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!