Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy 6 Month Old

How is she six months old already? 

This weekend we gave her rice cereal for the first time.  I had the spoon with her first bite about an inch from her lips when she grabbed the spoon and popped it right in her mouth! She got the hang of it right away and really seemed to enjoy it. We'll try green beans later this week.  

She's doing all kinds of tricks lately.  She is an old pro at sitting up and in the past couple of weeks has gotten VERY good at army crawling around the house. She doesn't have good hands-and-knees form, but man she can get around regardless! 

She's still huge - not sure how long she is, but a couple weeks ago we went to the doctor for a little rash and she was at 18 lbs, 4 oz. I think she's just a solid girl all around, but generally slim as she doesn't have the "buddha belly" many of my friends' babies have. 

We get comments all the time about how good she is. She adores crowds of people. She's perfectly content to be passed from family member to friend to family member to friend. She almost never cries and only rarely fusses. 

I read enough infertility-blogs-turned-happy-ending blogs to know that parenting an infant is not always easy or pleasant. Not that parenting Jodie is easy per se, but I honestly expected it to harder. I expected to be more exhausted, more frustrated, more wistful of my "freedom".  I know how lucky we are to have a large network of local family and friends who are eager to babysit anytime and all of whom are absolutely smitten by our baby girl. I know we are also blessed with a good sleeper who has a good, happy temperament and who is easily soothed and satisfied. And I think another part of it is how infertility shaped our mentality. I am so grateful, every day. Maybe if getting pregnant had been easy, I would have more quickly forgotten how lucky we are, and I would be more prone to frustration when she blows out a third diaper in a day, or when she's crying as I'm doing the nasal aspirator on her. 

Anyway... lest you think that EVERYTHING in my life is sunshine and rainbows, I do wonder if my sex drive will ever return. Poor Champ... and I see how parenting is hard on marriages. I think we're doing just fine, but it's so easy to nitpick on each other and get annoyed with each other. Like why is it my job to wash bottles every day? I already have to a couple of hours every day pumping and nursing, why is it assumed that bottle washing is my designated job?  Or why is it assumed that he can make plans without checking with me to see I can watch Jodie but I always feel the need to let him know and check with him before I make plans?  Is that just a male thing? Minor problems. But it is an adjustment on the marriage. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The difference a day can make

What a difference between a year ago today and a year ago tomorrow. 

One year ago today was the last day before I knew I was pregnant. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I had been falling back into the old standard of being depressed about infertility. It had been a rough week. I wasn't feeling well all day, so I decided to treat myself with a haircut and highlight. I was tired and had an interview the next morning so I went to bed early. I remember thinking vaguely how weird it was that I still felt hungover but hadn't drank in three or four days.

One year ago tomorrow, I woke up still feeling a little nauseous. I was a little nervous for my interview - I really wanted the job. I don't know what made me grab that pregnancy test, leftover from the IUI the previous month that didn't work. I didn't even mention to Champ that I was going to pee on a stick. Exactly no part of me believed it would be positive. 

But then it was. That vertical line showed up not two seconds after I started to pee. My whole body was shaking then. My eyes teared up, mind racing to the past several weeks - a chart that didn't make sense, a cycle without ovulating (wrong!), an IUI the previous month... I had no idea how it was possible, but there it was, an unmistakeable pink line where no pink line had been before. The pee was still drying when I ran in to show Champ. I threw on the lights and jumped on the bed, hysterical by that point. He told me later he thought we had an intruder or something and he was about to grab the bat from the closet. Ha! 

Champ didn't believe it, especially since it came out of nowhere. He was convinced the test was faulty. So of course, he ran out to the drugstore to pick up one of those fancy schmancy digital ones. I worked on a brief "WHAT?!?" blogpost and drank about a gallon of water. 

For that test we had to wait the proverbial two minutes, but there it was. Pregnant. I called my RE to schedule a blood draw for later that day, and then it was off to a job interview (talk about being a nervous, jittery mess! I still can't believe I got offered that job!). And in the span of 24 hours, my entire life changed course. 

And now! I am thankful every day. I feel lucky every day.  I swore I wouldn't take it for granted and I really haven't. Even when she is being a fuss bucket. 

You obviously need a picture. This one is from the day of her baptism (post THREE gown changes and finally in some comfy clothes!). 

Monday, September 23, 2013

3 Months Old

<<Turns red>>


<<Dusts off cobwebs>>

Anyone still here?

I, like most post-baby inftertiles, am struggling with what to do with this space.  I know I want to keep it around, as I still get comments from ladies who are just entering this world of infertility and Premature Ovarian Failure. I'm blown away with how many pageviews my post on "Getting Pregnant with POF" continues to get on a daily basis (currently 6.5 times more views than my second most popular post,
"Ultrasound Results" in which I obsess over my chart for the month I got pregnant).

I think my story can provide hope to women with POF who are given a dire prognosis. Many women are told to seek donor eggs before they can give their own bodies a chance. I was told to seek a donor the day I was diagnosed. Over the next year, I struggled with "being ready" for that. I wanted to be ready; especially since Champ was just kind of waiting for me to say the word and he'd be ready to move full steam ahead with a donor. Even though almost no part of me actually believed I would become pregnant on my own, I knew that I needed to give myself some grieving time before spending the $15K plus on donor IVF.  So I think my blog is still serving a purpose out there in the IF world, even if my current posts are less about infertility and more about being a mom after the grim POF diagnosis. And I'm okay with that, even if I'm being way generous with myself for using "posts" in the plural form, since I hardly ever post.


A year ago this week I got pregnant. Against all odds. And nine months later, enter this beauty:

I find myself wondering - do all parents think their child is the most beautiful and amazing creature ever to grace the earth or is it just me? I am so enamored with this little one.

Did I tell you she's brilliant? She has taken to attempting to blow raspberries when prompted. She can roll over back to belly. She can squeal like a velociraptor. She's been sleeping through the night consistently for the past five weeks.

We lucked out. We know it. With as much as we prayed and we begged and we cried for a baby, I would have been happy with a colic-y, spitter upper, cranky, less-than-beautiful baby. But wow. I am beyond grateful for this perfect little gal.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

8 Week Update

Wow, time is flying by. Our little Jodie will be 8 weeks on Saturday! She's doing all kinds of new tricks, like smiling, blowing spit bubbles, and sticking her tongue out. Yesterday I caught her laughing in her sleep. She is a champion eater and grower and was in the 99th percentile for height (23.5 inches) and 95th for weight (11 lbs, 1 oz) at her one month appointment. That was three weeks ago, so I'm guessing she's already packed on a few more lbs at this point. I'm taken aback at how quickly she has outgrown her newborn stuff and even some of her three month old sleeper pajamas. She's so long that the little neck ends up down by her chest when footies are involved.

We completely lucked out that she hardly EVER spits up (like five times, ever!) but man, she is a pooper. Even still. The pediatrician was shocked at her one month that she's still pooping 6-8 times a day. Most babies are down to one or two a day at this point. But I'll take a pooper over a puker. At least the diaper can contain it!
One of the shots from her newborn pics

I'm on maternity leave for another couple of weeks (for a total of 10 weeks), when I'll go back part time for 4 weeks and then resume my full time duties. I have to say, I am soaking up and enjoying every minute of this leave. I absolutely love spending all my time with Jodie. I only think about work when they contact me with questions / instructions (which actually seems like all the time), and I dread going back. I always thought I might get bored not working for so long but such is not the case. I may be singing a different tune in other circumstances, but as luck would have it, no fewer than FOUR of my very good friends are also on maternity leave with me, so I've had plenty of meet-ups with my gals and their babes. It's actually hard to believe how busy I've been - lots of lunches with friends, Mommy & Me yoga, trips out of town for weddings and such. I'm certainly not at home on the couch all day.

I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite pictures of her! She's four weeks here. 
Other updates -

Breastfeeding, for the most part, has gone very well. Like I said, Miss Jodie is a great eater. I seem to be producing plenty and have typically been able to pump and freeze an extra 5 or 6 ounces a day, which will be great for when she goes to daycare.There were a few rough patches in the beginning, when Jodie tore my nipples to shreds. I solved this problem by using nipple shields, which she got the hang of very quickly. They are a lot easier for her to suck without getting too much and choking (which happened all the time without the shield). Now, though, she won't take the breast without the shield, which is a bummer. It's a pain to have to find and clean the shield all the time and heaven help us if we are out and about with no bottles and no shield. I made that mistake once... it will. not. happen. again. The shield is way gentler on me anyway, so when it comes down to it, I'm just glad she's getting plenty of milk and it's not painful for me.

My running has resumed. You might remember that I am a runner. I ran a full marathon last May, and from September 1, 2011 to September 1, 2012, I ran at least a mile every single day (we called it the 365 club). However, I ran 0.0 miles during pregnancy. Oops. So I'm essentially starting from scratch with the Couch to 5k, which has apparently changed its name to "Ease into 5k".  I have a long, looooong way to go, but I'm determined to lose these last 10 pounds and to get back into at least some semblance of fitness.

In general, mommyhood has been everything I thought it would be. It's been frustrating and tiring at times, but overall I am SO happy. I'm SO in love with this little girl. She's completely worth every hot flash, heartache, ugly cry, and depression that came before her.

Here she is again, at 7 weeks:
Who wouldn't fall in love with that face?!?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Birth Story

Perfect? Yes. 
I'm not sure how interesting my birth story is, but I know I'll want to remember every detail and thus this is as good a place as any to record it!

The story begins on Friday, June 21: my actual due date! I was feeling uncomfortable and tired and VERY ready for our little miss to make an entrance when I went to my scheduled doctor's appointment that morning at 10 am.  The doctor had been doing non-stress tests twice a week and also checking fluid with an ultrasound once a week, so I settled in for a 20 minute non-stress test and also let the doc know that I'd been feeling the baby kick much less frequently in the previous few days. After the 20 minutes were up, the doctor came in and said the baby wasn't passing the test. She wanted me to stay on a little longer. Another 20 minutes goes by, but at some point early on, the machine had run out of paper, so the results were inconclusive. Another 20 minutes goes by, and doc says baby girl still isn't passing the test. She also mentioned that I was having steady contractions at about 4 to 5 minutes apart (which I was feeling, but didn't think they were "real").  I was starting to panic a little about baby's safety at that point, but a quick ultrasound showed a steady heartbeat. I thought steady would be good, but apparently they like to see the heart rate go up and down several times and baby girl's heart rate was not cooperating.

At that point, the doc says she wants me to head to the hospital for a prolonged non-stress test in triage. She suggested I go home, grab my hospital bag in case I needed to be induced, and eat a quick lunch before going in, but that I probably would be induced the next day or early the following week if I hadn't started early labor at that point.

I called Champ and he met me at home. We finished packing our bags and ate lunch, then went into our hospital's triage around 2 pm, where they did another non-stress test and also checked to see if I was dilated. Baby still wasn't passing the test and I was about 1 cm dilated. They called my doctor (actually, my doctor was on her way to the airport that afternoon and leaving for vacation, so they called the doctor on-call, who then became the doc who delivered the little one) to see what she wanted to do. They did say that I was having regular contractions at about 4-5 minutes apart still, so I may have started early labor on my own.

The plan: Induce that day. Use some kind of mini balloon (never heard of it) to thin the cervix before giving pit.ocin.

I really did NOT want to be induced. But baby's safety was obviously my #1 priority and if she wasn't passing these tests, I wasn't going to mess around. They admitted me to the hospital at about 4:30 pm and we waited... and waited... and waited for the resident to come in with the balloon. FINALLY, about an hour and a half later, they come in to do the balloon.

And after MUCH digging around (OUCH), they decided it wasn't going to work. I wasn't dilated enough and they couldn't get it in. Wop wop.

New plan: Cerva.dil. Which is some kind of gel they stick up there and they let it thin the cervix / dilate more. They administered this stuff at 7 pm and said "okay, we'll take it out and check your cervix at 7 am. We'll hope to get to 4 cm by then." Twelve hours?!? At that point, Champ and I were thinking why not just let us go home for this part? Twelve hours, sheesh! But okay, if it's going to be twelve hours, maybe we can get some sleep in the hospital and what not.

By 9:30 pm, my contractions were very painful. And they kept getting worse and longer and worse and longer. By 11 pm, I was hyperventilating at every contraction. Doubled over, drooling, crying, etc. It was not my finest hour. The pain of those contractions introduced me to a new world of physical pain. It was absolutely crushing. I will never look at pain in the same way. Ever. By 12:30 am, I had another 6.5 hours to go of the most excruciating, world-shaking pain I could imagine. The nurse came in during a contraction and quickly decided to call the doctor because there was no way in hell I was going to make it all night without passing out.

The doc said to go ahead and pull the gel and check to see where I was - 4 cm! Thank God! That stuff worked doubly fast on me, which maybe explains the level of pain I was in. As soon as the nurse said "would you like an epidural now?" I practically screamed "YES!" Which is too bad, because I was hoping I'd be able to go au natural. But with the induction, there was just. no. way.

Part of me (pre-labor) had been afraid to get the epidural because of that absurdly long needle going into my spine. HA! I would have gladly gotten stuck with a 100 needles over feelung those contractions any more. So the epidural was in within about 10 minutes, the pit.ocin a half hour after that, and from then on out, it was smooth, smooth sailing, aside from a couple of low-blood pressure scares. I couldn't really lay on my back without almost fainting. So they kept me mostly on my side and I went from 4 cm to 8 cm between 1:30 am and 4 am. They broke my water at 4 am; we called the parents at 4:30 am and got to hang with them (and my siblings and their spouses) for a while. At about 6:15 am, it was time to push. You push during contractions and mine had slowed to 4 minutes apart again, so I had nice long breaks between pushing.

You know the rest: Little Miss Jo.die Be.lle was born at 7:46 am on Saturday. The cord was wrapped tight around her neck, which is why she kept failing those tests. Doc cut the cord very quickly and she was screaming her head off one second later.

I'll reflect more on the emotional side of things later, but my baby needs a boob right now.  Apologies in advance for the shoddy writing, this was written in a hurry. :) Love to you all and thanks for your amazing support through this journey.