Saturday, May 29, 2010

Did someone say MOODY?


To say that I've been a bit emotional lately isn't really accurate.  To say that I've been a complete mess characterizes it much better.

I thought that earlier in the week when i cried for over an hour upon thinking Russ was dying in bed only to find out he was having a nightmare was a bit excessive, but I blamed it on it being the middle of the night and a truly terrifying moment. Then there was yesterday.

I'm happy to report that my emotional ups and downs are not limited to just crying. When my nail place gave me a hard time about being 10 minutes late for my appointment, I became so angry that I was shaking and told the nail girl on the phone I could not possibly come in as I was far too upset.  (It was a ridiculous situation over which I will NEVER return to the salon, but how angry I was seemed excessive.)

Then last night after dinner...

All Russ asked is what I ate for the day.  I have to admit it was a particularly bad eating day for me.  It had started with my usual yogurt, but went downhill fast.  At work when my friend offered to get me McDonald's breakfast, I had to go for it.  I did have my V-8 Fusion drink and an apple but then the nail place situation caused me to find comfort in Wendy's fries and a shake (did you know they have shakes? And they come with whip cream and a cherry?).  And although I know it's wrong, I have to declare that those fries completely altered my mood back to happy pregnant girl.  For a couple hours.

So I tell him what I ate (may have "forgotten" to mention the shake) and he says "Baby, you need to eat vegetables every day."  Like I don't know this?  The conversation went on and I asked him to help me eat vegetables and he didn't understand how to do that and it went on and on for about 15 minutes and then I started crying, said "I want to go home now!" (we were in our favorite kabob restaurant), went to the car where I sobbed and howled for 15 minutes.  I'm pretty sure Russ felt confused.  I felt he could have been more supportive and helped me figure out how to eat more veggies, his stance was "just eat them, what's the big deal?  We all do things we don't want to do".  So I cried and said how I'm sure he wishes he could be proud of me and the way I've been taking care of myself and the baby by eating immaculately (did someone say projection?) and that I'm sure he wished he could tell everyone that I work out every day and am in better shape now than ever (more projection?) but that it just wasn't the case. 

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it was my guilt that came pouring out in the car last night.  I don't feel proud of the way I'm handling the whole eating thing.  Yesterday was particularly terrible and not typical of what I eat every day, but still.  I know I need to do better and Russ putting that mirror up to me threw me over the edge.  But to cry that hard about it?  Ugh.  I felt like such a know stereotypically hormonal and sensitive.  Hate that.  There was a moment when he looked at me with pure pity. 


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A new kind of crazy


The 100 day countdown begins...100 days sounds like a lot, but man it seems like it will be here in no time!!

The past couple of days have been crazy!!  Yesterday, I was wearing my Old Navy maternity pants that I love, but am obviously growing out of.  They are the ones that have a natural waist with a button and zipper and elastic panels on the side that you can tighten/loosen as you need to.  These have been one of my favorites because they feel like real pants and are really comfortable.

Well, yesterday may have been their last day because all day they were really digging into my bellly and I would have to pull them up high in order to be comfortable.  So when I left the grocery store and got in the car, I decided to unbutton AND unzip them so that I would be more comfortable. 

Silly me thinks that since I've been sitting so long, the pants will just automatically stick to my body when I get out of the car???  Really don't know what I was thinking.  What I do know is that I had my hands full of grocery bags and as I'm walking through my parking garage (remember I live in a high rise condo with a parking garage underneath), I can feel my pants slipping...but i'm thinking that they must be ok because, really.  How much could they go down?  Well I'll tell you.  They can go down A LOT.  I reach up with my hand (loaded with a grocery bag mind you) and discover that my pants are down below my butt and I'm showing everyone my (BRIGHT ORANGE) underwear!  How luck am I that they didn't go down to my ankles?  I tried my best to cover myself up, but just tried to get into the elevator as fast as I could (which was not very fast).  I don't know if anyone actually saw me, but if they did, I hope they were able to have a good laugh!

Then?  Last night?  Russ has a nightmare in the middle of the night.  Except I think he's literally dying!  He has terrible allergies and uses a rescue inhaler when his lungs become congested.  So in his sleep he starts making a terrifying noise, stops breathing, and taps me in distress as if to say "HELP ME!!"  So I shoot up out of bed and turn on the light and search for his inhaler screaming "Where is it?  Where is it??"  He quickly woke up and told me he was OK, it was just a dream he was having.  Upon hearing that he's alive and well, I burst into tears.  And not just a little wimper.  I was howling.  For almost an hour.  At 2 am.  I really thought he was dying - this boy DOES NOT ever ask for my help or make me think he's in distress unless he really is (which has honestly never happened before).  It was the single scariest moment I've ever experienced.  It took me so long to calm down...I can't imagine what our neighbors think.  And then I'm thinking that the baby must be stressed with all my carrying on.

So here's the thing.

I am so tired of being anxious.  Last night really put me over the edge.  I can't worry about something bad happening to the baby or Russ anymore and yet and I can't stop worrying!  I know it's not good for me or for her, but UGH!!!  I can't help it!  And to think that in 100 days she'll be here and then what??  The worrying really begins.  I am so going to need to be medicated...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Stress and stretchmarks


I guess it's been a crazy week.  I've been stressed at work (in Virginia, we have standardized testing that takes place next week and I'm one of the people at my school responsible for making sure it all goes off without a hitch...stressful), my friend is here to visit (good stress, but still a change in routine), and I have the two upcoming showers to worry about. 

My family shower is in Buffalo in July and my mom wants to make sure it's everything that I want it to be so she asks me about every detail.  Plus I'm the person she talks to about all that kind of stuff so even if she was planning a shower for someone else, she'd be discussing all the details with me.  And I appreciate that she wants it to be perfect, but I have so many decisions to make right now, I would prefer if everything just got done without my input.  I'm sure it will be lovely no matter what.  The problem is that the restaurant that it was supposed to be at is closing so she's scrambling to find a new venue.  So she's stressed and I get it.  It'll all work out though...

My other shower is here and we're sort of throwing it ourselves with the help of some dear friends.  The reason we decided to go this route is because we really want to have a huge celebration and I can't ask my friends to do everything that we want to do.  The shower will be on a Saturday night and it's for couples.  Invitations went out this week (THANK YOU Katie!!  They're awesome!!) and it turned out that we invited 80 people!  I hadn't anticipated that the list would get that long, but it did.  And, quite honestly, every person on that list is near and dear to us.  I didn't even invite people because I felt obligated (you know how if you invite one person, it means you have to invite a few others from that "crew" of friends?)...everyone has truly been there throughout either our marriage and mostly our IF journey and now it's time to PARTY!!!  We've hired bartenders and I'm working on the menu.  (I haven't told my dear, dear friends (are you reading this Cher and Emily???) that the list is up to 80 people...they've offered to make the cupcakes and I can't possibly ask them to make 80 so I think we'll do some cupcakes and supplement with another desert...)  So my whole point is that how could I have possibly asked friends to do all this stuff for us?  When people offer to throw you a shower, they are thinking 20 girls on a Sunday afternoon.  We've waited too long for this and it will be a blow out!  I'm so excited!  (We live in a high rise condo that has a beautiful posh club room where we'll hold the event)  I wish everyone reading this could come!!!  Wouldn't that be the BEST?! 

And now onto me and the baby girl I've got growing in here.  Craziness has come over me this past 24 hours...she just doesn't seem as active as usual.  I feel her from time to time, but she had had a few days of crazy movement and there's a contrast now.  I keep thinking that she must have moved positions and is facing my back which would mean I don't feel her as much.  I'm not getting too nervous but if she doesn't start dancing around like usual soon, I might panic.

I've been having contractions on and off.  I'll go a couple days without one and then I'll have 3 or 4 the next day.  They don't hurt and only last about 10 seconds where I have trouble breathing and just sort try to breath slowly until it's over. 

And here's something new.  Remember last week when i wrote that I hadn't discovered any stretch marks???  Well....they've arrived.  I don't know how it literally happened overnight but it so did.  They are purple and plentiful.  And I wonder if some had been there all along and I just thought it was marks from my waistband because a lot of them are right there, where you have marks anyway from your pants.  And usually I look at night when I'm changing my clothes.  Russ says he doesn't remember seeing them at all, so the instant appearance theory seems the most accurate.  My bikini days were over anyway, so I'm not too concerned.  I just didn't think they'd be so purple!  I know they'll change as time goes on.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Viability Achieved


WARNING:  This  turned out to be a loooooong post...hopefully worth your time though.

First things first.  For those of you who remember, my bloggy friend Jo (at MoJo Working) and I were on the exact same cycle and both were thrilled to get BFPs back in December.  We even had the exact same due date!  I was so happy to have someone to go through the whole journey with day by day, week by week.  Sadly, she lost her pregnancy at 6 weeks.  It was a devastating loss for her, but she got right back up on that horse for another cycle that resulted in a BFP!!!  Her second beta numbers doubled beautifully and she awaiting her ultrasound in two weeks when she'll get to see that heartbeat.  Congratulations Jo!!!

So here I am at 24 weeks which is exciting because it's when baby girl is considered "viable" which means that she has a decent shot of making it outside the womb should I go into preterm labor or if anything else bad were to happen.  Not that we want her coming early, but it's comforting to know that should something happen, there's a decent chance (like 50%, a stat that keeps going up and up as the weeks pass) that she'll survive. 

I've been looking in the mirror lately and thinking "Man, I look pregnant!" And it honestly surprises me.  I can't believe this all happening.  It truly feels like a dream - and I don't mean that in a fluffy way.  I mean that in a "I wouldn't be surprised if I woke up to my childless reality soon" way.  It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it in a real way.

So anyway, it's occurred to me that I've been sucking at giving the details of this pregnancy.  I know I talk about all that crazy stuff in my head, but I need to document my physical changes too.  So here's a little update...Thanks for Priscilla and Emily for the template (Amber, do you do this too? I can't remember...)

How far along:
24 weeks (that's about 6 months - people keep asking me to tell them in months because they're math skills are weak I guess...)
Total Weight Gain: would probably be good if I weighed myself.  I meant to do it every Thursday but I forget all the time.  At last count (2 weeks ago), it was 18 pounds.  Seems like a lot to me and I'm sure it's much more by now...Who's surprised?  The weird thing is (at least my mom thinks it's weird) the doctor has not once mentioned my weight or weight gain in general or said one thing about anything having to do with weight.  Is that strange?  I came into this already  overweight (I mean not crazy big, but I had a goooood 30-40 pounds to lose...that might be a lie but I don't feel like doing the math...suffice it to say that I can tell you how many weight watcher points are in almost anything) so you'd think they'd tell me to not gain too much.  Huh.
Swelling of my feet!! Oh my.  Over the weekend, I got them back to normal and then they were OK Monday and Tuesday but by yesterday my feet blew up again.  I'm trying to keep them elevated (OK, I just lied.  I'm not trying at all really) and avoiding salty food helps, but I think it's just sitting at my desk and not having those feet up that's doing it.

Also, I am definitely having contractions.  And naturally I'm obsessing about them.  They seem to come in the evening, but aren't too frequent and definitely don't hurt or anything.  It just feel like I'm blowing up for a few seconds (maybe 10-20 seconds) and then it's done.  They say it's normal and I'm trying (really I am) to not obsess with worry too much.
And the kicking!  Girlfriend is all over the place!  The week started out a little less active (and, yes, I worried) but not she's back in full force!

Stretch Marks:
I honestly haven't seen any, but I haven't inspected closely either.  I already had belly issue, so I guess I'm not that concerned.
I'm up every 60-90 minutes...maybe once per night I can go 2 hours without a bathroom break.  Some nights, when I get up near 3 am, I can't get back to sleep and banish myself to the couch.  Last night this happened at 4 am.  But I go to the couch and manage to fall asleep for a little bit.  I wish I were sleeping more soundly but it just ain't happening...
Best Moment Last Week:
This one is really, really hard!  It would have to be getting our chair, while not in the nursery yet (because we still need to clean it out and paint), I'm loving that I can sit there and imagine nursing baby girl Sofia on it.  We opted to not get a glider.  It's a chair and a half with a huge ottoman to match.  Russ wanted to be able to sit on it with us and bond.  Oh, that might be the other best moment.  Last night Russ was excited when I told him I might teach parenting classes in October while on maternity leave.  It would be one night per week and will be a good way to make some bucks to help get me some more leave time. (I usually teach parenting classes all year long) So when I asked him about it, he said "Do it! Then I get to have her to myself for a whole night and we can bond!"  So cute.  He's worried he won't bond because he won't be feeding her for a while.
See above.  Also, I notice she's super active at night - and like all night long!  It doesn't wake me, but it could keep me up when I get up for bathroom visits.  I just sit there and feel here and don't go to sleep.
Food Cravings:
Nothing in particular...though I could have chana and naan at the kabob place every single day.
What I Miss:
Cuddling in bed.  I have that huge pillow (not a pregnancy pillow but just a king size regular pillow as a barrier between us and I feel like we may as well be in separate beds.  Also, Diet Mountain Dew!!!  Oh how I miss you! (technically I can have it, but am choosing not to)
What am I looking forward to:
Anatomy Scan part 2 tomorrow.  I love that we get to sneak another peak!!  Also, invitations for my shower are going out soon and that's just thrilling.
24 weeks!!! Viability!

How is Daddy? 
He's fabulous, of course.  Yes, he was upset with me earlier this week when I caused myself to bleed, panicked, and then figured out it was nothing.  This might be TMI, so do not continue reading if you don't want to hear about adventures in coochyland.

Alright, so you know how I worry?  A lot?  Well, I was thinking (once again) that I might be leaking.  And they told me once that I should check my discharge to see if it is milky (good) or watery (bad).  How do you suggest I do that?  I can't think of any other way than sticking a digit or two up there and inspecting.  I have a panty liner on so I can't check what's left on it since it's white.  So when I feel worried about the discharge consistency, that is what I do. (and I'll have you know that the frequency of me doing this has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY over the past several weeks...this was just a bad day)

OK, so I do my check and see that it is indeed a normal, milky creamy consistency - yay!  But while I'm collecting, I myself in there...ouch.  Didn't think much of it until about 10 minutes later when I wiped (cause crazy me was BACK in the bathroom AGAIN) and saw a little speck of blood.  Panic lasted for only about 3 seconds before I determined that the blood was so red and so small, it definitely looked like a surface cut or something.  Hmm...what could it be?  Oh yeah, I just scratched the inside of my vagina.  That's right.  I made it bleed.  Still I wanted verification that I wasn't bleeding from my uterus so I called Russ so that he could come home and visually inspect the blood source (he's a trooper, that boy). 

By the time he called me back, the bleeding stopped and I told him the story and he decided to come home anyway (even though I told him it was all fine now).  So he comes home and I tell him there is no reason for him to look up in the cooch for any reason.  Well...he was mad.  For a couple reasons.  The first was that I had caused him to be scared even if it was for just a second before I explained that it was all better.  Second (and more strongly), he was mad that I caused any amount of worry for either of us.  He kept saying "Did the doctor tell you to stick your finger up there?  Are you supposed to be doing that?" I equate "check your discharge" with "stick your finger up your cooch" so I say yes. 

Anyway, that boy sat in the bedroom for 40 minutes.  Just sitting.  No TV.  No phone.  Finally I had to explain that I realize I am crazy but that he needs to understand how scared I am.  He was kind and said he did understand but that it's frustrating because there are so many things nature can cause, he doesn't like me making my own problems.  And then everything was better.  Yesterday, though?  When I called him to let him know I was on my way home and would see him later that evening?  He responded with a sweet "Keep your fingers out of your vagina please".  That's love.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mama's Day


So it's Mother's Day. It's a day that I'm usually a little sad about, not because I'm not a mom yet but because for the past 11 years I've been so far, far away from my own mom. The day almost always starts out the same.  I call my mom around 9 or 9:30 and she opens her card and gifts that I've sent her while we're on the phone.  She always cries (just like on her birthday and sometimes my birthday) and talks about how lucky she is to have a daughter like me. 

Today was almost no different. The card brought the expected tears.  The gifts were opened and appreciated. There was, however, talk about how this time next year she'd be getting a grandma card from baby girl Sofia (which brought about more tears - the bittersweet kind where if you're my mom's daughter you try to elicit a few times a year).  Then there was talk about how hard it will be being 8 hours away from each other once Sofia is here.  And it will be so very, very hard.

When I first moved away in July 1999, I spent the first few years crying every time we visited and left.  Who am I kidding?  That first year or two?  I cried many times per week!  It was hard to be away.  And yet I know we made the right choice.  (It's snowing today in Buffalo.  My reason for moving was not the weather, but today it solidifies my decision.)  How on earth am I going to leave now, knowing that my mom won't get to see that precious little face for months at a time?  Makes me wonder if we shouldn't go back...and yet I know I don't really want to. Life is full of hard choices.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone reading this that is either a mom, soon-to-be mom, mom of the future, and furbaby mommies (that's really all of you, yes?).  Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Badge of Honor


Had a four week check up today and all is great!  Her HB was 160 and my OB (finally saw my actual OB who was so thrilled to see us since she hadn't seen us since waaay before we starting our treatments) asked about any contractions I might be feeling.  I told her about the pressure I've been getting periodically over the past couple weeks and she said it could be a contraction or just movement, but assuming it's a contraction, it's perfectly normal to have a few a day.  Four in an hour?  Give them a call.  I left feeling so happy!  Next Friday is anatomy scan part 2 and then in 4 weeks back to the OB for my glucose test.

OK, so I've gotten into a habit.  I don't know if it's a bad habit, but I've been consistently doing it for the weeks? =)

When new people find out I'm pregnant and congratulate me, I can't leave it at that. I mean if they say a simple "Congratualtions" and that's it, then I let it go.  But usually they don't stop there.  They follow up with "How are you feeling?" "You must be so excited!" and "Is this your first?"  Once the follow up questions come, I can't act natural.  You know, like a regular PG lady.  No, I have to tell them my life story.

Not that I go into great detail, but part of me has the need (compulsion?) to let these people know that I'm not ordinary PG chick.  I'm special. =)  This didn't come easy for me.  You think that I could just go out there and get pregnant?  Wrong.  You think I just got "knocked up" whenever I felt like it?  So wrong.  So what do I do?  I overshare.

Stranger/acquaintance:  Congratulations!  How far along are you?

IF Me:  Thanks! I'm 22 weeks already!
(I almost always add an "already" as if they have any clue about when this all happened and depending on their facial expression, I might even add a "time is going by so fast!")

Stranger:  That's great.  Are you feeling alright?

IF Me:  So far so good...I mean at first I was nervous all the time, worrying about every little thing (like I'm SO past that now, right?  Not) but now everything is pretty calm...
(at this point I might continue with the verbal diahrea or maybe allow them to get another question in)

Stranger:  You must be so excited.

And here we go....

IF Me:  Yep, it was a long road....

And off I go into telling them that I have FIVE - did they hear me because I said FIVE IVF cycles.  And that we never thought we'd get pregnant and that they said there was like a 0-3% chance of it working the 5th time but we did it!  (sometimes it's not that bad and I just tell them "5 IVFs to get here, so we're really excited...")

So why do I do this?  For one thing, I have no shame or embarassment about the whole IF thing.  I'm an open book and will describe the most personal of details to not only you, my dear bloggy friends, but also to anyone who is willing to listen.  I think it's because I want them to know that this baby?  Oh, she's special.  You have a baby?  Ok, but did you work for her?  Exactly how much did you want her?  Were you trying to have her?  Because me?  I paid the dues to get here.

I'm not sure I like the side of my personality that this showcases, but I think it's just that I want to wear my IF struggle as a badge of honor or something.  I still feel like an imposter in the PG world, like I wasn't invited and crashed the party.  So now that I'm here, please know my story and understand that I have the right to be here just like anyone else.

Perhaps now that I've recognized and released this habit, I can move past it and stop annoying people.  Sure hope so.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A new church


Please read the following with the understanding that I fully respect others' spiritual views, even those radically different from my own.  While I won't go into great detail, just know that my religious upbringing was unfulfilling to say the least. I highly respect (and am even envious) of those who figured it out early on and continue to hold true to their beliefs.  It just wasn't that easy for me.

I was raised Catholic, but didn't go to mass regularly. I attended CCD (like Sunday school but not on Sunday, it was basically there to teach the sacraments and lead you through them).  I made my first communion and continued with weekly classes until I made my confirmation (incidentally, in the middle of ceremony my sponsor and cousin Joey had to tell me that I had a huge hickey on the back of my neck, it was 10th grade and my boyfriend was sponsoring his brother who was my age and also confirming that day a few pews behind me...just shows you how seriously (not) I took the whole thing).  I remember feeling relieved that I didn't have to do any church-stuff again until the next wedding or funeral came up. Done and done.

When it came time to get married, we decided to have the ceremony at the reception site and a Methodist minister conducted the ceremony. Nothing too religious. Sadly, nothing too spiritual. I just wasn't there yet.

Going through this IF journey, I've found great comfort in exploring other alternatives to not only Catholicism, but Christianity as a whole. I was looking for answers and hoped religion would have them. I've explored Buddhism and even the Baha'i faith, among others.  I've learned to meditate and read authors who focus on the commonalities of world religions, as opposed to what divides them. I thought that there would never be an organized religion that met my needs and I considered returning to my roots, settling for "closing my ears" when the priest discussed agenda items that I can't subscribe to. I didn't have to do that though.

I'm full of joy as I tell you of my new church!  My "new" church sounds funny because it implies that I had an old one. We've been going to a Unitarian Universalist church for the past few weeks. It's everything I've always wished church would be. They are "intentionally inclusive and diverse" and welcome those from all other religions, races, and sexual orientation. While they don't follow any particular text (Bible, Torah, ect), they base their beliefs on recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of all people. It's a warm, welcoming place where you leave feeling inspired to go out and make a difference in the world. We sing and pray and meditate. I've lit a candle during the candle lighting portion every week for our baby girl Sofia. Last week I was so moved by the meditation, I wept unashamed afterward. I am full of peace and contentment as I think about our growing family finding a home there.