Friday, December 17, 2010

4 months!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Sofia!!!
Happy Birthday to you!!!

I can't believe it's been 4 months.  Like I keep saying, in many ways it feels like she just got here and at the same time it feels like we've always had her.

Miss Sofia is growing and learning new things everyday.  She is attempting to eat cereal, but that isn't going quiet so well...
Why can't I get it to sit correctly?? Anyway, this was yesterday's attempt at cereal. NONE got in her mouth.  I realize it's a little early but we'll keep trying.

Sofia is becoming VERY grabby.  She will pull my hair right out, pull at my face, and even left quite a scratch across my cheek the other day.  I honestly think that if my reflexes slow down she will be able to grab my eyeball out because she's gotten pretty close.  Man is she strong!  I trim her nails but they're still sharp like nails.  Maybe I should trim and file...mmm...that makes sense.

She is rolling over but not very often with me because by the time I get home, it's almost time for bed and we use the sleep positioner.  Russ says she's rolling over a lot though. 

She sleeps A LOT!  Is she alone when she does this?  Not usually, but that's alright with me.  We usually put her down either on her chair or in her crib at around 6.  She'll sleep on her own (yes, without us right there!) until 9 or 10 or whenever she needs to eat.  Then Russ feeds her and stays with her in her room where she'll sleep until 3 or 4 and then go right back to sleep until 7 or 8.  Even though there are interruptions, she sleeps for 12-14 hours every night.  And then she'll take good long naps during the day too.  She likes her sleep, just like her momma!  My mom keeps bugging me that she should be able to go 8 hours without waking up to eat.  Well, she doesn't and what does she want me to do??  Most of the time, when she does wake up it's because she has gas.  So the gas wakes her and then she's like "Wait...my belly is empty.  What's the deal?  Feed me, please!"  I think she wouldn't wake up hungry if not for the gas.  And she HAS slept 8 hours a few times, but it's just not the norm yet.  We're getting there.  And all three of us are happy with how things are going.

Biggest 4 month event?  Well, today (right NOW!), Sofia is at her babysitters house!  Alone!  Meaning neither her momma or daddy are there with her!  Russ brought her by this morning for a little trial run because she's starting there on Jan. 3.  He went and hung out for a while and then left!  Ahhh!!  It's been a little over an hour that she's been on her own.  And I know she's fine.  But I keep thinking that if she gets upset and we're not there, what will she do?  She doesn't cry hardly at all, but what if she does now because she's with strangers??  They'll think it's normal because babies cry...but not OUR baby!  I can't remember the last time she cried during the day...sometimes she does at night if we're not fast enough with the bottle. 

She's going to be OK.  Take a deep breath.

Let's look at some recent pictures of her, shall we?  That won't help me take my mind off of it, but who cares? =)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One Year

Sofia is 17 weeks and 1 day old

One year ago today, Sofia started her morning in a petrie dish up in Rockville, MD.  Later that day, she and two of her sibling blastocysts were transferred into me and the rest is history.  Sofia has been with us for one year now.  I can't believe how much has changed in only a year.  I can't believe that the little cell I saw in the picture they gave me has turned in the beautiful baby girl that lights up my world.  What did we do before she was here?  I don't know and I don't really care to remember.  Because she is here.  She is ours.  We made her.  And nothing can ever take that away.

Friday, December 10, 2010

At work with Momma

Sofia is 16 weeks and 3 days old

So one of my favorite things about Russ staying home with Sofia these days is that they get to com and visit me!!  I work in a huge secondary school that houses students in grade 7-12.  I only work with the 7th and 8th graders, but all of the students are around.  Today they came and visited and we got to walk around to show off Sofia to my teacher friends and students who have heard all about her.  It wasn't her first visit here, but it was one where we went out and about a lot and mingled with everyone here, aside from the usuals who see her often.  It's so good to see her during my day and everyone is so excited to see her too.  She is one loved baby girl.

And this morning, she officially rolled over!!!  I think she would have done so already, except we always have her in her sleep positioner, so Russ has been working on letting her on her back without it so that she can roll and she did!  She's getting so big!!

The drool situation is CRAZY!  It just drips out of her like a faucet.  And everything goes into her mouth.  Seems early for teething, but I suppose it could be starting now.  We are going to try to give her some cereal tomorrow for the first time!  I'm so excited.  I know we should wait until her 4 month appt but I'm impatient.  And plus the amount of cereal she'll actually be eating is like nothing AND it'll be mixed with so much formula, I doubt she'll notice.  I'm just excited about using a spoon!!  We need to get it on video.

That's all for now....Next Friday is her official 4 month birthday.  I can't believe it's been that long.  And what they say is true - it just keeps getting better and better. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Santa!

Sofia is 16 weeks old today.

On Saturday, we visited Santa Claus and it was awesome!!  I had asked friends via Facebook where the best Santa was for Sofia's first visit and overwhelmingly, people suggested a garden center nearby where they have the "Real Santa".  (It's Merrifield Garden Center in Fairfax if any locals are interested).  It lived up to the hype and had me in tears of joy throughout the visit. 

Before Santa invited families to visit with him in his sleigh room, he addressed the crowd from a platform above.  He spoke of the true meaning of Christmas and took questions from the children.  He then explained that toys break and become undesirable over time and what he really wants for all of us is "written in the clouds" and he pointed to the wall where there were clouds hanging that said things like "love", "peace", "wisdom", "kindness", etc.  It was beautiful. 

After reciting "The Night Before Christmas" and singing Rudolph with us all, he invited the families back, stating that infants go first so that we don't have to wait so long - we were first!  We went to the back where he invited the first 6-8 families into his sleigh room.  He then did activities with them and finally said "There's a baby waiting..." and I gave him Sofia and he spoke to her for a good 2-3 minutes, saying "Sofia, one day you'll sit on my lap and ask for a new doll or game or book.... Now I want you to remember what Christmas is about..." and he went on about love and joy in our hearts.  Russ is trying to take pictures the whole time.  Then he invites me to sit with him and for Russ to pose in the back and he gave us, the parents, advice about Christmas.  We got that part on video.  He must have spent a solid 5 minutes with us and Sofia doesn't even talk back!  I can't imagine the time he takes with the children who can interact!

It was a lovely time and we are so glad we went!!  (Did I mention it was all FREE?)  This is the best picture we got.  They all came out blurry for some reason =( but we have the video too so that's good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fear

Sofia is 15 weeks and 2 days today

I teach parenting classes to parents of adolescents.  Being a middle school counselor, I have insight on what is going on with teenage boys and girls and my expertise lies in my experience with working with them every day.  I've taught hundreds of parents and their issues with their kids almost always come down to one thing: fear.  They are afraid their child will fail out of school, they are afraid their child will do drugs, their afraid their child will not become the person they've hoped and dreamed they would become.  They are afraid of their child hating them.  They are afraid that their child will embarrass them.  Fear, fear, fear. 

I try to help these parents see that if they become hung up on the fear, they will lose their child.  When the parents are only concerned with the "what if", they lose the now.  I'll ask them "What is the worst thing that can happen?" when they're scared that their child isn't getting the grades that they could be getting for instance.  The worst thing that can happen is that they'll drop out of school and become a homeless drug addict.  When I say that, they realize that they know nothing that bad is going to happen and they start to see that what they really are afraid of is the child not living up to their expectations.  Or perhaps they're afraid that they'll be embarrassed when all the neighbors kids are going to a good university and they're child is going to community college.  Again, I say, if we live in the fear of "what if", we lose the child.  If we connect with the child we have, right here, right now, we can create the relationship that will lead to the creation of a whole person.  A child who becomes an adult that can make good decisions and live a healthy, prosperous life.  I always say "We're making people here!"  And that the important thing is who they are  - their character.  Not their status.  There's obviously much more to it, but that's a little overview of some of what I cover.

So yesterday, I realized that my own fears are already at play and I need to get a grip on them.  When Sofia cries, my immediate fear of colic arises intensely.  I think "Oh my god - what if she has colic?"  What if I have to admit to others that she's not perfect?  What if the colic makes me think negative thoughts towards her?  What if she isn't a pleasant child?  What if people don't like her?  Now, at this point, I know that we're out of the colic woods and maybe she did/does have it mildly.  But the point is, I am in constant fear of this whole baby thing not living up to my hopes and dreams and she's not even 4 months old yet!!!

So I know what I need to do.  I need to accept every moment with her as the gift that it is.  I need to accept her as she is and love her no matter what.  These sound like obvious and easy things.  I know that they are not.  I know how insidious the thoughts can be and I also know that kids pick up on all that stuff and even if you don't say it, they sense a parent's fear and disappointment. 

And so, Sofia, while I realize there is a lot of pressure on you, our "miracle baby", to be perfect, please know that whatever you do, whoever you are, I love and accept you and will try my best to make sure you know that every moment of your life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So Thankful

14 weeks

We're getting ready to travel to Buffalo tomorrow for Sofia's big hometown debut!  I have never been more excited to travel home.  I can't wait to show her the house I grew up in and sleep in my room and just walk through that door with our precious baby girl! 

You might recall that last year, the holidays were ROUGH for me.  The day after Thanksgiving, I started my fifth and final IVF cycle and my parents had come down to spend the holiday with us.  I had a bleak outlook on that cycle because of the teeny tiny statistic (.5%) that it could be successful.  Then Christmas hit and I just wanted to forget about the holidays altogether.  The thought of traveling home once again childless was too much.  Relatives still comment about how depressed I was last year - and here I thought I was doing a good job of faking it!

All of that to say that I heard a Christmas song yesterday and bawled my eyes with joy as I thought about the holidays this year and how incredibly special this year will be.  We are so blessed and this Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for the greatest gift I could have ever received.

Here's baby girl looking cute with daddy...


Sorry it's not positioned the correct way - I thought it was...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mr. Mom

I'm not trying to brag, but I just have to express how amazing my husband is and how much I wish she could be a stay at home dad.  Today is his fourth day home and he is loving it!  I come home from work and laundry is done, the house is clean and Sofia is happy. He's a natural.  AND?  He's letting me get LOTS of sleep.  Last night I went to bed at 7!  I was up in the night with him because Sofia was crying for some crazy reason from 1:30-2:00 am but then I was sent directly back to bed and slept until I had to get up at 5.  So, yes, I got 9 hours of sleep.  I could learn to get used to this!!!  I know the lack of sleep is going to catch up with him at some point, but he claims he is fine right now.  Remember that we don't sleep together right now - one of us (him) is always with Sofia because we're too damn nervous to leave her alone.  So his sleep quality is poor - he's sleeping on the chair in her room (a nice big chair, but still) or the couch.  He rocks!

In Sofia news, we really have to allow her to learn to fall asleep on her own and to sleep on her back.  She'll be sleeping so peacefully with us in our arms and then we put her down in her crib and she squirms and is restless and often wakes up.  I've read every book there is and I'm still not sure what to do.  The books assume we put her down, walk away and don't realize she's restless.  But we watch her (either right there in her room or through the video monitor) so we know when she's thrashing and try to comfort her.  Maybe it's ok to get restless sleep?  I don't know...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day One: SUCCESS

One day down...thousands more to go!

So my first day back to work was really good!  Right now it's 2:30 and I'm getting ready to leave (our school day is from 7:25-2:10), go home and see my sweetie pies waiting for me there!

To be perfectly honest, today felt like a day of freedom.  It was so strange to not be thinking constantly about feeding Sofia or changing Sofia or being quiet while she sleeps.  It's not like those things are difficult or anything - in fact I love them.  It's just weird to not feel so totally responsible during these hours.  I actually got to shop on-line a little bit (shhh - don't tell!) and in general am having a happy day.  Perhaps it's the novelty of being out of the house and maybe it'll wear off, but so far so good.

I spoke to Russ earlier and he put the phone to Sofia's ear while I spoke to her and he said she looked very confused.  I can't wait to go home and kiss her!!!!

I'll leave you with a precious picture of my baby girl.

How did we get so lucky to have such a precious beautiful daughter?  I keep pinching myself and can't believe it's real.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Coming Clean

Sofia is 12 weeks and 3 days old

Today was my last day with Sofia.  I'm acting like I'm never going to see her again!  That's ridiculous.  I leave for work so freaking early (6:15 am) and she doesn't even get up until 8 or so and then goes right back for a nap.  I'll be home by 3:15 and for the next 6 weeks so will Russ - bonus!!  It will be fine.  I have no idea how I'd feel if I had the slightest option of staying home.  I feel like I'd want to work some, but given the option I'm not sure what I'd do.  I keep telling Sofia that I have to go to work Monday because I don't want her to be homeless. =)

I've been thinking a lot and coming to terms with some things and this seems like the appropriate place to discuss it.  I'm pretty sure that I'm battling some low-level form of post-partum depression.  I've come to this conclusion by listening to interviews that Oprah conducted with both Brooke Shields (and other mothers on that particular episode that I heard on satellite radio) and Marie Osmond today.  Since Sofia has come, I have overwhelming feelings of anxiety and isolation.  I feel happy, but scared and alone.  Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but that's how I feel.  I thought that it was normal, but when I was unable to eat and practically dry heaving every morning, it occurred to me that I may have a problem.

When I went to Dr back in October she suggested I try some anti-anxiety meds.  I'm was hesitant and then finally agreed to a low dose of celexa.  Why am I so ashamed of this?  I work in the mental health field.  I'm a huge supporter of friends who need this type of help.  I guess I'm just not used to being the one who needs the help.  Since I started the meds, I do feel a lot better.  The anxiety especially has gone waaaay down and I'm no longer crying for no reason (I always blamed the crying on hormones though).  I still feel isolated but I think that's to be expected since I don't see adults most days until Russ comes home and then it's just for a few minutes and then I'm off to bed.

Anyway, I don't know why I didn't reveal this earlier on my blog.  Well, I do know why - I was embarrassed that I "couldn't handle it".  I know that's not really what's happening.  I know that these things have to do with chemicals in the brain, but after everything I've gone through to get here, I just couldn't admit that it wasn't perfect.  Sofia?  Oh, SHE'S perfect. =)  Her mama?  Not so much.

And I say all of that to say that I'm not dreading going to work Monday as much as I thought I would.  Sure, I let some tears go today thinking about this was our last day together at home, but I'm ready to go back. (Or I'm psyching myself up because I know I don't have a choice!)  I'm ready to feel in control again and to interact with the world.  I just wish I could bring baby girl with me =).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Week Left

I go back to work in a week...November 15 to be exact.  And then maternity leave is over.  I will never get this time back. I will never have the chance to be with Sofia when my only purpose is to take care of her.  Sure I have summers off and holiday breaks, but it won't be the same.  I can't believe it's been 12 weeks already!  (Total of almost 13 weeks once I go back)  Was it everything i hoped it would be?

The first two weeks were such a blur, i barely remember a thing!  It seemed like our place was super busy with my parents here and lots of welcomed visitors.  The following weekend my best friends from home came to visit.  Then the isolation started.  Those first few weeks were just lonely.  Sofia only slept and ate - there was no play time then.  I would sit here just hoping that friends would come by and sometimes they would, but not as often as I had hoped.  In retrospect, i should have opened my mouth a little and actually invited friends over more.  Why do I expect people to read my mind?

So now i sit here and wonder if I've done enough with my time.  Have I read to her enough? Was there enough tummy time?  What about the TV?  Did i have it on too much?  I know it's not late for these things, but now my time with her will be limited and if I didn't get in enough reading now for instance, how can I possibly find the time in the future? 

I'm thankful for this time and am going to try to take this next and final week very slowly and appreciate every single happy, laughing, crying, pooping moment. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Catching up

11 weeks 2 days

WOW - time has flown.  I can't believe it's been so long since I posted anything!!!  My bad.  I go back to work soon (boo!) and will be way more on top of blog world then. 

So, what's happening in the world of Sofia?  She's as sweet as ever...  Her two month check was good.  She's in the 95th percentile for height and weight (thank goodness she's proportioned!!), so we will have a big girl!  She's wearing 3 month clothes, except for her plain white onsies which are now 6 month.  She wears these under her swaddles and, now that it's colder, under some of her outfits.  Soon she'll transition to more of her 3-6 or 6 month stuff - seems like she barely got to wear some of her things!

Eating/Digestion:  She is currently eating Enfamil Nutramigen formula due to what appeared to be terrible abdominal pain and scaly skin on her face (sign of milk allergy)...I'm not totally convinced that it was the answer except for that her face cleared up beautifully and some of her pain went away.  THEN, she began screaming with her bottle and the dr had told us to look out for that because she thought her symptoms sounded like acid reflux (something I think is waaayy over diagnosed in infants).  So i called the dr and she prescribed Zantac which almost immediately stopped her writhing in pain symptoms.  So between the two, we're in good shape.  EXCEPT for that she's started this evening thing where anytime between 5:30 and 7:30 she starts screaming and nothing helps her except sitting in the bathroom with the shower on.  She had done it once or twice in the past, but it's become more frequent lately.  Not sure if it's connected to the other things or not.  She just seems overtired. 

Sleeping:  She is currently sleeping on our couch in a sleep positioner with me or Russ sitting or laying next to her.  I know it sounds crazy, but it works for us right now and I feel it's a good step since she at least isn't sleeping right on top of us.  The routine goes like this:  Russ takes over when he gets home from work and we eat and then I get sent to bed to sleep soundly for a few hours before I'm on duty.  Typically I go to bed between 7 and 8:30 (the earlier the better) and sleep until 1 or 2 am at the latest.  Then I take over and Russ goes to bed (he gets up for work at around 8).  Some have asked why we don't just have her in our bed and our reason is because we feel it's important to get some really good sleep without interruption.  Things will have to change soon since I'll be going back to work and Russ will be staying home, but we'll figure that out then.  My suspicion is that Russ will still let me get lots of sleep since I tend to need it more than he does. 

Everytyhing is going really well.  I still have days when I feel really lonely and isolated, but I suppose that's normal.  I wish I had more friends who were home with their kids.  In some ways I'm looking forward to going back to work, but mostly I'm sad about it.  The good thing is that I can be home by 3:15 pm and every day Russ will be there (until January) and we'll have nice family time.

Here are some pictures from the past few days:


For Halloween she was a daisy! We didn't get a great shot of her awake - probably need to throw the costume on her this weekend and get some better pics!



I love this picture!  She always puts her arms up like this when she's sleeping and it's sooo cute!


OK, how crazy cute is this hat??


They gave her a special sticker when we voted yesterday...and another cute hat - this one a nice, warm one.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Two months!!!

Today our little Sofia is two months old.  WOW.  We've had her for a long time already and she's getting so big and I feel like she's going to be going to kindergarten before we know it.

She is doing very well...  We have her on Nutramigen formula and it seems to be helping the gas issues, although it's still not perfect.  She had symptoms of a milk allergy and now many of those are gone (dry skin being a major one).  Wednesday we go to the pediatrician so I'll ask more about it.  She's getting her first shots (oh no!) where I have to be present to witness them (the very first one was in the hospital, out of my view).  Luckily Russ is going with me...

My mom is visiting this week!! Finally.  She hasn't seen her since she was 2 weeks old.  I feel so guilty about living so far away.  I'm thrilled that she'll be here soon.

Thursday night I begin teaching the parenting class that I've been teaching for a few years.  It's geared toward parents of teenagers (I'm a middle school counselor) and it's one of my favorite things that I do.  Of course now that I've actually been a parent for short amount of time, I have a whole new respect for it!!  I'm trying very hard to not judge how others parent because in this short time, i realize that we try our best, but sometimes we just don't know what the heck we're doing!!  When I agreed to teach the class, I thought it would be nice to get out of the house while I'm on leave.  But now that it's here, i sort of wish i wasn't doing it.  I need the money for Christmas gifts though so I need to remember that.  It's only for 5 weeks.

Our birth announcements finally went out this week.  I LOVE the picture we got.  We took it ourselves and I think it turned out beautifully.  We put her on the bed and covered our pillows with the sheet.  I stuck my hand under the sheet to support her head - you can see my hand to the left of her head.  Seriously, she gets cuter every single day.  I know I'm not supposed to say stuff like that but if I can't say it YOU (who I'm always brutally honest with), then who can I say it to? =)  Here it is, she's 7 weeks old here:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Progress

Tomorrow Sofia will be 7 weeks old!  Time has flown and I'm fearful that in a blink I'll be back at work (I have 6 more weeks left) and I'm not appreciating every moment I have with her now. 

We've made great progress over the past few days.  Not only is she consistently sleeping in her car seat (remember that this is progress because she was only sleeping in our arms), but today she napped for 2 hours in her bassinet!!  (the one on the pack n play)  That is HUGE!!  I'm hopeful she'll start sleeping in it at night too.  At night, we take turns sleeping out in the living room on the couch so that the other person can get restful sleep.  The hope is that eventually she sleeps in our bedroom where we have the bassinet set up.

The other great thing is that she seems to be taking a pacifier finally!!  I know - why is this good?  Well, it's wonderful because up until now the only thing she wanted was my finger!  And lately she would take Russ's finger too, but can you imagine how inconvenient that is??  Not only was I holding her the whole time, but much of that time my finger was in her mouth!  No wonder I couldn't get anything done.  So now she is happy with a pacifier and while that might be starting a new bad habit, at least it helps her soothe and sleep.

We took pictures of her today and finally ordered our birth announcements.  She'll be nearly 2 months old before they go out, but that's alright - they're going out at least right??

Here is one of my favorite pictures.  It was going to be on the announcement but we went in a different direction so I'll share it here.  I'm going to enlarge a copy and give it to my mom - her two girls, sleeping...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scattered post

First of all, my apologies to my bloggy friends who I have been neglecting these past few days (weeks?).  I usually check my blog from my iphone and for some reason, i can't scroll down to read posts that don't appear on the screen, so I end up missing a lot.  And i can't post from my phone either.  Anyway, now I think I've caught up, but I may have missed some things.

We are doing well.  Poor little Sofia is very congested today though.  She's been semi-congested all along, but last night it was obvious she was having trouble breathing out of her nose.  She was becoming frustrated and was so upset - who can blame her?  She must be so confused, wondering why she can't breath suddenly.

(it's now 3 days later since I started this post)

So Sofia is still congested - poor thing cries in her sleep when she can't breathe and we spray saline drops in her nose and stick her in the bathroom with the hot water running.  Ihave a cool mist humidifier but I'm not sure it's doing anything to help.  Should I get a vaporizer??

We have her one month check up tomorrow even though she'll be 6 weeks, so we have many questions for the dr.

(it's now 2 days later)

So last night Sofia DID NOT sleep in our arms!!!  Woo hoo!!!  She didn't sleep in her crib or bassinet either, but she did sleep in the car seat and that is a victory for us.  And she's currently napping there right now. Yay!!

Dr visit was great.  She's now 10 lb 13 oz which means she gained exactly 3 lbs in 6 weeks.  Yikes.  She's also 22 and 1/2 inches tall.  Everything looks good.

As you can see i have little time to write.  Maybe now that we're putting her down more (fingers crossed that it wasn't some fluke last night!) I'll have more time.

I'll leave you with the cutest picture ever!  This was her in her birthday suit on her one month birthday.  I love her!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brighter Days

4 weeks old

She's already been here for almost a month?!  I can't believe it!!!  In so many ways I can't believe it's been that long but at the same time I can't remember our life before her.

We're getting better at putting her down, so she is in our arms for maybe 21 hours a day and that's HUGE progress.  Thanks to inspiration from my dear bloggy friends Amber and Priscilla, I got a Moby Wrap...still trying to get the hang of it, but I think it will be a lifesaver! (feel free to give me tips on using it girls!) The wrap is basically a long piece of fabric that you wrap all around yourself and stick the baby in and they're secure.  It seems like it wouldn't work, but it really does.  I just haven't figured out how to get her in and out easily.

I'm feeling waaaaay better.  I"m hopeful that my hormones are leveling off and the crazies are gone for good.  I have an appt with my primary care Dr Friday to discuss the pain I've been getting on my hands and wrist (arthritis??) which is so severe at times, I'm afraid I could drop the baby...while I'm there I'm going to to discuss my anxiety and see what she thinks.  I don't want to give in to medication so soon, but at the same time I don't have a lot of time to waste wondering if it's all going to go away.  Let's face it, I've always been an anxious person (reading any blog entry of mine will tell you that) and these days I don't have the luxury of wallowing in my "what ifs"...I might need more help and I'm open to that.  Having great days like today gives me hope, but then the knots in my stomach return quickly and I wonder what the right thing to do is.

Today I took Sofia out by myself for the first time.  I use the term "by myself" very loosely because technically Russ was there for almost the whole time, but I didn't know he would be and so when I left for our walk and he joined us I was just thrilled and still pleased that I had made the effort to do it alone, knowing I could.  What am I afraid of???

Sofia has been good...earlier in the week she had some vomiting issues but there was no fever and it passed.  Still, there are times after eating that she seems soooo terribly uncomfortable - like she's in awful pain.  She grunts and turns red and usually doesn't cry, but just seems to be in a lot of pain.  We've tried gas drops and gripe water but it still happens sometimes.  I can't distract her by sticking my finger in her mouth which she loves, but I can still see the distress in her face.  I wish that would go away. 

My brother is coming to see us this weekend!!  He's never visited without his wife and kids, so this is special.  I'm excited for him to meet his only niece.  My brother and I have never really spent any time alone together, so it might even be a little weird but it's about time we got together like this, so it'll be great.

OK, I'm off to practice wrapping this baby up in her carrier!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Life with Sofia

24 days

Today was literally the first day in over a week that I've had the chance to catch up on blog world.  Sorry to leave you hanging.

This week has been up and down.  Mostly up - I mean I have this precious little girl right here, so what could be wrong?  Yeah, that's what I say at THIS moment.  But I've had some down moments too. 

Some mornings I wake up in a state of irrational anxiety that I can't shake.  It's only on workdays when I know I'll be alone with her.  And I'm not anxious about her dying or anything awful like that - I thought I'd be obsessed with making sure she was always breathing (and I do watch her and check, but just not as compulsively as I anticipated), but I'm worried about little things like getting bottles cleaned and what if she cries and I can't stop it?  So far it's only been about 4 or 5 days that I've been like that, but if it doesn't stop totally soon I'm not too proud to ask the Dr for some drugs to get me through.  When it's bad, it's BAD. 

Today is a good day though.  I'm feeding her mostly formula and am able to pump one bottle of breast milk per day which makes me feel incredibly guilty that I can't give her more, but I just don't have the milk.  My body doesn't work and I need to remember that - how could I forget after all? 

We basically hold her all day and I know it's a mistake, but I can't help it.  Like right now, she's peacefully sleeping in her moses basket and she's been there for almost 30 min.  This about her limit.  Within minutes, she start crying until I pick her up and get her settled.  She sleeps all night in one of our arms, usually for 3-4 hours at a time, but sometimes for 5.  We haven't put her in her bassinet once at nighttime.  We need to start doing that more, but EVERY book I read says you can't spoil an infant and that bad habits don't begin until 3 months.

I have yet to drive with her which means that I'm stuck inside all day.  I could go for a walk outside I suppose, but I'm still scared about being outside my security zone of home.  It's being alone that does me in.  When Russ is here, I'm fabulous just because I know he's here to back me up if I can't handle something.  But I can handle everything - I'm doing it and just need to relax.

Sofia seems to be having trouble with gas.  Sometimes after she eats, she grimaces like she's in so much pain.  We've tried gas drops and gripe water and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't.  And it's not consistent which is puzzling.  If it were the formula (currently Infamil GenteEase) then wouldn't it upset her every time??  I don't get it, but seeing her in pain is tough. 

This weekend we're going to get her out and about and feel like a real family who does normal things.  Being cooped up has been driving me a little crazy.  And hopefully our friend who is doing our pictures will come and I can share them with you!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Holy Hormones

16 days

I apologize in advance for how this all may sound.  Please know that it's all coming from a place of crazy out of control hormones (at least I pray that's all it is...).

Being in the hospital and those first few days home were pure bliss!!  I never knew I could feel so happy and all was well in the world.  Then came Tuesday...  My parents had been long gone and Russ had to go to work for the first time.  I was overcome with panic and all feelings of well-being flew right out of me.  The day went by just fine - I handled it very well.  But man these past 3 days have been up and down emotionally.  I wake up in the morning feeling so sick that I can't eat.  I assume it's just nerves, but my appetite is GONE (I'm already down 3 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight!  What???  I haven't been eating and when I do it often runs right out of me...).  In a word, I'm a MESS.

At this particular moment for example, I am totally fine.  I feel like myself.  I look over at Russ with Sofia sleeping on his chest and I couldn't be happier.  But in a flash, i could start crying about how much I wish my mom was back with us helping me and setting my mind at ease.  So far Tuesday was the worst day, so I'm hopeful that this isn't going to last.  At my OB appt today, she asked me a lot of questions and made me feel comfortable about reaching out for help if I didn't feel like myself soon.  I know the "baby blues" are real and very common, I just didn't expect it to hit to hard and fast - and I thought it would happen immediately after birth.  And my thoughts aren't about Sofia at all.  I feel totally bonded to her and she makes me so happy.  I just feel so unlike myself and maybe a little confused about who I am now.

OK, so here it is.  Could I be mourning my pregnancy?  And if that isn't crazy enough, could I be mourning my infertility?  Over the period of 5 years, I became "the girl who can't get pregnant".  I came to terms with that.  I wasn't happy with my title, but I learned to live with it.  I fought hard to overcome and won.  But now what?  Who am I?  Logic says I'm now "mother", but I feel so ill-prepared to wear that label.  I mean I know what a mom is and how to do it (at least I've read every book and article possible to prepare), but what does that mean for my identity?  Perhaps this is all crazy hormone talk, but I really think there is something to the fact that infertility made who I am (was? no, AM) and now I'm clearly past that and I'm floundering.  I look at Sofia and don't connect that to the victory we've achieved.  If I'm not that poor chick who can't have kids and "deserves them soooo much...", then who the heck am I?  Sofia's mom.  That's clear.  So is my identity already lost in motherhood?  I don't want that.  Even while pregnant, I considered myself "high-risk" (but technically wasn't) and would always say that I'd believe it when i see it (in regards to actually having a baby).  Everything turned out perfectly.  And yet I can't seem to accept it.  When I do look over at her and deliberately connect in my mind that she is here, that she is ours, I just burst into tears.  Like I said, I'm a MESS.

Also, no surprise here, I'm petrified that I'll do something to hurt her or I won't know what to do if she's in distress.  These are normal worries, I know.  But I think these worries are causing me to have diarrhea for 2 weeks.  Not good.  (and not really total diarrhea either, more like the feeling I might have it - sort of like when you're in line for a roller coaster)

Sorry to ramble...I'm not sure what's going on, but I take comfort in knowing that hormones are playing a huge part. 

Also, I have to apologize to my friends who still on their IF journey.  Many of my bloggy friends recently gave birth (we all had daughters in the same 2-3 week time frame!) and so I don't mean to offend those still on the journey by not seeming appreciative of everything I have now.  I just need to share where my head is since that's why I do this in the first place.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birth Story

Day 14

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since Sofia was born!  In many ways, it feels impossible that so much time has passed and yet in other ways, it feels like a million years ago that it all happened.

On August 17 (37 weeks, 5 days) at about 4:45 am, I felt what i thought was a kick/gas combo.  It felt like a little explosion down in my belly.  I had been awake and I doubt it was strong enough to have woken me if I'd been sleeping.  I thought that perhaps I needed to visit the bathroom and as i was walking, I thought I peed (how do you spell that??) myself which was weird because I didn't think I had the urge, but crazier things have happened so I didn't question it.  When I sat down in the bathroom, it was very obvious what had occurred.  I was WET!  And it had a faint pink tinge to it.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  This was it, it was happening NOW. 

I took some deep breaths (but I was already shaking) and called out to Russ.  I called his name a couple times and then said "We have something here!"  Isn't that the oddest choice of phrases?  I don't know where that came from.  He came to the bathroom and I told him my water broke.  We just sort of looked at each other like "OK, now what???"  I called the dr, got the answering service and one of the drs called back within 5 minutes.  I told her my water broke and she said I should go to the hospital.  I had not experienced any contractions, but she felt there was great evidence that the baby was on the way.

Next step was calling my parents who live 8 hours away.  Our hope was that they would get there in time for the birth, but I was worried.  I called, waking them up and shocking my mom.  They immediately went into pack up and get out mode and were on the road within 45 minutes or so.  At this point, I knew I had 24 hours to get her out and I wanted to stall to give my parents more time.  I told Russ that while I wanted to get to the hospital, I wasn't in a big hurry. 

At this point we started gathering things to bring, although I was already packed and pretty much ready to go.  I also jumped in the shower so that I could be clean and shaved for who knew when my next shower would be, right?  Russ had to take care of some logistical things like moving my car out into the street so my dad could park in my spot.  He also decided that now would be a good time to eat 3 hot dogs.  WHAT?  Yeah...he knew it was going to be a long day and I was impressed that he thought ahead to eat since some days he eats nothing until 9 pm.  I thought 3 hot dogs was a little excessive, but who am I to judge? =)

Have I mentioned that once I had the initial break, it just kept flowing and flowing and flowing?  I'd sit on the toilet for 10 minutes and be sure it was done, then get up to get ready to go and within 30 seconds of standing, it would come pouring out again leaving puddles on the floor!  It was a lot!!! 

Finally it was time to go down to the car.  Remember I live on the 7th floor of a high rise condo.  Russ was going to meet me in the front of the building so I didn't have to walk too far.  I rolled up a wash cloth and stuck it in my panties (was wearing a dress) in an attempt to make it down there dry.  No such luck.  In the elevator with 2 of my neighbors, I feel it start to drip and by the time I got off, i was leaving a trail through the lobby!  Great.  We had a waterproof pad ready to go in the car, but I leaving puddles everywhere!

We got the hospital in 10 minutes or less and went right up to labor and delivery.  Still no contractions so I was really calm and ready to go.  They hooked me up to the monitor and we knew that the baby was doing well.  I told them that I was supposed to have a c-section but that maybe I could try laboring (???) and they said they'd wait til the dr came and checked me out.  I was honest and said that I really wanted my parents to be there but that top priority went to making sure baby girl came safely.

They checked my fluid to be sure it was amniotic (gosh - what else could it have possibly been???) and reported that my cervix was barely 1 cm.  No progress since the Friday before.  My dr came in and said her head was up pretty high.  She said I could labor and they could try pitocin to get it going.  I was not a fan of that idea.  In my mind, I felt like we could start labor that way but wouldn't we just end up doing a c-section anyway??  She felt that it would likely be the case - remember they still thought i had a giant baby in me.  She said we could wait it out and see if labor would start naturally but that we'd lose our place in the c-section schedule and that could mean we wouldn't get it until really late if we ended up needing that which we probably would.  She also told me that it's safer to do a c-section without laboring first so that the uterus doesn't get "tired" and make me bleed too much after. 

It seemed pretty clear that we needed to go ahead and just do the c-section.  By this time, my parents were about 5 hours away and I thought maybe they would schedule it for the afternoon and just maybe they'd make it.  I called my parents and explained the situation and that it was very possibly they would miss but that we'd try.  They agreed that getting her out was the way to go and aside from my parents not being there, I wanted her out ASAP.  So we told the dr to go ahead with it, not knowing when we would be scheduled for the procedure.

Little by little my nurse starts coming in with things for us.  The scrubs for Russ, a cap for me... I see she's now wearing little booties over her shoes.  I'm like "Um......are we doing this soon???"  In a word: YES.  I looked back at my phone and saw that I spoke to my parents at 9:41.  Well, I was in the operating room prepping by 10:15!!!!  They got us right in!  And that was a good thing because it meant I had no time to get nervous. 

Except for that I was totally nervous!  Shaking like leaf is more like it!  I was told we would do a spinal/epidural combo.  The spinal provides the major stuff but then the catheter is left in to provide me with continuing pain meds.  In case I hadn't mentioned it before, this procedure is what I was most afraid of.  And I'm not saying it hurt...it really didn't.  Pain isn't the word.  But i hated it.  I felt like it took forever and I just wanted to cry.  I know it was just nerves and it honestly wasn't pain but just an uncomfortable feeling that I never had before.  And I thought it would take like 2 minutes and it felt like it would never end.  The nurses were so sweet, holding my hand and I kept grabbing them and apologizing.

Once it was in, they layed me back and I literally was shaking so hard you could see my movement.  Was it cold?  Yeah, but this was more than shivers, I was a wreck.  Thankfully the nurse told me that once the spinal hit, I would feel like I couldn't breath but that it shouldn't freak me out, I could still breath even though it felt like  a truck sitting on top of me.  She was right!  All of the sudden, I felt like I couldn't feel myself breathing and had I not known to expect that, I would have hyperventilated for sure.  Instead I just took deep breaths that felt shallow and tried to relax.

Then Russ came in the room and the procedure started.  They started poking me to see if I could feel things.  Some things I felt, but it wasn't pain.  They kept asking "Is it PAIN?" and I'd say well...no.  But I figured numb is numb and I should feel anything.  Regardless I did not feel the cut and that's all that matters right? 

There were like 15 people in the room and I really wish someone had thought to tell what they were doing.  I would have liked a play by play, but that didn't happen.  When the time came, the nurse said OK, lots of pressure now.  At this point, they pushed so hard on my abdomen (right below my breast bone), I thought for sure I'd be sore for weeks.  They literally squeezed her out like a tube of toothpaste.  Lots of pressure and then a "There's a face..." and before I knew it she was out and we heard the cry and they brought her over to the warmer and started cleaning her.  I could barely see her out of the corner of my eye, but she was there!!!  Safe and sound.

After what seemed like forever, they finally brought her over to me for a 5 second peek and then whisked and her daddy off for tests and stuff.  Now it was time to put me back together.  They mentioned that a sedative would be given after birth to relax me during this part.  I was definitely in and out but it sure felt like it took forever.

Next thing I knew I was in recovery and feeling nauseous.  Does anyone remember the one thing I wanted to avoid on this day?  Yes, it was feeling sick to my stomach.  Well, no such luck.  I threw up pretty quickly and that lasted all day.  Gotta love dry heaves.  Ugh.......  But I had my baby girl there and she was healthy (practically perfect APGAR of 9/9 whoot whoot!). 

I know there's more to tell, but this has been a long post, don't you think?  I'll fill in more details another time.  Specifically how awesome the whole hospital experience was.  It was like being at a resort.  Sort of.

As I sit here (on my first day home alone with Sofia!), she is starting to get restless, so I gotta go be a mama.

Watch for the next post where I must talk about the hormone plummet and how I'm dealing with that!  Man, I cry a lot.  Until next time....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

PURE JOY

I know...I KNOW!  I left you hanging...and I'm sorry.  Since this baby girl has been born HEALTHY AND STRONG, I have thought of nothing else.  NOTHING else...not french fries or TV or anything.  OK, so I thought about you guys, but did not take any time to update you and I'm sorry - don't be too mad.

In a nutshell, Sofia is here.  She is PERFECTION.  She has brought with her more joy than I could have ever expected.  I look at her and weep at least 10 times a day.  I can't believe she is ours and get to keep her.  Every cliche about motherhood I've ever heard is true...corny, but true =).

I can't believe I can survive on such little sleep and not care one bit.  She's a good (I say PERFECT) baby with a happy disposition but she definitely has her days and nights confused so her fussy time (not really that bad but compared to her angelic daytime self but more troublesome) is from 10 pm - 3am but we don't care!  Feeding is the hardest part and I'm just saying that I don't like breastfeeding.  I don't have a huge milk supply and am feeling pressure to perform for her and that sucks.  We are supplementing with formula.  They say my milk will increase but it's already 9 days...we'll see.  If I can't sustain, i won't be upset.  I just want her fed and happy.

I'll give more details another day...for now, here she is...my love.






Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Here we go!!!

37w5d

My water broke!!!  I got up to pee at around 4:45 am and GUSH!  And it hasn't stopped gushing since!  It was pink at first but now a nice clear, normal color.  We're leaving for the hospital as soon as Russ finishes eating a hot dog - haha!!!  He needs to build his strength.  I'm trying to stall to wait for my parents but we'll see if that happens or not... Probably won't be able to post for a while, so this is it until after she gets here!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

10 Days and Counting

37w1d

Did somebody say FULL TERM?

Oh yeah!!!  That's us.  We're full term.  She can come any day and that's perfectly fine.  I really can't believe it.  Today it's 10 days away from when she's scheduled to come.  That means that she'll be here in ten days at most, could be even shorter.  Woo hoo!

Had 3 appts today...you know the drill.  Endocrinologist (thyroid and diabetes), specialist for the weekly NST and scan, and my regular OB.  Everything looks good.  I've made no progress since last week so that means I'm still just fingertip dilated, so I have a feeling she'll stay put until the 23rd.

How do I feel?  Like a truck hit me.  I literally can't walk.  My legs don't work, my butt is killing me, and back pain came on again today in a terrible way.  I'm pathetic.  Right now as I write this, I'm sitting on a wood chair and I can barely stand to sit another minute because it hurts so bad.  What is wrong with me?  If anything you'd think my ass would have more padding right now!

Anyway, this weekend we will be getting the house in shape for my parents to come next weekend.  They're planning on getting here next Sunday so we can all go to the hospital that Monday morning and have a baby.  Yay!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

OUCH

36w2d

The word that sums up my week?  OUCH.

Everything hurts.  Well, not everything.  And nothing really baby related (as in nothing that indicates anything could be wrong with her or my parts as they relate to her in that area).  However, I feel as if I've been literally hit by a truck.

My BONES hurt. 

I can't sit on my fat ass.  What's a girl to do?  Literally right now, I am sitting on a pillow and I know that when i get up, I will be so sore that it will take all day for me to get over it.  The pain is very similar to how you feel when you ride a bike for the first time in a long time and also a lot like doing 1,000 lunges.  And yet, I do not believe it is muscular primarily.  I believe it is my joints.  A butt joint?  I don't know...that one's a mystery but I'm thinking maybe the joint where my legs join my butt.  At this point in pregnancy, the cartilage becomes very soft so that the pelvis can open wide and let her out.  The dr says that while this is unusual, it makes sense that I might have some arthritis-like pain.  But in my butt?  I also have it bad in my hands (each morning I have to physically bend each finger with my other hand in order to move them) and my knees (hurt so bad to bend them first thing in the morning that I could scream), but what's up with my ass?  Driving?  Hurts bad and I think when I drove 2 hours the other day I caused what I'm now recovering from now, cause it's bad.  Sorry to be such a complainer, but this just sucks.

In other news, baby girl is great.  My NST and scan shows that she's healthy and strong.  Her fluid level was better this week (last week it was so high they felt my sugar was up and HER kidneys were working overtime to compensate causing excess fluid.  GUILT).  I am 1/2 cm dilated!!  Dr said I could definitely hang on until Aug 23 (c-section is scheduled, 8am!) or I could go into labor tomorrow.  So anything is possible.

The nursery is just about 100% done!!  I want to add the finishing touches before I share pics (I'm always promising pics and never follow through, sorry.  I only know how to upload photos from my phone and even then it's only through email and I copy and paste them, I need to learn - I know!).  It turned out to be way more low-key than I thought it would be.  We don't want it to be too busy.  Once she's here, there's bound to be some clutter so the cleaner we start out, the better it will look once day to day life begins.

I can't believe that she will definitely be here in just over 2 weeks!!  WE ARE READY.  Bring it on!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eleven Years...

35w2d

Happy Anniversary to me and my fabulous husband Russ!  It's been 11 years since we had that glorious ceremony and party and while it feels like yesterday, it also seems like it's been forever - in a good way.

One year ago today, we celebrated 10 years of marriage (obviously).  The day started out with a trip to the RE to get my blood drawn for my beta on our 3rd IVF attempt.  Coincidentally, one of my best friends was getting her beta drawn the same day (CRAZY, huh?) at the same time so we met there and then went to breakfast.  Beta days for me were always highly anxiety inducing.  This one was both that and exciting because Russ and I were going to go away to NC to a sweet (and as it turned out luxurious) bed and breakfast to celebrate our anniversary, regardless of the phone call we were to receive.  I had been apprehensive about making plans on that day, not knowing what my state of mind would be later on when the call came, but we decided that sitting around here, waiting wasn't going to help.  (We always took the afternoon off work and literally sat here together staring at the phone, waiting for the call on beta day - perhaps not the most healthful of practices, but we couldn't do it any other way)

So we left for NC and started driving, butterflies in my tummy the whole way down.  At about 3 pm, the call came - we were on some highway in NC...  My angel nurse Farrah gave us the bad news.  I hung up the phone and we quickly realized we had missed our exit.  It was a great distraction as we turned the car around and tried to figure out where we were going.  I sniffled a little.  He might have sighed an expletive (likely "F**k") over the news and we literally moved on.  It was by the far the easiest BFN call we had received.  I guess it was because we still had so much to celebrate that day.  Also because we were going to a new place where we could just pretend that we weren't the infertile couple, we were the married happily for 10 years couple who were going to a romantic weekend together. Of course, we were both but why dwell on the IF part? 

At that time, we weren't sure that a 4th attempt was possible ($$$) and we certainly never dreamed that there would be a 5th IVF.  But when I think back to that time, a year ago today, I can't help but remember feeling happy that if I had to go through the evils of IF, I was blessed to be able to go through it with Russ.  In fact, I dare say, that if anyone has to go through it, let it be a couple like us who can manage it without many of the destructive words and behavior that impact so many couples through no fault of their own.  i know it seems easy for me to say considering my current condition, but I remember thinking that no matter what happened in the future, we were going to be OK - better than OK in fact because we had each other. 

So, happy anniversary Russ!!!  Things are much different this year and yet that sense of peace that you've always provided me has grown knowing that you're by my side as we begin our new adventure together.

Friday, July 30, 2010

BIG GIRL, part 2

35w1d

I had my regular OB appt yesterday.  We chatted about my hospital visit over the weekend (no big deal), we discussed my swelling (ugh!), and then she finally said, "OK, let's talk about this big baby of yours..." 

Oh yeah.

That.

She explained to me that Sofia's head measures in the 95 percentile, along with her belly.  In case you don't understand what that means, let me break it down for you.  She is big AND fat.  =)  And will be oh, so adorable! 

This brings on some pretty serious potential complications.  The dr that IF her head can fit through my pelvis, the risk is then that her big, fat shoulders won't.  Once her head is out, she isn't getting oxygen and if the shoulders become stuck they have to either yank her out (causing potential structural damage to her) or shove her back in and do an emergency c-section.  She said that she highly doubted that her head will fit anyway (to which I thought, "But have you SEEN my hips???").  She said if it were her, she'd schedule a c-section at 38.5 weeks. 

OK.  Sounds like a plan.

Remember that I was going to be induced at that point anyway.  Induction is something I really did not want.  My friends who have been through and those on TV seem to get induced only to labor for 25+ hours and end up with a c-section anyway.  So hearing that a c-section is being recommended was exactly what I wanted to hear.  It's being scheduled for Aug 23 (back up date of Aug 24 if the hospital schedule is full on the 23rd, they're working on that). 

SO.  No labor for me unless she comes early, which I still hope she does.  Only problem with her coming early now is that it won't give my parents enough time to get here.  (they live 8 hours away and are prepared to leave within 15 minutes of getting the phone call which would be fine for a regular birth, but won't be enough time to make it for the c section)  Aside from that, my hope is that around Aug 19 (38 weeks), I go into labor...labor at home for a little bit and then go into the hospital and have the c-section.  She did say that if I went into labor in the next week or so, I should try to do it since she isn't that big yet and I might be able to get her out.  As much as I want to meet her, I know that another few weeks is the best thing. 

I'll still continue to get weekly NSTs and scans after which they'll either tell me that all is good or "please go have your baby now".  I'm getting ready to go now.  I love sitting there listening to her heart for 30 minutes!  Then they'll measure my fluid. 

At this point, all I care about is her being born as safely as possible.  So we'll see what happens. There's some comfort in knowing that there is light at the end of this exciting, beautiful tunnel.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

False Alarm

34w6d

Just a quick update about our adventurous Sunday evening...

Around 6 pm, I found that I had some pink spotting that quickly turned into a deeper pink, close to red spot that only showed up upon wiping.  I became concerned and called the dr on call who said there was nothing she could do to help figure it out unless we went into Labor and Delivery and had it checked out.  And so we were off...

Now just having the birthing class the day before, our minds were focused on the real possibility that this was the beginning of either water breakage (the slow leak kind) or the bloody show.  While Russ held it together pretty well, I immediately went into a controlled panic mode just trying to grab anything that I might need just in case this was indeed IT.  I threw my robe and flip flops in a bag along with some toiletries.

We arrived at the hospital and they put me on the NST and we found that baby girl was doing very well.  Lots of movement that coincided with small contractions that I wasn't able to feel.  The resident dr came in and did an internal and didn't see any blood.  They cultured a bunch of things and she said that my cervix was tightly closed. 

My urine test came back with a trace of blood in it!  So that's presumably where it was coming from, though I don't have any infection or anything.  Just weird.  They had me drink water until the contractions stopped and sent me home.  By the time I left, there was no more spotting at all and there hasn't been any since.

So while it was an anti0climatic evening, I enjoyed the experience of knowing what it will be like on the real day.  We got to ask the nurse all sorts of things and I feel even more comfortable about it all.  Part of me was hoping it was really it!!  But I know she's healthier to stay put for just a little while longer...

This experience did kick my butt into high gear and I'm happy to say that my hospital bag is almost all packed and my labor bag is getting there.  Also, there has been great progress on the nursery - pics soon!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big Girl

34w3d

I haven't been posting much lately and yet I do have things to say...You would think that being off work would give me more time to write/read./respond, but I realize that not being at work, in front of my computer, makes it more difficult.  I usually read posts from my iPhone and that means that I can't read anything other than the ones that show up in the window (maybe 2 or 3) because I can't scroll down the page (so I'm missing posts sometimes - sorry if I've missed yours!) and it also means I can't write from my phone.  Anyway...here I am!

Over this past week+, we've visited 3 day care centers, taken a breastfeeding class, birthing class, and I've had my first NST and another ultrasound.  I've had no more painful Braxton Hicks (woo hoo!  It's been over 2 weeks since I've had any!) and am just plain TIRED.

The breastfeeding class was great, though the room they put us in was so hot, it made me sleepy and irritable. I believe that I will be able to do it, but I'm just not sure how long.  Once I go back to work, I can't see me keeping up with it for too long.  We shall see.  The birthing class was OK.  The Lamaze class we took was waaay better.  This class was at our hospital though so we learned a little about how they do things and got to tour the labor rooms and all that stuff. 

I'll post about day care some other time...point is that it's crazy expensive and there aren't wait lists that have less than 50 babies on it.  I feel discouraged and scared that we won't find something, but I know that the right situation will come around.  The place we really love is $1700 a month and it's not even that great, compared to other centers I've seen in my hometown that cost almost half.  On to the fun stuff...

Due to the gestational diabetes, I now have to have a fetal non-stress test (NST) each week along with a scan to measure my amniotic fluid every week.  On Friday I had my first one along with a real ultrasound that my dr ordered, though from now on the ultrasound will just be a quick scan.  The NST was awesome!  They put 2 belts on and measure baby's heartbeat and her movements (once in labor and delivery, this same system measures HB and contractions).  Healthy babies have a rise in HB when they move.  So I sat there for 30 minutes or so and just listened to her HB.  The cool thing was, I would feel her move and then see that her HB would rise from 138 to 160 or so.  Then it would go back into the 140s or even as low as 130.  They were happy that she responded the way a healthy baby should and I just loved feeling like I was so in touch with exactly what she was doing in there.  Of course my mind went into crazy-land and a couple times I worried that her HB seemed too low or that it accelerated too much, but I know I'm crazy and her report was excellent. 

Then I had an ultrasound, pretty routine.  I got the tech that I LOVE, so I was happy about that.  I was also curious to get a measurement because with the diabetes they're concerned about her getting too big.  As it is they want to induce me at 38.5 weeks...  So she's measuring everything and comments on how big her head is!  It's at least 8 or 9 cm already!  It's huge and that's funny because Russ and I both have big heads and we've always said how our baby is doomed to follow suit.  Then she commented on how long her thigh bone is and said she was going to be a tall one.  Then she gave me her approximate weight...Are you ready?  At 34 weeks, she already weighs 6 pounds 7 ounces!  Yikes.  It seems that these estimates tend to be high (based on other people who say "they told me it would be 9 pounds and it was only 7.5, etc...) so maybe it's wrong.  The dr came in to discuss it and was very concerned about the diabetes and controlling, feeling my endocrinologist should be more aggressive with my insulin doses (this is the fetal maternal specialist, not my OB).  Then he looked at the measurements and concluded that while diabetes may have some part, her bones are measuring very high and bones aren't impacted by diabetes (diabetes just makes babies fat).  So he feels like this might be more because she's just genetically large.  BIG GIRL =)

Getting back to the ultrasound, all of the sudden I look up on the screen and see a FACE!  It was Sofia's face!!!  I had no idea that regular machines could produce a 3D/4D image!!!  And I had no clue that the tech was going to turn it on, but there she was staring back at me!  So crazy and so beautiful!  She has super chubby cheeks and is just adorable.  She was able to get one good shot for me to take home and here it is!


That's our baby girl!!  Her right hand is on the right side of her face...ahhh, I could look at her all day!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reality Freak Out

33w

I had my two-week appt today.  Everything looks great.  My OB (the one in practice that I know the best even though she's not officially mine - they have me see them all) filled me in on some things that I didn't know and that are making me panic just a little bit. 

Due to the diabetes, they won't let her stay in me longer than 38 and 1/2 weeks.  That means that I'll be scheduled for an induction sometime around August 23.  THAT means that most likely I'll need pitocin and THAT means that I'll have to get an epidural because I'm not superwoman.  Of course she could come on her own sometime before then and that's what I'm hoping for, though I hope it's not too soon.  She said that at 36 weeks they wouldn't stop labor should I go into it.  Also I will start seeing the high risk doctor each week (in addition to the regular OB) for ultrasounds and measurements of the baby and fluid.  I'm loving that idea as it means I'll get to really check in with her every week.  If they find she's getting too large, they may schedule a c-section, though not before 37 weeks. 

So then she starts asking me, "Is the nursery done?" and I'm like umm....kinda?  Not really.  Then she says "You have a car seat??" and I'm like well, yeah, but does it need to be in now???  She said I had a couple weeks but the sooner the better, she could come anytime.  YIKES.  Then she asks about day care and I tell her that's the most stressful thing right now and she encouraged me to get on it.  She didn't mean to make me freak out - really, she didn't.  She was very matter-of-fact about it all.  But now?  I'm freaking out just a little bit.  There is MUCH to be done.  On the top of the list is day care.  What are we going to do??  There just aren't places around (weird, considering I'm in a major metropolitan area) and the in-home care I've contacted all seem to be full or unwilling to call me back which indicates to me that they don't need my business.  There just aren't day care centers around like there are out in the more distant suburbs (I'm just a mile outside of DC, but still technically the "suburbs").  I guess it has to do with property value and places being unable to operate where it's so costly.  We've thought about nanny sharing but still there's much to be researched and considered.

Luckily, we're trying to work it out so that we don't need day care until January 2011.  I'll go back to work in mid November and then Russ will take off until I have winter break and then we'll start the new year with our new routine.

I know it will get done - what option is there?  I just feel very overwhelmed with the clear fact that this is all happening SOON.  And even though I feel I'm not ready logistically speaking, I am so ready to meet Sofia!

Also, last night we had pediatrician orientation and we love the practice!  They were warm and have awesome hours (they are open on Christmas day!?) and I don't think we're going to meet with any other doctors.  This practice was recommended highly by friends so I feel comfortable. 

Our infant care class with CPR training is on Saturday.  I'm already CPR certified but I need a brush up and Russ has not training.  Should be interesting...  Next week is breastfeeding class and then the birthing class at the hospital along with the tour of the labor and delivery wing.  Exciting!  And scary. 

We're having a BABY!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catch Up

33w4d

I realize that I am not using this blog for the one of its main purposes which is to document this pregnancy in detail.  Oh, I tell you guys all kinds of stuff, but I don't think I'm doing a good job of documenting things for me to have a history of what all happened.  And the reason why I think it's important for me to do that is because once I get over some little bump (like horribly painful contractions), I forget all about them.  And I want to have everything documented - good, bad, whatever.  So I will try to be more detailed in the things that I want to remember but I can tell already that it's not going to happen today.

So I've been in Buffalo all last week and am not home and feeling quite overwhelmed with everything.  We have a BABY coming really soon and we are so not ready - logistically speaking.  With the third (beautiful, fabulous!) shower over with, we finally have just about everything we need but now the nursery is full of stuff and if there's one thing I'm bad at, it's organizing.  I'm pretty good at most things that I put mind to (reproducing is an exception), but I become easily overwhelmed about where to put "stuff" and so I tend to have some clutter.  I don't know where to begin, but considering that I'm not working all summer I know it's my responsibility to figure it out and get it done. 

I'm suddenly feeling really scared about everything baby.  It's not the baby coming home part, it's everything that leads up to that.  We have our birthing class at the hospital next week so I hope that helps me feel more comfortable.  It's just becoming all too real that I could easily go into labor VERY SOON.  In less than a month I'm considered full term?  Unimaginable.

I believe that if you're reading this and you're currently expecting, you passed your glucose test and let me just tell that you really need to be thankful for that.  Because gestational diabetes SUCKS.  I can live with it - only a few more weeks left after all - but it's starting to get to me and my positive attitude is fading fast.  This regimented schedule is the worst and I'm just tired of it.  For instance right now I need to be thinking about what I'm going to eat for dinner and I'M NOT HUNGRY.  But I have to eat.  And not just eat anything; I have to eat a good, well-balanced meal.  Normally on a night like tonight I'd have some fruit and maybe popcorn.  Can't do that. I realize that I'm not a big protein person, no surprise there I guess.  And before bed i have to have a snack???  Man oh man.

This week I have my regular OB appt and my diabetes/thyroid appt.  Do I get any more ultrasounds?  I'm not sure.  I think I gained 2 pounds finally, so I feel good about that.  It brings my total weight gain to around 20-21 pounds, but I'll know for sure Thursday at the dr - you know how all scales seem to be different?  That's the one that I'm counting.

OK, time for me to force feed myself.  What will it be?  Salad and chicken?  That's new.  Read: blech! =)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Catching Up

31w3d

I'm up in Buffalo for my family shower on Wednesday.  It's the final shower, which is good because we really can't fit any more stuff in our little condo!!  Not that I don't appreciate everything but it is getting tight.  The shower on Wednesday will be my aunts and cousins and friends that I grew up with along with some of my mom's friends from work.  It seems everyone is really interesting in "showering" us with love and good wishes - my mom's work people actually asked if they could come (mom was going to invite them but then it's getting awkward if they don't want to come and they feel obligated to buy a gift).  The shower is at some fancy country club with a sit down dinner and all kinds of crazy stuff.  Where I live now, no one does it like that but up here that's how showers always are.  I had never been to a shower at someones house until I moved to Virginia.  From what I understand though, that's the norm whereas spending all this money at fancy venues is more of thing just up here.  Who knows.  But I appreciate everything everyone is doing for us!

I felt pretty good all week up until Thursday night when those terrible contractions happened again.  they became regular, though only 45 min - an hour apart.  I know that can be normal, but it's the pain and intensity that throws me.  When I read about Braxton Hicks, it describes them and then says to call your doctor if they are painful (check!), feel like menstrual cramps (check!), involve pain down the legs (check!), and include back pain (check!).  So I don't think I'm a paranoid nut for being concerned.  Luckily I had an OB appt Friday anyway, so I was glad to go especially knowing that I was going to be out of town all week this week.  They checked me and my cervix is all good, they did that test again (why do I always forget the name???) to see if I'm out of the woods for going into labor in the next 2 weeks (no results yet unless no news is good news, with the holiday weekend, I'm not surprised I haven't heard).   I read one article that said since the baby is putting pressure on all of my internal organs, normal functioning can at times become painful.  I so feel this is the case for me.  When I eat, I'll get terrible cramping (sort of like you have to run to the bathroom before it's too late, though bathroom use is not needed at all - I know this because I run to the bathroom and just sit there like a dummy thinking it'll help).  It makes sense to me that food going through my system is putting pressure on my uterus and may be causing it to cramp/contract.  Just my theory.

I'm all done with work for the summer (and hopefully until after Sofia is here!).  We're spending this first week up here and then I'm home til the end getting the nursery ready and waiting.  Waiting.  I'm really happy to be done with work, but I'm a little worried that having nothing to do might make the waiting seem soooo long.  NOT that I'm complaining =).

My eating is a pain with this diabetes thing.  I have to check my blood, inject insulin, eat breakfast, wait 2 hours, check my blood, have a snack, wait 2 hours, eat lunch, wait 2 hours, check my blood, have a snack, wait 2 hours, inject insulin, eat dinner, wait 2 hours, check blood, eat a snack and inject more insulin before bed.  It's not the needles that bother me - I'm the needle pro after all!!!  (5 IVFs with 4 injections a day makes you that.  It's official.)  It's the meal planning that killing me.  I can fit almost anything i want to eat into my diet, but I have to always make sure I'm getting the right ratio of protein to my carbs and adding milk and all kinds of stuff that I just don't want to think about.  It's just a pain and all I think about is food all day and it's becoming obsessive because when I finish one meal, I start thinking about what I have to eat at the next.  And it's not like when I used to obsessed with food and think about all the great things I'll eat later.  This feels more like work.  Only 60 days left!  And the good part is that while baby girl is growing healthily, the rest of me is definitely losing weight.  My legs are back (to not being so big and swollen looking) and my parents who saw me just 2 weeks ago say that while my belly looks bigger, I look smaller.  So that's a good thing, right?  I'm still stalled at the 18-19 pound weight gain mark and I'm just fine with that.

So we're off to the beach today!  Hope everyone enjoys a fun holiday!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amazing Lamaze

30w3d

So we spent ALL DAY yesterday in Lamaze class.  We arrived at about 8:45 am and left at about 5:30 pm.  Looooong day.  But very well worth it.  The class was held in a Lamaze.org trainer's home.  Her whole basement was dedicated to the teaching of the class.  In one room we set up our mats and pillows for breathing practice and in the other there were chairs and couches for the classroom portion where we watched a power point presentation and she lectured, with a birthing film at the very end. 

I'm SO GLAD we went.  When she first started, it became very clear that she was going to cover the entire child birth process beginning to end.  I started wondering if the birthing class at the hospital is going to be redundant, but now I figure another perspective won't be bad and also that they will speak specifically to our experience at our hospital.

In a nutshell, Lamaze is NOT breathing like a crazy person.  I thought it was.  I thought we'd feel ridiculous and I wondered if I'd be too embarrassed to actually do the techniques during labor.  In reality, it's much closer to the breathing and relaxation that I do in yoga and meditation.  It was so ME.  Very, very simple breathing techniques geared toward relaxing the mind and body so that we are not focusing on the pain.  The instructor created a most peaceful environment and the day was full of practicing how we're going to manage when the time comes.  Russ practiced rubbing my back (um, yeah, it was FULL of massage for me all day - bonus!) and we talked about what I liked and what I didn't. It was very bonding.  We practiced getting know my signals so that he knows when to do what.  We tried different laboring positions - some of which look like he's trying to keep me up when I'm drunk!

Surprisingly, most of the people there planned to have an epidural but wanted some tools to use during early labor.  While the instructor definitely led us to believe that an unmedicated birth is very, very doable, she never ever made anyone feel judged about their choices.  She went into great detail about how an unmedicated birth could potentially be.  She then explained the narcotic option (I had no idea that one was used so often!) and epidurals.  I left feeling that whatever option we choose, our baby will alright.  I definitely left feeling like I can totally do it all without anything, but I am worried about it going on for 20+ hours and how well I'll hang in there.  I can't say enough about how she made us feel that the experience can be a calm and beautiful one and nothing like the crazy scenes we see in movies and on TV. 

One thing she advised which I hadn't thought about is having 2 different bags.  One for labor and delivery and one for postpartum.  I obviously knew about the one bag with my robe and baby clothes in it, but it hadn't occurred to me to have one for all the things we'll need during labor.  One thing I'm going to bring is a little, cheap hand-held fan.  I hate being hot and sweaty and I think it'll help me feel good.  Also , I need to find out if I can have dim lights and candles (maybe battery operated ones if real ones aren't allowed?).  Pillows from home are a big one too.  My mind is full of possibility and I'm glad she got me thinking.

All day, I kept thinking that I couldn't believe we were actually sitting there learning about all this stuff.  I don't know when reality is going to set in, but to think that we could safely go into labor in a few weeks is more than I can wrap my mind around.  And then she'll be here!!!  Keeping my eye on the prize is the thing that I know will get me through any amount of pain and unease.  Bring it on.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doctors and Diabetes

30w

I hit the 30 week mark YAY!!!  There's something about being in the 30s that makes me all at once excited and scared.  This baby is coming and she's coming fast.  Whoa.  Am I ready?  Sure I am. 

Monday was a day of doctors.  I started at the pediatric cardiologist where they were finally able to tell me that Sofia's heart look normal, so no worries there.  I then went up to the endocrinologist where I learned that I would have to start insulin shots 3 times a day!!! Not what I expected at all. 

Then I had my OB appt.  My dr was hoping that I hadn't experienced any more painful contractions but I had to tell that I had.  She was very close to putting me on bed rest but I told her that I only had a week or so more of work, so I'm off that hook.  She just said I can't walk around and I need to take it "very easy".  I'm supposed to call/go in any time I feel at all concerned.  Her exact words were to have a "low threshold for contacting" them.  I'm so glad they don't think I'm crazy.  I've read that Braxton Hicks can sometimes feel crampy, but it's definitely not the norm.  I haven't had them too badly this week, so I hope they're gone for good.  I'm trying my best to stay hydrated so I hope that's helping.  Also, I was concerned because it seems I haven't gained weight in about a month but they weren't concerned at all.  I have some "reserve" as they say, so it's all good. Baby girl is growing quite nicely and that's what matters.  I'm stuck here at about a 19 pound weight gain and I'm fine with that!

Today I had a 3 hour class about how to eat with GD.  It was only me and the dietitian and it still took forever!!  I learned a lot, but am overwhelmed by how regimented I have to be!  I have to eat at exact times and have very specific food groupings at each meal.  I'm glad I went because I learned a lot, mostly that this could really be impacted baby girl which is motivation enough to be strict about it.  I'm just not used to having to force feed myself.  NOT that I'm not hungry...it's just that I usually eat small snacks all day long and now I have to eat 3 small meals and 3 snacks which sounds fine until I put it into practice.  Once I'm done with a meal or snack, I can't have anything until the next one and that's going to be a challenge.  Also I have to have milk or yogurt 4 times a day!!  That's so much!  And getting in my protein might be tough too.  But I can do it!

Russ has put the nursery back together and I can't believe how much STUFF we have!!  And I still another shower!  I had to add more things to our registry because it was becoming depleted.  And it's like Christmas everyday with all of the gifts coming in the mail.  This part is FUN.

Saturday is our Lamaze class!!  It should be interesting to say the least...it's all day from 9-5, how am I supposed to do that without a nap???  Yikes.  Next month we have the birthing class at the hospital but we wanted to learn this method specifically, so I'm excited but a little weary as the class is at some lady's house and I just hope it's a comfortable environment.  And I hope I don't feel silly about all that practice breathing!!  I'll let you all know...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

29w3d

Our big shower was last night and was sooo amazing!!  (Can't find my camera so no pics yet, hopefully it will turn up soon...)

I was mostly overwhelmed and overjoyed by the outpouring of love that our friends showed us.  My close friends got there early, set up the entire room while my mom was upstairs working on the food.  I was on the couch having more painful contractions like the ones I had earlier in the week.  I was a little stressed about not being available but it was a good lesson in letting go of control.  When I walked down to the party room, everything was perfect!!!  We received so many wonderful things and afterward (close to midnight!) my friends were like troops who all picked everything up from gifts to food trays and carried it up to our condo.  I swear if they weren't there, we would still be making trips up and down today!  I'm so grateful for these wonderful people in my life.  Can't wait to share the pics!!

So it's Father's Day.  I gave Russ a card and I loved the words.  It spoke to all the hard work he puts in for our family and after he read he said "I'm not a father yet..." and I had to disagree.  He is already the best dad there could be.

I've been reading magazine articles lately and chapters in some baby books that talk about how to deal with getting dad acclimated to his new role.  I find these articles so condescending!  Like men are clueless, bumbling idiots who might kill the baby if not properly supervised.  I realize that there are many men who are not as naturally skilled at the whole fatherhood thing as others might be, but in my opinion if we treat men like idiots (or anyone for that matter), that's exactly how they'll behave. 

I feel so fortunate to have a husband who is not only already co-parenting (in terms of making decisions and taking on responsibilities) but in many cases, he plans to be the lead.  Isn't that how it should be?  I guess that not everyone is so fortunate, so I need to be grateful for him every second of every day.  Happy Father's to Russ and all the other dads out there who are equal parents to their babies and babies to be!