Monday, August 27, 2012

Time for Change

A week ago, we went to Denver to visit family and friends.  Alex and I stayed for just the weekend, and Hubs stayed for a week.  Boy, things have changed in the last week.  We’ve talked about moving back to Colorado for a long time.  Five years ago, we moved to Texas with the intention of living here for three years - max.  We moved for Hubs’ job, but since then, he quit and got a new job, I’m still working for the same employer I found when we moved here, we got engaged, married, went through infertility, and had a child.  And we’re working on the next one.  We went from a place of debt to paying off most of our debt and we’re in great shape financially.  Our relationship is stronger than ever, and things are really good.  So why not shake everything up?

In the last week, I applied for a dream job in Denver (faculty at a private university – not really qualified, it’s a long shot, but I have some kick-ass recommendations and intro letters – a big wig I know is meeting with the president of the university today to recommend me), Hubs applied for a bunch of jobs and contacted recruiters, Hubs toured some houses in an area that we want to live, and I sat down with my boss, told him we were thinking of moving to Denver and asked if he would be interested in me working for him remotely, on a part-time basis.  And guess what!  He said yes!  We have tentatively agreed on a plan of working about 20 hours per week remotely, although he needs to get it cleared by executive management and HR.  But he won’t do that until I hear about the university thing, because like I told him, if I got the dream job, I would take it.

Although later it occurred to me that since I’m probably not qualified to be an assistant professor (dream job – PhD is preferred, but not required, I have a masters, and little teaching experience) but I bet I could get hired as adjunct faculty and teach a class or two here and there.  That would give me teaching experience, and maybe one day I could get a more full-time position.  So the current plan is to work for my current job 20 hours per week from home and hopefully teach a class at the university.  My MIL told me while we were in Denver that if we moved back, she would like to cut back her hours at her job and take care of Alex for two days per week.  So if all this worked out, I think I could get my 20 hours mostly in while my MIL took care of Alex, plus during a nap or two or weekend work if necessary, and teach a night class or something.  So in my little dream world, we could get rid of daycare!!!  I’ve been fighting with them lately – my little almost-10 month old is only taking one nap per day, which ranges from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours at the most.  She’s apparently lovely during the day, but by the time I get her, total meltdown!!!

All of this is so exciting, and yet so scary.  When I think about all this, I get tight in my chest, thinking of everything that needs to be done.  Put the house up for sale, clean it up first, move with 2 dogs and a baby, ugh!  Hubs sent me an email today asking what we need to do to finish our remodeling and get the house in Texas ready to sell by October.  This is what I said:
-Tile the floors
-Finish baseboards in living room
-Paint guest room
-Declutter everywhere
-Find a realtor
-Make a baby

Oh yeah, I forgot.  Amongst all this – gotta make a baby!  Only 3 more weeks of BCP’s, then the FET is upon us!  All this – so much freaking change!!!  It’s exciting, but terrifying too. 

And I’m not even ready to think through all this, but if my grand plan works out and I’m able to work from home for 20 hours per week, and be a SAHM for the rest of the week, will I be happy?  I like my job – the social parts, the people.  I like people!  Will I be happy being at home working, and then being at home as a mom?  I know I’ll need to do things like playgroups and such, both for Alex’s socialization and my own, but will this be enough?  And will I be good at it?  I’ve figured out most of this working mom thing.  Frantically running around, but still getting it all done.  Will I figure out the part-time SAHM thing?  How about the work from home thing?  I’ve spent the last fifteen years as a career woman, progressively moving my career up the ladder.  Will I be happy taking a step off the ladder?  I know I’m not the first woman to ask myself these questions, but wow – when it is actually a possibility that it could happen, it’s such a big deal!

I guess I need to take a deep breath, and think about what I really want.  For the last few months, I’ve had as my computer password some derivation of “priority” as a reminder to remember what is important.  Alex.  My health.  My marriage.  Our family.  Who knows how this will all play out – maybe it will take Hubs a long time to find a job, maybe it won’t.  Yes, change is scary, but also exciting.  It’s going to be a rough few months as all this stuff gets worked out, but hopefully a year from now, I will look up, and life will be fabulous.  What am I saying?  No matter how it works out, life will be fabulous.  The best thing is I truly believe this.  I guess I have nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

9 Months!

Alexandra is nine months old!  I can’t believe it – more time out of the womb than in it!  She’s doing great, just thriving like crazy. 

CRAWLING!  Everywhere – loves crawling, and pulls herself up to her knees.  This new-found freedom makes her so happy.  She’s pulling up to her knees, and is so close to pulling herself up to her feet.  If we help her, she loves to hang out standing, and will even shuffle here and there a bit.  We took an online test about her personality (like the old Cosmo quizzes, but somehow different…) and the quiz classified her as ACTIVE!  For sure.  No cuddling, unless she’s drinking out of a bottle, and even then she wants to look around.  Always wiggling around, trying to move.  She loves chasing me and the dogs from room to room, always wanting to be around us.  If she sees one of the dogs lying down, she’ll go up to its side and crawl up onto it, but keeping her knees on the ground.  Then she grabs on, and jumps up and down, but on her knees.  It looks a bit like she’s trying to hump the dog!  Such huge grins, always!

EATING:  such a good eater.  She usually has 5 bottles per day, with 6-7 ounces in each bottle.  Plus she has 3 meals per day, two with purees or chunky baby food, but at dinner I now give her table food.  It’s actually quite handy – she eats all our leftovers!  Last night she had grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and plums.  I just cut them up into little pieces, and she feeds herself.  Served with a sippy cup of water, which she loves.  She has also figured out how to drink out of a regular straw, which is quite handy at restaurants.  And she likes to try to drink out of my glass, but that usually involves lots of water down the front.  So we usually practice that in the bathtub when I take a bath with her on the weekends, which she LOVES!  Also, she has her first tooth – finally!  It’s so cute, and I’m happy to report that teething wasn’t too bad.  A little grumpier than normal, but it didn’t interrupt sleep or anything. 

SLEEPING:  Great sleeper, as always.  Sleeps all night, just about every night.  We are down to about one wake-up at night per month or so.  During the day, on weekends, she takes great naps.  She’ll have two naps each day, for about 1.5-2 hours each nap.  But during the week at daycare, she barely sleeps at all!!!  I hate it, and I’ve talked with the daycare people about it, but they don’t know what to do either.  She will hang out in her crib just fine, but the problem is she’ll spend the entire time jabbering with her friend Abby.  That’s right, she has a best buddy already.  The nice thing is I work with Abby’s mom, so we compare notes all the time.  I’ve even suggested splitting up their cribs so they can get more sleep, but the daycare people said I was being mean – they like spending time together.  Plus if she sleeps next to another child she’ll just jabber with them too…  The problem is they don’t really see it as a problem.  She’s in a great mood, all day long, with or without naps.  Most days she only sleeps for 30-45 minutes at school.  And yesterday she didn’t have a nap at all!  But she’s happy!  The problem is she falls asleep on the way home from daycare, I transfer her into her crib, she sleeps for an hour or so, wakes up, has dinner and then a bottle, and goes back to sleep.  So besides a 45 minute total waketime for dinner, a little play, and then a bottle, she is essentially sleeping from 5:30 pm when I pick her up to about 7:00 am the next morning!  I guess I should just accept this, as she seems happy.  But I never get to see her!  It’s like I don’t have a baby at all – I just have a baby who sleeps and eats a little at my house!  I miss her terribly, and it makes this working thing even harder…

I live for the weekends with my baby girl, as we have so much fun.  She’s started to make fabulously high pitched squeals!  This drives some people crazy, but I love it as it usually comes with huge smiles.  But my favorite thing that she has just started doing is waving and clapping.  If she sees someone new, she’ll wave with both hands – huge full-arm waves.  And then start clapping.  I love it!  It’s her first social greeting!!!

We leave on Friday for a weekend trip to Denver to see family, and I’m very excited.  I can’t wait to see the family and our friends interact with Alex, and see how much she’s grown.  Plus I’m very excited to spend some good time with her since I have a 4-day weekend.  But I may have to fight her grandma for time…  But the good news is we have a babysitter for some evenings of fun!  We already have two evenings planned for after bedtime.  I may be tired this weekend from staying up late and getting up early with Alex, but I think it will be a great time.  I only hope Alex sleeps well and is ok on the flight!  Wish us luck!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hysteroscopy from Hell

I don’t remember the first one as all that bad.  It was scary, but I remember getting over it in a day, and not having the emotional reaction.  This one did not go very well.

It started a few days earlier.  I do not like anesthesia, and am always afraid I will not wake up.  In fact, I’ve only had general anesthesia three times prior to this hysteroscopy:  a D&C when I lost my baby at 9 weeks, the first hysteroscopy, and the egg retrieval.  Wow – what a wonderful gift infertility has given me – lots of horrible medical procedures.  Last week I worked myself into a frenzy, worrying about the procedure and specifically if I would wake up from the procedure.  I realize this is slightly irrational, that the chance of death is very small, but it is a chance!  And now, with baby Alex, the price is so much higher.  That is what really got me – is it worth it to go through all this for the possibility of baby #2, when the risk is that Alex could lose her mother?  I know I’m being dramatic, but these are the things that were going through my head. 

The day before the procedure as I left work and said goodbye to my friend that knows all the gory details of my infertile life, I told her to watch over Alex, and help the hubs navigate my death.  The morning of the procedure, I squeezed Alex a little longer, and told her a few extra times I loved her always as I dropped her off at daycare.  And during the drive to the procedure, I kept giving instructions to the hubs: tell her I love her, I want to be cremated, take the life insurance money and hire a live-in nanny, you need to date so you can find another mom for Alex.  (this is the one that always made my breath catch.)  I held it together very well, giving these instructions to the hubs in light humor.  I really wasn’t as morbid as it sounds, I just felt like I needed to be very clear in my instructions.   He laughed and joked with me, but didn’t tell me I was being stupid which I appreciated. 

We got to the clinic at 12:30 as instructed, with the procedure scheduled at 1:30.  During that hour, I was supposed to get an IV, sign all the consent forms, change into a gown, etc.  Well, I didn’t get called back until 1:20.  Finally I had signed everything, changed clothes and talked to the doctors by 2:00, at which time the doc said we would get started in about 10 minutes.  I was in a decent mood until about 2:15, at which time I started to get really nervous.  I was so hungry and thirsty (nothing to eat or drink since midnight), I had a headache from caffeine withdrawal, and I was pissed it was taking so long.  Plus the hubs stopped being supportive, and was visibly annoyed with me.  At 2:30 I started to cry.  One of the nurses came in and tried to talk to me, and I could not stop crying!  I had psyched myself up to do this, just get it over with, and now it was delayed.  I tried to hold myself together, but it didn’t work very well.  Finally they called me into the operating room at 2:50.  I was exhausted, and shaky, and a mess.  The surgical nurse tried to calm me down, saying the mood I was in when I went under would affect the mood I would be in when I woke up.  Ugh – that didn’t help.  But they put me under, which was probably a good thing.

I woke up in a frenzy, listening to them telling me to take deep breaths, scared because I was having a hard time doing so, and I just wanted to get out of there.  They handed me my clothes and I tried to put them on while my IV was still in, with shaky hands.  I wanted to be out of that stupid place and never come back.  At some point the doctor came by and told me she found a bunch of polyps and cut them out, so I would be bleeding and in some pain.  I left as soon as possible.

This was on Friday, and I’m still struggling to feel normal.  I went home on Friday and slept all night.  Then I tried to get up on Saturday and take care of Alex, but I didn’t do very well.  Off and on, I would sleep for an hour, get up and play with her, then go back to bed.  Thankfully the hubs took care of her more than normal this weekend.  I took two days off of the boot camp routine – Friday and Saturday.  But Sunday morning I woke early and wanted to get back on track.  I went outside and walked my intervals instead of running.  I felt ok, but exhausted.  I took 3 naps yesterday – before Alex woke up, and then during each of her naps.  This morning I got up and tried to run my intervals, but could only do half of them.  My muscles are so sore!  I’m pissed that my fitness routine got derailed from this stupid procedure, but I’m trying to remind myself that this is normal, and I need to take it easy. 

This eight weeks of boot camp is so important to me.  It’s my time to get my body back, and get my life back.  I’m mad I did this hysteroscopy in the middle of it, but at least it’s done.  I know I need to ease back into the exercise a bit more, as I’m now exhausted.  Hopefully that was the very last time I will ever need to go under general anesthesia.  No more hysteroscopies, no more egg retrievals, and definitely no more D&C’s.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Having my cake and eating it too

Well not really – trying to avoid desserts during boot camp.  BUT – I get to finish boot camp AND start my FET with this cycle!  I went to the doc today for my day 3 blood work and ultrasound, and got one of my favorite nurses.  I have to say, it’s nice having years of experience with these ladies.  They’re definitely more willing to work with me than they were when I first walked through that door!  As the doc said during my consult, everyone in the office works well with those that have been patients for a long time – it’s like having frequent flier status.  Glad to know the fortunes I have sunk into that office have been worth something.  You know, in addition to my baby…

Anyway, the doc had originally told me that I would be on BCP for three weeks prior to the actual FET cycle, but the nurse told me today that this is flexible: minimum of 2 weeks, max of 6.  When I run out of the active pills in the first batch (after starting them today), just start another batch!  Woohoo!  So now I can perfectly tailor my FET cycle to start after the end of boot camp, and even schedule the transfer on a Friday so I can minimize the days off work for bed rest.  How much does a FET cycle rock compared to a fresh IVF cycle!  I’m so lucky to have these embryos, I’m so thankful for them.  

Boot camp is going very well.  I didn’t lose weight during the 2nd week, and instead increased by 0.4 pounds.  But everything is fitting better – I retired my size 14 pants and pulled out the 12’s.  And my body fat percentage went from 34.7% last week to 32.4% this week.  So I guess I really am building muscle.  Last week I didn’t focus very much on my nutrition, but I’m trying to step that part up – eating lots of healthy snacks, minimizing the bad stuff.  I have a feeling that next week the scale will go down again.

I’m so proud of myself for committing to boot camp, and for doing this.  I’m running, and actually enjoying it.  I’m seeing results in being able to run farther and faster.  Every Saturday, I’m going on a “long run” which consists of a 5 minute walking warm-up, then a “long run” with distances increasing every week, and then a cool down and stretch.  I run around this pond in a nearby park, and it’s almost exactly 0.5 mile per lap.  The first Saturday of boot camp, I ran one lap, and it was hard, but I did it.  Half a mile in 8 minutes.  Then last Saturday (one week later), I ran two laps, nonstop.  The last hundred yards or so was really hard, but I did it.  One mile in 13 minutes.  I haven’t run a mile since freshman year in high school.  23 years ago!  I can’t believe I did this, and I’m looking forward to Saturday when I attempt (crush!) 1.5 miles.  More than anything, I’m shocked that I’m actually looking forward to running!

You guys are going to have to forgive me if this comes across like bragging a bit.  My husband has been giving me weird reactions to comments I make about boot camp.  The first week, I would tell him when I worked out, and when I lost weight.  He would say “good job.”  But he would be kind of sarcastic, and he wouldn’t say anything else.  He definitely wasn’t enthusiastic like I wanted him to be.  So I stopped telling him about what I was doing.  I realized I’m not doing this for him; I’m only doing this for me.  Maybe he’s jealous because he doesn’t exercise and is overweight as well.  Maybe he sees me getting in shape and feels bad that he’s not.  I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, because if it were him doing this, I would be a huge cheerleader.  I kind of want a cheerleader, but I realized I’m going to have to be my own cheerleader.

Every time I work out, I put a star on my calendar in my kitchen.  I love looking at all the stars adding up.  Six days per week, finishing before 6:30 in the morning so I can be done and showered before Alex wakes up, and I haven’t missed one.  (Well, I missed one morning, but I exercised that evening to make up for it, so I haven’t missed a workout.)  I have my hysteroscopy this Friday so I’m going to have to skip a workout but I’ll make up for it on Sunday, my normal rest day.  I really want to be able to say that no matter what the scale looks like, I did my absolute best for these eight weeks.  I’m over 2 weeks in, and I’m doing great.  Finally, I’m doing something for myself, for my body, and my body is doing exactly what I’m asking it to do.  It’s getting up early every morning, going outside in the dark, and running.  One foot after the other, I’m getting my self-confidence, my spirit, my energy back.  Yes, at the end of this boot camp, I will have to quit this intensity of working out in order to move on to the FET.  But I will know that I can do it again.  I will know that I accomplished something huge – something that I questioned if it was possible at the beginning.  I will know it’s possible to be fit, because I did it already.