Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Normal?

My blog has never been so much about my son as it is about me and infertility, then pregnancy and then motherhood and all the emotions that go with it. But, this post is a little different as it is about a little boy who turned 9 months old this week and turned into a, is what happened:

By about 8 months old, little N was a crawling machine and we knew that it was time to get the house baby proof. We did a few little projects which we thought was enough to protect the man and keep cleaning protects and electronics out of his reach. We thought that was enough and life went along fairly normal.

Turns out this we woke up to a mouse in the house! As C tried to catch it and restore our home to a mouse free environment, I worked to keep N away from traps and the general den area until we could get things cleaned up. In an effort to keep him safe we let him play in another room, one where I had done a project with a staple gun months ago. Since we are often in there, and I had run a vacuum at least a dozen times since my project, I never thought there might be hazards in the form of a few stray staples.

Of course, in the span of 5 minutes of crawling around supervised, N looks up at us with a little shiny thing hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Immediately, we jump up and find that it is indeed a staple and then see a few more on the carpet. The immediate thought is How Many Did He Eat?? When you think about it, it seemed unlikely that he would have swallowed a staple and not coughed or cried or otherwise let us know, but since 9 month olds are not great at communicating, the general consensus was to take him to the emergency room.

After my baby's first x-ray and the swallow test, he got the all clear and we came back home. We were slightly shaken but grateful all was just fine. And after vowing to keep the house even cleaner, life went back to normal.

Normal lasted one day. We have family in town and had everybody over for lunch yesterday. While my SIL and I sat on the floor and talked, N was playing happily in the corner of his bedroom. All of a sudden, he started making a gagging noise and it was clear something was wrong. We jumped up and saw that he had gotten his hands on some cardboard and bit a couple chunks out of the corner. He could breathe, but he was not happy about the cardboard sandwich that he couldn't seem to get out of his mouth.

I was able to stick my finger in his mouth to find the cardboard and triggered his gag reflex, which made him throw up all over himself and my hand and trickle onto the carpet. My sweet SIL got the tub ready and we got N all cleaned up and happy again.

After this, I actually felt pretty confident in my mothering skills. As it is something that I only have 9 months experience with, it felt good to have a problem and jump up and take care of it. After the crazy week, we all came out the other side just fine. After my family left, and N was safely tucked into his bed for the night, I told my best friend over a text about all the chaos.
My best friend is a woman I admire for her no nonsense attitude. She was always the tough one while I was more sensitive and we seemed to fill in where the other was lacking. It has been that was since 10th grade and even though I have moved away, we stay in touch with daily emails and texts and regular calls.

I told her about the chaos, looking and maybe expecting some praise for my excellent mothering skills, some commiseration about the trouble little boys get into (she has a 2 year old son) and a good laugh about how we are in for years of this type of thing...instead, I got a "you shouldn't have stuck your finger down his throat, you could have pushed the cardboard down further." This stung for a few reasons. First, it was not what I expected her to say and second, it made me second-guess my instincts. That sucked. I was proud of my instincts and with one sentence a person that was close to me was able to make me doubt myself. I never responded back to her text.

We took the baby CPR class back when I was pregnant and have the choking chart hanging up in the cabinet by the kitchen phone. I do my best to try and find the happy medium between keeping N safe and letting him explore. I puree everything he eats and don't rush him with more solids like bread and cheerios (even though my Mom thinks I should be giving it to him by now...reserved for another blog post). I still find myself reaching out to make sure he is breathing while he sleeps, just like I did when he was a newborn. I love my baby and the thought that I might have hurt him by trying to help him is making my eyes well up while I am typing this. My best is good enough, right?

He is only 9 months old. I have years of this to go. I don't want to doubt myself. My instincts have gotten me this far. I did the right thing. Why am I so sensitive about something that turned out just fine in the end? What happens next time? I don't want to hesitate and second-guess myself when the next thing happens.

I'm still not sure how to respond to my friend. I may just gloss over what she said and move on. My DH said he was good with what happened and how I reacted. He made the point that maybe we have to make more of a childproofing effort. I agree. Part of me wants to tell my mom what happened, just to hear that she thinks I did good. But, if she goes the way of my friend, I think that might make me more upset. My SIL stayed as calm as me. N is fine, maybe some extra roughage in his diaper today. If this situation happened again, I would do the exact same thing. Where can I find the confidence to trust myself and not look for validation from others?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Still human

So, I'm feeling like my last couple of posts have been kind of sad. A little edgy too. And in all honesty, it is not a great representation of how I am feeling the majority of the time. I wake up with a full heart, happy to change the diaper of the smiliest baby I could ever be so lucky to have. I cuddle his warm body, vowing to always remember how his soft, cubby thighs feel when I am holding him and how he never hesitates to try to dive headfirst off my lap when he finishes his bottle. I'm so grateful for how sweet natured he is. When he was born, the nurses called him a cuddle bug. My MIL said she just got the feeling he was going to take everything in stride. How, without fail, someone will tell me how he made their day or go out of their way to want to interact with my happy boy. I don't mean to sound braggy. I'm in Love.

I'm still human too though and I much prefer my son's 8am wake up cry to his 6am (or even 4am...) wake up calls. I'm smiling at him through squinty eyes every morning until I can get one or two cups of coffee pumping through my veins. I get concerned with my own energy level and how if I'm tired now and he isn't even walking yet, how on earth am I going to keep up with a toddler? I'm concerned about all the Hersh.ey's nuggets I have eaten in the last few days and stressed that I can't seem to find the motivation to keep my good eating plan on track.

I am very aware that my sensitivity meter is way up. I firmly believe I have less room in my brain for some of the things I used to worry about, but I also feel like I'm extra sensitive to dramatic stories about strangers or even fictional characters. Sometimes shows feel too real, laugh tracks feel too loud, and stories about real people are too stressful to hear. My mom was telling me a story about something she saw on tv (like that show, "I Shouldn't Be Alive" or something) and I could almost feel my breath getting short, like I was running out of air and wanted to change the subject as quickly as possible. What is that feeling? I never acknowledged it out loud, but I wondered if they could tell that I felt that way. I remember feeling a little bit like that when I was a kid (worrying when the kid in a sitcom would do something bad, almost like I was somehow responsible), but this feels very amplified.

I saw a therapist years ago who was very helpful and I feel like this is a good time to get that going again. I don't feel the same desperation for help that I did back then, but I recognize how much it helped me then and that it can help me now. I worry that I won't find someone who I liked as much as my old therapist (I've moved out of state since then) and I need to find the time and energy to get something set up.

I am not quite ready to get into how I am feeling about the possibility of another round of IVF for baby #2. I do know I'm not quite up for another fresh cycle, nor do we have anything close to the money for a fresh round, but with 5 frozen embies, maybe I won't have to. The hope was that we would take this fall/winter to try on our own, maybe we would be surprised. Not yet.

Getting all this down feels good. I've got a lot on my mind and now I feel like I freed up a little more space in my brain. That is some very valuable space. I think I am going to fill it with a little watercolor before bed.

Thanksgiving tomorrow. Gratefulness abounds and a smiley boy awaits.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thinking of the next few months

The holiday season is always a bundle of mixed emotions for me.  When I was a kid, our family didn't have huge traditions, but the ones we had were special and sweet.  As a newlywed, holidays were wonderful opportunities to celebrate three Thanksgivings and Christmases traveling up and down the east coast to be with the ones we love.  As an infertile, it was a time to hide out and stay low key.  To skip the pitying faces and kids screaming with glee.  It was also a time to be in the stirrups.  Thanksgiving 2009, I'm talking to you.

And now, with an 8(!) month old, holidays feel a little overwhelming.  There is some guilt I feel about wanting to start our own traditions here at home.  We want our son's first Christmas to be all about him waking up early and finding his stocking full and cinnamon buns in the oven.  Fire burning in the fireplace and feetie pajamas keeping him warm.  That picture makes me so happy, since it is a picture I have been dreaming of for years.  The guilt comes in with relatives who aren't able (willing?) to come our way to celebrate with us.  Should we head up their way?  Should we sacrifice our vision and dream so everyone can be together?

As anonymous as my blog is, I still feel like I am being very vague and so this is not necessarily me asking for advice as much as it is me venting.

I would love to wake up with C and N and run down the stairs to see a beautiful tree and Christmas the way I always wanted it to be.  I want to have a beautiful dinner with an open door to whatever family is nearby.  I want those things, but I grew up in a house where really only immediate family were welcome. I want to be more open than the way my own mom was, but the bigger the group the more stressed I get.  I say that I want a big house full of people, but by the middle of it, I am tired and overwhelmed and stressed and guilty.  Maybe those relatives can sense it, maybe that is why they don't want to come this year.  Maybe it is my fault.  When everybody else is annoying, the annoying one is You, right?  

I know it is not really the case.  We are the ones who moved 7 (at best) hours away.  We are the ones asking people in their mid-60's to come down to us.  I have always tried my best to make a warm and cozy home, with plenty of food and pillows and activities for people who can be challenging to please.  I have tried to put my best face forward, even when infertility or pregnancy exhausted me to the point of wanting to run upstairs and hide under the covers.  I'm always the one who takes the stress and pain of everyone around me and holds it in my heart.  If there is a lull in conversation, I jump to try to fill it, if something doesn't go right, I take it pretty personally.  It gets exhausting.

This is not what I want for our son.  I want his holidays to be light and bright, warm and fuzzy.  I don't want him to be responsible for everyone's happiness.  It is not up to him to make sure everyone is happy.  If they don't want to come, they don't have to come.  Our door is open either way.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

About looking like a grown up and feeling like a kid...

Or, when your insides don't match your outsides.  Or something like that.

C, Baby N and I went to an acquaintances son's (4 years old) birthday party tonight.  Since I haven't been to very many of those, I think it was pretty typical.  Fun enough, but mostly watching the kids playing and attempting to make conversation with people we just met.

It was a nice night, but on our way home, as baby N slept in the car seat and C and I recapped the party we realized we had very similar experiences.  We knew the hosts of the party through C's job, but pretty much everyone else was a stranger, friendly enough, but still strangers.  We had each attempted conversations and jokes, some worked and some fell flat, but no matter the outcome we both found ourselves struggling with what does or should(?) come naturally to most people.  Just the art of small talk.  Maybe we need to take a class?  Or maybe we just need to get out and be more social?

We laughed when we realized maybe we spend too much time with family in that we were disappointed when people gave Baby N a quick smile and wave instead of the endless hugs and kisses and glowing compliments that he gets from our extended families.  There was a sense of "why aren't you gushing about how awesome my baby is??".  That seems kind of silly to type out right now, but it is what it is.   We got so used to our families gushing with little to no effort on our part that to us, this felt like a little letdown.  Don't get me wrong, everyone was nice.  It is just that so many times in public my insides feel 12 years old, even though my outward gray rooted appearance says 35 and this party was no different.

I sometimes carry baby N on my hip and when I see someone else doing that, I wonder if I look as grown up as they do.

I wonder if I will ever feel as grown up as I look.  Do those two things ever catch up with each other?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

About friends...

Moving + not having a job = not too many friends for me. I have been feeling like I need something more for myself for a while now. My sweet N is the greatest, but C has been working crazy hours and I feel a little nuts after spending long periods of time talking to myself or talking to a little boy who can't talk back. My parents are the next closest and while they are great people who only want the best for me, it gets exhausting because I feel a little like I have three kids to take care of when they are over (they are both in their late 60's and have some minor medical issues).

I need someone closer to my age who is going through similar things. I may have found that tonight, but I feel like it has been so long since I really talked to someone I would like to build a friendship with that I keep replaying and picking apart our 10 minute chat in my mind.

I was in the baby section of Tar.get and quickly bonded with someone over our glee that formula was on sale this week. She mentioned that she has an 8 month old boy (only 2 months older than mine) and that we live in the same town (so our boys would likely be in the same class when they start school).

She was sweet and open and the whole time we talked I felt like my desperation to have a friend was so obvious. I suggested we get coffee sometime and we exchanged email addresses. I don't know what will come of our meeting. Sometimes your life crosses paths with someone and it is not meant to be anything more than a fleeting moment. Or, we could have a nice friendship.

I hope it is the latter. I need a friend.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

About anger...

When I wrote that last post, I had no idea I would have an opportunity just a few days later to put it into action. Without going into a whole bunch of detail, family (inlaws) have been in town for a few days. C has a new work schedule and wasn't available at the moment my protective mom arms reached out and took care of a situation.

For something as simple as my feeling like the television was way too loud for the little baby ears working some time in the bouncy seat and I requested a reasonable volume, it escalated into frustration and anger from all sides. I felt alone in my battle and trapped in my house. I don't think I have ever felt so angry in my 35 years on this planet.

I come from a family of throwers, never throwing things at people, but there are a few of us who have been known to throw a book or a box or a plate (or a vacuum, Grandma!) in anger and frustration. I threw my cell phone (and broke the case). Baby N was well out of way of any yelling or throwing, in fact, happily bouncing away in another room oblivious to anything other than a happy hippo hanging off what we call the "bouncy house".

I was furious and furiously trying to find a place to put my feelings. I started making food for DH's overnight work shift and got halfway through before I started pacing again. If it was possible for smoke to come out of the top of my head, it would have poured out and set the fire alarm off. I paced for 20 minutes white knuckling what was left of my cell phone case.

When half of my problem went up to bed, I approached the other half in the hopes for a reasonable discussion. My sweet boy still needed one more bottle before bed, but he was still happy in the seat, so I took the opportunity to try to clear the air. I'm one who has trouble sleeping until a problem is resolved.

I feel like I am being a little lame withholding details, so hopefully this is not too confusing to follow, I just wanted to get it off my chest.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on the kind of person you are), one of my inlaws is a therapist. With my body at the full capacity for stress and frustration, I approached my inlaw who helped me slowly unclench and talk out the situation. And after 2 and a half hours, I was feeling a little better, although puffy eyed (still) and headachy.

I slept pretty good. Have had a great morning with my baby boy and C is back from his overnight shift. I still haven't spoken to the other half of the conflict and I'm not sure if it will be discussed any further or we will just magically move past it.

I don't have a problem with magically moving past it, but I want to clear the air if it could save the weekend and help for any future situations. I strive to be someone who can learn from my experience.

I have said it before, but I want my son to grow up in a house where he feels comfortable saying what he needs, expressing his feelings without fear of the consequence or judgement and live in a house where he feels secure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


diapers in the back seat of my car in the 98 degree heat of summer is brutal. But, then my little guy smiles at me as he sticks his little heel in the poopy diaper that I haven't moved out of the way fast enough and I laugh and I remember worrying that I would never experience this. To be honest, I never really pictured myself changing a diaper in the back seat of my car, or on a folding chair in the bathroom of my car dealer or on a big flat rock at the river's edge. But I have and I do and I laugh.

IVF gave me a little edge. It took away some of my modesty and shyness. But, it gave me the strength to be a mom now. The kind of mom who does what she has to do. IVF makes you do what you have to do, stick a needle in your own thigh in the bathroom at work, put your legs up in stirrups for a room full of doctors and nurses and take hormones that bring you to the brink of edginess and tears and then push you right over.

And now, the things I have to do are not as physically painful, but they require new effort on my part. If I have questions about my sweet boy, I have to be proactive (even more than I am for myself) to get my questions answered and "take care of business" as my Dad would say. I am extra aware of my surroundings and if someone is yelling or smoking (for example), I need to be strong enough to get my baby out of there and either say something or just get up and move. It is not that I wouldn't have done those things to protect myself, it is just different with my baby because it feels more urgent and I feel more protective (of course, the new goal is not to become over-protective....but that is another story).

Blogging has been taking a back seat lately, but life has been equally joyful and exhausting. I have been finding tiny moments to pluck my eyebrows and catch up on emails and even think about something other than changing diapers and washing bottles. Working on my hobbies still doesn't last more than 20 minutes at a time, but I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Talking to Myself

Talking to myself has long been a habit of mine. Especially while driving in my car. Years ago, I had a long commute and used the time to work things out while talking out loud. It was my own brand of therapy.

Now that 3 and 1/2 months have gone by since my sweet boy was born, I continue to get flashes of myself and my own needs coming into focus. Like back in April (my last post), I all of a sudden felt frumpy and gross. I needed an overhaul and took care of it. I got my teeth cleaned, my hair cut and colored and started going back to the gym, I even found a pretty top that made me look good while still hiding the belly jiggle. It was nice to wear something new that wasn't a stretched out maternity top.

Then, at the end of May I realized it was time to get my weight back down for good, and I wanted not only to be my pre-pregnancy weight, but I really wanted to be my pre-IVF weight. Which meant I had about 50 pounds to lose. 22 to get back down to pre-pregnancy, plus 30 to get down to my favorite weight (the one where I felt great and got lots of compliments). It is funny to be pregnant and everybody tells you how great you look as you continue to that I'm not pregnant anymore, those compliments have stopped for obvious reasons.

So, I started (not a diet) but a way of life change in my eating habits. Sugar is OUT. No more sugar in my coffee (I'm getting used to it), no more maple syrup in my oatmeal (dried apples cut up instead for a touch of sweetness) and no more ice cream on the regular. Dark chocolate (70%) is a decent substitute when I need something sweet. No more white bread, rice and pasta (substituting rye bread, quinoa and lots of fruit, veggies and nuts). So far I am down 7 pounds! I know that the weight loss will slow down, but I already feel so much better and while I can't get to the gym as much as I would like (and taking my boy for walks in 100 degree heat is not my idea of a good time), I do feel really good about eating so much better. Lifting a 14 pound baby and going up and down the stairs 16 times a day works as exercise for now.

And now that my physical self is getting back on track (although I still have 43 more pounds to lose, my hair could use a touch up already and my belly could use about a million more sit ups...) I realized yesterday, while talking to myself in the car, that I needed something else. I look at my beautiful son and love taking care of him, but I don't want Mom to be my sole definition. I don't want to be boring to him. I want him to look at me and think that I am awesome (for more reasons than I am the one who keeps him clean and gives him food).

And so, now I am figuring out what else rounds me out as a person. I was just saying to my parents that lately I feel like I am running in circles. Most days, I can just seem to get the bare minimum done; taking care of my son, empty the dishwasher, start dinner and maybe I get a shower. On a good day, I can take care of my son, empty the dishwasher, start dinner, take a shower and maybe do the laundry. Most everyday, I look at the clock and am shocked that it is already 9pm and I can't seem to account for what I did all day. I realize this comes with the territory of having and infant and that it will get easier, but as I work on getting myself back together, I see that this is another area that needs help.

My hubby is understanding and takes over for a few hours when he comes home from work, so I can get a little break, my closest friends with kids live about a days drive away, but their phone support does help too. I am finding lately that my mom, who tries to be supportive, isn't very helpful lately. She doesn't seem to want to hear struggle or bad news from me. She even went so far as to suggest that I had ADHD (which is not the case) and said that she noticed that she could hear in my voice that my hormones were back (I had told her a few days prior that my period was back). I might be wrong, but I honestly felt like I heard a little disappointment in her voice, that the happy cloud of oblivion I was living in since I had my son, was dissipating and real life was starting to kick back in. She was trying to make excuses for why I felt like I was running in circles instead of just listening and offering helpful suggestions, which is all I was looking for.

I don't want my son to grow up in a house where he can't express himself when he is angry or sad or frustrated. I want to be the best mother I can to him and right now, I am working very hard on being honest with my own needs and wants, so I can be an inspiration to him and to myself.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking care of myself

Oh yeah. I forgot to do that. It was so easy to forget. To rather spend the time taking care of my baby. To sleep. To make dinner. To just get through the day.

Then I caught a look at myself in the mirror.

Black maternity shirt all stretched out and hanging off me.
Dull skin and tea stained teeth.
The eyebrows of my youth (before Mom taught me about plucking) slowing earning back their caterpillar status.
Ratty, frizzy hair streaked with more grays than ever before.

I realized all I needed was a black, pointy hat and my Hallo.ween wi.tch costume would be complete.

After two months of taking care of my sweet, smiley boy I caught a glimmer of the woman I left behind and I missed her.

It is time to take some time for me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Well Padded

File this under things nobody tells you...
Amazingly, Wednesday marked the one month birthday of our amazing little boy! One month already. And here I thought my pregnancy went fast. Sometimes I get choked up with how much I love our son. I get a lump in my throat staring at him in his bassinet and my stomach gets butterflies when I think about how grateful I am that he is here. I reflect on our infertility and realize that if we had gotten pregnant 6 years ago or 1 year ago or one cycle ago or one second sooner it wouldn't be him. Him. The little boy who sleeps with his arms above his head like he just got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. The little boy who wakes up with the sweetest little cat stretches and gigantic noises that seem to come from deep in his throat. The little boy who smiled at me a few days ago. A huge smile, all gums, that lasted a split second and now I will do anything to get him to do it again. I now can't imagine life without him, his goofy noises or his uncanny ability to need another diaper change 3 minutes after I just changed it.

People told me how much I would love him (true), how I would fall in love with my husband all over again watching him with the baby (totally true) and how I wouldn't be able to picture time without him (completely true).

What they didn't tell me about were all the pads.

Seriously, between the overnight maxi pads I've been wearing for 4 weeks and the breast pads (just finished my first box of disposables), I feel like I am constantly leaking from somewhere.

Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birth Story!!!

One week to the day of the great pee in my pants story, I again found myself with liquid running down my legs...

Tuesday February 22nd was my 35th birthday.

On Monday night, we went out with my parents for a nice birthday dinner and my mom remarked how uncomfortable I seemed. To me, that felt like an understatement. At that point I was exactly 37 weeks pregnant (full term!) and getting more uncomfortable by the day. I had extreme hip pain, especially on my right side which made putting on pants uncomfortable at best and excruciating at worst. Restless legs were my enemy every night and heartburn was my arch nemesis all day long. But, dinner was fun and we took some pictures of me and my belly never realizing that I was soon to meet the little boy that had been making me so uncomfortable.

On Tuesday, we didn't have a whole lot planned for my birthday. In fact, that was the only day the pediatrician could meet with us for an interview, so we had that and dinner planned. The interview went fine, the pediatrician's office was very clean and bright and the doctor seemed gentle and straightforward. After that, I picked my favorite steak place for dinner and we set off.

Halfway through dinner I really didn't feel good. I lost my appetite and ended up spending more than a few minutes in the restaurant bathroom with a stomachache. I had a lingering backache all day too, but chalked it up to another symptom of my ever growing belly. We packed up my leftovers and headed home, never knowing that that would be the last time we would go to that restaurant as a party of 2.

When we got home, I saw that I had missed a birthday call from a close friend and so I called her back and we chatted for almost an hour. She has an 18 month old baby and was giving me tips and advice with what to do with my last three weeks before I was due. Little did any of us know what was coming next...

The Saturday before my birthday was part 1 of the childbirth class that C and I signed up for. In it, I got a few helpful tips (one of which being don't spend the money on De.pends to help if your water breaks - just use some of the infant diapers you likely have stockpiled). One of the other tips was about using the big yoga ball to help get through the contractions. I thought it might also help take some of the pressure off my hips these last few weeks as well.

So, after I hung up the phone with my friend, I went into the living room to blow up my new yoga ball that I picked up at Target that afternoon. It came with a little hand pump, so I sat on the couch pumping and watching the ball slowly blow up.

I readjusted my position on the couch and I felt a little pop from deep inside my body. I thought it was weird. Like a muscle twitch. Like I overdid it with shopping in the afternoon, a doctor appointment, dinner and work around the house. I had visions of my friend, who has been on me my whole pregnancy about relaxing, giving me a hard time about doing too much.

But, those thoughts didn't last long as a huge gush (pee?) of liquid came out of me and onto the couch. I jumped up in disbelief! How could this happen again? Is this what my last few weeks are going to be? Me in a diaper just because I can't control my bladder anymore...

It was different this time. I couldn't stop the gush. I shuffled into the kitchen, knees locked in primal attempt to stop the flow. But the flow would not stop. I had no choice but to take off my pants in the kitchen and grab the nearest towel and hold it between my legs. Only then could I walk to the bathroom to at least keep it off the kitchen floor. As I continued to dribble and gush I came to realize that This. Might. Be. It.

Calmly, and with no pants or underwear on, I went to the den where C had fallen asleep on the couch. "Honey?"

"Honey. I think my water just broke." He smiled, remembering exactly a week ago, in exactly the same spot and said, "Maybe it is just your bladder again..." I showed him my pants and ran back to the bathroom just in time to catch another big gush. "It is still coming out. It is not pee."

He jumped into gear. We thought we still had three weeks to go, so there were a few things that were not done. Quickly, he got the car seat out of the box and set about installing it. I stayed in our bedroom (close to the bathroom) and started packing a hospital bag. We were both very calm on the outside, but our minds were racing a mile a minute on the inside. I called the after hours number for the doctor and she called me right back. I told her what was going on and she gave us the go ahead to get to Labor and Delivery.

It all became very surreal. How could my water break already with three weeks to go? Does a lingering backache count as contractions? Where are my car keys?

At this point it was 12:30am on Wednesday February 23rd. We were driving to the hospital. No one was on the road and all those dry runs we talked about doing to get to the hospital turned out to be unnecessary.

I shuffled into the hospital with C not far behind with our bags and paperwork. We took the elevator up to L&D, signed in and were brought to the room where our son would be born.

I changed into a gown and the nurse checked to see if it was amniotic fluid that was still gushing out of me. It was. Things moved fast after that as the contraction monitor was hooked up to me and the IV bag and the pit hooked up too.

Then, things moved excruciatingly slow. I was stuck at 3cm dilated. It was 4 in the morning and the yoga ball, the massage, the breathing that we learned in the class were minimally helpful. The contractions really started to hurt and the more I moved, the more water that kept pouring out of me. I could not get comfortable. Heartburn (from that steak dinner of many hours ago) was raging war in my esophagus. Restless legs kept me wanting to get up and move around and the IV made me have to pee every 15 minutes.

The nurse came in several times to see how I was doing. She offered me the epidural several times and I kept turning her down because I wanted to be further along before I started it. But the contractions were only getting worse and both the doctor and nurse didn't think I would be ready until later that afternoon. Knowing that the pain would only grow and that it would be HOURS before he arrived, I decided it was time for the epi.

C was right there with me as the giant needle was stuck into my back. It took several tries to get it in and I was truly grateful for C's steady hands and comforting voice as he stood in front of me and held me up as water continued to gush with every needle push. Within minutes the epi kicked in and although I still had control of my legs, it was a constant feeling of pins and needles but no pain. I was able to lay down, relax and even sleep.

I remember the moment I was finally given a shot of maa.lox for the heartburn. It counted as my breakfast since the nurses had encouraged C to get out and get some food before delivery and I still needed to be on an empty stomach.

C returned, I was still pretty comfortable despite the catheter and the pins and needles and finally around 1pm, the nurse came in to check me and said I was dilated to 10! My body was ready. The stirrups came up, carts were rolled in, the doctor was called into our room. It was happening fast. I had no control of my legs, so the nurses were lifting my legs into the stirrups and helping me scoot down to the end of the table. C was whispering in my ear. There was no time to be nervous or scared. All I had to do was pay attention to the nurse and the doctor. Do what they said. Push when they told me. Push for a count of 10! C counted with them. Keep pushing! Keep pushing! They brought out a big mirror, we wanted to see. I remember them telling me to open my eyes, to watch the mirror to watch our baby boy come into the world!!

20 minutes later...Nathan was born. He was in my arms, two coughs and a big cry came out of his mouth and then he was whisked away to get cleaned up. C went to his side and Nathan grabbed his finger.

We have both been reduced to piles of goo. In Love. In love with the most perfect little person I have ever seen. His mouth just like his daddy, his nose just like mine. A perfect mix of the two of us.

All of the struggles, the tears, the heartbreak were so worth it for the moment I saw my baby come out of me. Born into this world to two people who are no longer skin and bones, but piles of goo that in a short week have been pooped on, peed on and spit up on. Two people who are so very sleep deprived and are still wearing the same clothes for the past three days, but don't care.

Time will eventually give us back our sleep and our brains and our clean house. But for now, there is only the three of us.

Oh, and I still can't find my keys.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let me go, I'm peeing in my pants

These are the exact words I said to my husband last night. In all my 36 week pregnant glory while trying to shove something into a box it didn't fit into, I knew I had to pee. I knew I shouldn't try and hold it, but it was such a weird moment. I stood there knowing full well I had to pee, fighting a box that was too small and the tears started to well up in my eyes. C jumped up to rid me of the box stress and gave me a hug. It was a nice, warm hubby hug and I must have relaxed enough, or maybe it was a swift kick from the inside or a combination of the two, but it sent the pee running right down my legs.

Not just a trickle...straight up pee.

And then I started to laugh at the sheer absurdity of what was happening and couldn't say the words, "Let me go, I'm peeing in my pants."

And finally, when my pants were fully soaked and I got my voice back, while I stripped for the laundry and the shower, a thought crossed my mind...

Did my water just break??

I haven't peed my pants in 30 years and I have no idea what water breaking feels like. Logic said it was too early for it to be my water, I haven't had any contractions either and I knew I was going to see my OB this morning, so I just asked her about it at my appointment. I do have to say it is so nice to pee your pants and have such an understanding husband and doctor. Nobody laughed at me (I mean we all did have a good laugh about it after), but the fact that this is such a normal thing during pregnancy is so comforting in its absurdity.

My OB did a check and it was just me peeing my pants last night. I am dilated to 2 cm, 70% effaced and -3 station. I am 36 weeks, 3 days and measuring 37 weeks. My blood pressure is normal, I'm even down 4 lbs from last week (for some reason I was seriously bloated last visit).

We still have a ways to go, but this is certainly the closest we have ever been. As I put sheets on the crib and laid down a waterproof mattress pad I thought, "maybe it is time to start thinking about a waterproof mattress pad for me too????"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

With a little help from Nancy Dre.w

I've been doing a lot of research lately about pregnancy fears. Most of the information I have found is all about fears of delivering a baby. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty running through my head about what could happen in the delivery room.

I can picture myself going into labor and getting to the hospital and then I can picture myself with a beautiful baby laying on my chest after delivery. It is just the actual delivery that I can't seem to picture. But, that isn't even what I am worried about. I'm not afraid of labor (at least not today).

The part I am nervous about is how life will change after labor. After those first few crazy weeks of adjusting to life with a newborn. After C goes back to work and I settle into a daily routine.

It is the being a good mom part that has me worried.


When I was younger, I lived and breathed Nancy Dr.ew books. My grandmother and Dad scoured church fairs and thrift shops for the yellow spine hardcovers that were released in the 1960's. I spent hours devouring those books. Absorbing every word. As I grew older and found other books to read and other things to occupy my time, I can't remember the actual day I put the Nancy Dr.ew books away. I don't remember the last one I read, although read them all many times, I don't remember the last one I finished before I put it on the shelf for the last time.


I have had a few moments of stress and physical pain in my life. As a young girl, I used to walk pigeon toed and tripped over my own feet all the time. There are several photos of me with big scrapes on my face from falling down on gravel. As a teenager, I took Kara.te and had my share of bumps and bruises and sore muscles. When I was 15, I cut my thumbprint half off trying to cut a stale bagel. When I was 16, I sprained my wrist while roller skating. And as a 25 year old, I forgot I wasn't Finn and attempted to swing from rope tied to a tree to jump into a lake. I fell and ended up with a concussion and a bruised tailbone.

I had the typical stresses of high school and college and the various stresses of jobs and job loss. I started grinding my teeth the week before my wedding (and stopped after a trip to the dentist). There was definitely stress involved with trying to sell our first house amidst a bad realtor and even worse neighbors. And there was some life stress that led me to visit a therapist for a few months when I entered my 30's.

Then there was the stress and pain of infertility. But, I know you know all about that.

Because of Nancy Dr.ew, I grew up believing I could handle anything that came my way. Whether or not I acknowledged it outright and whether or not it is actually true I grew up believing if Nancy could figure it out, I could too. Whatever "it" is.

Right now, the "it" is motherhood. Nancy never dealt with motherhood in the books that I read. But, there are many mothers that I admire and mothers that I hope I can emulate in even a tiny way. Although, I want to be my own kind of mother. One who is strong and smart and full of love and energy.

It is my goal, but these last few weeks of pregnancy have been hard and are getting harder.
Stress and physical pain. I never had sciatica before and this has shown up in a huge way, making it almost impossible sometimes to take a simple walk across the kitchen. I've heard women mention hitting a wall of exhaustion in the third trimester and that wall smacks me in the face twice a day lately. I feel very clingy to my husband and worry about him on his drive to and from work. I worry that we won't get "everything" done. I think about how our relationship will change and what I will miss about the life we have made for ourselves over the last 10 years.

Nancy taught me how to survive. Now, I need to know that I will be good at this new life. Nobody can tell me ahead of time. I just have to trust myself and know that I have survived so far and that this challenge I can face head on and be the mom I truly want to be.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Some things I'm thinking about with 5 weeks to go

Oh, wait. What? What was I going to write about?

First, pregnancy brain? Totally real.

Back pain? Definitely.

The fact that my den is a half a flight of stairs down from my kitchen and I am more comfortable sitting on the steps to eat and watch tv than go all the way down and sit on the couch. All the way. All 6 steps!

I'm exhausted, jiggly, crampy and achy. I want my body back. I told C that I wake up with the intention of not complaining, there are just so many feelings I am having both physically and mentally I can't help but start to moan about one thing or another.

During IVF I knew I would be so grateful to be pregnant. And I totally was.

As I crossed over several pregnancy milestones I knew I would become more comfortable with being successfully pregnant. And I was.

As I rode smoothly into the second trimester (truly the honeymoon phase) I told everyone within earshot that I loved being pregnant. And I truly do.

There are just some things going on now that I didn't anticipate. I didn't realize there would be a moment where I really wanted my body back (C likes to say that our baby boy is renting my body right now), feeling frustrated with back pain and instant reflux when I bend down to pick something up. I didn't realize the struggle I would have with s.ex. That I would want to and then get so wrapped up in my head and my jiggly body that I can't get very far. C is sweet and understanding, but I'm feeling pretty confused. I didn't know that I would feel so protective of my newly growing family that I would get stressed about the plan for visitors after our baby boy arrives. C and I are on the same page about how to deal with visitors, I just get wrapped up in my own head and start having imaginary arguments in my head (tell me I am not the only one who does this...).

On the other side of 5 weeks, my baby boy is thriving and rolling and pushing and loved the milkshake I had with lunch today. Soon, I am going to meet the little man who has kept me company all day every day for the past 35 weeks. C and I have done a ton of work on the nursery and the crib and dresser get delivered on Tuesday. My parents were over last week to help out with a few projects and they both got to feel a few kicks from their grandson which made them exclaim that they "love him already!" I know the feeling.

At times I am tired and frustrated and stressed and achy. But, I am also in Love. Love with a husband who has ridden this crazy IF and now pregnancy train with me and has consistently made me feel protected and cared for. Love with my body which took 3 IUIs, a lap and 2 IVFs in stride and now has carried a growing baby for 35 weeks in a beautiful way (even if the stretch marks make my belly look like a zebr.a hallow.een costume). And Love for a little boy who reminds me daily that he is growing and getting stronger and getting ready for me to be his mommy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Overdue recipe...BLT tacos

The secret to the perfect BLT taco is the cilantro.

One of my and C's favorite places to go back home is a tiny, hole in the wall restaurant. There about 12 stools spread around 3 counters and if you can't get a seat you will either be eating while walking down a picturesque street filled with small shops and people walking their dogs or driving home to eat in the comfort of your living room. We have been the couple eating while walking down the street. We have also been the ones who ran in to get the food while the car is double parked out front. But, our favorite spot are the two stools right in front of the huge window, where we could people watch and pour fresh salsa on top of our tacos and take huge bites and smile at each other relishing in the deliciousness.

This description makes these tacos seem pretty amazing and maybe it is just because the place has such a special place in our hearts, but I think it has a lot to do with the cilantro.

Back in my first trimester, I had a craving for these tacos and since we weren't making the drive to NY anytime soon, I walked into the grocery store and starting thinking and making a mental list of everything in those delicious bites...

Monterey Jack cheese
Red cabbage

Then I got home and got to work, chopping up the tomato, red cabbage, sweet onion, cilantro and a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper to marinate in a big bowl together. Then I fried up the bacon and crumbled it up into pieces.

When we were ready to eat, I warmed up the tortillas and spread mayo down the center, dropping the crumbled bacon on top of that and then layering the vegetables and cheese on top of that. When I rolled up the tortillas they were so thick I needed toothpicks to keep them closed, but it wasn't really necessary since we were both hungry and these reminded us of home.

So that's it...if you make them, let me know how you like them. If it wasn't 1am and I had the ingredients in the house, I would be making a few right now. I guess I will have to settle for a light snack of cheese and crackers with a Tums chaser.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


As time moves faster and the little elephant on my page gets ever closer to the 40 week mark and my to-do list grows ever longer, I find myself reflective.

I am also finding opportunities to talk to C about what we both are thinking about and hoping for ourselves as parents. During our years of IUIs and IVFs we often found ourselves noticing families and children who may be misbehaving and asking ourselves what we would do and even judging other parents, knowing we would do it better. But, as my due date gets closer, all that knowing becomes very real. What do we know really? Nothing.

I have a very close friend who has an 18 month old and both of them came to stay with us for the weekend. It was a great time and we had a lot of fun, but there were moments where the baby absolutely wore me out. I imagine part of it is because I am 34 weeks pregnant and exhausted enough just by getting through the day, never mind spending it chasing a baby, walking around parks and getting up early and staying up late. By the end of the weekend, I found myself very grateful they were leaving and that made me feel bad. Here was one of my closest friends with her son and all I could think of was that this preview of things to come was more stressful and anxiety inducing than fun.

We live far away from each other and the past few nights I have gotten a few emails from her about her son's struggles with sleep and her and her hubby's difficulty with agreeing how to handle it. I don't really have good advice for her and I'm finding that I don't want to hear about it. It scares me. I spoke to C about it tonight. I told him that her stories were troublesome to me for a few reasons, and that I hope and pray that our sweet boy is a good sleeper, that the two of us are together on how we handle it (and don't turn on each other) and that I am strong enough to let the baby cry if that is what he needs to learn how to sleep.

It is exhausting to try and figure out right now what we will do if we have a similar problem a year and a half from now. It is my instinct to always have an answer. To be definitive in my plan. How can I possibly expect myself to know how this next part of my life will go???

I am not naive enough to think that we will have no problems and parenting will be a piece of cake, but right now the things going through my head are finishing my to-do list, getting through childbirth, and praying for a healthy little boy. C is confident that we can handle anything life gives us (which is comforting and true considering everything we have been through so far), but now I am just struggling with how to support my friend and protect myself from the worries of the distant future. I know she doesn't realize that this is difficult for me to hear. I have known her for 20 years and I know that she is just venting. I know that I can be honest with her, but right now it makes me feel weak to tell her how I really feel. I want everybody to think I am so prepared and ready to handle anything, but inside I am a little twitchy.

I am very honest with C about my feelings. My hopes and my fears too. I don't want to worry him though. I love his confidence in us. I feel it too. I just need to find a healthy balance between taking care of myself and protecting my little growing boy these next 6 weeks, being respectful to my family and in-laws who seem to have a lot of advice right now and my dear friend who is struggling with things that I can't fix and gives me anxiety about the future.

The goals are a healthy little boy in 6 weeks, a new title for me and C and a peaceful, loving life. The trick is the balance.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Does anybody need ovulation test sticks?

I was cleaning out my cabinet and found a box of 6 brand new ovula.tion test sticks (they expire May 2011) that go with the CBE digital ovula.tion test. I just have the test sticks (not the digital test holder), but would be happy to mail them out to the first person who lets me know. Just drop a comment and I'll message you for your address. I'll cover the shipping cost, I just want to give them to someone who can use them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Close. Time. Almost. Stuff.

I've written posts about how my brain felt like it was all over the place. Like I had so many things I wanted to do before I was due. And now, that due date is the closest it has ever been.

Amazingly enough, a day that I never thought I would get to have came this past weekend. My baby shower. My own. Mine.

It was so surreal. As I walked in the door, the host of the party, a fairly new friend of mine asked me if I was going to cry. I wasn't. And I'm a crier. I was just too happy to cry and made my way around her house to appreciate every detail of the party.

I didn't want to forget a thing. From the small table by the door overflowing with favors to the fabric alphabet blocks hanging from the ceiling. Then from the big bowl of fruit punch on the counter to the cake made to look EXACTLY like the baby quilt I picked out. And then there was the clothesline filled with baby clothes and socks and hats and blankets hanging across the dining room. I didn't want to forget a single detail.

I'm not usually one to post a lot of pictures...but this cake was outrageous!

It was a very small group. I recently moved and most of of my family and friends are 7+ hours away, never mind trying to travel during this endless winter that some are experiencing. But that small group was perfect. Me, feeling especially round and bloaty, surrounded by the people who are closest to me.

This day clicked into place like so many moments of this pregnancy so far. The first time I POAS and it was positive, the first time I walked into my OB's office, the first time a food (steak) made me dry heave, our first class at the hospital, the first time I walked into a maternity store to shop for myself, the day my belly popped and I looked officially pregnant, the first time a stranger noticed and commented on my pregnancy, the first time I realized an orange makes our little guy dance in my belly and the first (of many) times I finished off a bottle of

And now, at exactly 33 weeks pregnant, surrounded by the baby stuff quickly filling up every corner of our home, I feel a bit rushed. Every Saturday in February is booked with classes at the hospital. There is some well-meaning pressure from friends and family to "help" and I'm feeling a bit lost. I imagine what I am writing will not come out exactly right. Maybe it sounds like I am not grateful. I am beyond grateful. I am just a little overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with a party that was for me, but not for me, if that makes any sense. I guess I am afraid of losing my identity when I become a mom. I wonder if that happens when you get pregnant at 34 years old instead of being much younger or if I am just being selfish.

I know that when I look back at my life, being pregnant will be an absolute highlight. I have LOVED these past 33 weeks. I'm just afraid. Afraid of how completely life is going to change. And I know...when I say that to people who have kids, they immediately launch into how life changes for the better. But, I have been me for a long time. A little lost, a little neurotic and a little goofy.

And, I don't know how to be a mommy without losing the part of me that makes me awesome.