Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting Away

And the countdown continues. Tomorrow I will be 35 weeks pregnant which means there only 5 weeks to go until Snow Pea's due date. I can't even begin to tell you how excited, nervous, anxious and generally amazed both Chad and I are that we are going to actually, finally be parents soon. It still feels like a dream I am bound to wake up from at any moment. But before the dream ends I have been doing my best to get everything ready for baby, just in case this really is real life. And that includes taking the time to do things for me and for us as a couple.

A few weeks ago we ventured a few hours away from home to San Luis Obispo, for a long, relaxing weekend together. Chad and I love to travel. Whether it is a day trip to the mountains or a weeks long adventure in Europe we are always going somewhere,
doing something. We of course, have every intention of continuing this with our daughter as well, but we also recognized that this is our last opportunity to truly get away just the two of us.

The weekend was everything a "babymoon" should be. We had long dinners, took leisurely strolls around town, enjoyed live theater, talked late into the night wh
ile gazing at the stars and probably most importantly, we took advantage of long lazy mornings, sleeping in and enjoying breakfast in bed.

I could go over every detail of our trip but we took a gazillion pictures so I figure it might be more fun to look at a few of those instead.
First stop was a surprise visit to a local brewery. Chad loves microbrews and trying new places so he was excited that I found this place. I can't tell you whe
ther the beer was good but he liked it and they had some refreshing water on tap. After that we headed to downtown SLO and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the evening farmer's market, including some tasty Central Coast bbq.
The next day, after a very lazy morning of sleep, movies and a late breakfast, we ventured out to do some exploring and sightseeing. We paid a visit to Hearst Castle and a few other local sites before enjoying a leisurely creekside dinner together. We finished the night on our hotel room deck, watching the stars and of course talking all about how much our world will change once Snow Pea arrives.
The following day was a lot like the one before. We slept in, enjoyed breakfast in bed, read on the deck, and then headed out for more local sights and experiences. We strolled along the creek, toured an old mission and left our mark on the famous "bubble gum alley". It is gross but also kind of cool to see. Just don't touch anything!
That night after dinner we saw a live show at The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville theater. It was an original comedic musical and SO much fun to watch. I absolutely love live theater and seeing a show like this probably won't happen easily for quite a while after Snow Pea's grand entrance, so I am glad there was such a great local theater nearby.
Even though it was technically a long weekend, it still came to an end rather quickly but that didn't mean we could still enjoy the day. We had a late checkout Sunday so that we could sleep in yet again, and on our way out we stopped to see the monarch butterfly migration that happens in the area every year. We watched in awe of the several hundred orange and black butterflies fluttering through the trees and along the beach. It was a gorgeous site to see. This is the part where I could be predictable and spout some metaphor about the butterflies transformation from a caterpillar and how it somehow reflects my own life, but really I was just content to watch the pretty bugs fly around my head while I held my husband's hand with the realization that one day soon my other hand will be holding my daughter's.

p.s. I realize I didn't post any good belly shots but I've added a couple new pictures to the baby website if you're interested in seeing more bump

Friday, February 18, 2011

Infertility Gratitude

I'm tired, my back is killing me, my rib cage feels like it will burst at any second, and don't even get me started on how swollen my feet are. As I enter the final 6 weeks (!!!) of pregnancy, I can almost understand why I have heard so many pregnant women exclaim that they can't wait for it to be over. I know I am truly excited to meet my daughter and become a mommy, but despite all of the aches and pains I can't say that I am ready for it to be over yet. Not only do I still have a TON to do, I still absolutely love being pregnant! And oddly enough, I think I have infertility to thank for that.

At the beginning of this pregnancy, I had a hard time accepting it was really happening and allowing myself to celebrate. After 3 years of infertility and a miscarriage, my heart was very guarded and afraid. To be honest, it goes even deeper than that because so much of what I have experienced has changed me forever and I will always be a different person than I was before infertility, IVF, and miscarriage became a reality in my life. The good news is I like the person I am now, despite the scars, and I did finally begin to allow myself to enjoy my pregnancy, although I have stayed slightly guarded the entire time.

Some of the biggest things that helped me to accept and enjoy being pregnant were the very things I hear so many other non-fertility challenged women complain about. My first bout of gag-inducing, sitting in the bathroom all day, horrendous nausea was cause for extreme celebration! I happily texted and tweeted the world that I had almost lost my lunch. And although, I couldn't get my to-do list done to save my life, I was incredibly thrilled when the first trimester exhaustion took over my life as my sweet baby grew. With each new symptom came new reasons to celebrate. They have continually reminded me that my pregnancy is healthy and that my daughter is thriving.

My heartburn and leg cramps, while painful, have also allowed to have a little glimpse of what it would be like to be a "regular" pregnant woman. Granted, my pregnancy IS completely and totally normal. How I conceived has absolutely no effect whatsoever on how my pregnancy actually develops, but the world doesn't always know that. Many people assume I am high risk because of the fertility drugs or the FET itself, but the truth is my body and the medical community see my pregnancy as if it had begun the old-fashioned way. But even though I know that to be true, with everything I have gone through to be here and everything I know as a result, I very seldom feel "regular".

I can't imagine what it would feel like to be one of the blissfully unaware. One of those ladies that chucks her birth control and just lets nature take its course, and then have that actually work without any additional knowledge or intervention. How amazing it must be to experience pregnancy without all the worries and baggage that come along with surviving infertility, or to be able to share every teeny milestone and ultrasound picture without infertility survivor's guilt, or to have extra money to start your child's college fund instead of paying back IVF induced debt. I wonder how many of the families who experience a struggle-free road to pregnancy know how lucky they are. I also wonder if those who have never experienced loss know it too. What I wonder most though is what kind of pregnant woman I would have been if had never gone through what I did. Would I rejoice over back pain? Or would I be on Facebook complaining about my sore muscles at every opportunity?

I am in no way trying to attack or criticize anyone who has not dealt with loss or infertility, merely trying to explain how different the experience is for me because I have experienced these things. I think in many ways that what I have gone through to become a parent has been a blessing. My husband and I have developed a closeness and a connection deeper than I ever dreamed possible. I have found a wealth of love and support from friends and family and met new friends that have enriched my life beyond belief. I have learned more and more about the realities of infertility and become a part of the voice for advocacy in the infertile community. I am now proud to be outspoken and educate others on these issues. I have enjoyed every single moment of my pregnancy, even the difficult and painful ones. I also have a feeling that our experiences with infertility will keep Chad and I thankful later when we're dealing with the realities and challenges of parenthood. And even though I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have had an easier road to becoming a mom, I can't imagine my journey any other way, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's Up, Doc?

They say a good man is hard to find, but I am in having the opposite dilemma in that I have found two good men and now I can't decide between them. Let me clarify, I have found two great doctors, pediatricians to be exact, and choosing which should be Snow Pea's doctor is proving more difficult than I could have imagined!

If you follow me on twitter or know me in real life you may have noticed my recent obsession with picking the brain of anyone who has ever dealt with pediatricians and getting their perspective on what they did and didn't like about their baby doctor. In the end, everyone comes to the same conclusions- I should go with who I "click" with best and who offers the best services and strategies to suit me and my style, always remembering I can change doctors later. The problem is that the two practices I am trying to decide between can both easily fit that description but for different reasons. Both have flaws but none of them deal-breakers, and both have great qualities but none of them enough to outshine the other. Basically, I like the doctor at one practice a bit better, but I like the overall conveniences of the other practice a bit better. It all comes down to which is more important to me, but I don't know what that is yet.

So I am asking for yet more help, advice and input on the matter. If you have already given me your two cents, please don't hesitate to do so again. I would be more than thrilled to hear what you have to say one more time because there is a good chance I have already forgotten parts of it.

So here is the breakdown. We'll start with Doctor A. Doc A is in a solo practice which means we will only see him and he would be able to really get to know our baby, but it also means that if he is out of town or sick we get a "temp". It also means that if he is very busy we could have a long wait. When we met him he gave the impression that he provides very individualized care for each child and takes the time to get to know the whole family in order to best meet each child's unique needs- he doesn't take a one method fits all approach. He has a well baby schedule of exams every month for the first six months and then at 9 and 12 months. He vaccinates with 2 shots at a time using this monthly schedule. He located on the same property as the hospital we would use if we ever needed to (heaven forbid). It's very close to home and the drive is easy but the parking can be really bad depending on how busy the hospital is.

Doctor B on the other hand is a member in a group practice that has six different doctors. He would be our primary pediatrician but if the office is busy or in case of an emergency we would be able to see one of the other docs. Everyone in the office is friendly and easy to talk to but they don't seem as individualized in their care. Everyone in the practice, including our favorite doctor, basically just follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics when it comes to medical care, although they did say that they often turn to each other for opinions and advice when needed since they all have different levels of experience and background. They follow the 2,4,6,9, 12 month check up schedule and the CDC recommended vaccines at each visit. They are a bit farther and require a freeway to get to but with the carpool lane it is not too bad and their parking lot is much easier to navigate.

Both docs have sick and well doors/lobbies, nurses to answer emergency questions after hours, and similar weekday only office availability. They are both very supportive and encouraging of breastfeeding which is important since I very much hope to nurse exclusively for the first six months.

Basically, I like Doc A as a doctor and I like Doc B as a practice and unfortunately I cannot combine the two. So now I am trying to figure out what matters to me more. I keep looking at the big differences and trying to choose which I am more comfortable with and I just don't know. On one hand I can see monthly visits being overkill, on the other I can see it providing Snow Pea with an extra level of care. With vaccines, I am initially more comfortable with the idea of breaking them up, but then I wonder if getting them out of the way all at once wouldn't be easier on the baby and on me. I have heard from many moms that baby's first shots are an emotional experience. And the logistics matter too because I know a doctor's visit will be that much more frustrating for Snow Pea and me if we have to hunt for parking or wait for hours to be seen.

So please, pretty please, if you have ANY insight or advice on any of these points, please feel free to share! I know that I won't really know which is the best fit until my daughter is already a patient, so I would love any real world experiences since I don't have my own yet. Is the monthly schedule overkill or is it a welcome way to know more about what's happening with your little one? Did your baby still get fussy and feverish with a split vaccine schedule or did it seem to lesson the side effects to break them up? Is a great doctor worth waiting for or would you rather see an ok doctor and be able to get in and out? I know everyone has a personal preference and no one can make these choices for me, but the more I hear about the reality the easier it is for me to decide which option fits our family best.

I honestly had no idea this choice would be so difficult. I almost wish we hadn't decided to interview more than one doctor because then it would have been much simpler. We like the first one we met, just as we did with our RE and our OB, so we would have picked him. Normally I would just blame my usual indecisiveness for this difficulty but Chad has been just as hard of a time and for all the same reasons. We both keep going back and forth because there is no clear right choice. In the end though I know that either choice is a good one so there is no losing, just deciding. We'll get there, just hope we can do it sooner rather than later- only 7 weeks to go!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Cute!

I've been awarded! Seems like even though I am more and more of a blog slacker, there are still lovely readers that heart my blog and think I'm cute. I am incredibly honored. Thank you so much to First Time Mom at Baby Alexander The Great for reading my blog and honoring me with this award!

Here's the CUTE award!!

The rules for accepting this award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
2. Share 7 confessions.
3. Award 7 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

7 Confessions:
1. I had my tongue pierced for my 18th birthday and took it out on my 21st. It was my way of bridging the "adulthood gap"
2. The only other piercing I've ever had is the one standard ear lobe piercing, which I got for my 13th birthday.
3. I still use a handwritten planner and keep it with me religiously. I am lost without it
4. I have a turtle shaped scar on my back as the result of a high school friend that was a true backstabber.
5. The 2nd part of #4 is a lie. I have the scar but it's really from a mole removal when I was a teenager. I just like to come up with more "creative" stories about where it came from
6. My current dream is to finish my master's degree so that I can teach Women's Studies courses at a community college
7. I've cheated on the pregnancy no-no's a time or two and had a bite of sushi for lunch or a teeny bit of wine with dinner- nothing drastic though, I swear!

Award 7 other bloggers:
1. Lisa @ Three Cats and A Baby
2. Lori @ Love, Life and Infertility
3. Becca @ Liberal Granola Girl
4. Rose @ Not There Yet
5. The Gimlins @ Growing With The Gimlins
6. Ally @ Life's A Beach
7. Sunny Mama @ Sunny Day Today Mama