Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy 6 Month Old

How is she six months old already? 


This weekend we gave her rice cereal for the first time.  I had the spoon with her first bite about an inch from her lips when she grabbed the spoon and popped it right in her mouth! She got the hang of it right away and really seemed to enjoy it. We'll try green beans later this week.  

She's doing all kinds of tricks lately.  She is an old pro at sitting up and in the past couple of weeks has gotten VERY good at army crawling around the house. She doesn't have good hands-and-knees form, but man she can get around regardless! 

She's still huge - not sure how long she is, but a couple weeks ago we went to the doctor for a little rash and she was at 18 lbs, 4 oz. I think she's just a solid girl all around, but generally slim as she doesn't have the "buddha belly" many of my friends' babies have. 

We get comments all the time about how good she is. She adores crowds of people. She's perfectly content to be passed from family member to friend to family member to friend. She almost never cries and only rarely fusses. 

I read enough infertility-blogs-turned-happy-ending blogs to know that parenting an infant is not always easy or pleasant. Not that parenting Jodie is easy per se, but I honestly expected it to harder. I expected to be more exhausted, more frustrated, more wistful of my "freedom".  I know how lucky we are to have a large network of local family and friends who are eager to babysit anytime and all of whom are absolutely smitten by our baby girl. I know we are also blessed with a good sleeper who has a good, happy temperament and who is easily soothed and satisfied. And I think another part of it is how infertility shaped our mentality. I am so grateful, every day. Maybe if getting pregnant had been easy, I would have more quickly forgotten how lucky we are, and I would be more prone to frustration when she blows out a third diaper in a day, or when she's crying as I'm doing the nasal aspirator on her. 

Anyway... lest you think that EVERYTHING in my life is sunshine and rainbows, I do wonder if my sex drive will ever return. Poor Champ... and I see how parenting is hard on marriages. I think we're doing just fine, but it's so easy to nitpick on each other and get annoyed with each other. Like why is it my job to wash bottles every day? I already have to a couple of hours every day pumping and nursing, why is it assumed that bottle washing is my designated job?  Or why is it assumed that he can make plans without checking with me to see I can watch Jodie but I always feel the need to let him know and check with him before I make plans?  Is that just a male thing? Minor problems. But it is an adjustment on the marriage. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The difference a day can make

What a difference between a year ago today and a year ago tomorrow. 

One year ago today was the last day before I knew I was pregnant. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I had been falling back into the old standard of being depressed about infertility. It had been a rough week. I wasn't feeling well all day, so I decided to treat myself with a haircut and highlight. I was tired and had an interview the next morning so I went to bed early. I remember thinking vaguely how weird it was that I still felt hungover but hadn't drank in three or four days.

One year ago tomorrow, I woke up still feeling a little nauseous. I was a little nervous for my interview - I really wanted the job. I don't know what made me grab that pregnancy test, leftover from the IUI the previous month that didn't work. I didn't even mention to Champ that I was going to pee on a stick. Exactly no part of me believed it would be positive. 

But then it was. That vertical line showed up not two seconds after I started to pee. My whole body was shaking then. My eyes teared up, mind racing to the past several weeks - a chart that didn't make sense, a cycle without ovulating (wrong!), an IUI the previous month... I had no idea how it was possible, but there it was, an unmistakeable pink line where no pink line had been before. The pee was still drying when I ran in to show Champ. I threw on the lights and jumped on the bed, hysterical by that point. He told me later he thought we had an intruder or something and he was about to grab the bat from the closet. Ha! 

Champ didn't believe it, especially since it came out of nowhere. He was convinced the test was faulty. So of course, he ran out to the drugstore to pick up one of those fancy schmancy digital ones. I worked on a brief "WHAT?!?" blogpost and drank about a gallon of water. 

For that test we had to wait the proverbial two minutes, but there it was. Pregnant. I called my RE to schedule a blood draw for later that day, and then it was off to a job interview (talk about being a nervous, jittery mess! I still can't believe I got offered that job!). And in the span of 24 hours, my entire life changed course. 

And now! I am thankful every day. I feel lucky every day.  I swore I wouldn't take it for granted and I really haven't. Even when she is being a fuss bucket. 

You obviously need a picture. This one is from the day of her baptism (post THREE gown changes and finally in some comfy clothes!). 

Monday, September 23, 2013

3 Months Old

<<Turns red>>

<<Coughs>>

<<Dusts off cobwebs>>

Anyone still here?

I, like most post-baby inftertiles, am struggling with what to do with this space.  I know I want to keep it around, as I still get comments from ladies who are just entering this world of infertility and Premature Ovarian Failure. I'm blown away with how many pageviews my post on "Getting Pregnant with POF" continues to get on a daily basis (currently 6.5 times more views than my second most popular post,
"Ultrasound Results" in which I obsess over my chart for the month I got pregnant).

I think my story can provide hope to women with POF who are given a dire prognosis. Many women are told to seek donor eggs before they can give their own bodies a chance. I was told to seek a donor the day I was diagnosed. Over the next year, I struggled with "being ready" for that. I wanted to be ready; especially since Champ was just kind of waiting for me to say the word and he'd be ready to move full steam ahead with a donor. Even though almost no part of me actually believed I would become pregnant on my own, I knew that I needed to give myself some grieving time before spending the $15K plus on donor IVF.  So I think my blog is still serving a purpose out there in the IF world, even if my current posts are less about infertility and more about being a mom after the grim POF diagnosis. And I'm okay with that, even if I'm being way generous with myself for using "posts" in the plural form, since I hardly ever post.

Anyway.

A year ago this week I got pregnant. Against all odds. And nine months later, enter this beauty:


I find myself wondering - do all parents think their child is the most beautiful and amazing creature ever to grace the earth or is it just me? I am so enamored with this little one.


Did I tell you she's brilliant? She has taken to attempting to blow raspberries when prompted. She can roll over back to belly. She can squeal like a velociraptor. She's been sleeping through the night consistently for the past five weeks.

We lucked out. We know it. With as much as we prayed and we begged and we cried for a baby, I would have been happy with a colic-y, spitter upper, cranky, less-than-beautiful baby. But wow. I am beyond grateful for this perfect little gal.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

8 Week Update

Wow, time is flying by. Our little Jodie will be 8 weeks on Saturday! She's doing all kinds of new tricks, like smiling, blowing spit bubbles, and sticking her tongue out. Yesterday I caught her laughing in her sleep. She is a champion eater and grower and was in the 99th percentile for height (23.5 inches) and 95th for weight (11 lbs, 1 oz) at her one month appointment. That was three weeks ago, so I'm guessing she's already packed on a few more lbs at this point. I'm taken aback at how quickly she has outgrown her newborn stuff and even some of her three month old sleeper pajamas. She's so long that the little neck ends up down by her chest when footies are involved.

We completely lucked out that she hardly EVER spits up (like five times, ever!) but man, she is a pooper. Even still. The pediatrician was shocked at her one month that she's still pooping 6-8 times a day. Most babies are down to one or two a day at this point. But I'll take a pooper over a puker. At least the diaper can contain it!
One of the shots from her newborn pics

I'm on maternity leave for another couple of weeks (for a total of 10 weeks), when I'll go back part time for 4 weeks and then resume my full time duties. I have to say, I am soaking up and enjoying every minute of this leave. I absolutely love spending all my time with Jodie. I only think about work when they contact me with questions / instructions (which actually seems like all the time), and I dread going back. I always thought I might get bored not working for so long but such is not the case. I may be singing a different tune in other circumstances, but as luck would have it, no fewer than FOUR of my very good friends are also on maternity leave with me, so I've had plenty of meet-ups with my gals and their babes. It's actually hard to believe how busy I've been - lots of lunches with friends, Mommy & Me yoga, trips out of town for weddings and such. I'm certainly not at home on the couch all day.

I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite pictures of her! She's four weeks here. 
Other updates -

Breastfeeding, for the most part, has gone very well. Like I said, Miss Jodie is a great eater. I seem to be producing plenty and have typically been able to pump and freeze an extra 5 or 6 ounces a day, which will be great for when she goes to daycare.There were a few rough patches in the beginning, when Jodie tore my nipples to shreds. I solved this problem by using nipple shields, which she got the hang of very quickly. They are a lot easier for her to suck without getting too much and choking (which happened all the time without the shield). Now, though, she won't take the breast without the shield, which is a bummer. It's a pain to have to find and clean the shield all the time and heaven help us if we are out and about with no bottles and no shield. I made that mistake once... it will. not. happen. again. The shield is way gentler on me anyway, so when it comes down to it, I'm just glad she's getting plenty of milk and it's not painful for me.

My running has resumed. You might remember that I am a runner. I ran a full marathon last May, and from September 1, 2011 to September 1, 2012, I ran at least a mile every single day (we called it the 365 club). However, I ran 0.0 miles during pregnancy. Oops. So I'm essentially starting from scratch with the Couch to 5k, which has apparently changed its name to "Ease into 5k".  I have a long, looooong way to go, but I'm determined to lose these last 10 pounds and to get back into at least some semblance of fitness.

In general, mommyhood has been everything I thought it would be. It's been frustrating and tiring at times, but overall I am SO happy. I'm SO in love with this little girl. She's completely worth every hot flash, heartache, ugly cry, and depression that came before her.

Here she is again, at 7 weeks:
Who wouldn't fall in love with that face?!?
Love.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Birth Story

Perfect? Yes. 
I'm not sure how interesting my birth story is, but I know I'll want to remember every detail and thus this is as good a place as any to record it!

The story begins on Friday, June 21: my actual due date! I was feeling uncomfortable and tired and VERY ready for our little miss to make an entrance when I went to my scheduled doctor's appointment that morning at 10 am.  The doctor had been doing non-stress tests twice a week and also checking fluid with an ultrasound once a week, so I settled in for a 20 minute non-stress test and also let the doc know that I'd been feeling the baby kick much less frequently in the previous few days. After the 20 minutes were up, the doctor came in and said the baby wasn't passing the test. She wanted me to stay on a little longer. Another 20 minutes goes by, but at some point early on, the machine had run out of paper, so the results were inconclusive. Another 20 minutes goes by, and doc says baby girl still isn't passing the test. She also mentioned that I was having steady contractions at about 4 to 5 minutes apart (which I was feeling, but didn't think they were "real").  I was starting to panic a little about baby's safety at that point, but a quick ultrasound showed a steady heartbeat. I thought steady would be good, but apparently they like to see the heart rate go up and down several times and baby girl's heart rate was not cooperating.

At that point, the doc says she wants me to head to the hospital for a prolonged non-stress test in triage. She suggested I go home, grab my hospital bag in case I needed to be induced, and eat a quick lunch before going in, but that I probably would be induced the next day or early the following week if I hadn't started early labor at that point.

I called Champ and he met me at home. We finished packing our bags and ate lunch, then went into our hospital's triage around 2 pm, where they did another non-stress test and also checked to see if I was dilated. Baby still wasn't passing the test and I was about 1 cm dilated. They called my doctor (actually, my doctor was on her way to the airport that afternoon and leaving for vacation, so they called the doctor on-call, who then became the doc who delivered the little one) to see what she wanted to do. They did say that I was having regular contractions at about 4-5 minutes apart still, so I may have started early labor on my own.

The plan: Induce that day. Use some kind of mini balloon (never heard of it) to thin the cervix before giving pit.ocin.

I really did NOT want to be induced. But baby's safety was obviously my #1 priority and if she wasn't passing these tests, I wasn't going to mess around. They admitted me to the hospital at about 4:30 pm and we waited... and waited... and waited for the resident to come in with the balloon. FINALLY, about an hour and a half later, they come in to do the balloon.

And after MUCH digging around (OUCH), they decided it wasn't going to work. I wasn't dilated enough and they couldn't get it in. Wop wop.

New plan: Cerva.dil. Which is some kind of gel they stick up there and they let it thin the cervix / dilate more. They administered this stuff at 7 pm and said "okay, we'll take it out and check your cervix at 7 am. We'll hope to get to 4 cm by then." Twelve hours?!? At that point, Champ and I were thinking why not just let us go home for this part? Twelve hours, sheesh! But okay, if it's going to be twelve hours, maybe we can get some sleep in the hospital and what not.

By 9:30 pm, my contractions were very painful. And they kept getting worse and longer and worse and longer. By 11 pm, I was hyperventilating at every contraction. Doubled over, drooling, crying, etc. It was not my finest hour. The pain of those contractions introduced me to a new world of physical pain. It was absolutely crushing. I will never look at pain in the same way. Ever. By 12:30 am, I had another 6.5 hours to go of the most excruciating, world-shaking pain I could imagine. The nurse came in during a contraction and quickly decided to call the doctor because there was no way in hell I was going to make it all night without passing out.

The doc said to go ahead and pull the gel and check to see where I was - 4 cm! Thank God! That stuff worked doubly fast on me, which maybe explains the level of pain I was in. As soon as the nurse said "would you like an epidural now?" I practically screamed "YES!" Which is too bad, because I was hoping I'd be able to go au natural. But with the induction, there was just. no. way.

Part of me (pre-labor) had been afraid to get the epidural because of that absurdly long needle going into my spine. HA! I would have gladly gotten stuck with a 100 needles over feelung those contractions any more. So the epidural was in within about 10 minutes, the pit.ocin a half hour after that, and from then on out, it was smooth, smooth sailing, aside from a couple of low-blood pressure scares. I couldn't really lay on my back without almost fainting. So they kept me mostly on my side and I went from 4 cm to 8 cm between 1:30 am and 4 am. They broke my water at 4 am; we called the parents at 4:30 am and got to hang with them (and my siblings and their spouses) for a while. At about 6:15 am, it was time to push. You push during contractions and mine had slowed to 4 minutes apart again, so I had nice long breaks between pushing.

You know the rest: Little Miss Jo.die Be.lle was born at 7:46 am on Saturday. The cord was wrapped tight around her neck, which is why she kept failing those tests. Doc cut the cord very quickly and she was screaming her head off one second later.

I'll reflect more on the emotional side of things later, but my baby needs a boob right now.  Apologies in advance for the shoddy writing, this was written in a hurry. :) Love to you all and thanks for your amazing support through this journey.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

She's Here!

We are in love. Head over heels.


Born Saturday, June 22 at 7:46 am, 8 lbs, 7 oz, 21 1/2" long. I'll write later with more details, but most importantly, she's here, she's absolutely perfect, and I've never felt like exploding with happiness like I do when I look at her tiny little face. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

39.5 Weeks - Nursery Reveal

I've decided to just be okay being a mediocre blogger for now. I will definitely post when baby girl is born (um, we are due on Friday... how did that happen?!?) and when I feel moved to write, but I've given up trying to maintain any regular schedule! 

Anyway, I'm doing well. My OB has had me start coming in twice a week to do some precautionary tests.  The tests have been fine, it's the fact that she has me coming in to do them that concerns me. I've been doing non-stress tests (i.e. belly is strapped with two belt things that are hooked up to a monitor that measures uterine activity and baby's heart rate) and more recently, ultrasounds to check my fluid levels. The doctor said she is just being extra cautious because I am technically "high risk" (news to me?) because of the Premature Ovarian Failure. Baby has been passing the tests fine, so I guess I'm glad to get the extra reassurance that everything is okay. Doc probably is concerned because I mentioned baby was hardly moving at all the week before last. Of course then I go in for the test and she throws herself a kicking party. 

Anyway. I'm ready for this little one to be born so I can meet her and hold her. I already can't believe how in love I am with this baby girl - there are moments when I think my heart is going to burst from being so genuinely happy and thankful that it's really happening. 

And aside from being emotionally prepared to meet her, we are all set for her to come home to a nursery that is officially FINISHED! Woohoo! I have some pics of course - unfortunately I just broke my real camera (damn leaky water bottle ruined everything!), so these are straight off my cell phone. I went with a loose "hot air balloon" theme and tried to keep things kind of soothing and soft and not too girly. Enjoy!


Since this picture was taken, we've moved the little framed hot air balloon pic from the right to a couple of shelves that are now flanking the window: 


I MADE that hot air balloon mobile. This should impress you much more than I'm guessing it is, because before a couple months ago, I couldn't even sew on a button!  


Some more homemades - the left pictures is a button shamrock thing my sis made for our shower (we're irish), the middle thing I made from an old frame that I painted coral and then attached chicken wire to the back with a staple gun, and the thing on the right (which is now on the shelf by the window) is a little hot air balloon art I made with scrapbook paper and a circle cutter. That piece is now replaced with a button & burlap hot air balloon artwork that I made: 


Those coral buttons? I PAINTED them coral because it's impossible to find coral buttons anywhere. 

Here's another view of the room: 

This one was pre-shelves as well, oops. Also, we hung that chalkboard on a wall you can't see from these pics. 


The chalkboard is now hung on the right hand wall in the above pic.  Think baby girl has enough headbands? My goodness!

The above angle is from a while ago, but I wanted to show off the little Ikea hanging toy basket thing. Love it! 

So I guess these pictures are kind of terrible / outdated / not consistent, etc. but hopefully they at least give you an idea of what the nursery looks like. I have to credit Craftiness is Not Optional (found via Pinterest) for most of the ideas I stole in this room. 

Next time you hear from me, I will (crossyourfingers) have a daughter! Best of luck to Belle at Scrambled Eggs and Ali at Not All Dreams Are Free, and anyone else due sometime soon.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

35.5 Weeks

Hey peeps! I'm here! I'm alive! I'm 35 1/2 weeks pregnant!

I can't explain my lack of posting in the past, oh, 10 weeks, except to say that it's been a really busy 10 weeks. Work has had me teetering on the brink of insanity - it's just a really crazy time of year. Lots of nights and weekends recently. Lots of long days.

I know, excuses, excuses!

So how about a little update? In bullet form, for browsing purposes:

  • Pregnancy Update: For the most part, feeling pretty good. Uncomfortable, yes. Strange pubic bone pain, yes. Exhausted easily, yes. Hemorrhoids, yes. But I am really trying to cherish these last few weeks of pregnancy. I think I'll actually miss it (some of it). 
  • Bump: I'm continually told that I look "small" by basically everyone, ever, except my doctor. Doc says I am measuring spot on for my due date and I guess that's what matters. 
  • Shield your eyes! Here's me at 35 weeks: 

  • Baby Showers: Three baby showers down, zero to go. It is wholly humbling and amazing to see the outpouring of love and support for me, Champ, and Baby Girl. The showers were incredible - one thrown by Champ's sis & mom, one by my sis, aunt & mom, and one by my students / friends at work. Baby Girl is basically set. 
  • Nursery: is adorable. I'll post pics when it's finished (getting close!), but we I went with a super light, airy blue for a base (rug & walls), with a touch of yellow and green and coral as a main accent color. There's also a very loose "Hot Air Balloon" theme that I mostly copied from pinterest. 
  • Birthing Classes: Complete. I think I am an appropriate blend of excited and terrified. 
  • Name: Has been determined. Haven't decided if I'll reveal on the blog or not. But we're in love. 
  • Baby Girl: We went to a fancy ultrasound (which I sooooo wasn't going to do but have been having nightmares that Baby Girl turned out to be Baby Boy and had to wear all pink stuff and I also have an unnatural fear of the umbilical cord. I wanted to make sure that sucker was out-the-way.) Anyway, Baby Girl (yes, still girl) is a yoga master or something. Her foot was on her face almost the whole time. I think she tried to suck on her toe at one point. Weirdo! But seriously, she's perfect. 
  • Maternity Leave: It all depends on when little miss bum ovaries decides to arrive. If she arrives on June 21 (due date), I'll take 10 weeks off full time and come back part time for four weeks before being back full time. Basically, I need to be back in the office on August 26, as that's when my replacement is out of there.
I can't think of anything else major and I'm meeting coworker for lunch so I gotta run. I'll be better about posting. Promise!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

25 Weeks

I keep meaning to write, getting sidetracked, and forgetting to write. Another part of me is experiencing the proverbial "survivor's guilt" although I think it's much less "guilty" than just being kind of reluctant talk about my pregnancy to many people who are still trying to get pregnant.

I had lunch last weekend with an old friend of mine who I hadn't seen for about two years, right before Champ and I started trying to conceive. She was my roommate in grad school and a very dear friend, but we've lost touch over the years and so I hadn't told her about my recent battle with infertility. She knew I'm pregnant (and she is pregnant with her second, due a couple weeks before me) but not how hard it was to get here. I found myself telling her the whole story - of trying to conceive for a few months, the hot flashes, the lack of periods, getting diagnosed, and the downward spiral that followed.

It's the first time since being pregnant that I was able to tell my whole story with a presumed happy ending. Most people who I'm close enough to tell about my experiences with IF already know about my IF, and have for a long time.  It was very strange, to tell this story that I'm used to ending with a sad shrug or an explanation of all the things we still need to try. This time, after the "I'm so sorry you went through that" and what not, I pat my belly and said "well we have a miracle baby on our hands!"

I tell this story because I always want to remember that yes, this little girl in utero is a miracle. But also to realize how much IF affected me over the past two years. It changed me. It was torture, certainly, but I know I will be a better parent, a more sensitive friend, and a stronger person because of it. I would never say I'm glad I went through it - no, I still wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But it would have been a heckuva lot easier to go through if I knew the outcome as I was going through it. How much time I spent in complete despair, how many buckets of tears I cried, how many hours spent googling, how many unwarranted outbursts... Of course, there was no way to know I'd be pregnant the next year. I could have just as easily never gotten pregnant. Ever. In fact, that would have been way, waaaaaaaay more likely.

I don't really have a point. Other than to say IF sucked. And I'll never forget that.

Okay. Bump pic time. I'll take a lesson from Belle at Scrambled eggs and give you a chance to jump ship before bump pics, so here's a pic first of my cat:

We're re-doing the floors in our Master Bedroom and Future Nursery, hence the bed in the dining room.
And now bump pics - a comparison of me at about 14 weeks and 24 weeks:


I've got another 15 weeks of growing? Oh boy. Also, my boobs? Huge.

Anyway. Long story short: I'm still alive. Baby Girl has been healthy and kicking like crazy. Heartburn started last week. I had no idea you could get heartburn in your back. You totally can. Miss you guys.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

20 weeks, 4 days

A lot has happened in the past two weeks since I've updated! I'll get right down to the good baby stuff and then fill in the rest.

We had our big 20 week ultrasound yesterday! We had struggled with the "should we find out the sex of the baby" question for about 19 weeks. Seriously, I must have gone back and forth about it 100 times. And in my uncertainty, I got so much unsolicited, kind of forceful advice on what to do from every person who asked about it. Some people INSISTED that we find out the sex. Others would smugly talk about the thrill of the surprise on the day of birth (there is little I hate more than smugness) and demand that we wait for the surprise. I felt especially torn because Champ and his whole family were on the "surprise" boat and my whole family was on the "find out" train, so as a people pleaser, I felt a lot of pressure and had a hard time figuring out what it was that I wanted. For me and Champ and our baby.

After many long conversations with Champ, and several detailed pro/con lists, I decided I wanted to find out. Champ was on board, as he dutifully said he would support whatever I wanted to do (even though he had a slight preference to maintain the surprise). In the end, I think it was just the fact of making it feel more real and helping me to bond with the baby. During my year and a half in the IF world, I learned to set myself up for disappointment, to never get too attached to a potential follicle or promising EWCM. To some degree, I've been doing the same thing with this pregnancy, not REALLY believing it was actually going to happen. So I thought maybe learning the sex might help to start realizing this baby's identity, that's it's a real tiny person in there.

And I was right - just in the past less-than-24-hours, I am starting to visualize a nursery, registering for baby stuff, thinking about little outfits. And this comes after a couple months of un-nesting. Maybe I would feel more attached anyway, because the ultrasound is so crazy detailed and the baby actually LOOKS like a baby now.

Anyway, that's a lot of background info to tell you - we're having a girl!

And I'm especially glad now that we found out early because Champ is FREAKING OUT. Somehow he really really expected it to be a boy and was not mentally prepared at all for a girl. I'm glad he has the next 4 1/2 months to get used to the idea. I think he's the tiniest bit disappointed because we both are fully aware that this little gal is likely our only child (though I don't think I'll ever be on a birth-control plan again. We will happily accept another babe at any time) and he has always wanted a boy. I'm sure he'll be an amazing father either way, but this is going to take some getting used-to for him!

In other news, Baby Girl is checking out as very normal and very healthy. She's measuring right exactly on schedule, within one day of my due date for everything except for length of the femur - baby's got long legs! Not a surprise, since Champ and I are both on the taller side. The ultrasound was amazing and they gave us a CD with the video to take home to show family - which I learned today from friends is not the norm. I've been really happy with my practice and now both of the doctors I've seen.

Tonight, Champ and I are going to sit down and decide which child birth / baby safety / breastfeeding classes we want to sign up for and also when we're going to tour our hospital. Now I feel ready to start prepping our house a little bit more and getting everything ready for our little gal.

We had some bad news yesterday, too, however. My sister-in-law is having a miscarriage. She just announced her pregnancy to the family a couple weeks ago (at 9 1/2 weeks). I was taken aback that they had gotten pregnant so soon after me (they started trying a few days after we announced our pregnancy and got pregnant literally the day they decided to start trying), but very happy that our little one would have a cousin so close in age (I never had close cousins!).

The whole situation is a little weird because she went in for her first prenatal appointment at 9 1/2 weeks and they couldn't find the heartbeat on the doppler. They told her she probably had an tilted uterus and she left without an ultrasound. They told her she'd get one at her next appointment. That would have been a huge red flag to me and I would have never left without immediate plans to make sure the baby was okay. However, she is younger and probably a little more naive and much less cynical than I and just took the doctor's word on it. For the past several weeks, the baby has not been growing and she started spotting this weekend. They found out yesterday that they lost it and my brother called to tell me this as I was driving to my big 20 week ultrasound. What a rollercoaster of emotions. Lots of sad, devastated tears and lots of happy, celebratory tears, all within an hour. And such irony that for the past year and a half they have been worried about saying the wrong thing to me, worried about my infertility issues, and now I am halfway through my pregnancy and worrying about them, and saying the wrong thing to them. The real kick in the nuts is that her sister has had four miscarriages. I can only imagine the thoughts racing through her head today on whether losing this pregnancy is a fluke or if she will be in for the same long journey as her sister.

I think the next few weeks will be really hard - I know being around me will be hard for them, because I've got a very visible baby bump. Of course I will want to be sensitive and not talk about Baby Girl too much, but I also want to be careful not to shut them out on the topic. It might warrant a quick conversation with my brother, after they've had some time to grieve, to see what I can do to make it easier to be around me. The last thing I want to do is to make this any more difficult or painful for them!

So as you can see, there's been some really amazing news and really terrible news in the past... day. I feel awful for my sister in law and brother but also I am trying to not let that take anything away from the joy I feel about our healthy babe.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Un-Nesting

What's the opposite of nesting? Because whatever it's called, I am knee deep in it.

Here's a breakdown of my preparation for baby:

Number of items purchased: 0 (unless you count Christmas presents from fam & friends)
Number of hours spent Pinteresting for nursery ideas: 0
Number of items registered for: 0

On the other hand:
Average daily hours watching TV / Netflix: 1.5
Average daily hours playing Zelda or Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo: 2
Average daily hours doing anything at all productive after work: .5 (generous, includes laundry and making occasional dinner)

It's like I know in 6 months my life is going to be hella different and I need to squeeze in all the laziness. I have consistently put off all decisions regarding the nursery, name discussions, and whether or not we will find out the sex of the baby. I wonder if this is normal?

Champ and I are going to Florida next week for a little vacay and I'm hoping some sense of urgency hits me when we get back. Has this happened to anyone else? Is it related to pregnancy after IF or does this happen to everyone?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

18 Weeks (almost)

I'll hit 18 weeks on Friday! Whereas the first weeks after we found out we were expecting dragged on at the slowest rate imaginable, time seems to be speeding up quite a bit as I find myself nearing the halfway point of this pregnancy.

I love my little bump. I haven't been recognized as pregnant by any strangers yet (I probably just appear pudgy) but to people who know me, it's obvious. I typically have a fairly flat stomach (monstrous legs, but a flat tummy) and it's definitely not flat anymore!

I would have taken this pregnancy anytime as I'm sure you all know, but I am especially thankful it happened when it did. The past few months have come with pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement. I am one of four women at work who are expecting and all of us are due between May and July. Three out of my five college besties are pregnant. My sister in law is pregnant. Two of my best grad school friends are pregnant. It's insanity I tell you!

We ran into two of my college friends at a restaurant last week, both of whom are pregnant, and I chatted it up happily about all of the pregnancy symptoms and plans and what not. As we left, Champ asked how differently that conversation would have gone if we were not expecting. I would have been utterly tortured! And combined with the ladies at work and my sister in law - yikes. The timing worked out pretty well, considering only my SIL had announced her pregnancy before I found out I was expecting. I suspect the next ten announcements would have sent me spiraling into another depression and would not have done me any favors in the fertility department.

This isn't a super meaty post, but I think I've been neglecting the blog and I'm going to try to be better about it! I will write again soon about our decision on whether or not to find out the sex (spoiler alert: we haven't decided yet) and the strange sensation of movement in my ute but not necessarily movement. Thanks for sticking with me, gals.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Getting Pregnant with POF

At 16 weeks pregnant, I am feeling more and more confident that this is actually going to happen. And because there are so few of us women out there with Premature Ovarian Failure who actually get pregnant naturally, I decided to share exactly how I got here. That’s basically all I wanted when I was diagnosed with POF – to hear from someone else with POF who got pregnant and dammit, how did she do it!?!?

*Please note: I am not a doctor and have absolutely no medical training whatsoever. What I DO have is my own personal experience and opinions. So I'll share that. 

So a little background, because I think it does matter where you start.  I was on birth control pills for about 10 years – from age 17 to 27. There was zero point zero zero reason for me to believe that I would have a problem getting pregnant. My periods were like clockwork until I got off the pill. My husband and I decided to start trying to conceive in May 2011 and I didn't get a period for 3 months. What I did get was an exorbitant amount of hot flashes and night sweats. Kinda concerning. Long story short, I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure about six months later. Cue devastation and the worst few months of my life. 

Here were my numbers upon diagnosis:
FSH: 88
AMH: .16
Estradiol: 19

When I went in to meet my fertility specialist for the first time - and this is key - I had a follicle. That was not THE follicle, but the fact that the doc could see ONE meant that I wasn't totally out of the game. I ovulated that month (for the first time in six months). I'm guessing my eggs were pretty much shit at that point - I always picture a tumbleweed "egg" drifting across the desert of my ovaries. 

So, in a bout of desperation, I did what many other infertile women do - I went completely overboard and bought every infertility-related book and tried every recommended herb / supplement / vitamin / diet. By virtue of what, in my humble opinion, made a difference and what made zero difference, here's what I did: 

Things I did that probably did NOT affect me getting pregnant: 
  • Gluten-Free Diet: This was terrible. I tried it from January 2012 - April 2012 and was so miserable I think this actually made things worse, from the stress of never being able to eat what I wanted. On the plus side, I lost about 10 pounds and looked awesome. 
  • Acupuncture: I loved acupuncture but only did it 5 times, from November 2011 - January 2012, due to an insurance issue. Because I stopped going 9 months before getting knocked up, I'm pretty sure this wasn't the ticket. 
  • Wheatgrass: Ugh. Think of the worst taste you've ever had in you mouth and multiply it by 100. That is wheatgrass. For the first couple of months, I used the powder stuff, which I would mix into a cup of juice and chug. Worst part of my day, every day. Then I discovered a local natural foods store that sold tablets, so I hopped on that train immediately. I took five wheatgrass pills every morning for about 4 months - so with the powder and tablets, I was on wheatgrass for about seven months from December 2011 through June/July 2012. Finally I gave up because it was too gross. Wheatgrass is known to help lower FSH - and it did, for me, or at least I think it might have. It did help control my hot flashes before getting on hormones in the spring, but alas, I don't think it did anything for my body's actual functioning properly. 
  • Chinese Herbs: As recommended by Randine Lewis' book The Infertility Cure, I ordered the "four substance concoction" (for fifty bones!) and took it every morning and night. After 6 weeks or so, I started having diarrhea, like... all the time. A brief scientific experiment leads me to believe that these herbs were the culprit. I stopped taking it in February 2012. 
  • Charting: This didn't help one lick. The month I got pregnant, my chart looked like this. And I DIDN'T OVULATE on Day 13 like you might guess. I think. Because I have consistently measured a week ahead of a Day 13 ovulation. And there's no way we would have seen the heartbeat when the baby was 4 weeks 5 days, which I would have been if I had actually ovulated on Day 13. So I was especially shocked when I got pregnant because I didn't think I ovulated that cycle because my chart was cray-cray. 
  • Menopur/Letrozole/Ovadrill: Nope. I was a non-responder. Didn't help. 
What I did that MIGHT have affected me getting pregnant: 
  • Other supplements: I was pretty religious about taking the following supplements / herbs: 
    • Kelp ("maybe this whole thing is related to my thyroid?")
    • Pre-natal vitamin
    • Fish Oil
    • Evening Primrose Oil (prior to ovulation each cycle, twice per day)
    • Calcium Vitamin (for my bones more than my fertility)
  • DHEA: I have no evidence of this, but out of all the supplements, I would recommend DHEA the highest for POF ladies. There IS actual evidence out there in the scientific community that DHEA improves egg quality and chances of getting pregnant. I took 25 mg, twice per day. And who knows, maybe this was the thing that did the trick. 
What I did that PROBABLY affected me getting pregnant: 
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Ladies, I was extremely anti-hormones when my doctor first recommended HRT.  While the doc assured me I could still get pregnant while on it, I had my doubts about this little estrogen and progesterone routine that seemed so similar to birth control! I put it off for four months, trying to control my FSH and estrogen levels naturally. But my numbers continued to suck and I continued to have hot flashes and night sweats and brain fog. So finally I gave in, in March 2012. Best. Decision. Ever. Hot flashes were completely gone within a week. Brain fog cleared. I felt a million times better. And I KNOW this helped regulate my ovaries so they knew what the hell to do. In fact, I tended to ovulate every other month - immediately following the progesterone-induced period. I can't say it'll work for everyone, but HRT worked for me. It absolutely worked. And I shouldn't have fought it so hard, because I feel 99.9% sure I wouldn't be pregnant right now had I never gotten on those little pills!  *UPDATE: For those curious, I was on 1 mg of estrogen every day and 10 mg of progesterone on the first 12 days of every other month. I took regular, cheap pills. I think they were like $6 for the estrogen and $9 for the progesterone (after insurance).*
  • Therapy: The other thing I feel pretty confident helped me get pregnant is therapy. This is another thing I fought for a long time before finally "giving in" and going. I was depressed. I was in a serious funk. I felt out of control and miserable and just wanted my life back. After making a drunken ass of myself at 4th of July, I decided it was too much to handle on my own and found a therapist. I was amazed at how quickly I started to turn around. Especially because I am a very educated person who has taken many classes in counseling and communication and even teach about fallacies of thinking in the Interpersonal Communication class at my college. But who knew, there actually is something to that whole therapy thing and it started working. I let go of the idea of getting pregnant naturally and starting to think that maybe I could find some meaning in my life aside from trying to conceive. In fact, we decided to give ourselves another two years (three years post-diagnosis) to grieve our natural child before moving on to the donor egg route. Because I was NOT ready to go that route yet and didn't want to feel pressured to do it right away. And in the meantime? Let's live it up! And live it up I did! I went to California, tried marijuana for the first time, went to Mexico with my girlfriends, and went skydiving with my husband. I started thinking like "let's get all this stuff done before we have kids (via a donor)" instead of "I can't have kids right now and I'm miserable about it."  I stopped beating myself up about it constantly, and I truly think this made a difference in getting pregnant. Easier said than done, right? 
  • Pure Dumb Luck: Looking back at my chart, it still doesn't quite make sense how this happened. And I don't know if it was a new speedy egg that came after a (real? progesterone-induced?) period in September or if it was the egg that started in August and took it's sweet time getting plump and juicy and ready to go, hanging out in the ovaries through the failed IUI in September until it was ready to go three weeks later.  I just don't know. I'll probably never know. We had sex at the right time (either "send off to Mexico" sex or "welcome home from Mexico!" sex) and it worked. 
Maybe some of this helped me get pregnant, maybe none of it did.  Maybe we just got really really really lucky. But somehow, it happened. And I hope my story helps some of you as well - the protocol I followed or the notion that it's not hopeless, even with Premature Ovarian Failure! I'm thinking about you all every day.