Friday, December 31, 2010

Lemony- Lime Goodness

Well it is my last blog post of 2010 and if you know about all that has happened in my life this year, I am sure you can imagine that I have a lot to reflect on as we enter into 2011. And of course, I have a lot on my mind and in my heart to blog about on the end of this year and the start of the next. I think I will wait until 2011 has officially begun to share these thoughts though, because there still are a few hours left of 2010 left and I want to be able to reflect on those moments too.

So while I wait for 2011, I will tell you about my very last lab appointment of the year. Yesterday was my glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. I have been kinda nervous about this one from the beginning. No one is ever very excited about getting done it done and the details never sounded particularly fun. If you don't already know, the GD test (which stands for gestational diabetes, not a colorful swear word) basically requires you to fast overnight, then drink a sugary glucose drink in the lab and have your blood drawn exactly one hour later. They test your blood's glucose levels to determine how well your body is processing sugars. If you "pass" you're done and can carry on. If not, you have to test again, this time with a 3 hour glucose test where blood is drawn every hour for 3 hours with nothing in your stomach but the sugary glucose solution.

It might not sound too terrible, and truthfully it's not, but just thinking about not being allowed to eat right when you hit the point of pregnancy where you are literally always hungry, was enough to make me a little anxious. But I scheduled my test early in the day so that I'd only have to starve for that hour plus the time it took me to get dressed and to the lab. And you know what they say about the best laid plans....

I was running a little bit late all morning, with my tummy ferociously growling at me for food. I did my best to push thoughts of food aside and make sure I was ready to walk out the door. I finally made it to the lab only 2 minutes after my scheduled time, which was perfectly fine according the tech. I signed in, handed her my insurance card, validated my parking and moved to sit in the waiting room when she asked for the lab orders I'd received from the doctor. CRAP! I had completely forgotten about that paperwork and left it at home. Of all the preggo brain moments to have, adding a half an hour to my fasting time so that I could go home and get that lab form was the worst! I would have rather been wearing two different shoes, or none at all (as I have heard is a common preggo brain slip) than force myself to wait 30 more minutes before I could eat.

So home I went, and to the lab I returned. And when I got there I was given a small bottle of clear liquid labeled "glucose drink lemon-lime" and was told to suck it down within 5 minutes. Knowing I had to finish it in 5 minutes the bottle suddenly didn't look quite so small, but sucked it down I did. It was cold and sweet and just as others have told me, it really did taste a lot like flat sprite. Snow Pea started bouncing around like crazy the second it hit my stomach and feeling her kick and twirl in my belly actually helped the hour wait for the blood draw pass fairly quickly. There is something about feeling her move like that, that is just awe-inspiring. I frequently get overwhelmed with love for her when she is dancing and making her presence known. I love the feeling so much, and as much as I can't wait to have her out here in the world so we can meet face to face, I know I will miss feeling her sweet little kicks inside my tummy.

Toward the end of my hour, I was admittedly getting a little cranky with no food in my belly but my blood was drawn quickly and easily and I was sent on my way. Then I spent a grumpy few minutes hustling through traffic to Chik-fil-A where I treated myself to the very last chicken biscuit they served that day. Ah food after an 11 hour fast is yummy! I wish I could tell you the results of my glucose test, but you know how lab work goes and it will be a few days to process. Hopefully my doctor's office will have it in time to give me the results at my next appointment on Tuesday. I am really hoping I pass the first time out so that I don't have to take the 3 hour test!

Before I finish up I also want to quickly tell you that last night, Snow Pea really made it know that she knows her Daddy's voice and loves hearing it. I have been trying to get Chad to talk to her more so that she will recognize his voice when she's born. He feels kind of awkward about it though, so for Christmas I got him lots of children's books to read so it would feel less weird. He has read a few times but last night she really got into it. She had been still for a while, but as soon as he started reading, she perked up and began moving almost as fiercely as she had with the glucose that morning. Then I could feel her move across my belly toward the sound of his voice, like she was trying to get closer to him. It was amazing! It reminds me that as much as I love and adore her before she's even been born, she loves us too. I so love these special moments and I can't wait to have even more of them once she is here in my arms.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Hopes

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Heartbeat

Once again way too long of a break between posts. I am starting to feel like a broken record apologizing for my long blog absences. I am sure you all have been frantically refreshing my page looking for new updates. No? Well, that's ok too.

The past few weeks have been good ones. On December 6, I turned 28. It was a surreal birthday experience. I remembered how difficult and emotional my birthday had felt last year. Birthdays always seem to make us look back at what we wish he had done the previous year and what we hope to do in the new one. For an infertile, birthdays can be especially difficult because each year is a year lost. We know that as we get older the already difficult time we're having creating a family, just gets more difficult. And of course there is always the year you turn the age you always believed you'd be a mother by. That milestone past a few years ago for me, which only made the subsequent childless birthdays that much more emotional. It was bad enough not to be a mom by my "dream age", each birthday I was another year past it!

You may have guessed that, for the past few years my birthday wish has been to get pregnant. Now that I finally am, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to wish for when I blew out the candles this year. It was strange, amazing and wonderful to not know what wish to make this time around. (I finally did figure it out, but I have to keep it to myself or it won't come true!) It was even more wonderful to be celebrating the new life I will be beginning this year- my life as a mom!

More happy things have happened since turning 28. This past Thursday for example was as normal a day as any other until Chad and I were laying in bed. It has become part of his nighttime ritual to rest his hand on my tummy and feel Snow Pea kick. That night, he decided it would be funny to get her to kick him in the head, so he rested his head on my stomach and started talking to get her to move. He got an even bigger surprise though when he realized he could hear her tiny little heart beating through my stomach!. His face was priceless as he realized it and as soon as he told me what he was hearing, I welled up with tears. It was just so amazing! I felt so connected to both Snow Pea and Chad in that moment. Our family felt so real, and I was overwhelmed with love for both of them. I was of course, a teeny bit jealous that I couldn't hear her heartbeat too. I kept telling him how unfair it is that I am so close to her little heart but I can't bend over and hear her. Of course, I have heard her on doppler but it just doesn't seem the same. He tapped the rhythm on my arm for me, as he continued listening until finally we forced ourselves to go to sleep.

Yesterday, I finally got to hear her little heart myself when we went in for a monthly OB appointment. Of course, it was on the doppler so it wasn't nearly as exciting as what Chad got to hear the other night, but it is still the most beautiful sound I have ever heard and I was happy to listen. We met with the partner OB for the first time. Chad refers to her as Dr. Inconsiderate because she accidentally went in to see another patient and after she realized her mistake didn't seem too concerned with having made us wait. I didn't mind too much, but Chad who was on break from a busy day at work was pretty annoyed.

Dr. Inconsiderate was friendly though and said everything was looking perfect with both me and Snow Pea. Her oldest child was born from FET too so it was cool to talk to an OB that really understood everything we had been through to get here. Before the appointment ended she handed me a lab order for the dreaded glucose test and told me I needed to go before my next appointment, which she then informed me would be in 2 weeks! Holy wow! I knew that once you got to your third trimester, appointments were every two weeks, instead of every four, but I can't believe I am about to be at that point!

In case you are wondering, as of today I am 25 weeks 4 days pregnant with about 15 weeks to go! It seems like it is flying by. I guess when compared with how long it took until I had a healthy, viable pregnancy, nine months really isn't a very long time. Although I have heard that time slows down when you get really close to delivery day so we'll see if this warp speed feeling lasts. Maybe it just feels like it is flying by because I am enjoying it so much! Time flies when you are having fun, right? I really am having so much fun watching my body grow with new life and bonding with this little miracle before she is even born. I just can't wait until the day I can hear her sweet heartbeat for myself as she is laying in my arms.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our Number One

Now that I am a few weeks past the half way mark in my pregnancy, I can unequivocally say that I really love being pregnant! My belly is no longer bloated looking but actually round and baby-ish. I won't lie, getting dressed is an epic event every morning as I tear through my closet trying to find something that fits, but once I do I am always excited to see my round tummy in the mirror. I also absolutely adore feeling Snow Pea kicking, flipping, and swimming around inside my belly. She seems to be most active around 10 or 11pm which is perfect timing for me and Chad to lay in bed feel her thumps and bumps. The past few days though the kicks felt a little more scary than sweet.

A few days ago, I was sitting on the couch going about my daily internet habit when I suddenly felt a sharp kick. I smiled and patted my tummy, but a few moments later, I felt a very unnerving and uncomfortable spasm across my cervix. It made me wince in discomfort but I assumed it was just yet another of the weird quirks, pains and aches that come with pregnancy. But it kept happening, and it kept getting more frequent and more uncomfortable. After one evening of quite a few "cervical twitches" that had me jumping in pain and anxiety, Chad was researching the hard to explain symptoms and insisting I call the OB's office first thing in the morning. He is not one to get worried or anxious so seeing him so concerned made more nervous than I already was.

Yesterday morning, I called the office and tried as best as I could to explain what was happening. I was very nonchalant about it, expecting them to reassure me that these feelings were normal and not to worry. Instead, the receptionist asked if I could come in that afternoon and scheduled me for the 1st available opening. Knowing they weren't taking this lightly made me a bit more nervous but I tried to stay busy and optimistic until my appointment.

Finally, 2:45 came. Since my appointment was so last minute, Dr. Casual was unavailable and instead I met with the Nurse Practitioner, I will call her Nurse Understanding because that's what she is! She's simply awesome and totally "gets it". She came in after having read my chart and instantly said how important it is to keep this pregnancy on the safe track after all we went through to achieve it. She asked about my RE and the IVF process and was very attentive and compassionate as she did so. She said she was so thrilled for me and knew how precious this baby is to me. I felt so validated to know that she took the time to learn about our struggle and to honor it.

I explained what was happening a best as I could. She told me she was glad I came in and then checked everything out. I am very relieved and happy to report that my cervix is completely closed and nice and long so there is absolutely nothing wrong with me or Snow Pea. She didn't stop there though. She also did an ultrasound just to give me even more reassurance. The ultrasound confirmed what we suspected- Snow Pea is hanging out very low in my tummy and is extremely active. So those painful spasms turned out to be my sweet baby occasionally using my cervix as her own personal punching bag.

I told Nurse Understanding that I felt silly coming in like this but she reassured me that she would rather see me 100 times and have nothing be wrong than not come in the one time that I really needed to and so I should always call anytime I have questions or concerns. It wasn't doctor lip service either, I could tell she really meant it. She confessed that when she was pregnant with both of her kids, she would sneak into an empty exam room during her lunch breaks and give herself ultrasounds almost daily. Since I don't have that luxury, she treated me to a longer ultrasound and spent time pointing out each of Snow Pea's precious baby parts. She was even thoughtful enough to grab my phone for me so that I could record a video for Chad. During the scan, she flipped on the doppler and I got to hear the sweetest sound in the world for only the second time, my baby's perfect heartbeat.

As we looked closely at her long limbs, toes and fingers, Nurse Understanding and I could see her wiggling her little fingers around and it turns out that my little angel agrees with me that she is the best.
This is by far my favorite and the cutest ultrasound picture we have of her yet!

I am so glad I went in. Although I felt a teeny bit over-dramatic it so much better to be safe than sorry, and it's nice to say goodbye to the anxiety of worrying. Plus I was able to spend some quality seeing Snow Pea in action and share the video with Chad. She really is number one!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: What I'm Thankful For

I know it's a little late but just because Thanksgiving has passed doesn't mean I don't still have plenty to be thankful for. Such as:

A wonderful, loving husband

An amazing family

Incredible In-Laws (yes, I know how VERY lucky I got on this one!)

Fantastic friends from coast... coast.

Constant, unconditional support from all of you

And of course what I am most grateful for, and the picture I have been most asked for these past few weeks...

A cute belly bump, where my sweet baby girl is currently growing and thriving

I am so grateful for everything in my life right now. Even though my infertility will always be part of me and I still face it daily and will have to receive treatment again when we decide to have another child, I know there is a special appreciation of these things I might not have had without my experiences and struggles. I truly feel incredibly fortunate for all of the love in my life. I may never be a millionaire, or set foot on every continent, or be famous and well-known, or be able to say I've lived a pain free life, but I have the things that matter most- and that includes you, so Thank You.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Halfway to Reality

This week I am 20 weeks pregnant, halfway there! I can't believe it! The first half of this pregnancy has been nothing short of wonderful. Sure I had some nausea, some trouble sleeping, and I've missed many a funny movie quote thanks to my 300th trip to the bathroom, but none of that compares to living this miracle.

Not long ago, I had begun to question if motherhood would ever happen for me. I spent so long on the exhausting journey to get here that I couldn't imagine any other way of life. I felt like a hamster stuck in a wheel that was doomed to go around and around but never reach my destination. To actually see the progress of each day and to reach this amazing milestone feels like a true miracle. And this week has provided many amazing milestones for me,
Chad and Snow Pea.

About 4 weeks ago I began feeling the first flutters of Snow Pea moving around in my tummy. At first I thought I might be imagining things or making them up because I was so anxious to feel something, but when another friend described what he
r flutters felt like, I knew it was exactly what I felt too. I was amazed and excited. I spent many free moments sitting as still as possible to see if I could feel it again. For the past week or so though, sitting still has stopped being necessary. I no longer feel little flutters but all out baby flips! She is so so crazy active, I jump in surprise regularly when I feel her thump me from inside.

Feeling such distinct movement is all at once amazing and bizarre. I feel so much more connected to her when she makes herself known like that, she feels so much more real and alive. But it also is a little freaky when she whacks me out of nowhere and I am sometimes reminded of a certain famous scene from "Alien". Honestly though, I love it
and have been anxious for the day when Chad could feel her move too. I researched the time line of when that usually happens and was sad to read it's typically another month before the baby can be felt from the outside. This past Sunday though she was moving so fiercely, I thought there was no way he wouldn't be able to feel it. So I lay in bed and pressed his hand to my tummy, and shortly after she thumped, hard. I turned to Chad and his eyes were huge and beyond excited. He felt her too! It was incredible. Feeling her move was wonderful enough but it feels even better to be able to share it with him.

The next day we were excited to be able to see our precious S
now Pea again at the 20 week anatomy scan. Some of you may already know there was some drama surrounding this particular ultrasound and whether my insurance would cover it. My OB's office warned me that they have never received a payout on this claim because my company deems it unnecessary unless it is a high risk pregnancy. Chad and I spent days researching the policy, the claim history at the hospital, and the uses of this particular scan. We still are not 100% sure if our claim will be paid, but after talking it over we agreed that we had come much too far and fought much too hard to take any chances now. This is the ultrasound that can potentially find any heart defects or other abnormalities and if there is a problem, knowing about in advance can potentially save our baby's life. Once we realized that, there was no question about what we would do. (Of course I reserve the right to blog an angry rant if our insurance does deny our claim)

The scan itself went well. Snow Pea stayed true to her behavior the previous day and moved around like crazy. She literally did somersaults and flipped position many times, starting out head down and then quickly moving into the exact opposite position and then moving into a completely different spot after that. The poor tech had a lot of troub
le getting some of the pictures she needed, particularly of the heart. The good news is, Snow Pea finally did stay still long enough to get those important images, and she gave Chad and I some extra time to watch her on screen.

Since the tech doesn't do the interpretation, we won't have a
ny official reports until my OB appointment next week, but from what I gathered Snow Pea is doing well. She is still a she and measuring pretty much right on target. She is about 14 ounces now and the size of a cantaloupe! The coolest part of the scan was seeing her move on screen and feeling it at the exact same time. I teared up a bit at that moment, it was just such an incredible connection. This isn't just some picture on the screen, this is a baby, my baby, my daughter and she is living and growing inside me. Despite my difficulty believing it, this is real, I am no longer living in the hamster wheel. Every day things progress more and more and I am one day closer to reaching my destination, one step closer to being a mom.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's the Great Blog Catch Up!

Wow have I been a bad blogger or what? I have never been away for so long and it's definitely not for a lack of things to write about. There is so much to catch up on! But since it's my fault I've been away so long and not yours, I will spare you the long version of the past 3 weeks and instead give you the fun, quick version along with pictures!

As you may remember, October was Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month and having experienced pregnancy loss myself earlier this year as w
ell as having so many close friends who have also miscarried or lost their little ones, it was important to both Chad and I to honor those precious lives. On October 23rd, we participated in the OC Walk to Remember, a 5k walk to take the steps our babies never got to take.We walked for Sprout and for every other Angel baby. We really wanted to support other parents who had suffered a loss, especially our neighbors, who you may remember lost their little girl earlier this year. It made for a special morning to walk side by side with them and remember their beautiful daughter.
Later that same day, I put my pregnant body through even more physical demands and danced "Thriller" as part of the annual event, "Thrill the World", in which people all over the world dance at the same exact time in an effort to set new world records. (here is Thrill The World's website if you want more info on the dance and the event.) I danced last year and had a blast, so I decided to make it an annual tradition. The dance is surprisingly fun and easy to learn. This year I struggled a bit more as this was also the week I started showing and as such had some trouble with some of the moves, especially the ones that require bending at the waist. Nevertheless, I had fun with my zombie pals and can't wait to do it again next year, this time with Snow Pea there to watch!
Of course if that's all just one day's worth of fun news, you know there is plenty more! Just a few days later, Chad and I boarded a plane for the East coast to enjoy almost two full weeks catching up with our family and friends in Florida. It was an amazin
g trip. We were all over the place but it was worth it to spend time with the people we love, especially our families. My sister in law was a true hero and took Chad and me to Babies R Us to help us register. It would have been SO overwhelming without her help! I even got the opportunity to have lunch with two of my favorite twitter/blog girls, Katie at From IF to When and Erin at Our Heart's Desire. Both of these ladies have been such amazing and supportive friends and it was wonderful to sit and chat with them. Erin even made me and Snow Pea a sweet and beautiful gift, a handmade bib and matching burp cloth.

While we were home, we also got to celebrate Halloween with some of
our best friends and as always it was so much fun to dress up! Chad was a mad scientist while Snow Pea and I were his monster creation. It was so amazing to incorporate our sweet miracle into Halloween this year and have a little fun with it.
We had so much fun with our visit, but spending quality time with my mom was at the top of my list and I am so glad we got to share some special moments together this week. She even got to spoil her first grandchild with the first big purchase for the nursery, the bedding set. It was also my mom who inadvertently discovered it for me, in a book she gave as a gift when I arrived to her house. Of course after I fell in love with the design, I found out it was discontinued. But not to be dissuaded, I scoured the internet and found a full set for sale on craigslist there in town!
So now that I have shown you the bedding we selected some of you may be trying to guess Snow Pea's sex based on the design and colors, so I will tell you what we told our family while we were home visiting last week:

Precious Baby Snow Pea has ten tiny fingers and ten little toes,
A perfect little mouth and a sweet baby nose,
There's two arms and two legs, a head, a tummy and ears,
But according to the doctor the picture definitely shows...
That sweet baby Snow Pea does NOT have one of those!

That's right, Snow Pea is a GIRL! I wanted to tell you all right away believe me, but we wanted to be sure to be able to really surprise our families with the news in person so that meant waiting to post anything online until after the reveal. We didn't even tell anyone that we were having an ultrasound, just in case Snow Pea didn't cooperate. Dr Casual was really great when we told him we were going out of town and agreed to get us in the day before our trip. He did a quick check of Snow Pea's little heart and tried to get a peek between the legs. He said our little one was quite the wiggler and I thought he hadn't been able to see what he needed to, but he smiled and assured me that he saw just everything clearly and that this was news we could shop on!

I am already so in love with this little girl. I know I sound like a broken record but I still feel so incredibly blessed to be at this point, sharing this news. There were so many times when I truly believed I may never experience any of these things and I often still can't believe it's real.
We have definitely had a wonderful past few weeks and I am grateful for every second.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Boobie Beanie

Too funny!

PS if you want one, they're on Etsy. Click HERE

Monday, October 18, 2010

Facebook: The Final Frontier

I have a confession, maybe it won't be a big revelation for you but for me it's a big thing to admit. I still don't really believe this pregnancy is real. I have seen the ultrasounds, felt the nausea, read the books, peed a million times but I just have a hard time accepting it. And an even harder time telling people about it.

I feel like I am caught in between worlds right now. I spent years trying to get pregnant. I finally succeeded and then lost my first pregnancy. For that reason Chad and I agreed to keep this pregnancy much closer to the vest. Very few people even knew when our FET took place and even fewer knew about our BETA when it happened. I even waited until we had a rise before sharing on twitter or my blog (something that was not easy for me). And now even though I am firmly in my second trimester I still get butterflies every time we tell someone about the pregnancy. I just don't feel completely comfortable in the "pregnant world" and I don't feel as accepted in my comfort zone of the TTC/IF world anymore since I am in fact pregnant.

We have actually been telling more and more people though, and just about everyone among our families and friends now knows that we are expecting. It is always kind of odd to find the right way to bring it up but it always feels great once it's finally out, and the more people that know the more real and exciting everything feels. But I still hold back a lot.

I have yet to post on Facebook. I keep planning to and telling myself, "today, I'll say something" but I never do. Not that Facebook posts are super necessary or anything but there are a few people that I keep in touch with primarily through sites like that, especially since I live 3000 miles from "home". If we still lived in Florida there are old co-workers and other social groups that I undoubtedly would've seen and shared the news with by now, but since we live so far away, the internet has become the primary way for me to keep in touch with them. And I kind feel like a liar as I exchange messages with them about my life without ever sharing the biggest news of my life.

It is very similar to finally posting about our struggle with infertility. I was so nervous about coming out of the closet. Not only because of the reactions and responses I could receive but because once you tell the world something, you can't un-tell them. Once it's out there, it's out there. I've also been afraid of history repeating and watching things go terribly wrong once I decide to share. Not to mention the fear of alienating myself from the IF community or unknowingly hurting someone else that is struggling. A few of my amazing and supportive twitter friends have encouraged me to post and I came so close after their words of encouragement but for some reason, still didn't go through with it....Until today.

As I wrote this post I sorted through a lot of emotional stuff. I love having this blog as a record of my IVF journey, as well as an amazing source of support from the IF community, but more than anything it is for me and has served as an outlet to work out things that I can't always talk about. Just like the journals I kept as a teenager, it has been a way for me to have conversations with myself. And in talking to myself about this I have realized that there is no reason to hold back anymore. So I did it. I bit the bullet and I posted.

Of course, as an infertile I wanted my post to be as sensitive as possible because I have been on the other side as have so many other people that I care about. I also wanted it to be short and sweet and to the point. So both Chad and I posted the same message, "After 3 years of struggle, and loss, and with the help of amazing advances in science, our dreams are finally coming true". I posted this as a "note" so that people could see our most recent ultrasound pic if they chose or avoid it if they prefer.
I have now officially told everyone there is to tell. This is really happening. Snow Pea is really here, growing inside me.

Honestly, I know it sounds crazy but finally coming clean online like that is almost a milestone in itself on this journey toward parenthood. I know for many that might not be the case, but after years of struggle and ongoing venting with others about the heartache of facebook announcements, this almost feels like the final frontier in sharing the news. And I have to say I am glad that I did it. Not for anyone else but for me. It feels good to be proud and happy about Snow Pea and to share that joy out loud.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering Sprout

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Tonight, Chad and I will be lighting a candle at 7pm to remember all of those who have suffered a loss, as well as to honor the pregnancies and infants that have been lost. Sadly, I have so many friends who know this pain all too well and I think it is not only important to light a candle for them tonight but to spread the word and raise awareness about loss. Far too many go through it alone, unaware that they have friends and family members that can empathize because these losses unfortunately, happen far more often than many people realize.

For Chad and I, today's remembrance ceremonies are incredibly bittersweet. As most of you know, I became pregnant after my first IVF transfer in March and, after a roller coaster of not quite doubling betas, learned that the pregnancy was not viable. I still miss Sprout all the time and while I love Snow Pea more than I could ever express and feel incredibly grateful that this pregnancy has been healthy and problem-free so far, I still can't help but sometimes wonder what might have been.

Being pregnant after a loss brings so much hope but it can also be ridden with hidden emotional land mines. Each time I reach a milestone in this pregnancy, I am simultaneously relieved and a little sad knowing that my first pregnancy never made it to that point. The first appointments after graduation from my RE were the hardest. Dr. Jedi was a model of empathy and support, He and his staff were there with me through the entire ordeal and often asked how I was feeling and recovering, physically as well as emotionally. They also of course knew everything there was to know so I never had to answer any hard questions. At my first OB appointment though, I was completely unprepared to be asked how many previous pregnancies I have had. Having to answer that this was my 2nd and then providing the history of my pregnancy with Sprout was difficult. Especially since I had to write it on my intake paperwork as well as say it out loud. It knocked the air out of me a bit and I spent the rest of the day in bed.

I still relive that moment often and fight a tear each time I tell someone that this is my 2nd pregnancy. But I always tell them that because I want to honor Sprout and also continue to raise awareness for all those who have experienced loss. After the miscarriage I used to cry for hours asking Sprout, why? Why did you leave me Sprout? Although I know it's not rational, I still sometimes wonder what I did to make Sprout leave. Struggling with infertility is hard on so many levels, one of them being the anger and despair felt at your own body for unable to do something you always believed it was made to do, something that is supposed to happen naturally without thought or effort. Then to finally achieve pregnancy and have it end, the feeling of failure and of betrayal by nature can become downright overwhelming. I can't imagine how I would've survived those first weeks without the love and support of others who knew my pain. I know for many it is difficult to share their experiences with loss and miscarriage, but knowing you are not alone helps so much. So although it isn't always easy, I still share.

During our journey with Sprout we discovered that each time something happened, we would hear John Lennon's "Imagine". Chad and I declared it to be Sprout's song, and we would often hold on to those lyrics as a source of hope. After we lost Sprout, I found peace in the thought that
Sprout somehow left my body in a state even more ready to grow life. As if, like a truly protective and loving older sibling, Sprout left some special unseen energy to ensure that the next one would grow healthy and strong. Which is why Chad wasn't surprised when on our way to Snow Pea's first ultrasound we heard "Imagine" on the radio. He said it was a sign from Sprout that our Snow Pea was strong and being cared for. I can't think about that moment again without shedding a tear, just as I did then.

I wear my Sprout charm often close to my heart, including to every appointment, and I think of the happy memories each time I do, especially today. I remember the utter joy and hope I felt those first few days of my pregnancy. And I will never forget. Although today is full of tears for many, it is also full of hope, remembrance and love. So when I light that candle tonight I will be thinking of Sprout as well as every other loss, and while I am bound to shed a few tears, I will also be thinking of the joy these precious ones have brought to us. Whether for a moment or a lifetime they have each made us capable of more love with their presence than we thought possible, and they will live in our hearts forever.

In honor of Sprout I also want to post again the beautiful remembrance video my amazing husband made:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Which Way Do We Go?

For as long as people have had opinions they have argued over whose were better and insisted that one choice is "right" while the other is "wrong". You hear it all the time on every topic imaginable. I used to believe that religion and politics were the two biggest hot-button issues for people to debate. And it's true that these certainly are hot-button issues and probably always will be to a large extent, but now that I am becoming more familiar with the choices and opinions surrounding parenthood, I am realizing this is where people can become very staunch and even aggressive when it comes to what they think the "right" decisions are.

Throughout my struggle with infertility and IVF, I was lucky to find that my friends and family supported me and my choices each step of the way and I was lucky enough to discover an even wider support network thanks to twitter and my blog. In the past three years I faced a variety of choices but I found it relatively easy to research the options available, discuss them with Chad and make a decision that felt right to us. Now that motherhood is drawing closer I am faced with new decisions and not only are these more difficult, I feel as if there is more weight on each one.

Every choice is full of so much pressure, not only thinking about how each one will affect and shape my child and the type of life they will have, but also it seems like I would be picking "sides" in the great parenting war. In the first year alone there are so many choices to make, each of them more divisive than the other- breastfeeding vs formula feeding, crib vs co-sleeping, schedule vs. on on-demand, cloth vs disposable diapers, working vs staying home, natural vs medicated childbirth, and for boys circumcision vs not. Truly, I can see the merits of each choice and believe that most parents make each choice out of love for their children and what suits their family best. For some reason though, many people also take their choices many steps further and feel that everyone MUST do it their way and anyone who doesn't is a bad parent.

I myself have yet to decide on many of these issues. I know in my heart that whichever choices I make, my child will feel my love and will be well-taken care of but I am slightly nervous about facing the wrath of other parents whose choice I don't make. I have seen first hand the fervor with which people will fight their position on breastfeeding or circumcision and honestly it breaks my heart. Most parents are just trying to do the best they can with their own unique circumstances and to judge others and bully them for their choices is just cruel. And even without the outright cruelty, you can still just sense other people's disagreement and see the judgment in their eyes when you mention your plans to pursue a natural childbirth or breastfeed exclusively for a full year.

And sometimes agreeing on one thing just isn't enough for people, you have to subscribe to the entire parenting philosophy. If you feed on demand you must also co-sleep, baby carry, cloth diaper and of course have brought your child into the world with no epidural or medical intervention. Likewise, if you schedule your feeding times, you'd better not pick up your child when he cries and of course you'd never consider a messy home birth or leaving your son's foreskin intact. These attitudes make what are already big decisions, that much weightier.

After the very public and hurtful bullying of a fellow blogger on her choice to circumcise her son I am more concerned than ever about making that particular choice. I have long taken the easy way out and told Chad that if we ever have a son the final decision will rest with him since much of the discussion and teaching on potty training and other matters will start with him. It is amazing how impassioned people have become about this particular issue. I even have a friend who does not have kids or any plans to have them in the foreseeable future who has said that I'd better not plan to circumcise any son we have because it is medically unnecessary and unnatural. When did someone else's opinion become a mandate on how I choose to be a parent?

Honestly, even though I don't know the exact course the remainder of my pregnancy or the first year of Snow Pea's life will take, I am confident that whichever choices I make they will be right for me, my husband and our child. I also have a strong suspicion that despite pressures to choose one parenting camp outright, we will probably pick and choose between them to find the best overall approach and there is a good chance those choices will shift as we go along and begin dealing with the realities of parenthood. Nothing in life is one size fits all and parenting is absolutely no exception.

The important thing is for us all to remember that we're all unique and we should support each other despite our differences. I am so grateful to know that I already have so much of that support no matter what choices we make. I hope to continue to support those that support me in any way I can, whether they are deciding between IVF and adoption or between cloth diapers and disposable, I know that when it comes down to it our goals and motives are the same- we all want to be parents and to raise our kids with love. We may choose to take different roads but we're all trying to reach the same destination.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Checkin Up

Yesterday, I had my monthly OB appointment and it was a mixed bag of sorts. Of course, as always the first order of business was the weigh in. I wasn't overly concerned because I have been eating pretty well and I take 45 minute walks twice a day along with doing some very light weight exercises a couple times a week. I even double checked on my home scale and saw that while I had gained, the extra pounds were right on target for where I should be at 14 weeks. Which is why I was caught of guard and a little bit anxious when the scale at my OB's office disagreed with my own and said I was quite a bit heavier than I thought, which also meant that I had gained far more than is considered healthy in a one month period.

Dr. Casual was, as always, very casual about the whole thing. He asked about my exercise and diet habits without making me feel guilty and reassured me that a million factors affect those numbers on the scale and to trust my own measurements more. He said they are much more concerned with overall patterns and significant jumps than individual numbers. He did schedule a size check for three weeks from now though, I think to be sure me and the baby aren't growing too fast.

Honestly, after checking again today, I am becoming more convinced that a combination of water retention and bloating contributed to the skewed number yesterday and I am trusting that I won't see another scary jump like that again. Please, don't think I am being vain or planning to try to lose weight while pregnant or anything crazy like that. I know weight gain is healthy and necessary right now. I am just concerned with staying healthy for Snow Pea and doing my best to avoid any complications.

I also
had to have a pap smear since I hadn't had one in well over a year. Luckily, months of wandy dates prepared me and it wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered it being. I think Dr Casual also did a great job of keeping me distracted and getting it over with quickly. He is really good at diffusing any anxious or nervous moments, which is a skill I am glad he will be bringing into the delivery room.

The greatest part of the appointment though was that we got a quick peek at Snow Pea and everything looks great! Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures but it was still fun too watch. I never get sick of seeing the sweet image of my growing baby on the monitor. Snow Pea's little heart was beating away steadily and we got to see a full arm wave. There is a lot of movement going on in there! I can't wait until I can feel it for myself. Dr Casual tried to get a look between the legs but Snow Pea wasn't interested in sharing. He was hopeful though that we will be able get a conclusive answer about what's going down there at the next appointment. He asked if we got a guess about the sex at the NT scan and commented that those techs are almost always right in his experience. Hopefully in a few more weeks, we'll know for sure!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tag! I'm It

The wonderful Amy over at Miracle in the Making recently tagged me in her blog! Amy is a PCOS survivor and a very supportive friend. She is also an incredibly talented stylist and recently saved me from the most terrible haircut of my life. (you didn't see this haircut but it was BAD, but thanks to Amy I can go out in public again) Anyway, now that I am tagged I have to answer Amy's questions for me and then come up with my own and tag other bloggers to answer them. So here goes!

1) How has infertility changed you? Wow this is a huge question for me with answers that I could blog about for days, but I will try to stick to the short version. Infertility has changed me in very profound ways. Many of my beliefs about life, the universe and the meaning of these things have been changed permanently. My spirituality has certainly shifted, especially after my miscarriage. There is a part of who I was before my struggle with infertility that I will never get back. I am not the same person I was. But that is not to say that all of the changes I have experienced have been negative. I may not be as naive or idealistic as I once was, but I have become stronger than I ever thought possible. And I am definitely more educated and aware about my body and the realities of trying to start a family. As painful as this journey has been, I know that I have grown and learned a lot because of it and I plan to continue to be a voice for infertility awareness and advocacy.

What is your biggest craving right now? CEREAL! I just can't get enough of the stuff these past few months! I swear Snow Pea's new nickname should be Cheerio. It's practically all I eat. Right now there are 6 different boxes in my pantry, all bought a week ago and all almost gone. It started in the early weeks when I was too nauseous to eat much else, but now it's still my favorite go-to food. I have had cereal for dinner on more than one occasion and there was even a day when that was literally the only thing I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, also I have to have to fruit whenever possible lately. Getting at least 3 of my food groups right?

3) Who do you look up to and why? This is another question that I could go on and on about. I have a lot of heroes. My mom has always been on top of that list. she is just amazing in every way. I also look up to both my sisters-in-law because they are both such amazing mothers and I hope to continue to pick their brains and learn from them as I begin raising Snow Pea. The person I look up to most though is my husband, Chad. No matter what life has thrown his way, he never gets discouraged or gives up. Throughout every difficult or heartbreaking moment we have experienced on our TTC journey he never stopped believing that good things would happen, that we would be parents. When all I want to do is scream and cry about how unfair it all is, he still has always been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's not just dealing with IF that he does this with. In any adverse situation he has been in, he always believes everything will be ok and then he does what it takes to make that true. For someone like me, who is prone to worry, I admire him and rely his strength more than he knows.

4) How did you and your DH meet? He used to be my boss! It's not as sordid as it sounds though. I started working at a soup & sandwich type cafe while I was in college on the exact same day he got transferred to the location where I was hired. I worked for him for about 4 months before I realized food service was not for me. I told him I planned to quit right after he learned he was being promoted. Once he was positive we wouldn't be working together anymore he invited me to hang out. I thought we were friends for two weeks until he finally worked up the nerve to let me know he liked me! Yes, I am clueless and yes he was so adorably nervous.

5) What was your most embarrassing moment? I never know what to answer for this question. Not to say that I have never done anything embarrassing but I never feel like I have a moment worthy to be the answer to this question. I do have foot-in-the-mouth disorder though and regularly say things that come out all wrong and leave me feeling incredibly embarrassed and apologetic. Like when I was younger and my uncle told me I had grown so much and I said he did too, and he happened to have gained a bit of a belly since I'd last seen him. I truly didn't mean it like that and spent flustered minutes trying to fix what I said. I still do stuff like that. All the time.

Ok so now that I have rambled on and answered these questions, it's my turn to tag some of my fellow bloggers and I am going to totally cheat and tag everyone that reads this post, so if you're reading this your tagged and need to answer my questions!

And they are:

1) What do you look forward to or enjoy most about being a parent?
2) What's something about you that would surprise most people?
3) If you could be any animal what would you be and why?
What's the nicest thing someone has done for you?
5) What are you most looking forward to over the next month?

Tag! You're It!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Milestone Moments

I have a habit of checking my email and twitter account from my blackberry each morning before I get out of bed. Yes, it's partially a technology addiction but it started because I had to wake up a half an hour early in order to avoid any mess from my morning dose of progesterone gel. Either way, it's a habit I now enjoy as I am not a morning person and it gives that little bit of time to really wake up before having to be "up". This Saturday though as I checked my email I was ready to hop out of bed from excitement without the 30 minute buffer. There waiting in my inbox were two separate pregnancy subscriptions welcoming me to 13 weeks and the start of my second trimester!

I have been of course counting the weeks and days as they pass by but for some reason it never registered that such an important milestone was upon me until it happened. The sense of joy, relief and gratitude I feel at reaching this wonderful new stage of preg
nancy is almost impossible to express. I suddenly felt more connected to Snow Pea than ever before and more excited to think about the day I will hold my baby in my arms. After losing sprout, I have definitely been more guarded and a little disconnected. Not that I am not enjoying and loving every second but I still keep taking it all moment by moment. Reaching this point of pregnancy feels like a dream come true and makes everything feel more real than it did before.

Making this new stage feel even more real and even more exciting is that today was the nuchal translucency scan. For those that don't know the NT scan is done between 11 and 14 weeks to measure fluid at the back of the neck as an indicator for d
own's syndrome. They also measure the baby's growth, heartbeat, and take a look at the developing limbs and organs. Since you're already in the office with your belly all jellied up, the u/s techs are usually also kind enough to show off all kind's off other cute baby parts. It was incredible!

This was our first really good "tummy u/s" too which somehow made it feel that much more real to me. Every other time we had gotten a good view of Snow Pea it had been with wandy, so we were always looking from an unconventional angle and it's not exactly where I think of the baby as being. As soon as she put the probe on my belly we could see Snow Pea moving and kicking around and as soon as the tech declared how active our baby was, Snow Pea promptly fell asleep. For those of you that know Chad, you know this is definitely a trait of his that he has so kindly passed on to our child. He can fall asleep anytime, anywhere and sleep fo
r 13 hours if he has nothing forcing him to wake up. As much as it drives me nuts that my husband can sleep like that, I have to admit it was cute and a bit endearing to actually witness Snow pea doing it.

Of course though, Snow Pea being asleep wasn't entirely conducive to the scan and the tech had to keep bouncing little one around to get the correct position. And again, being my husband's child, Snow Pea wasn't exactly easy to wake up. But after a bit of jiggling she finally got the view she needed and reported everything looks right on target. She also gave us our very first listen of our sweet little miracle's heartbeat. It was music to our ears, and one of us got a bit teary eyed. It measured at a very healthy 143bpm.

We soaked up every second of seeing our baby in profile for the first time and relished watching the twitches that looked like full body hiccups. Then the tech asked if we'd like a guess on the sex. Since neither of us are great at waiting for surprises we said yes so she pointed out the little nub between our baby's legs and explained the difference between males and females at this stage of development. Based on the position and angle, she predicted tha
t our baby is made up of XX chromosomes as opposed to XY but of course nothing is definite this early on. I will say though that based on my research, this office does have a high rate of accuracy, as does this method of prediction when done by a skilled tech. Of course, we aren't betting the farm on this but since our approach to parenting is more gender neutral to begin with, if the prediction does change later it wouldn't be the end of the world. The most exciting thing about possibly knowing the sex is just feeling that much more connected to Snow Pea as a real person and not an "it". (Although, truth be told, Chad REALLY wants a girl so he's even more excited right now)

I just can't believe that we've reached such an amazing milestone and I can't stop looking at my sweet baby's newest pictures. My favorite thing to do lately is go through them in order and watch Snow Pea grow, starting with the very first picture on transfer day when Snow Pea was just a large clump of cells. This is truly an amazing experience and after all it took to get here, I am incredibly grateful for every moment.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

There Is A Season

Happy Fall Everyone! All week I have been very excited for this new season to start. I love the colors, the slight chill and the magic of fall. Of course autumn is not the only new season that is upon us, we are also approaching cold and flu season, and wouldn't ya know it on the first day of fall I woke up with my first cold of the season.

Normally my sticky, scratchy throat and heavy headache wouldn't be too big of a deal and I would go on with my day normally, if maybe dragging a bit. But now that Snow Pea is on board and forced to endure these things with me I have opted to stay in my jammies in the hopes that I can fight this off before it becomes full blown. I feel kind of lazy but I know it's the right decision. The decision I am unsure about though is how to deal with the remainder of flu season.

It is very common for OBs to prescribe flu shots to women that are pregnant anytime
during flu season, between October and April. The CDC recommends that all pregnant women be vaccinated by October to protect their already weakened immune systems. But of course like all other things, there is another side of the coin. Many independent scientists, doctors, moms and researchers claim that flu shots are unnecessary and even dangerous for the pregnant woman and her fetus. Some have implicated thimerosal, a type of mercury and common ingredient in the vaccine, as being linked to autism along with other health problems in children.

A conversation on Twitter yesterday about whether we all need or should get flu shots got me thinking about this debate. Since I am not due until April, I will be pregnant during the height of flu season. I would love to claim that I have a killer immune system and am unconcerned about getting sick, but the reality is I get sick all the time (as today's cold proves). I get some sort of cold or flu every season and I can't imagine this year would be any different, especially with an even weaker immune system.

But still I can't decide if I really want to get the flu vaccine. I have never gotten one in the past and even though I do get a cold every season, I also recover from it fairly easily. And I don't know why but it does kind of make me nervous. Yes, I know the claims of flu shots being related to other health problems are not widely corroborated or researched and honestly those claims aren't the big reason I am uncertain about the shot. I generally just don't know if it's something I want to do or not. I think it is an uneasiness with the unknown more than anything, especially since I have never had one before.

So as always I turn to the opinions and experiences of others for insight. Have you ever had a flu shot? Either while pregnant or not? Did it keep you from getting sick? Did it make you feel lousy afterward? And anyone that decided to skip it, did you manage to stay healthy anyway? Any thoughts or experiences are appreciated. Of course, I have every intention of speaking with my doctor about this and asking questions and hearing his advice before making any decisions. I just can't help but look at each step during this pregnancy and want to evaluate all the information from every side before making a decision. Part of it is just who I am, and part of it stems from the years of infertility and treatments. I spent so much time learning so much about the process of getting to this point and being so involved in each step of that process, that now it's the norm and I feel uneasy if I don't learn as much as I can with each new step.
Ultimately, I want to do what's best for Snow Pea every step of the way and the more I know, the more confident I can be that I am doing just that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Graduation Day!

I can't believe this day has actually arrived, our last visit to Dr Jedi before officially moving on to the OB. Knowing we would be seeing Snow Pea today, both Chad and I were very excited for this appointment but it was also bittersweet to be seeing Dr Jedi and his staff for the last time. As amazed and grateful as we are to have reached this milestone and be officially released as a "normal" pregnancy, we have felt so comforatble and cared for with our fertility clinic I kind of wish we didn't have to go.

Dr. Jedi was very excited to see Snow Pea and show us how
much growth had happened in the last week. Today I am 11 weeks 6 days and blown away by the little person I have growing in there! Snow Pea is over 2 inches long and about the size of a lime. There was lots of moving around and it was incredible how much more controlled it seemed than last time. We could see a sweet little ear, a steady heartbeat, the stomach, brain, spine and ten tiny little fingers waving hello! It was unbelievable. I still can't fully wrap my head around the fact that this amazing little creature is inside my body right now!

After taking some pictures of Snow Pea we talked about our plans for additional prenatal care and of course coming back one day so that we can give Snow Pea a sibling. The nurse loaded me up with a stack of information and graduation swag, and reminded us to come back with Snow Pea this Spring. I asked if we would be able to schedule that with them so that no one would be in the waiting room because I would hate to upset anyone. It's a small practice and we have never been at their office as the same time as anyone else, but I still don't want risk causing anyone any pain. She was very understanding and said she couldn't wait to see all three of us in 6 months. Wow, 6 months. Just half a year until we hold our sweet little Snow Pea in our arms!

But we do have those 6 months and of course a little thing called labor and delivery to get through before we are able to do any baby holding. Which is something I think about a lot lately. (and something I plan to blog about soon) I really want to be sure we choose someone to take us through these next stages that is as wonderful as Dr Jedi was at getting us to this point. He has been truly wonderful from day one at our 1st consultation, to the decision to begin IVF, through every wanding and transfer, during the heartbreak of losing Sprout and then starting again with FET. He and his staff have been supportive, attentive and caring through every single step of this process and I can't imagine anyone else having helped us reach this point. I only wish he could remain with us through the rest of the journey and deliver Snow Pea in addition to helping us create him or her.

But since we did have to say good-bye today we didn't have to go without some really great graduation gifts. In addition, to the stacks of magazines and the cute little planner we got this:

My new favorite movie!

In addition to seeing the fingers and organs I mentioned earlier, you might notice an interesting name on the screen, just below the Seimens header. Chad and I were left alone with the machine for a minute before the ultrasound started and silly boy that he is, he added "Dr Jedi" to the screen. That is not his real name but I kind of love that our nickname for him is forever imprinted on our 1st baby video.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reaching Out

I want to thank everyone again for the kind and supportive comments I received on my "Pregnancy Guilt" post. It was important for me to get my feelings out and get much needed feedback on whether we were doing the right thing as far as our neighbors are concerned. After getting my thoughts out and hearing your reactions, Chad and I decided we would definitely make an attempt to get together with them and we would share our story at that time.

Just days after that blog post, we ran into them again unexpectedly in the neighborhood and the four of us wound up chatting on the sidewalk for nearly an hour. We learned a lot more about them and their precious daughter in that time and we were able to share more about ourselves as well. D (husband) and J (wife) told us that they had been TTC for almost 3 years and were about to begin testing when J discovered she was pregnant. Her pregnancy was mostly normal and healthy until after an ultrasound in her 3rd trimester they learned that their daughter had a 95% chance of being born with down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. J said she was initially in denial. She had no risk factors, she was young (26 during this pregnancy), she couldn't believe it. But when their angel was born the diagnoses was confirmed.

J and D spent lots of time, money and energy getting their daughter the medical care she needed. She had surgeries on her heart in attempts to save her life but during one of her operations her little body let go. Her parents though, did nothing but smile at the memory of their sweet baby girl as they told us of her short life. She was so sweet they said, smiling often and rarely fussy and her 6 months with them was a blessing.

Of course, Chad and I were fighting back tears as they told us all of this and then we lost that fight a bit when J went on to tell us that after they lost their daughter in February, she became pregnant and miscarried in May, one month after my own miscarriage. Which I shared with her and although I know my loss is different from hers, an understanding of that pain passed between the four of us. And I worked up the courage to tell them about our IVF and FET and current pregnancy. They were very congratulatory and understood both our hope and our fears after suffering a loss. It was an incredible conversation and we really enjoyed talking to them. As we parted ways we all agreed to spend time together again soon and the next day we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses by leaving them on each other's cars.

This past Friday, Chad was very excited about our potential new friends and invited them over for a drink. They happily agreed and we wound up sitting in our living room talking and laughing for over 3 hours. It was great and so easy. Conversation just flowed easily back and forth between light, getting to know you topics and more serious stuff. We talked about our jobs, school, families, relationships, mutual interests and of course our desires to be parents.

All night I kept thinking about what great new friends we were making and how much I hoped for good things for them. Then J announced she had taken an HPT that very morning and gotten a BFP. She is pregnant again! She told us we were the first and only people they had told because after the m/c she dreads another and wants to wait at least a month before telling family. She just needed to tell SOMEONE and
since we are expecting again after m/c and understand the hopes and fears that come with that, she felt comfortable for us to be those someones. Right now, I am very optimistic and cautiously excited for them. I am still so honored that they shared their news with us, and of course I am hoping with all of my heart that this pregnancy brings them the child that they so deserve.

I am also hoping that this friendship can continue to grow. I am so glad that we reached out to them when we did. Not only did we give them a bit of comfort but now all four of us are enjoying the benefits of a new friendship, a friendship that it seems couldn't have come at a better time for any of us. If I have ever doubted whether being open and honest about our struggles with infertility was a good idea or not, this just proves that is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Down The Rabbit Hole

Yesterday I fell down the rabbit hole. It was my 1st appointment at the OB's office and being in a new waiting room with a new staff and waiting to see a new doctor left me feeling like I had wandered into a strange new, curious world where I didn't understand the customs or traditions. I thought I had prepared myself at least a little by reading up on the first appointment, listening to others accounts and talking to the office staff beforehand, but inevitably it still didn't go exactly as I had expected.

As soon as I checked in I was handed a stack of new patien
t paperwork to fill out but after all the infertility paperwork I had done in the past it was really a breeze. I was happy to see that all the pregnant women that came in smiled and seemed to enjoy being there. Everyone on the staff that I encountered was very friendly and warm. They called me back fairly quickly and of course first checked my weight and blood pressure- both of which are good. Then Chad and I waited in a very comfortable exam room until Dr. Casual came in. I call him Dr. Casual because he was just that, very laid back and comfortable. He was friendly and happy to answer all of our questions. It felt a lot like making small talk with a new acquaintance, now I just hope he begin to feel like a new friend.

He did a very quick ultrasound which was very weird for us because it was the first one to be done externally! I have had so many dates with wandy now, I wasn't
prepared for the cold gel and pressure on my tummy. It was exciting to be far enough along for a peek at our Snow Pea from the outside, but I was disappointed with the quality of the ultrasound and how quickly it was over. He didn't zoom in or spend too much time showing us the details of our baby. Snow Pea just looked like a teeny blurry blob. Luckily, Dr Jedi had already scheduled an appointment with us for this morning and I knew we would get a much better peek in his office. And wow was I right! Baby looked so much bigger and so clear. Today I am 10 weeks 4 days pregnant and the baby is 37.5mm, a little bit larger than a kumquat. Not only has there been lots of growth since last time but lots of movement too! Snow Pea was wiggling and moving all over the place. We could see little legs and arms jiggling and the umbilical cord was bouncing and shaking as the baby moved around. when Chad and I were talking on the way to the appointment, he kept saying that this pregnancy still didn't feel real to him and he just couldn't get really excited yet. That all changed after he saw Snow Pea waving at us. He was absolutely giddy with excitement and couldn't stop smiling, it was cute to see him get so into it.
We get to go back to see Dr Jedi one more time and they are making a DVD of the ultrasound for us during that visit! Snow Pea will be 11 weeks 6 days at that appointment so it should be a good show, I can't wait! Dr. Jedi gave me even more good news and said I could stop all the supplements now. No more shots! No more gross Crinone! Of course I would do shots the whole 9 months if it meant Snow Pea would be safe and healthy but it's still a huge relief to be done with that stuff. I have been on both meds since June!

I am still a bit anxious about leaving Dr. Jedi completely but I am glad I was able to take a peek through the looking glass at the next phase without having to stay there exclusively right away. Hopefully by my next OB appointment next month I will be feeling a little more secure in the transition. Chad and I have also decided to check out a local birthing center just so we know all of our options, especially since it's important to us to avoid a C-section if at all possible. We will be doing that next week in addition to our last RE visit. After that is our nuchal translucency scan and I will officially be down the rabbit hole for good and in the strange new world of pregnancy. I hope that Dr. Casual is a better guide through this weird, wonderful land than the white rabbit was for Alice.