Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekly Visits

Today was the first of many (hopefully) weekly visits with the doc. As I’m taking Lovenox for clotting issues, my doc wanted to start weekly non-stress tests at around 29 weeks, to make sure that my placenta is working, and Alex is getting enough blood, and there are no clotting problems. So I went in today, had the machine strapped to my belly, and listed to her heartbeat for about 20 minutes, while pressing a button every time I felt her move. What a wonderful way to start my morning. Although it took the nurse a few minutes to find her heartbeat, which was a little stressful. I kept telling myself, I just felt her move, I just felt her move, it will be ok. And of course it was ok. Alex performed very well, as her heartbeat increased when she moved, so the doctor called her “reactive”, which apparently is a good thing!

The doc and I talked about the plan for the last part of my pregnancy. Weekly appointments with NST’s. An ultrasound at 36 weeks to check her growth, unless there’s any indication that her growth is off before that. And induction at 37-38 weeks. I asked about switching from Lovenox to Heparin, and he said no. He said there is a lot of discussion as to whether this is important, but he doesn’t think it is. He said that I could go into labor at any time, and with the weekly appointments and constant attention, they will try to control the timing of induction, but we really can’t control it. He plans to have me off of Lovenox for 24 hours prior to induction, but if I go into labor on my own, then it will be fine. He said that worst case, if I have to do a C-section, I won’t be able to do a spinal block and instead will need to have general anesthesia, but he thinks the chance of this is rare. So we’ll just continue to monitor the situation and see what happens.

I’m fine with this approach. I talked a lot with people at my baby shower last week about birth plans and such. I have a friend who did all these hypno-birthing classes, and was so disappointed when she ended up having a C-section. She grieved for a long time, and had a hard time getting over it. In fact, I don’t think she really got over it until she had a successful VBAC with her second pregnancy, with no meds. I completely respect those that place a lot of importance in how the birth takes place, but at this point, I really don’t care. Infertility has taught me that there is very little I can control in my reproductive plans, and it’s OK. I handed the conception of my child over to the doctors, and now I’m handing the birth of my child over to the doctors as well. So my birth plan consists of three things: at a hospital, healthy baby, healthy me. All I care about is being able to take my baby home, and I’d like to be alive to do it.

Moving to weekly appointments, and starting to talk about induction, makes it seem so very close! I’ll be at 30 weeks on Saturday! Which means that I’ll have a baby 7-8 weeks after that! Wow, I can’t believe it’s so close. We have so much to do – classes, her room, another baby shower – but none of it matters. I’m so excited to be able to meet her, and I’m thrilled that I’m getting even closer to that day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Missing Colorado

We had such a wonderful weekend in Colorado. We spent Thursday through Monday spending time with all our friends and family in Colorado, and we are truly blessed with the people that have stayed in touch with us, and continue to support us and come out to see us when we go back to Denver.

I find myself telling everyone how this little one was conceived. I wasn’t super secretive about my infertility before – I would tell anyone if they asked, or if it seemed natural. But now that I’m pregnant, I feel even more compelled to tell people that this baby was not an accident, and she wasn’t easy, and I worked really hard to get her! I found myself at my baby shower talking to five women in the kitchen all about IUI’s, and IVF’s, and frozen embryos, and any other questions they had for me. And it was great. Maybe this will help get the word out. I don’t have a lot of ambition to be an infertility advocate, or anything like that. But if we could all be more open about our own experiences, maybe it could help infertility have less of a stigma than it does already.

And it doesn’t have to be super serious and educational. We were at a happy hour after the shower so the guys could celebrate too, and after a few drinks, someone started taking a bunch of pictures. Somehow the hubs and I got into some weird poses, with him grabbing my belly and I guess it looked a little sexual, and someone yelled out, “That’s how she got that way!” And the hubs said, “Not exactly. I wasn’t really involved at all!” And I said, “No honey, you were involved – you had your nice alone time with the cup!” And everyone laughed. Not sure if it was awkward for those who didn’t know all the details, but I don’t really care. At that moment, I was proud of us for being easy and up-front about our infertility, even if it was in front of 15 or so random friends and a bunch of strangers around us.

The night before we left, I had a two-hour conversation with the hubs’ grandmother. She’s the only grandparent that we have left between the two of us, and she’s amazing. She’s 92 years old, and she still goes to work every day as a bookkeeper. She keeps the books for about 20 different investment companies and trusts, all on green ledger paper and with a pencil. She decided when she turned 80 that she wasn’t going to worry about things like drinking and dieting anymore, so she will definitely have a cocktail or two if given the opportunity! She and I sat there for two hours, she with her glasses of champagne, and me with my water, and I listened to her talk. She told me all about the birth of her first child.

It was 1944, and she and her husband were living in Oklahoma on an army base. She was about to give birth. In fact, she had been told by her doctor to come into the hospital the next day to give birth (not exactly sure why – I think she was supposed to check into the hospital even though she wasn’t yet in labor). Well, her husband told her that his unit just got orders to go to Europe to fight in World War II. She hadn’t been away from her husband prior to this, but they knew that it was probably coming. So the next morning, instead of checking into the hospital to deliver her baby, she packed up her car. She decided she didn’t want to have a baby in Oklahoma where she didn’t know anyone; instead she wanted to be in Ohio where she grew up and where her mother could help her raise the baby. She had a foot locker that held all her clothes, dishes, and other personal items, and a dog. She drove for two days, without going over 40 miles per hour per the war-time restrictions, and using gas stamps, and she made it to Ohio by herself. She didn’t go into labor for another eight days.

When she went into labor, her mother told her to take a cab to the hospital, but when she got into the cab, she discovered it was full with two other passengers. The cab driver told her that he was going to drop off the other passengers first, as they were defense workers, and they were more of a priority than a laboring woman. She finally got to the hospital, and they discovered the baby was breech. She still delivered vaginally, but only after “the doctor took his knife and cut me, all the way to my bowels!” She hadn’t heard of the term “episiotomy” when I said it. She then told me that for the next ten days while she was in the hospital, the doctor would come by, put a sheet over her face, and show all the students “her bottom” with the cut and all the stitches. She was so embarrassed, having to show her “bottom” to strangers. She stayed in the hospital for ten days with her baby girl, and by the time she went home, they were in a good routine.

I loved hearing her stories of giving birth, and raising babies. She is such an amazing woman. I hope she lives for at least a few more years, as I hope that baby Alex will be able to remember her. She can’t drive as her vision isn’t great, and she has a few medical problems, but overall she’s in really good health. We’ve been talking a lot about death lately, as she recently changed the executor of her estate to the hubs, so she wanted to go over all the details and paperwork with both the hubs and me. I’ve only been with the hubs for eight years of my life, but she is such a huge part of my family, and I don’t ever want to see her go. She’s so excited to meet baby Alex, and I can’t wait to see them together. We’ve decided on a middle name for Alex – Louise. This is the hubs grandmother’s middle name, and I can’t think of a better name for my baby girl.

This trip made us long even more for Colorado. We have to get back there – and soon. Right now we have a two-year plan. At the end of the next two years, we will be back in Denver. Our jobs don’t really support this, but there are more important things than jobs. We want to raise our children in Colorado, near our family, and that is much more important than where we work.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Today is my shower!

This afternoon I am having my first baby shower. I have travelled to Denver for this, and all my Denver family and friends will be there. My mother-in-law and friend have put so much effort into planning and today will be cooking up a storm for this party. I am so grateful for all their hard work, I can hardly put it into words.

I’m amazed I’m here. 28 weeks today, in the third trimester, feeling my little girl kick every day, and having a baby shower. The emotions that well up are overwhelming. The hubs doesn’t understand why it seems I cry every day. I try to hide most of the crying, but when I walk into my friend’s house today and see what they’ve done for the shower, and see people I haven’t seen in a long time coming together to see me and bring a gift for my little girl, I don’t know if I will be able to keep it together.

I cried so much on the phone with my mother yesterday. I really screwed something up. When we’re in town for a long weekend, and we both grew up here and have lots of people that we love here, it’s very hard to fit everyone in. I had made plans to see my mother for lunch yesterday, and it didn’t work out. I won’t go into all of it, but we weren’t able to have lunch yesterday, and she’s not free any time the rest of the time I’m here. As she says, “I have a life too.” She’s coming to the shower this afternoon, but I won’t be able to have any quality time with her at an event like that. I was just so disappointed, as she won’t come to Texas to visit, now or even after baby Alex’s birth, and I rarely get to see her. I should have made sure lunch happened yesterday, and I feel so guilty for this, but I don’t know what to do about it now. I hope she’s nice today at the shower – it could go either way.

Besides the issue with my mother, everything’s been wonderful. We’re staying with the in-laws, and they’ve been so nice. All of our friends have dropped whatever they were doing to spend time with us, and we are getting some very special attention as we’re bringing the first baby of the generation to this crazy group. It’s so sweet, but all the attention gets somewhat overwhelming at times too.

I just can’t believe I’m here. After all the infertility treatments, and the losses, and the sadness and longing that took over my life for a couple years, I’m in my third trimester, and I’m celebrating the pending birth of my little girl with all the people I love in my life. I’m so very lucky, and I remember it daily. I have quite a few friends having fertility struggles of their own, and I wish I could take their pain from them. There are two of those ladies coming to the shower this afternoon, and I sent them each messages telling them if it was too much to come to the shower, I certainly understand, but they are planning on coming. I hope it’s not too painful for them. I don’t understand why some of us have to bear the infertility burden, but I know that having gone through it gives me such an appreciation of what I have, that I don’t know if I would have had without infertility. We were at a bar last night with our friends, and after a few hours of sitting on a bar stool, my back was killing me. I stood up and was leaning over the stool, trying to stretch it out, feeling pretty miserable. But then Alex kicked me, telling me she was still alive and doing well, and somehow the pain in my back seemed tolerable. I can deal with physical pain – it’s nothing like the emotional pain of not having my little girl.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I spent two years trying to have a baby, and now I’m spending time trying to find someone to hire to take care of my baby. I can’t believe I’m doing this, and every time I think of actually leaving my baby girl at a daycare center, I get a little nauseous. But it is what it is. I’m going back to work when Alex is three months old, and there’s no going around it. And I’ve looked into nannies (too expensive, and I don’t know anyone personally that would do it that I would trust, so no) and au pairs (not too expensive, but unless I knew someone personally, I wouldn’t do it) and home day care centers (no – definitely not. Unless I knew someone personally who ran the daycare, I wouldn’t trust someone with a home daycare, I’ve heard way too many awful stories). So we’ve decided that a daycare center is the way to go. It took me a few months to come to this conclusion, and I’m definitely better than how I was awhile ago. About two months ago, I started doing research and saw some videos of a local daycare, and they were showing the fabulous shots of the infant room. All I saw was the row of cribs and I burst into tears, thinking it looks like an orphanage… So I’ve emotionally progressed beyond that point, but it’s still hard.

I finally started calling around to local daycares, and determined that although many places have spots available for February, the spots are limited and are filling up, so we definitely need to make a decision soon! So for the last two weeks, I’ve been touring daycares around my area during my lunch hour. Then I’m supposed to narrow it down to three places, and the hubs and I will take off an afternoon and go check out the three top places. He works an hour away from our home, and my commute is 7 minutes, so I definitely have an advantage for looking at all these places. Plus as he told me yesterday, “You know I don’t really like talking to people, and lots of babies make me nervous!” So for him to agree to go to three daycares is pretty good. When I first started this process, I thought he would want to go to the one that I picked, and that’s it! One nice thing is there’s a woman at work who is due three weeks after me, and she has a four-year old that has gone through daycare, so she has been going with me and asking good questions. Her boy is in a preschool that doesn’t accept infants, and she didn’t love the daycares that she used when he was younger, so she’s also looking. So it’s been nice to have her along for the tours. (Although if I have to hear again how getting pregnant must be in the water at your company or some other bullshit line, I might scream. She got pregnant with her new boyfriend accidentally, while on the pill…)

After going to five daycares, which are the only ones that aren’t too far out of my way (which isn’t saying too much - I really like my 7 minute commute) and take infants, I’ve narrowed it down to three.

Daycare A: Franchise of a national chain.
Cost: $260 per week
Infant room: In room until walking, and then will graduate to higher room. Some daycares have babies all the way up to 12-13 months together, so crawlers/walkers are going all over 6 weekers!
Ratio of teachers to infants: 1 teacher: 4 infants, up to 8 in the room.
Location: best location – on the way to work, no increase in commute.
Curriculum: Nationally set curriculum, teach baby sign language, structured days as kids get older. Most curriculum-based of the three.
Pros: Location; very professional company; curriculum-based education; very efficiently run company, which appeals to me as a business woman, not sure as a mom.
Cons: Smallest infant room (very small); rumors of high turnover of staff, but the infant teacher has been there 1 ½ years, and seems very good; don’t know anyone personally that uses center.

Daycare B: Church daycare.
Cost: $225 per week
Infant room: In room until crawling, and then will graduate to higher room until walking, and then will graduate to walking room.
Ratio of teachers to infants: 1 teacher: 3.5 infants, up to 7 in the room.
Location: good. Adds about 5-10 minutes to commute.
Curriculum: Teacher-set curriculum. For babies, no real curriculum, not very structured days. For older kids, have schedule, but doesn’t seem to be a main focus.
Pros: Not-for-profit, which is a huge decision-maker for the hubs, and I’m not sure (he believes that in not-for-profits, more money goes to the babies as they’re not trying to make money, which I can see his point, but isn’t always true); Church-based, which isn’t a huge deal as we’re not super religious, but I like the idea of kids being taught right from wrong from others outside of parents; Most home-like environment (the infant room reminded me of a big living room as opposed to a school); really liked the teacher, who has been there over five years; have very good recommendations from people I know, including people who have their babies there now.
Cons: Not a big focus on curriculum, so as kids get older may not learn as much as in other preschools; can’t really think of any others.

Daycare C: Only location, for-profit.
Cost: $220 per week
Infant room: In room until crawling, and then will graduate to higher room until walking, and then will graduate to walking room.
Ratio of teachers to infants: 1 teacher: 4 infants, up to 8 in the room.
Location: furthest away. Adds about 20 minutes to commute.
Curriculum: They use a national curriculum that they purchase from a curriculum provider (not sure exactly, but this is my impression). Very structured. Teach baby sign language, and every class has Spanish lessons. Teach some using DVD’s – every classroom has a TV, which is a bit odd – different than any other daycares I toured. But they said the TV is on a program maximum an hour each day, the rest of the time it’s on music only.
Pros: I really liked the director, who seemed very good; it’s small but very structured, which appeals to me as I like the curriculum focus; I know one person who gave a glowing recommendation about this place.
Cons: Location, but that’s probably about it.

This is a hard decision. I think I’m leaning towards Daycare B or C, and it really depends on what things I want to focus on. No, the curriculum isn’t very important for my 3-month old when she first starts daycare, but what about my 3-year old? Won’t I want her to get more of an education at that age? I’m sure Daycare B won’t give her a bad education, but if I’m paying almost $1,000 per month, shouldn’t we get something more out of it than safety and well-being? I don’t know – I’m hoping hubs can help me decide, but he’s completely prejudiced about picking the church-based one, I don’t think he’ll listen to anything else. Do any of you have advice for other things I should be asking? Or things I should be considering other than the items above? This is so hard, and I feel like it’s such a big decision.

And I would really appreciate it if you would not question my decision to go back to work. I’m having a hard enough time with it myself… Thanks!