For Those of You Just Joining Us

Alternatively known as: Filling in Everyone From Facebook

It’s no secret we’ve struggled over the years to build our family. Various torturous medicated cycles, and then three rounds of IVF and two losses were under our belts (literally) before we had Gus.

Last year we decided to try again, and I rather optimistically thought it would be a walk in the park, now that we’d found a protocol that finally worked.

Boy, was I an idiot.

This time last year, we found out we’d lost another pregnancy. After a few months off and some extra embryo testing, we tried again in the fall, and it honest to god almost killed me.

After that, we decided to explore other options. Adoption. Fostering. People reached out to us about being gestational carriers. We found out more IVF was a possibility, if we eliminated certain medications.

We had a lot of possibilities to consider. But one thing we knew, for absolutely sure, was we were going to wait at least six months so I could recover physically (pancreatitis is no joke, friends).

And then like eight weeks later, clouds parted, and angels sang, and my boobs hurt, and I took the last pregnancy test in my possession on a whim, because why the hell not — they’re always negative — and all hell broke loose.

I got to surprise Mike. Technically I got to surprise EVERYONE, which I never thought would be possible. But I suddenly found myself in the position to surprise my husband with a pregnancy like a REGULAR PERSON, and I was so excited, I told him five minutes before a dozen neighbors and their kids came over for a pizza party, and then was like, “ok, that was the doorbell, lets go act totally normal for a few hours!”

(That’s the flabbergasted face of a man who has had zero time to process what I’m telling him.)

Also, I just want to point out how close I came to being one of those women you see on TLC who gives birth at home on the toilet, because they had no idea they were pregnant. I never got my period after the last loss. I have an anterior placenta, and a breech baby who likes to face my spine, so five months in and I still feel nada in the movement department. Now, maybe the nine weeks of dry heaving would have tipped me off eventually, but we’ll never know for sure. Anyway…

I’m 19 weeks along now, so I’m halfway there. I’m due in early October, but thanks to all my fancy high-risk factors, I’ll deliver by the end of September.

So far, everything looks good. I still have to take blood thinner everyday, and they tested me early for gestational diabetes, which of course, I failed (again.) The good news is, it’s mostly diet controlled at this point, so I’ve only gained three pounds total (to the shock and horror of pregnant women, everywhere). My blood pressure has been great (which was not the case with Gus at all) and more importantly — so far my pancreas seems fine (knocking on all the wood).

After last fall, I genuinely believed we would never have any more children, so just to have the possibility is such a miracle and we’re so excited, and still a little shocked. Thank you, everyone for all the heartfelt congratulations and well wishes!

Another (Good) Surprise 

When I was pregnant with Gus, I was sure he would be a girl.

I’m a girl. My mom is a girl. Her sisters — all girls. My cousins, overwhelmingly girls. All their kids (you guessed it) even more girls.

But at 16 weeks, we found out he was, well, a he. The first boy in my immediate family, in more than two decades. 

And all the old wives’ tales were true. I wanted salty foods. I looked preeeeetty good, glowing and all that. Whatever his heartbeat averaged, meant he was a boy. That old Chinese gender chart (while technically not applicable thanks to IVF) said he’d be a boy.

This time?

I want sweet things. And salty things. Basically I want all the things that aren’t vegetables. But last time, sweet just seemed gross, and this time it seems like a good idea.

And I’m less pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super cute, as long as you’re not put off by all these pimples and this beard I’m slowly growing.

I don’t know why, but my intuition has been screaming GIRL GIRL GIRRRLLLLL at me for weeks.

My intuition, it seems, is crap.



Little Brother, coming in September.

(The anatomy scan went very well, and baby was measuring on schedule with all of his (HIS!) bits and bobs right where they should be.)

Next Steps

After our last (failed) IVF attempt, we’ve been talking about what our next steps are.

I’m definitely planning to try again, but the more I think about it, the more I’d like to take a few months off before starting again.

For starters, we’ve decided to have our remaining embryos genetically tested. While it doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly increases our odds (and the odds have not been in my favor). And despite the extra cost, the price is significantly less than it was four years ago when we started this process, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Then we have our annual family vacation coming up, and I would love to run, and jump and play in the ocean with Gus. I’d also like to take him on rides, and to splash parks, and eat (and drink) at all my favorite restaurants and bars.

After that, we have a destination wedding coming up in September, and making either 1) a long car ride, or 2) a plane ride with a toddler while pregnant and taking blood thinners was not something I was looking forward to. Now I just have to deal with the joys of toddler traveling, and I can drink away my feelings if that’s what it comes down to.

After THAT, my oldest, and dearest friend is getting married in the spring, and her bachelorette party is possibly happening in Vegas, in the fall, and now I can go and not be the sober party mom, and instead I’ll be the least drunk party mom. (Once the party mom, always the party mom.)

I don’t actually drink that much — despite my last three points being mostly alcohol related — I swear.

Our new house is pretty great, on the inside. But the outside? Needs some work. Like chopping down trees, and clearing overgrowth, and horrible gross outdoorsy-type work. Work I despise, but would like to do as cheaply as possible, and that means getting out there and doing most of it ourselves. I can’t really whack things with an axe on my best day, let alone when I’m super high-risk and pregnant.

And can we talk about Zika for a minute? Because it scares the bejesus out of me. I live in an area they’ve classified as low-risk, but those little bloodsuckers are nearby, and guess who has two thumbs and a giant reservoir in her back yard? This girl. So I’m ok with waiting for mosquito season to end.

And, maybe most importantly, I’m excited to spend a little more time with Gus —  just us. We’ve got a lot of things on the horizon for our little man in the next few months, and I had a lot of anxiety about how a new baby would change things for him.

We just started potty training. He’s starting preschool at the end of August. He’ll be a threenager, and probably transitioning to a big-boy bed in the fall. That’s not so much for you and me, but it’s a lot in a few months when you’re under the age of three. Add all that together, I’m ok with waiting a few more months.

Physically, waiting gives me more time to keep getting healthy. Selfishly, it lets me go on vacation and drink. Financially, it lets us save for the next cycle. And mentally, it’ll be nice to take a break from needles, and medicine reminders, and worrying about all the what ifs.

Transfer-versary 

Three years ago, we transferred these two embryos, and today we have the most beautiful, hilarious, crazy smart two-year-old.

I didn’t really talk about it at the time, because after two losses I was pretty tight-lipped about the whole cycle. And I didn’t talk much about it last year or the year after, because babies are hard.

It was our third embryo transfer in under a year. The first two were very sterile and formal, and while they were briefly successful, this was the one that finally stuck.

It was also the funniest, and most relaxed.

I guess they were overbooked that day, because instead of being taken to the usual procedure room, all gowned up, we were sent to a regular old exam room one floor down, and no one needed gowns or booties. 

I was obviously horrified and convinced we were destined for failure, because this wasn’t right! This isn’t how we did it before!

But the doctor we had that day was really funny, and had to keep telling me to stop laughing (the first two times the doctors were sort of friendly, but it was very impersonal). This was the time Mike likes to remind me about – how he sat there and watched some other guy get me pregnant. #fertilityjokes

As we get ready to try again for baby #2, I’m excited to try again. And I’m trying to remind myself that staying relaxed and laughing a little bit, can’t hurt. 

Life After Fertility Treatment

One of the things I struggled with during my pregnancy — besides all the normal weird pregnancy things — was how, and when, to talk about it.

After years of fertility treatments and repeat pregnancy loss, there was nothing more frustrating and saddening than the constant stream of pregnancy announcements on Facebook.

Sure, some people I was genuinely happy for — I knew some of them had struggled to get, or stay, pregnant.

But most of them? Like 99.9% of them?

Yeah, they could suck it.

I dealt with it by removing almost all of those people from my newsfeed. The majority of them were people I haven’t seen since high school, so after a while I didn’t even remember them. Hell, I don’t even know what those kids look like (some of them are probably three by now) and I don’t really care.

So when it was my turn? Hell yes, I wanted my moment in the sun. Who doesn’t like, well, all those Likes?

After all the needles, ultrasounds, debt, heartbreak, and waiting for our turn, I was ready to shout the good news from the rooftops.

But I knew I wasn’t alone. After I started blogging, I got emails from friends from high school, old college roommates, and friends of friends who were going through the same thing.

Now I have my baby, and most of them still don’t have theirs.

So now I’m the one blowing up Facebook with pictures of a smiling baby, videos of him babbling and rolling over, and hilarious quotes from my husband about the realities of parenting.

And every. single. time. I post something, they are the people I think about first.

Not the grandparents or long-distance relatives. Not our friends who adore this baby almost as much as we do.

I think of all the people who might see his picture, and burst into tears.

I can only hope they’ve taken the time to block me, like I did way back when. Do it! Hide that nonsense! I know it’s nothing personal.

I hope they get their chance to spread some good news of their own soon.

And I hope they know that I think of them often.

So Thankful

I have a lot to be thankful for in 2013.

I’m thankful that I walked away from a ridiculous car accident earlier this year with only some scrapes and bruises.

I’m thankful I have a best friend willing to wait to go see Catching Fire until I can pump some milk and leave ‘lil man with his dad for a matinee in a few weeks.

I’m thankful for the lazyboy armchairs I bought 10 years ago, never realizing they would be the best nursing chairs in the world.

I’m thankful Mike noticed the straw in my fancy BPA-free cup had mold inside it, despite what I thought were frequent/thorough washings.

On that note, I’m thankful for that giant box of disposable straws I randomly got from ikea in 2009, and am still working my way through.

I’m thankful for nipple shields, and the very intense Lactation Consultants who suggested I give them a whirl.

I’m thankful breastfeeding is free, and burns calories like a mofo.

I’m thankful for all food items that can be prepared, and consumed, with one hand.

I’m thankful to have a husband who wakes up during midnight feedings to ask me if we’re alright? Do I need water? What about a blanket? Or just gives me a thumbs up.

I’m thankful for neck travel pillows, Netflix, and nursing bras.

I’m thankful for our family and friends who keep feeding us.

I’m thankful for whoever figured out how to make a dairy-free pumpkin pie so I can have some dessert on Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful that our two dogs (our first babies) seem interested in Gus, and have already written him off as boring (but still lickable).

I’m thankful for the snapfish mobile app, because this child is only 5.5 weeks old and I’ve already uploaded 400+ new pictures.

I’m thankful for the Sierra and Nashville Instagram filters and their ability to camouflage baby acne.

I’m thankful I read all those Dexter spoilers over the years, so I’m not completely horrified when I catch up on season four.

I’m thankful my favorite flavors of Girl Scout cookies just so happen to be dairy-free (as long as they’re baked by the right bakery).

(I ate soooo many Thin Mints yesterday.)

For Boppy pillows, Moby wraps, KellyMom, wearable blankets, white noise machines, gas drops and pacifiers.

And, obviously, I’m thankful for my little nine-plus pound (and counting!) butterball.

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For the all the science, doctors and nurses, and medicine that got him here safe and sound.

For all the love, support and advice people have given us — both before and after he was born. We couldn’t have done all this without them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Surprise!

Well, I made it to my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, but then Mr. Baby decided to make a surprise entrance before our scheduled induction later this week.

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August “Gus” William was born on Monday, October 21 at 3:57 a.m weighing in at just over five and a half pounds.

He has blue eyes and the longest fingers and toes I’ve ever seen on a baby. My labor progressed really quickly, but then not quickly enough, so I needed a c-section.

Everyone is happy and healthy and I’m looking forward to eating real food as soon as they let me (Stupid liquid diet! Beef broth for breakfast?! Say that three times fast.)

In the last two-ish days, we’ve slept maybe seven hours. And epidurals are my new best friend.