Monday, March 28, 2011

Labor Cookies

The countdown continues...5 days until Snow Pea's official due date. Chad and I keep hoping that she will decide to make an early appearance but it seems she is still pretty comfortable for now. So this weekend we split our time between enjoying quality pre-parent time together and trying everything we could think of to coax our daughter to come out and meet us.

I have been talking to her a lot, telling her all about the world that is waiting to meet her, and how amazing it all is. I love sitting in her room and feeling her move while I talk to her or sing her song. Chad has also been reading to her, the same book he has read since Christmas, and it always seems to get a reaction from her. I especially make sure he emphasizes the last lines "It's a scrumptulous world and it's ready to greet you, and as for myself, well I can't wait to meet you!" I know that technically she can't understand what we are saying but I think the feelings get through, and she knows how much we love her and can't wait to be her mommy and daddy.

We have also been trying some more direct approaches to help labor along, like walking, lots and lots of walking. Saturday I think we walked a total of 5 times. Every time we realized that we had nothing specific we were doing, we walked. It clearly didn't start my labor yet, but it still felt good to get out and about. Chad has also very kindly been rubbing my feet after these walks, paying extra close attention to the supposed acupressure points located there that are said to cause contractions. A twitter friend also gave me link to a recipe for so-called "Jump Start Your Labor Cookies", which you can read about by clicking here. Of course, I have never thought there was any real way something I eat could cause labor to start, but honestly the recipe sounded delicious and as soon as I read it I was craving them. Besides, what a great excuse to scarf down some yummy cookies!

So yesterday, we ventured out to procure the ingredients and get baking. Not only was it a lot of fun to spend time in the kitchen with Chad making silly puns and jokes about baking and ovens, I was right, the cookies turned out amazing! So good in fact that of the 3 trays we made yesterday, only 10 cookies remain. Chad was especially addicted to them and had forcibly remove them from sight to stop himself from eating any more. I enjoyed my fair share too, while sipping on red raspberry leaf tea, which is said to strengthen uterine contractions.

As expected, none of this got my labor going, but it was still so worth it and made for a great memory for us. We also took advantage of our weekend and enjoyed a lot of other great moments. Friday night we enjoyed a long, leisurely coffee date and again on Saturday we had nice long lunch together. We slept in every morning and took naps every afternoon. Of course, we both can't help but wish we were sleepily holding our little girl instead, but we know these carefree, rested days will soon be gone, so we are doing our best to enjoy them while we can. After all, even if she decides to come late, she is coming! And in the meantime I am going to continue to enjoy dreaming of her and snacking on some mighty delicious cookies.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Whole New 2ww...

As far as the dates go, I have reached the "baby could be here at any moment" stage of my pregnancy. I am 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant with only 10 days left until my official due date. I am due April 2, and since the beginning I have been hoping Snow Pea would have a late March birthday. With only a little over a week left in the month, we will just have to wait and see if that happens or not. Of course, I will be thrilled to meet her whatever day she decides to introduce herself, but after learning at today's OB appointment that she is measuring at about 8 pounds, I am hoping now more than ever that decides to come into the world sooner rather than later.

In addition to estimating my baby girl's weight, which has remained consistent since our first size check, Dr. Casual was also happy to tell me that she has also begun dropping although she still has some room to go and she is still sitting "sunny side-up" facing my front instead of my back, which can make labor harder and more painful. As always, he wasn't at all concerned about her position and said most babies turn around a lot right up until they start moving through the birth canal.

We were also all very curious about whether there had been any progress in my body that would indicate labor might be coming and thankfully I have begun to dilate, but only a centimeter or so. Luckily, that centimeter is all we needed to be able to strip the membranes. When I asked about whether we should do it, Dr. Casual got a bit excited and bragged that not only could we give it a shot, but that when he does it, it almost always works and usually rather quickly. He said he even has a reputation for being effective among the hospital nurses. I figured it was worth a shot so he went ahead and preformed the procedure, which was really more uncomfortable than painful. If it works in starting labor, it should be within the next couple of days, which is insanely exciting, but I also know that it doesn't work for everyone so I am trying not to get my hopes too high.

The big conversation throughout my appointment, was about whether I had been having any labor symptoms. And have I? Well, I sure have been analyzing the hell out of every twinge, twitch and cramp that has graced my body for the past week. With less than two weeks to go and nothing to do but wait, I am having flashbacks to the 2ww of TTCing. It started with the cramps. "Could that be a sign?" "Don't people say contractions feel like cramps in the beginning?" " Let's see what Dr Google has to say." Then came the increasing Braxton Hicks contractions, which I stop everything for so that I can try to note just how strong they are and whether they are happening at regular intervals or not. Last night and this morning I was very nauseous and found myself yet again googling pre-labor signs. Now that I have had my membranes stripped the cramps have gone into overdrive which has my hopes higher than ever. But just like the 2ww when TTC, nothing is conclusive and all I can really do is wait and try to make my brain stop obsessing about when labor will happen. The difference however, and it's a huge one, is that with this 2ww I actually know how it will end and the ending is a great one. The best one in the world actually, the one I have been waiting years for! Even if it takes another 2 weeks instead of another 2 days, in the end I WILL be a mom and there is nothing more amazing or wonderful than that!

Oh! I should also mention I have added a few pics to Snow Pea's baby website. If you want a glimpse of the nursery, check it out

Friday, March 18, 2011

On This Day...

There are a lot of dates happening right now that I can't help but remember and reflect on their significance. Some of them happy, some sad, and some a strange mix of the two.

One year ago today, I was pregnant. Or if you want to look at it in the terms of the TTC community, I was technically PUPO, pregnant until proven otherwise. My first IVF transfer was exactly one year ago yesterday and one year ago today, Chad and I were a bundle of excitement, anxiety and nerves hoping that the transfer would be a successful one. I remember absolutely everything about how I felt that day. It was even more special and memorable because it was not only the day my little blasties would either implant or not, it was also our 3 year wedding anniversary. We couldn't help but smile nervously with the hope that our baby might be snuggling in on the anniversary of the best day of both our lives.

And less than two weeks later we learned that our Sprout had in fact snuggled in, but sadly didn't continue to grow much longer than that, and by the time April came, instead of being happy and hopeful, we were sad and heartbroken. Which means that many memorable dates of the unhappy kind are ahead of us. And that in itself creates a crazy swirl of emotions inside me. My miscarriage is still the absolute hardest and worst thing I have ever had to experience. And there are still places and things from that time period I can't visit or see without crying. I will always mourn that loss, but I also recognize that I wouldn't be pregnant with this baby, with my Snow Pea, and I love her with all that I am. It is very conflicting to still miss Sprout but to not be able to even think of life without Snow Pea. With her due date fast approaching, I can't help but see the connections and feel the confliction. I didn't even realize until recently that my daughter would be born one year after the same time period as the worst moments of my life. It makes me wonder if her being born at the same time was somehow deliberate, meant to bring us healing and love during a time that we'd otherwise remember as painful.

There are other important anniversaries of our journey to parenthood happening around now. Last year on March 12th, I went in for my egg retrieval where my RE collected 21 eggs, 15 of which fertilized and one of which is now the daughter I have reached a full term pregnancy with. It is crazy to think that my unborn child was conceived over a year ago! And even crazier to think that her future sibling(s) were too! Of course, Sprout was conceived that day as well, so it is a bit bittersweet to think about that day but for the most part it is memory filled with hope and awe at what it has resulted in.

You may have picked up on my mention that one year ago today, I was not only PUPO, but also that it was our 3 year wedding anniversary, which means today is 4 years. And I have to say just how wonderful it is to be celebrating another year of marriage to my partner in life and my best friend. The years we spent facing infertility, the rounds of treatment and the loss of my first pregnancy all roll together into what is hands down the hardest battle either of us have ever dealt with, but having done it together has made us a stronger couple than I ever imagined possible. I knew I was making the best decision of my life the day I literally exclaimed "I Do!" but I didn't know just how right I really was. As memorable as these other dates are and always will be, none of them are as important as March 18, 2007, which was quite literally the best day of my life and the day my family truly began.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Somewhat Wordless Wednesday: Showered With Love

A few weeks ago, a couple of kind and generous friends of ours hosted the most wonderful baby shower for Chad and I. I woke up that morning with excited butterflies in my stomach. I honestly could not believe this day had actually come! I felt a similar buzzing excitement that I had experienced on my wedding day, it was like a surreal kind of floating. And I am happy to say the day lived up to my morning feelings. The weather was gorgeous, the decorations were beautiful, the food was delicious, and the love that was showered on us was unforgettable.

beautiful flower arrangements created by one of the hostesses, complete with blue hydrangeas our wedding flower

Our wonderful guests

Since we live thousands of miles away from "home" Chad set up a live web stream so that friends and family on the other side of the country could be at the shower too! We also received lots of surprise gifts and well wishes from across the country
Scrumptious moon cake and fluffy cloud cupcakes!

Snow Pea was definitely showered with love and generosity

Diapers! Score!

My sweet sister in law sent this book which was the design for our invites. The tears couldn't be stopped when we opened the book to hear a recording of our precious nephew singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to Snow Pea.

The tears really kicked into high gear when we opened a gift labeled "To Snow Pea from Your Daddy". My mother in law had secretly shipped Chad's childhood best friend, Wrinkles, to our hostess' house and she wisely saved it for last. I can't wait to see our daughter play with such a special gift.

Not only were we blessed enough to have such a perfect baby shower, but the following week Chad's office threw one too! It was so touching to be there and see how much his employees and colleagues cared about him and his impending Daddy-hood. Not to mention how great it is to see people putting as much stock into becoming a father as is usually only reserved for moms. Dads are every bit as important and involved in their children's lives and I always smile when they receive equal respect.

Snow Pea is certainly a lucky girl to be born into a world that already loves her so much!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Holy Moly, Roly Poly!

There have been a few claims in recent years suggesting that babies conceived through IVF have slightly lower birth weights. A few people I know with IVF or FET babies had an extra ultrasound in their third trimesters specifically to check on growth and development. Snow Pea, however, apparently never got the smaller size memo because according to her size check last week, she is huge!

Last Tuesday, I was 35 weeks pregnant and right on target in every way possible. My fundal measurements were dead on, my weight was exactly where it should be and Snow Pea was positioned just where she should be (firmly on top of my bladder). I was relaxed and prepared for a simple end to our routine check in. Then Dr. Casual dropped the bomb. He measured Snow Pea's head, stomach and femur on ultrasound which estimated that my baby was weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces! That's very nearly 7 pounds! With 5 weeks to go and an estimated half pound of growth each week, that is one big baby! To say I was surprised and a bit freaked out is putting it lightly.

Dr. Casual of course didn't seem overly concerned, but I could tell he was bit surprised too and he kept mentioning that if she were to be born early, she wouldn't be larger than average at birth. He also reviewed our birth plan and specifically let us know that although I am 37 weeks pregnant, if I were to go into labor at this point, he wouldn't intervene to stop it. He didn't say it outright but both Chad and I could tell he was hoping for labor to start sooner rather than later. He also repeated more than once that he would keep a close eye on her growth in the coming weeks.
I just cannot believe this baby could be so big! At 35 weeks the typical fetal weight is about 5 pounds 4 ounces, which means Snow Pea is a full pound and a half bigger than average! The doctor did let me know that these measurements can be off by about 10%, but even subtracting 10% from her estimate would still have her larger than normal.

As we scheduled our next appointment, the nurse at the counter commented that she'd see us next week, if I make it that long anyway. After some nervous laughter, Chad and I rushed home and made sure the hospital bag was packed and ready. Not that we thought things would start immediately, but our doctor's visit made us realize just how close that trip to hospital really is, especially if Snow Pea keeps growing at this rate.

Being the research obsessed person that I am, I have since spent all week trying to learn all I can about the accuracy of ultrasound for predicting fetal weight with very mixed results. I consulted friends, family, message boards, and research studies and they have all ranged in answers from very accurate to not even close. I also spent some time looking into what causes some babies to be bigger than others. Genetics is one of the biggest factors, but genetically I am relatively average, borderline small and my birth weight was only one ounce more than Snow Pea's current estimate, and I was born nearly two weeks late! The other factors are gestational diabetes, which I do not have, and excessive weight gain which I also do not have. I have also heard from just about everyone I have seen that I am carrying small for 8 months pregnant. So why the big baby? If any of you have had ultrasounds to estimate your baby's size before birth, please feel free to share your experiences with their accuracy or anything else I should know.

Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy or disappointed in any way about this news, sure there are a few cute newborn outfits that may be too snug for her, but overall the great news is that my baby is thriving and healthy. I am just surprised, and honestly a teeny bit nervous about whether this will make labor and/or delivery more difficult. I also want to do everything I can to avoid a c-section and I know many doctors and hospitals are more prone to performing them if they suspect that the baby is large. I'm 36 weeks pregnant now, and I go back to see Dr. Casual tomorrow. Hopefully we will get a better idea of what is happening in terms of development. I am also planning to ask about a cervical check to see whether anything has started happening. The exciting side of this is that it does increase the chances that I will be holding Snow Pea in my arms before the month is over! Both Chad and I are crossing our fingers for that to be the case. Our bags are packed, the nursery is just about finished and we are as ready as anyone possibly can be before their whole lives are completely changed forever. Now we just have to wait patiently until Snow Pea is ready to come along and make that change happen.

You may have noticed that I mentioned the nursery is just about finished, so yes, that does mean pictures will be coming soon. Also, I have baby shower pics on the way. Stay tuned...