Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lightbulb Moment

We were at the childbirth class for the best of the four, the one that includes the hospital tour and the discussion of all the “interventions”. You know, all the stuff I plan to use in my upcoming birth process. So all of us were crammed into a birthing suite, which is actually pretty nice, and there were comments about husbands sleeping on the couch, and the night nursery which is available from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am (which I informed the hubs that we were not using), and changes of clothes, gowns and stuff. Someone then asked a question about how long after birth you can go home, and the instructor said minimum of 24 hours for vaginal birth, 48 hours for C-section, and plan on a day for labor, so plan on staying at least two nights. And that the nurses are available to help, but you really should plan on having a support person there during your whole stay. As we were leaving the room to go to the next spot on the tour, I asked the hubs, “So are you ready to make this a home for a few days?” He has this shocked expression on his face, and he responded, “My mom needs to come here and take care of the dogs!” Um what??? We talked about this months ago! I had asked if he feels very strongly about having her here for the birth, he said no, and I told him that my preference is to not have anyone fly in for the birth, because if his mom were to come, then my mom would need to be invited as well. And both of moms, or either of them, would stress me out to no end.

I told hubs that I already asked our dog-sitter to be on call, and she will be able to come stay at our house while we’re in the hospital, or at the minimum, stop by a few times each day. And that I agreed to have his mom come down a few weeks after the baby is born, but not prior. I think by then my stress level may be a little lower, and I will be able to handle being nice to his mom. I don’t think I could be trusted to be nice to anyone while I’m in the hospital, especially for long periods of time. Because she wouldn’t be content staying at our house, she would have to be with us in that room ALL DAY LONG!!!

Well it turns out that hubs finally figured out, for the first time this pregnancy, that giving birth is a multi-day process. Apparently his mother told him that she went into labor with him in the morning, went into the hospital, pushed for 15 minutes, and was home by the afternoon. And I guess that’s what hubs expects now! I let him know that either his mom has been telling him lies his entire life, or she’s highly abnormal. And this will not be happening with me. How did he not know this would take multiple days? Oh and then he said that it would be good to have her at our home when we got back from the hospital because we would be tired, and would want to rest. I informed him that resting is not really part of it – I plan to breastfeed, and I will need to be feeding her every 2-3 hours! He thought that I could just pump a bunch and fill up some bottles for the baby. On day 2.

OK, so now it becomes very evident why we’re going to all these silly classes. He has no clue! I have bought him books, and tried to talk to him about stuff, but he won’t read the books, as he only likes to read stuff online. So I’ve tried to send him articles about Dad’s role and such, but apparently it didn’t all click until this week. Suddenly he’s realizing that this might actually be hard! That there’s a lot of stuff to do to take care of a baby! That he won’t get as much sleep as he’s used to!

I have to laugh, and I’m glad we’re finally having these conversations. I knew he was pretty clueless, but wow. We have one more childbirth class, and then there’s a breastfeeding class, infant CPR, and infant care class. I’m so happy I’ve signed up for these – because it’s becoming more and more evident that they are very useful, if only to spark conversations!

On another note, hubs works for the best company ever when it comes to benefits. First, his insurance paid for most of the costs of this little IVF baby, and now we just found out that he can take 12 weeks of FMLA leave, and they will pay him 100% pay! No disability, no PTO, no nothing. Meanwhile I’m scraping together my PTO, disability and some part-time work at home to maximize my pay while I take time off, but he can take 12 paid weeks sometime in the first 12 months, as long as they’re in minimum 1 week increments! Have you ever heard of a company in the US doing this? And even better, his direct boss has two children, and he took off the 12 weeks for each of his kids, so he’s very supportive. So hubs is planning on taking a couple weeks off when Alex is born, and then a few weeks around Christmas, and then a month off when I return to work in January. I’m thrilled, as this is a month that I don’t have to put my baby in daycare when I go back to work! And we’re considering packing up the baby, our two dogs, and going to Colorado for a few weeks at Christmas. We could visit family and friends, and have help with Alex for awhile.

But my question to all the moms out there is: Am I crazy for putting two big dogs (who have handled the trip very well many times before, and are great, but are terrible in a hotel so we refuse to stay in a hotel with them) and a baby who will be about 6 weeks old into a van with all our stuff and making a trip that normally takes 16 hours? And how long will it take when you incorporate the additional stops that a baby requires???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heartbreak and Control

My BFF, the one that I wrote about here (41 years old, recently had an FET and found out she was pregnant with rising numbers and everything…) Well, it’s all over. She went in for more betas, and her numbers weren’t rising appropriately. Then finally she went in this weekend for an ultrasound, and there is nothing there. She stopped all the progesterone, and now she’s bleeding. My heart breaks for her.

But then, on top of it all, right after she found out she was pregnant, and right before she found out her numbers weren’t increasing appropriately, her husband went to the doctor due to pain in his testicles and they determined he has testicular cancer. So he had one of his testicles removed on Friday, and they find out later this week how bad it is based on the pathology report. I finally got to talk with her on Sunday, and she’s in shock – still processing it all. I can’t even imagine – going through all this at the same time. My heart goes out to her, and I wish I could take away the pain. But I know I can’t. I only did what I knew to do – talk to her, and I sent them flowers.

She sent me an email today, her first day back at work after taking most of last week off: “I’m back at work and I can’t decide if it’s good to be back in familiar territory that I can control or if it sucks to be back to work.” This is so very true. I remember going back to work after my miscarriages, and I found it strangely comforting going to a place where I was competent, where I could have a direct relationship between hard work and results. In school and in work, I’ve been very successful. And so has my friend – ever since we met in grad school we’ve been successful at our studies and our jobs. We’ve worked our way up our own corporate ladders, and our hard work has been recognized and rewarded. It’s only when we try to do something in our personal life like try to start a family that we can’t control the outcome. I find this statement very common in our online IF community. So many of us have been successful professionally, and are then shocked when our plan for family-building doesn’t go as expected.

My friend has tried to get pregnant for over two years, and finally succeeded after two IVF’s and an FET. She had a couple days of happy wonderful times, when she told her family and her close friends, and she started planning for her future baby. And then her world started crumbling around her – her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and then she lost her baby. She, and for that matter all of us, has absolutely no control over what happens to her in her personal life. And this sucks, it really does.

The only thing we can try to control is our reaction to the events around us. And so I can try to be there for my friend, send her flowers as a token of my love, hug my husband a little tighter while being grateful that he’s healthy, and appreciate even more that my baby girl is doing well in my belly. But I’m continually reminded that this is all fleeting – we never know when our worlds can crash - none of us have any control.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Childbirth Class

Hubs and I took our first childbirth class last night. It is a 12 hour class, split into four nights over four weeks. It’s put on by the hospital where I’ll give birth, and includes a tour of the facilities, so that will be helpful. I didn’t really give Hubs an option to attend – I just told him he had to, and I’m glad we’re going. But I doubt we’ll use much of the info we’ll learn.

I would love to think that I won’t use drugs to give birth, but I doubt that will happen. In a perfect world, maybe I would try to have a natural birth, but I would have hired a doula and relied on someone other than Hubs to get me through it. But as we all know, we’re not in a perfect world. I’m taking Lovenox daily to decrease the risk that I’ll lose my baby, and therefore I don’t get to wait until the baby decides she’s ready to be born, as the instructor last night described as ideal. Instead I will go into the doctor’s office at 36 weeks, see what the ultrasound looks like, and then coordinate with my doctor my induction date sometime between 37 and 39 weeks. She will be born slightly early, the meds that I’m on will be strictly scheduled, and my body will be ripped from not-ready-for-labor to induction-by-meds-who-cares-if-you’re-body-is-ready very quickly. Based on what I’ve read, induction involves more intense contractions, IV’s and other medical interventions which will impair my abilities to move around, and an increased chance of C-section. And this is if everything goes according to plan!

And I’m ok with this. I’m ok with handing everything over to the doctor, and allowing him to direct my birth. Because all I care about is having my baby, and I want her to be healthy. I know this decreases my chances of breastfeeding going well because of the meds that will be in my body, and I know that it’s not ideal to deliver before 40 weeks if not necessary, but it’s ok. It’s ok, because it is necessary to make sure that I have this baby! I guess it’s your standard risk vs. reward analysis. Sure, in a perfect world, I might have planned something differently, but this is what I’m doing with the hand I’ve been dealt, and I’m focusing on the good part – the baby that I get at the end. Like I’ve said before, my birth plan consists of three points: in a hospital, healthy baby, healthy mommy. Everything else is just details.

The class last night does NOT agree with my plan – at all. It’s a certified Lamaze class even though it covers other areas, including meds. But its main focus is natural childbirth. Hubs kept leaning over to me last night, saying things are ridiculous, we’re never going to use this, this class is dumb, etc. But that’s ok. I actually had a really good time.

Hubs and I have not been connecting very well lately. We haven’t had fun in awhile together, and it’s starting to wear on our relationship. Prior to getting pregnant, we used to go out a lot with other people, and I don’t do this much anymore. Most of Hubs’ socializing involves bars and drinking. I really don’t mind going to most bars, as long as they’re not smoky, and I have made an effort to go with him for a lot of these outings, but it’s getting harder and harder to hang out with him. I’m not only physically uncomfortable just sitting in a chair for hours on end, but also I’m feeling a bit awkward being the big huge pregnant woman in the bar. It just seems odd! Not as odd as the baby in a bar, but still a bit weird, no? So I’ve cut most of this out of my life, but Hubs still meets our friends quite often – at least twice each week, sometimes more.

Last week we got into a fight on Thursday night when I made dinner for us (which is a huge feat – my back is usually very sore after working, so standing up in the kitchen to make dinner is miserable) and he didn’t call me until 7:45 to tell me that instead of coming home (even when I told him that morning that I was making dinner) he was going to a bar to watch football with some friends. He got a ride home (he had left his car at the bus stop, it’s not like he was drunk) with a friend at 10:00, and invited the friend in to hang out and drink more. I was reading in bed, so I asked him to come talk to me, and I told him that I was very upset that he didn’t come home that night. See, he had gone out Wednesday night with friends to the normal trivia night, and he was leaving for Colorado on Friday to go to a wedding (which I couldn’t go to because the wedding was in the mountains and my doc thinks that I shouldn’t fly and go to high altitudes now). So the only night that he would be around was Thursday, and I made dinner, and he went to the bar. I told him I was upset, and he told me I was unreasonable. He left on Friday, sent me a few texts over the weekend, and then came back Sunday. I tried to talk to him about it on Sunday, and he told me again that I was unreasonable. This didn’t get resolved, I could only drop it.

I’m sure this is common, but I worry about if it will be any different when Alex comes. He is rarely at home, and when he is, he’s on the computer playing some online game. I wonder if he will step up when he has a daughter. He’s been doing better lately – as he sees that I can’t do as much physically as I used to, he really is pitching in quite a bit. I told him that I wasn’t going to make dinner anymore, as it hurts too much and I can’t rely on him to come home, and he said ok. Monday night he came home and made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup – which was perfect. And he’s done a lot of other things. But my mind keeps going to the list of household projects that he starts and doesn’t complete (you should see my backyard – deck was removed, rock was ordered, and only partially placed – for the last few months, and Alex’s room has been partially painted for weeks). I’m trying to be patient, I really am, but he’s driving me nuts!

So last night at birth class was really good for us. Hubs says he was miserable and it was a waste of time, but we had a great time sitting in the back making snide comments about the instructor and what she was suggesting (Hubs told me that there’s no way I was going to lay down on the bed with my pants off and cough so he could watch to see if my amniotic fluid was dripping out!), or the other class members (you know you’re in Texas when a guy is asking if he can go hunting during his wife’s pregnancy – it’s duck season, and their deer lease is three hours away!). It was three hours when Hubs and I were on the same team again, having fun together, and acting like it was us against the world. Maybe we’re not getting as much as we can out of the class when Hubs keeps leaning over to me and whispering “Brainwashing!” But it made me laugh every time. We’re having fun together, which we really need. And that’s definitely worth it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I’ve talked in the past about my BFF. She’s the one who declared me an IF mentor in April 2010, after she had been TTC for almost a year and finally went to the RE. Since April 2010, she did Clomid for a few months, had two IVF’s and an FET. She skipped IUI’s because her doctor doesn’t recommend them for anyone over 40. During her first IVF, which was around the same time as mine, she had a chemical pregnancy – very low numbers, not doubling, took a long time for her numbers to go to zero so she could try again. Her second IVF didn’t work at all, but she had two frozen embryos from that cycle. This was going to be her last try – she felt like she had to use her frozen embryos before she gave up. But she wasn’t hopeful. When they thawed her two embryos, one of them didn’t make it – it didn’t start growing. So her doctor who normally recommends transferring three embryos for women over 40 gave her a choice: go through with the transfer of the one not-so-good looking embryo, or save the money and try again. She knew that she was done with fertility treatments – she hated the whole process – so she figured that even though the doc wasn’t very hopeful, he may as well transfer the one embryo so she could be done.

Everything was against her – she’s 41, her sole embryo didn’t look good, she had no symptoms, she was done with treatments. I talked with her on Sunday, the day before the results came back from her 2nd blood test (her clinic doesn’t tell patients anything after the first blood test, only after the second blood test shows that it’s increasing appropriately) and she wasn’t hopeful. I asked her to text me the results on Monday, and she said she would, in between beers and cigarettes…

I didn’t hear from her on Monday, and I didn’t call her either. I figured I would give her some time to grieve – I really didn’t think it would work! On Tuesday, I emailed her, but no response. I was trying to be respectful of her grieving process… But Tuesday night, I got a phone call, and she said, “Does Alex want a cousin?” Holy shit! It worked! Just goes to show all you ladies – you never know. All signs could be pointing to things not working, and it can turn out positive!

She’s over the moon excited, and I am too. Not only so that she can have her baby after everything she has gone through, but I’m also very excited for our friendship. There were times in the last few months that I knew that it was hard for her to talk to me. We would go weeks without her returning my calls, which would never happen in the years that we’ve known each other and been friends. She would apologize, claiming that she’s busy, but I know that it was sometimes hard to talk to me. In our conversations, I would never bring up my pregnancy, and only talk about it if she asked me questions, which she did quite a bit. I always tried to steer the conversation back to her, to work, to something else, but it was hard. After her last failed IVF, she said, “I really hope we can continue to be friends even if IVF never works for me.” And I told her I hoped so. I don’t think it ever would have come to that, but it still was concerning, as things between us were harder.

On Tuesday after she told me she was pregnant, it was just like it used to be. Both of us couldn’t stop talking, and it was fabulous. She asked me lots of questions about early pregnancy, and dates and such, and then told me that she was going to be high-maintenance. She would need me for all kinds of support during her pregnancy. This couldn’t have made me happier!

And yet… I can’t stop thinking that she’s too excited, that she’s naively assuming there’s going to be a baby at the end. I just want her to get to the second trimester so the risk of miscarriage is lower. She knows that there’s a chance – she saw what I’ve gone through, her sister has had two miscarriages in between her successful pregnancies, and her doctor told her that the risk of miscarriage is higher for older women, but she’s not thinking of this. All she can think about is that in May, she’s going to have a baby! Which is what she should do – I’m certainly not going to bring this up (thank goodness for not telling anyone my blog address!), and I’m going to try to be as positive as possible when I speak with her. But I’m scared. Because I don’t want anything to ruin this happiness for her.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to be happy for her, and talk about raising our babies together (long-distance, of course – we haven’t lived in the same state since 1997!). I have been hoping for a pregnancy for her for so long, and now it finally happened. Like she said, we both will have our babies from frozen embryos – how perfect is that!