor says its normal? My legs and feet are very swollen. Again, I'm told this is normal.

I have my son and he is healthy and that's all that matters. I can't say I like the hospital experience and had I had an option, or at least felt I had an option, I would never ever go through that process again. If you are pregnant and are complication free I strongly encourage you to consider a birthing center or a more natural process, but- that's just my take.

We're home now. I'm better. I remain a steady 99-100 degree with fever and no one really says what that means though they suspect it might be the pre-onset of mastitis. This comes from thrush I read, which is on the baby's tongue so I am wanting to pump and feed, but everyone says you can't do that you have to feed from the breast! So I'm confused. He prefers the breast but honestly I don't understand why I can't pump and give him some milk this way once in a while just so I can maybe get an extra hour of rest or maybe stop my breasts from getting infected? It's not formula, its still my breast? [Wow- I got random, didn't I?]

So, that's my birth story. Not very eloquent but it is what it is. In conclusion- just because you have a vaginal delivery- it certainly doesn't guarantee you get the experience you want. But- the beautiful child you get at the end? It's worth it a million times over.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The State of the Blog

My mother and MIL are setting up dinner. Jack is out getting pictures developed for the technologically challenged family members. I'm sitting here in the family room watching my son in the baby swing sleeping. He is so tiny. It's hard to believe he will get bigger, that one day he won't stare into my eyes after a feeding with wide eyed wonder. I see Jack hold his son, change his diapers, shed tears at his vaccination and I feel so much love, so much love in my heart that I ache knowing how temporary it is, how one day we will get old, one day he will grow up. I just want to freeze frame this moment of seeing him cuddled and warm and sleeping forever. But don't let it be mistaken, I'm enjoying these moments, I'm savoring them for the priceless moments they are.

I decided I'm going to keep blogging though I might change the title and I think its important I go a *little* less anonymous for reasons I'll explain in another post (speaking of which, his name is on the jpeg of his picture). There is so much I want to write about. The birth story, the first few days, the feeding, the emotions. I want to have a place I can write and come back to remember and hopefully what I share might be of interest to others.

I've got the hang of my iPod touch so please know I'm keeping up with your blogs while feeding Sunflower but its tough to comment that way. Hopefully once the daze of the first few weeks passes I will get back to commenting.

Picture!

First, I hope you all are well and as always thank you thank you for loving and caring comments. You know K is busy when miss-twice-daily blogger goes silent for days. Veteran mothers can feel free to laugh but new motherhood is bewildering in how busy one gets particularly when you're up every hour to feed. [Pauses for a moment to consider I'm a mother now. . . wow. . .] Posts continue to brew in my head but there are breasts to be pumped and poops to be stressed over, so in the meantime until I get my bearings. . . I wanted to share a picture with you guys. Isn't he beautiful? Nope- not biased at all! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Sunflower

This will be brief, more details to follow but. . .

Sunflower is here!

Born May 7, 2010 at 7:02pm. 21.5 inches long 7lb14oz.

We are both doing well and will be discharged hopefully sometime tonight. When I get my bearings around me I will write about what happened and ofcourse share plenty of pictures! I hope you all are doing well.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Off to Induction

I came home and managed to sleep a little and feel like a new person. A lot more optimistic, a lot more hopeful. Thank you for your e-mails and your comments, they gave me comfort and reminded me its normal to feel this way and that I will get through this. I feel incredibly blessed to be here. There was a time I could not watch a TV scene showing a L&D room without bursting into tears. There was time a hospital was not a place of hope. No matter how nervous I may feel, no matter how many things don't go according to plan- if Sunflower is okay- there is truly nothing else that holds a candle to that ultimate goal. I'm going to do the best I can, that's all I can do.

I'm going in tonight at 7pm and will be induced Friday morning. Please keep me and Sunflower in your prayers. Many of you held my hand as I recovered from my first miscarriage, and celebrated then cried with me when I lost my second. You've never laughed at my fears with this pregnancy and your support has kept me buoyed. Thank you.

See you on the other side!

Nope- not even close

I ended up at L&D. We waited five hours to be seen by a doctor. My contractions measured at 8-10 minutes apart. Despite the herbal pills, the long walks, the eggplant, the membrane sweeping, the bloody show, my cervix is thick, way far up, and I am still only 1cm dilated. The on call OB did not know my history so said go home and we'll schedule you for an induction at maybe 41 or 42 weeks because you're not even close to being ready. And then he looked at my chart and said never mind you have GD and thrombophilia. Come back tonight for your scheduled induction. I stared at him. Can't you just keep me here, start the cervadil and get the show on the road instead me coming back in six hours? Nope. He told me my odds of a C-Section are very high given the state of my cervix but because of my issues oh fucking well.

I'm not sure what's wrong with me but in the effort to be fully honest here about my experience I will admit to feeling very emotionally vulnerable. I feel foolish for having headed over there. I should have stayed put at home. I should have let Jack catch up on rest. I keep bursting into hysterical sobs which for the life of me I don't understand? Maybe its because being in hospitals reminds me of loss, not birth. Maybe I feel bad that Jack thought it might not be time and I insisted we go, and he was right. I keep apologizing to him and he keeps responding to me like I'm three with a gentle smile and no need to apologize you did the right thing. Over and over again because I can't seem to stop apologizing.

The pain is intense. It's horrifying. When it attacks I can't sleep through it. I can no longer talk through it. Nor can I walk through it. It feels like the bottom half of my body is trying to rip itself off my torso. And what do I get for it? I get absolutely no progress. Nothing to show for this pain. I feel like a liar. Like my threshold for pain is too low, but the contractions registered high on the machine when they monitored me. It really fucking hurts.

I am maintaining hope for a vaginal delivery but I'm going to be honest, the hope is dwindling and I almost want to ask them to just section me since they continue to tell me any opportunity they get how high my chances are for this. I shouldn't be angry at my body, but the familiar frustration is coming back even though I know logically most women pass their due dates and had I not had the "high risk" factors my body would likely have done the right thing over time.

I know I sound ungrateful. Please know I realize the important thing at the end of the day is a healthy happy Sunflower. I think the pain, the lack of sleep, the frustration at the lack of progress is just wearing on me. But- I know there is a bigger picture. Hopefully tomorrow, when I meet Sunflower, regardless of vaginally or C-section, all this frustration will melt away.

L&D Conflicted

Contractions picked up their pace. 11 from 1:00-2:00am. 12 from 2:00-3:00. In the 3:00am hour and they've slowed down again. The on-call doctor said I could go to L&D to be evaluated but. . . I don't know what to do. They're not evenly spaced contractions. Yes they hurt like hell, but for example, the last contraction was at 3:11 and its 3:21 now and no contraction yet. I wish my water would break so I just knew but as it stands I can't figure out if this is just prodromal or not.

1 more day, I guess?

The promising contractions are irregular again averaging 8-9 minutes mostly but but with breaks that last up to 15 minutes though when the contraction comes its more painful than the last. I'm wondering how high the pain will ultimately ratchet up to.

In the morning L&D will call to schedule us. 6pm they plan to insert the Cervadil. 6am Friday morning the induction begins. I wonder what happens if I'm already dilated enough? Will they begin the induction tomorrow evening? That seems logical? Ofcourse, hope springs eternal and I hope we won't have to induce but I accept either option.

This is my last night without him on the outside. This might be the last night I feel his little butt wiggle against my womb, his fingers poking me, his feet stretching my stomach outwards. I'm trying to memorize this moment. Etch it forever in my mind. It blows my mind. Can't wait to meet him.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More on Contractions

The last five contractions are now 8-9 minutes apart. And they hurt. But. How much are they supposed to hurt? They hurt enough to make me want to moan. They make me want to stop walking. They make me not want to talk. However. The standard provided to me was: you are unable to walk and unable to talk. I am able to do these things the pain is just so intense I don't want to. Also- my standard of pain might be different from your standard of pain. My 8 on the Richter scale might be a 2 for you, or a 10. I wonder what's going to happen. . .

AND- might I add everyone is pissing me off? Jack sitting on the couch is so annoying. My mom asking me how I'm feeling is maddening. Yes- that is irrational. My, am I cranky.

[Sorry for incessant updates- just need a place to write, a place to make sense of it, to record to remember later. Thanks for reading and for your support]

Waiting and Wondering

The contractions remain irregular but each one is more painful than the last. Whereas before it was possible to just do something else and take my mind off the pain, now its stopping me in my tracks and honestly, sort of scares me. They average every 18 minutes, sometimes closer. My hope is even if I don't go into full blown labor before its time to go to the hospital tomorrow evening I'll have dilated enough not to need 12 hours of cervadil to ripen my cervix and we can just start the induction. (and this word ripen- its just so weird in the context of my body- I feel like we're trying to turn some avocado into guacamole)

I feel like there's a timer ticking in me- any minute it will beep. Any minute I'll be done baking. Any minute. . . I'm trying to take my mind off it as much as I can. The house is now spotless. I made some food to freeze for later. There is no use being scared because when it comes to labor, there is no way out but through, and Sunflower and I will, God Willing, get through this.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

My mom read me a story as a child where a boy shephard would prank villagers that a wolf was trying to eat his sheep. People would come, he'd laugh, they'd leave. One day a real wolf came, he cried wolf, no one came, all his sheep got eaten. Moral of story: It sucks to be a sheep.

I feel like this boy saying this but I'm starting to wonder if I'm in early labor. 8 contractions in the 6am hour, I slept from 7-8 and then was woken up around 8am and had 8 contractions. 9am so far I've had 5 and its only 9:30. They hurt. They wrapped around my stomach like a rubber band. When they are here I think they'll never go away. Once it leaves I feel relief. I'm also getting pink mucus discharge. I'm rating each contraction. Half are of medium-strong strength, 1/4 are medium strength and 1/4 are weak. I'm not counting the weak ones. It's not full on labor but I think I might be in the early stages. I am going to consult Dr. Google.

Most tellingly I wonder: Why exactly do I hate C-sections? What is my issue with epidural? Because this pain? This pain is incredible.

2 more days

My OB stripped my membranes today in an effort to spark labor. I'm sorry in advance, she said. I shrugged, lay down, and then [&!#$$$]<-- insert every foul word ever invented. It hurt so much I saw black dots. OB said the contraction that I had is the type to call in to them about as a sign that labor begun. OH.MY.GOD. I'm still 1cm dilated but she said my cervix is softer and lower. Since then I'm losing my mucus plug which is a sign of labor, oooor maybe not! And I'm having a lot of contractions and feel kind of dazed and confused. If I don't go into labor before my induction these are all still good signs that my body is getting more ready.

I've known my OB for over two years now and today she had some time to talk to me and Jack and it was funny how she's got me figured out. I know its scary but you can't control the labor process, she said. You've researched, you're informed, but ultimately this baby will decide when he comes and how he comes. Maybe its being the eldest who was responsible for resolving my parents arguments, and watching my brothers, and being a teacher- but I do feel like I need to hold on, I need to carry it even if it is something I can't control.

But I can't control labor. And today when she swept my membranes and I felt the strongest most painful contraction of my life I had no thoughts but the pain. In that moment there was no ability nor desire to control just a desire to simply to get through the moment. And that's when the obvious concept hit me again, this is what its all about, its a series of moments that make up a life.

I've allowed my mind free reign to roam with worry and fear because I thought I'll stop worrying once Sunflower arrives. But I'm beginning to think that the worries will not go away, they will simply morph and take new shape. I will make mistakes but it does no good to anticipate what they will be. I will feel confused and frustrated at times but those moments are not today. I need to stop looking so far ahead because I will lose sight of the now.

If you've been reading my blog long enough, you'll recognize these thoughts since I'm constantly reigning myself in from letting fear fill my house with helium balloons and float me away. I guess I'm just a work in progress but I know what I need to work on. Slowly I think I'll get there.

I may have shared this poem before. I'm going to take it with me when I go into labor:

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

-- Rumi

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

3 more days- random scatterbrained thoughts

Last night a major storm passed through. The thunder was so loud it shook the house and woke Sunflower. It was incredible. One second my eyes flutter open to the flashing light and the loud crack of thunder and the next I hear little feet kicking and squirming followed by hiccups. I rubbed my belly in the dark as rain hit the windows, talking to him in a soothing voice, and just like that the movements slowed and then, silence. It worked. I soothed him.

It hit me again that there's a real person in there. A person who, though in utero found comfort in me. I'm scared of a C-section because I won't be able to hold him right away. And I'm the one he'll most likely recognize. I'm scared if we miss out on those first few moments we'll miss vital bonding time, that maybe the right hormones won't release from me and somehow I might feel distant from my son. I've read that C-Sections can trigger PPD and that scares me too since I know it can happen to anyone, no matter how wanted the baby is.

I'm at a more peaceful place right now but I've had moments of sheer terror today. Not about the labor but the aftermath of raising him. I have a lot of ideas of the kind of parent I want to be and I'm getting scared of how I'll actually do it. I was raised with no television for the first few years of my life, and didn't know what cartoons were until I went to Kindergarten. I want the same for my child but I watch a lot of TV. I want my child not to have to struggle with his weight and to be healthy but I eat a lot of crappy food. Do I tell him to do as I say, not as I do? I am planning to stop these things and Jack is planning to cut our cable when our contract ends in December- but will we do it? Will we be able to become the perfect people we need to be? The perfect people this baby deserves?

I'm trying to not think so much. I'm trying to just live in this moment. I wonder if its infertility that is making me think so much about all of this. Had I simply been able to get and stay pregnant at will would all this feel much more matter of fact for me?

And because I said this is a scatterbrained post, when I realized the title of this post is three more days, it reminded me of my favorite singer Ray LaMontagne, and a song he has by just that name [and no, it has nothing to do with babies!]

Monday, May 3, 2010

Conversations

As I said in the earlier post I had to have some conversations today, both with Dr. MFM to convince her to give me a weight estimate (they only do it every four weeks and it was only three weeks), and then with my OB to see how far I could go without inducing.

Dr. MFM agreed to weigh Sunflower and I was scared they'd tell me I was on track to birth a ten pound baby but he measured 7lb5oz: 50th percentile. Not much more than his weight three weeks ago (6lb14oz). Dr. MFM even if we are off by a pound, he's 8.5 pounds. Nothing alarming and I'm amazed considering I have GD. I got excited and suggested maybe we can go past my due date then by a week or so to see if he can come naturally? To this she emphatically shook her head. It's not the GD baby she's worried about but more that each day I pass my due date the risks associated with thrombophilia go up and if I chose to go past the due date it would be against medical advice though she admitted that the odds are in my favor should I go past my due date the baby would most likely be okay.

I honestly believe I'd be fine going past my due date but three out of four doctors are urging me to not pass my due date so I'm not going to fight it. I talked to the OB's nurse. She's going to get me scheduled to go to the hospital Thursday night for cervadil to attempt to ripen the cervix and then induction Friday morning. A step-OB will be on call but oh well. I'd rather wait until Thursday night with the hope that perhaps my body can get more favorable in the next few days, rather than go in tonight and always wonder.

I'm doing my best to let go of my need to be in control. I'm going to continue taking the evening primrose oil and walking and hoping and praying he comes on his own time before induction- but- I'm accepting I can't control when he comes and what happens if I'm induced. I'm going to write my birth plan (or birth hopes would be more accurate) tonight and mentally ready myself for whatever may come Friday.

4 more days

4 more days. Wow. wow. WOW.

It's midnight and I'm a bit nervous about the conversations I'll have to have. I should have been going in for my induction tonight but instead I'm waiting to hear from my OB and seeing how difficult it will be to push for a Friday/Saturday induction. I hate confrontation and going against authority, so we'll see how that goes. I also have my last MFM appointment for this pregnancy in the morning! They keep saying they wont' weigh him anymore since its not going to be accurate but I want to ask them to do it anyway just to have some sort of an idea since the biggish baby argument is the big one my OB is using for induction.

I took the primrose oil, walked to the point of sheer exhaustion. There's a crazy storm coming tonight and I hope the pressure will send me straight to labor too but I'm so exhausted that if I go into labor naturally tonight I don't know how well I'll do. Besides, all these things? Not working yet. It seems everything could send you into labor tonight!!! oorrrr maybe not. So like Lisa suggested I think I'm going to rest a bit more from here on out. I'm so tired I don't have the energy to put away any of the dishes. I've been cleaning up spotless each night before bed for fear that I will go into labor, rush to the hospital, and my in-laws will walk into our messy house to discover how we truly live! Gasp! Tonight I don't care so I'm hoping Murphy's law will ensure natural labor tonight!

This last weekend of coupledom felt special. We slept in, held hands on our walks, ate frozen yogurt out of the same cup, and had the types of conversations we stopped having somewhere along the way, about life, our perspectives, our childhoods. Being married as long as we have I forget sometimes that there is so much more to know and love about him. Also, IF, loss, and pregnancy has in some ways swallowed up the rest of our life. It was nice to be a couple this weekend.

But. We're ready now. We're ready Sunflower. We're done waiting. Please come to us. Come to us as soon as you can. Preferably tonight. You know your mama hates confrontation. Thank you.