A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dog Tired; or, My Nursery Dreams

I'm supposed to be working my tail off on an overdue paper, but my exhaustion is kicking in and sending me to sleep every time I try to get some work done. So I'm taking a study break to show off some of the ideas I have for the nursery.

The Lawyer and I decided to wait until the birth to learn the baby's sex-- I want a gender neutral nursery and accessories anyway, and it just seems like such a fun surprise. Plus, it should cut down on familial pressure to find out the names ahead of time. So, that being said, here is the nursery plan for a boy or a girl.

I've wanted cafe au lait or cappuccino-colored nursery walls for a long time. I think that's a color that will coordinate well with pink accents or navy accents. Our second bedroom is rather dark, so we want something light for the walls. And I want the room to have a relaxing, restful feel.

I also love green, particularly sage green. So imagine my delight when I discovered this bedding pattern at Restorati.on Hardw.are Baby&Child!

I love the color contrast of light brown and green

RH also has a matching rug and wall paint (called Toast) in the exact color palette as the bedding. So put together, the whole look would be something like this:

We'll paint the walls that toast color, use the toast and silver sage dot rug, and the polka dot bedding in that colorway. Then, we'll bring in more green with the curtains, most likely in this colorway:

Finally, for the crib I'm considering the Argington bam bassinet/crib system (which also has a toddler bed conversion). It has a matching wardrobe and dresser that we would also probably get (and I'd use a changing pad set-up on top of the dresser instead of a full changing table). It has a trundle underneath for extra storage, is made of sustainable wood, and costs a lot less than other fancy, modern-looking cribs.

I'd also want a traditional glider in dark wood with cream cushions. I don't know what kind of wall art we'll use-- my husband and I chatted about a puppy theme. That would bring our first "baby," our fluffy pup Bella, into the room and would work for a child of either gender. Then if we had a girl we could add subtle pink accents--pillows for the glider, a lampshade, perhaps a toy chest--after the birth (or a do similar things in navy for a boy). And there's so much great nursery art available on etsy and other online retailers. In a quick afternoon search I found all of these:

Aren't they adorable?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ultrasound Update; or, "Baby's" "First" "Picture"

My husband and I had our second appointment with my gynecologist yesterday. In the past week, the m&m has gone from a tiny, barely distinguishable black smudge on the ultrasound to a round silver dollar shape.

We didn't see anything inside the gestational sac--no yolk sac or fetal pole--so my doctor couldn't definitively date the pregnancy and we don't know if the embryo is developing normally. But it's still so early, as she pointed out, that we wouldn't expect to see those things yet. She seemed pleased with the development in the last week, although still cautious.

I'll post the ultrasound scans below. My husband and I can't stop looking at the print outs and smiling. I'm amused at the fact that we love this picture so much when no part of our future child is actually visible in it! So, not really a first picture of a baby, but the closest thing we have to that right now.

We go back to the doctor in two weeks, on Wednesday Nov, 11. I'll be about 7 1/2 weeks at that point, so we will most likely see a fetus and heartbeat if there's anything to see. These next two weeks will pass so slowly. I can't wait to get the reassurance of those images and see the picture of my developing baby. And I'm so scared about what could happen in the meantime.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Week; or, Joy and Fear

I found out about this pregnancy one week ago today. These seven days have progressed so slowly, but so happily. I think about this baby all the time, and dream about him or her. I've mentally decorated and redecorated the nursery about twenty times. I'm drinking as much water as I can hold and trying to take pleasure in every back ache, cramp, exhausted night, and disgusting cystic zit that just won't go away.

I'm also thankful every day I see no spotting or feel a symptom. And I'm nervous every time I read another "Please remove me from June/May/April Mamas" post on The Bump's 1st Tri board. A friend of friends on facebook posted a picture of her digital pregnancy test about two weeks ago. Over the weekend, she had to make an announcement that the pregnancy was no more.

My husband is taking our doctor's advice very much to heart and trying to keep a little distance from the baby until he feels more secure about the progress. This doesn't mean he's keeping distance from me AT ALL--just that he's trying to avoid too much future-talk until after our appointment tomorrow.

I'm so excited to have another peek at the baby and to see what's going on in there and learn how we're coming along and what to do next. And I'm scared that we'll get bad news, that we'll lose this dream just when it seems the closest.

It's early. I'm just over five weeks. That's so early.

But I know that the odds are things will be fine.

So I'm trying to take it one day at a time. Every day I'm pregnant is a good day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Opera Date; or, High on Hormones

I have a confession to make. I don't care whether this baby turns out to be a boy or a girl. I have my suspicions about which it might be, but I don't actually have a preference any longer. But if it's at all possible, I would like to specify my choice for this baby's future profession. I want to give birth to an opera singer.

One of my little luxuries is a Young Associate membership to the Metropolitan Opera. I see about 6 productions a year. I started going regularly six years ago--with my old roommate--after we'd both graduated from college.

I love the opera so much. And I feel so lucky that I get to see international superstars a mere taxi-ride from my house. My husband is not an opera buff (to put it mildly) so I only force him to attend once a year with me, and this year I'm giving him the season off. I usually go either alone or with any of a rotating cycle of friends.

Last night, I took the m&m to its first opera. It was Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. I'd shockingly never seen this before, though I was familiar with the famous concluding female trio. It was spectacular! Renee Flemming and Susan Graham were the Marschallin and Octavian, and they were heartbreakingly beautiful.

I was feeling close to tears all day without having any reason other than hormones for it. I was quite happy and content even as I could feel salt-water pressure behind my nose. So at the opera, I really lost it. And this is a comedy! But there are moments of such poignant beauty, particularly at the end, that the tears just rolled down my face.

I felt so conscious of the fact that I wasn't really alone, even if no one else knew it, including the m&m. I have at least four more productions to see this season, the last one in May. I can't wait to watch the baby's progress through the shows and see if it likes and responds to the music by the end.

I hope this is something I can share with my child all through our lives. I hope one day when someone asks my child, "What was your first opera," he or she can say, "Der Rosenkavalier."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How I Told My Husband; and, The First Doctor's Appt

What an amazingly busy 36 hours I've had! And most of it had nothing to do with this pregnancy. Meetings yesterday, teaching butt-early today, my first post-pregnant appointment at the gyno's, class this evening, and homework--it's 1 AM and I finally have time to update. Phew.

So to begin, how I sprung the big news on my husband! Lawyer Guy works in Lower Manhattan, which is only a 20-minute subway ride from our apartment in Park Slope. He's always asking me to come in and meet him for lunch, and I usually am so busy (or lazy) that I don't. But yesterday, I called him and suggested that since I had to go into Manhattan anyway for a therapy appointment and my Junior League committee meeting, I should meet him by his office for a quick lunch. After some heming and hawing about all the work he has to do (and he has been working incredibly hard on a case the last two months) he agreed. The plan was in motion!

I had figured out how I would do this so long ago, I didn't need to weigh any options. I went down to Brookl.yn Ind.ustries, where they have these cute "Made in Brooklyn" onesies (my husband has gotten very into Brooklyn since we moved her last year). Unfortunately, they only had that particular onesie in the 12-18 month size. Not going to cut it! So I got a navy blue onesie with red piping and red "Brooklyn" letting and the image of a water tower. I've thought for ages that my first kid will be a son--but even if not, I'll put a daughter in navy. I live dangerously.

I asked the cashier for a box to put it in. He only had large, rectangular boxes (the kind you'd put a sweater in if you were giving it as a gift). No problem--it would only add to the deception. I had him put the pee stick in with the onesie (cap on, of course), wrap it all in tissue, and give it to me in a shopping bag.

Then I went into Manhattan and met my husband outside his office. He was surprised to see the shopping bag--I told him that I bought him a gift because he'd been working so hard recently. We went to the A.u B.on Pai.n across the street (so romantic), found a place to sit immediately (I could not wait to let him order food), and I gave him the box. He almost jumped out of his chair when he opened it and saw the pee stick. "Seriously?" he asked. He stared at me for about four minutes straight. Then he kissed me, and I started to cry, and everyone at A.u Bo.n Pai.n wondered what the hell was wrong with the crazy couple in the back.

We talked for about 40 minutes about how I found out, what we were each feeling, what plans we wanted to make, what the next steps were. I had already eaten, but he hadn't--and he could barely get any food down he was so excited! We said goodbye and he went back to work while I took off for my meetings.

Last night I was exhausted. I fell asleep at 10 pm, which I never do. I guess my body just needed the sleep. Good thing, as I was up at 6:30 this morning to go teach.

Then, this afternoon, my husband and I went to my doctor's office. My doctor started laughing at me as soon as she walked in the door, since I'd just e-mailed her the week before freaking out about my inability to become pregnant--not realizing I was pregnant at the time (it was a bad week). We knew it would be too early to see anything, but she didn't an internal u/s anyway. She confirmed that I am definitely pregnant, though it is still very early. She pointed a little dark blotch that she is pretty sure is the sac formation--my husband is calling it the M&M (since we had always referred to any unconceived babies as our jellybeans). She gave me a prenatal vitamin scrip (which I dropped off at a pharmacy uptown and forgot to pick up) and told me I should eat whenever I feel hungry. "If you feel like eating the whole cake, eat the whole cake," she said. I will try very hard not to eat the whole cake--or the whole cow, since I am craving red meat like whoa and like damn.

My doctor warned me not to get too "psychologically attached" to the pregnancy yet, since it's early and anything could happen. I know that. I know it's possibly short-sighted of me to take such wholehearted glee in this. And I've begun to worry a bit in the last 12 or so hours. But there's nothing I can do to keep this pregnancy going except eat and drink water and avoid motorcycle gangs that like to punch women in the lower abdomen. So I might as well enjoy it, right? Tomorrow will be tomorrow. Right now I'm pregnant.

There was an embarrassing incident at the end of the appointment. Because I'm so early, she wanted to do a blood draw and test my hCG level. I've mentioned my anxiety issues on this blog before--I'm not only a chronic worrier and procrastinator and seriously afraid of flying. I'm also phobic of needles. And not just any needles. Shots are fine. I don't like them, but I can do them. I even used to do electrolysis. I'm not afraid of needle-poking pain.

I am seriously psychologically upset, however, by needles staying inside my body for more than a second. So having blood drawn really bothers me--it generally makes me throw up in distress. And IVs--forget it. Still half-under from general anesthesia, I will be clawing that thing off my hand as I come to. I'm more scared about having an IV in my arm when I'm admitted to the hospital than I am of giving birth.

I really tried to keep it together for the blood draw. I didn't watch; I held my husband's hand; I tried to talk and think about other things. And I also had a full-blown panic attack that nearly culminated in me fainting. As I was hyperventilating and as my lips, fingers, toes, and chest went completely cold and numb, the nurse took the needle back out without having drawn any blood.

My doctor is SO sweet. She and the nurse got me a blanket and made me some tea and helped me get my breathing under control until I didn't feel faint any longer. And the upshot is, they didn't get a blood sample so I'm going back in at the same time next week instead of two weeks later so she can do another u/s and check on the embryonic development.

When I switch to the OB (after we hear the heartbeat) they'll have to do a full blood work up. So that gives me a few weeks to figure out how to woman-up and stop being such a loon. My therapist has her work cut out for her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lucky Number Seven

I just took my test this morning. I just heard the timer I set (for 8 minutes) go off and went back into the bathroom to see. It's positive! Clear as day, the two biggest pink lines I've ever seen.

My hands are shaking, and I'm crying as I type this. I can't believe it. I never thought I would see those two lines. Even as my period was late, and the spotting didn't come, even as I started to think this might be the cycle, I STILL couldn't picture myself actually happy after testing.

But they did show up. And I'm pregnant. PREGNANT!

I peed into a cup this morning when I woke up and hid it in the bathroom to test after my husband left--gross but devious, and I REALLY wanted to surprise him with the announcement if I was positive or spare him the disappointment if it wasn't. There's no way I could have hidden this joy from him.

Oh God, I'm still shaking. I can't believe this is real. I still feel like I'm about to get my period! This is so amazing.

A quick run down of my symptoms:
7 dpo: Dull, lower backache (right above my tail bone) that grew stronger if I sat for a few hours at a time. I also became RAVENOUSLY hungry. I inhaled a ramekin of mac and cheese in about three minutes.
8 dpo-12 dpo: Normal pms symptoms (cramps, bloating, weepiness, swollen tender boobs, loose stools). Nothing out of the ordinary. I actually got really depressed and gave up hope.
13 dpo: I realized that my skin was completely clear and a little dry. It's usually oily before AF, and I get at least one unattractive pimple.
14 dpo: My boobs shrank a bit while getting more tender. My cramps decreased and my bloating went down.
15 dpo: I could not stop eating all day.

I have so much hope and good wishes for the women of The Bump Getting Pregnant board right now, especially StefB at Baby Blakely. You'll get your BFP too, Stef, I'm sure of it. And I will be SO happy for you when you do.

I'm off to put together my surprise for my husband and get some homework done. And I'm going to carry my pee stick around with me all day!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do or Die Time; or, Letting Hope Live

I'm 15dpo and I don't see or smell any blood. Unless my period starts some time today (which it could and probably will), I'm going to test tomorrow morning when I wake up.

I'm really scared to test. It doesn't make sense, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid because I've started to think this might be...it (I can't even write the words).

And I like feeling this hopeful feeling. I could hardly sleep last night, and I woke up at 6:30 am. I kept tossing and turning in bed, imagining how I would tell my family and my friends if what I hope comes true.

The thought of looking at another negative test makes me feel sick.

I want to hold on to my hope a little longer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Waiting on the World to Not Change; or, AF Keeps Things Interesting

(Warning: Those with a low tolerance for discussions of bodily fluids should stop reading now).

I'm blessed to not only have irregular cycles with inconsistent ovulation days (anywhere from day 18 to day 30), but to also have an inconsistent luteal phase. It's always "long enough" but almost never the same length. In the 11 months since I first charted, I've had an LP as short as 10 days and as long as 15.

After pregnancy testing early in my first couple of cycles and realizing that getting the heartbreak of a negative twice in one week does nothing for my spirits, I made a resolution to no longer test before 16 dpo. I've yet to reach that goal.

Today I am either 13 or 14 dpo. And everything in my body tells me my period is on its way. Ravenous eating habits. Bloated lower abdomen and swollen, tender boobs. Looser stool. All the signs are there.


I usually spot before AF comes. And even before that, I'll see a tinge of blood in my cervical fluid. And even before that, I can smell the iron of the blood in the mucus and on the tissue after wiping.

There's no blood. No smell.

If AF is coming, I'd really like her to just hurry up and get here. Because waiting through the weekend only to see her show up on the day I'm supposed to test will REALLY not do anything good for our relationship. And she and I are on uneasy terms at the moment as it is.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cycle 7 Stats; or, The Plan, Such As It Is

Tomorrow I'm going to call my gyno and schedule an appointment for early January. We'll be in our 10th cycle and 11th month of trying to conceive. She'll run a battery of tests and we'll discuss options and next steps.

I'm going to tell myself that this is what will happen. I will not expect to get pregnant in the next 2 and 1/2 months. For whatever reason, that's not the direction my journey is going to take. I'm going to focus on finishing up the semester, getting my students' papers graded and final grades in, making it through the holidays, having a fantastic trip to Vegas, and finishing my incomplete papers from last year.

I will not expect to get pregnant. I will not expect to get pregnant. I will not expect to get pregnant.

CD 36 of Cycle 7
10 or 11 dpo
AF anticipated anywhere from tomorrow (if it's 12dpo) to Sunday (if it's 15 dpo)
Slight cramping that comes and goes (typical pms for me)
Ravenous appetite (typical pms)
Bigger boobs (typical pms)

No spotting or bloody smell to cervical mucus.

I'm going to hate myself in a few days for feeling optimistic about this. I have no real reason to, but I can't help imagining when we'll tell the families, how I'll tell my husband, and having a June due date.

I shouldn't imagine I'm pregnant. I'm really going to hate myself. I never learn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Very Pregnant Weekend; or, The New Tally

The shower was great! A wonderful afternoon of delicious prosecco (and Cava--it's pink and sparkly! How did I not drink this before?) and good food and music in a gorgeous apartment on Park Ave (not mine, clearly). And my friend E was glowing and beautiful and happy and I felt her baby wiggling around inside her 36-weeks-pregnant belly and pulled out all the old-wives' tricks to determine the sex and decided she's having a boy.

And then today we had a nice afternoon watching football and eating Italian food with some couple friends, one of whom is 38 weeks pregnant and probably enjoying her last baby-free weekend.

And then the other couple, who had their sweet, adorable two-year-old with them, announced that they are 13 weeks along.

Which brings the grand total of pregnant women I chilled with this weekend to three. And brings the tally of friends and family who have announced their pregnancies since I started TTC to (drumroll please): NINE. That's right, I have heard nine "We're expecting!"s since March. Who wants to bet I'll hear a tenth before too long?

I'm getting better at taking them in stride. This time, I barely cried at all and not until we were home and all settled into our pjs.

I keep reminding myself of the kind of woman I want to be. Someone gracious and warm. Someone who treats others with consideration and kindness no matter what's going on in my life. Every one of these children deserves to be celebrated and welcomed joyfully--as much as my future little boy or girl will, however he or she may join our lives.

So I'm trying to suck back the sadness and desperation and just be happy for everyone. And if I don't feel quite as generous as I want to be, I'll fake it until I make it.

Quick update on Cycle 7 as it stands:
I'm on day 34.
I estimate I'm either 8dpo or 9dpo
I have my usual pms-type lower abdominal cramps
I have my usual pms-type insatiable hunger for sweets and fat
My boobs are normal sized and not particularly tender
I have had lower back pain for three days.

The back pain is kind of new, and my boobs have usually swelled up by this point, but other than that we're on track for the start of Cycle 8.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shower the People You Love With Love; or, Keeping Spirits Up

Tomorrow I'm co-hosting one of my close friend's baby shower. She lives in another state, and I haven't seen her since she fell pregnant (isn't the British expression nicer than our "got"?) I love hosting parties. I've had my usual fun ordering platters of tea sandwiches from a local upscale grocery and picking out bottles of proseco and choosing flowers and music and the like. I'm excited to give her things that will help make this adjustment to motherhood easier.

I wish I had to abstain from the wine, too. But I truly am happy for her and her joy.

I'm half way through the 2ww. I'm feeling pretty crampy and bloated. I'm craving sweet things and cheese and fat (I devoured a baked gruyere mac and cheese at dinner tonight). Both classic PMS symptoms for me.

I'm not harboring much hope for this cycle.

I don't know if I can get it back next month.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Non-Babymoon in Vegas; or, The Art of Self-Distraction

I had a brilliant idea last night for something that makes me feel excited and optimistic even when work and school overwhelm me and the wait to be pregnant feels so long.

I've never been to Vegas and have wanted to go for a while. My husband hasn't been since his bachelor party over two years ago.

So...we're going for New Year's! My old roommate who now lives in San Fransisco is going to come with her boyfriend!

I can't wait to start researching hotel deals. It will be the perfect little getaway, something to look forward to and plan when all I want to do is obsess over fertility monitors. If I'm not pregnant by January, we'll have this fun trip and then come home and start the testing with my doctor. And if I am pregnant...that will be the perfect way to celebrate!

I'm so proud of my genius right now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Making Connections; or, That Was Unexpected

It's no secret (and probably no surprise) that I've been feeling rather lonely the last four or five months. My friends who want kids right now are pregnant. My non-pregnant friends don't want to be yet. My husband feels upset when I'm upset, which forces me to temper my disappointment and anguish at each negative test or new cycle. And he doesn't really understand my pain--a baby is something he's willing to wait for, not something he needs with every atom in his body.

So I've been lonely.

And then a close and special friend of mine (one of the married but not ready for kids yet types) called me up. I had previously confided a little in her about my husband and my thus-far thwarted efforts to conceive. And she called to let me know that J, a mutual friend of ours, had recently spilled that she too was having a bit more trouble than she expected getting knocked up.

I've known J a while and like her a lot, but we've never been especially close. But I contacted her anyway and we met up last night for a bottle of wine, some chips and salsa, and a long evening of soul-baring and cervical mucus-centric discussion. What a relief it was to share this with her.

She's on her 6th cycle, I'm on my 7th, we each have best friends who got pregnant the first try, we're each hosting baby showers and struggling with the infuriating, frustrating, startling, frightening, overwhelming, maddening range of emotions that come with this process. We both fight feelings of jealousy, envy, and down-right resentment at the difficulties we're facing--mixed with moments of reflection and glimmers of acceptance.

And we share the same strange mental block-- the inability to imagine ourselves looking at a positive pregnancy test or the belief that it will ever happen...even while we fully know and accept that one we WILL have children, through whatever means possible.

It helps to feel slightly less lonely.

Another relief: the Cle.arblue E.asy monitor detected peak hormone levels today. Day 25. Still, I'll take it.

Let's hope my husband's crap week at work doesn't put him entirely off babymaking tonight.