Month: July 2014
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Voodoo, Pt. 2

#TBT – Between these two psychics, they pretty much nailed the details, minus the year – you know, if that kind of thing is important.

Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen...

So… In keeping with what seems to be a theme this year

I got a psychic reading.

Well… Two, actually.

They were online, and I know they could be completely made-up crap emailed to me by people looking to make easy money by lying to strangers, but whatever… I got them.

The first reading was a fairly simple one, done by a lady named Sky:

Focusing in on an upcoming pregnancy for you I see the month of April being significant. This can be in reference to the month of April 2013 being conception or positive testing or the month of April 2014 being birth timing. I feel a girl’s presence associated with this pregnancy. 
 
To simplify things a bit more I see April as conception, positive testing or birth timing with a little girl.
The second reading was far more in-depth and took a bit longer…

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What Has Changed… And What Hasn’t.

Monday, July 28th, 2014.  18w 4d. Obviously becoming pregnant is a situation that is rife with change.  Your body changes, your lifestyle changes, your heart and soul change.  I’ve noticed some of the obvious changes in my waistline and bra size, yes, but there have been other, more subtle changes happening behind the scenes that

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Knocked Up: the Details

July 10th, 2014.  16w 0d.

***This is obviously a pregnancy-related and detail heavy post.***

  ***If you’re not in a place to read this right now, then this is your friendly warning.***

I know that there are those who probably want to know some of the down ‘n dirty details of this pregnancy, and those people are about to be either 1. very happy, or 2. very grossed out.

Here comes the TMI, ladies and gents.

I’m guessing we should start at the beginning.  In the first days, I didn’t feel like I was the walking embodiment of the miracle of life or anything.  The fact is that my only real “symptoms” were pretty much exactly what I would have been feeling had Aunt Flo not missed her bus that month.

Breast tenderness, check.  Wee bit o’ cramping, check.  Bloating, check.  Fatigue, check.  Normal stuff.

The only things that were different from what I’d usually experience happened well after I’d confirmed the pregnancy with the doctor’s office and eleventy thousand peesticks.  One was a very real and apparent need for food in the morning.  I was never nauseated per se, but if I didn’t get something – even liquid – into my stomach shortly after getting out of bed, I’d have a killer gag reflex and just feel sort of woozy until I rectified the situation.

The other fun little gift was far less talked about in the world of early pregnancy symptoms, and came in the form of an ungodly amount of cervical mucus.  I’m talking flash flood warning levels here.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo GROOOOOOOSSS.

I had a couple of teensy bouts of not-quite-spotting that were like beigey-orange mucus that happened at random times, and of course these occurrences sent me into anxiety spirals from which there was little escape.  I was constantly terrified in that first trimester, and things like this didn’t help.

And while we’re talking about gross things that have evacuated my body, let’s talk about gross things that refuse to evacuate my body.  Around 9 weeks, the doc told me to start taking an iron supplement, because I was slightly anemic.  No biggie, and I figured I’d work on upping iron in my diet as well.  Ever since then, I’ve basically been on Poop Watch 2014.  It’s like a blessed event when it does happen.  I figured out that cherry season (thank you, Michigan!!) is my friend, so that’s been helping.  Prunes?  No sir.  Apricots are just overkill, and we shall never speak of the events that occurred after my last consumption of that devil fruit.  Just let it go.

Around week 9 or 10, we went on a trip to California for a wedding.  In wine country.  Where the vegetarian menus were composed of lovely delicious things covered in OMGDANGER!! soft cheeses.  So that was an adventure, ha.  Flying was  a little nerve-wracking for me, as I wasn’t sure if I’d suddenly develop debilitating nausea on the plane, or if flying would cause me to spot… or worse.  It all turned out to be fine, however, and I managed to have plenty to eat at the veggie-events.

Sometime around 1o or 11 weeks, I dug the home fetal doppler I ordered a year and a half ago out of the bottom of my hope chest.  It had never even been opened, sadly.  I watched numerous videos online of women finding their babies’ heartbeats at like 9 weeks, so I was confident that I could do it, too.

I was wrong.  I failed the first time I tried, and gave up on the grounds that it was too early.  Maybe a week later, in a fit of frustration, I tried it again, and was surprisingly, almost immediately successful.  It was such a great sound to hear – one we hadn’t heard since Jelly Bean’s first ultrasound at 7 weeks.

I’m now a pro at using the doppler at home, and while I know I shouldn’t abuse it, I often listen to baby’s heart before bed as reassurance that he or she is still in there, growing away.  I think that once I’m feeling regular movement, I’ll need the doppler less and less… Until then, it’s my crutch, but it’s helping my anxiety like you wouldn’t believe.

So really, that was it for the first trimester.  The fatigue got worse for a while, and then it got better around maybe 11 weeks.  The weird morning gaggy thing disappeared sometime around then as well, so I’m guessing that was the beginning of my transition into that fabled Second Trimester Honeymoon Phase that people talk about.

Oh, wait.  I mentioned the bloating earlier, but didn’t go into enough detail, clearly.

From about 7 weeks until probably 12, I was so bloated that my pants wouldn’t button – granted, many of them were getting a bit snug before my uterus started to expand, but still…  It was ridiculous and nothing I did changed it.  I was dressing to hide a bump that no one knew about yet.  I  felt like it was obvious to EVERYONE, although the handful of people that knew later on never said anything.

Around 12 weeks, the bloating faded a bit, but by that point my uterus had started its ascent into my abdomen.  By 13 weeks, simply unbuttoning my pants was no longer a comfortable option, and zipping them was becoming laughable as well.  I picked up a Bella Band around 14 weeks, and that’s helped a bit…

Yesterday, just shy of 16 weeks, I bought maternity pants.

Shit’s getting real up in here, folks.

Honestly, I think this little front-pudge looks like more burrito than baby, but I can tell that it’s on its way to a discernible bump.  Soon.  Very soon.

As for the next few milestone moments, what I’m looking forward to most is a tie between finding out this little Bean’s gender, and feeling regular movement.  I’ve noticed a few odd sensations at inconsistent intervals that have felt a bit like rolls I guess, but I have no clue if that was baby movement or sluggish bowel movement.  It’s a little early for that quite yet anyway, as I hear many don’t feel movement until after 20 weeks.

What will be nice is that we should be able to find out baby’s gender before the 20 week anatomy scan.  I had a cervical procedure many  years ago, and because of this, I’m being monitored by ultrasound for cervical shortening every two weeks from 16 to 24 weeks.  My first scan in that series is this Friday, and they’ve said that there’s a chance they’ll be able to tell the gender then.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I’m really, REALLY hoping this kid cooperates and shows the goodies.  I NEED TO KNOW.

So anyway, that’s about it.  I’m not really letting myself get carried away with all the weekly updates and bump pics and that kind of thing because it’s not really me, and because I’m just not in a place yet where I feel I can let myself go with that kind of completely unbridled excitement.

Maybe someday.

I did check out a due date website that emails me things I apparently need to know, and they say that Jelly Bean is approximately the size of an avocado this week.

…Which is appropriate because if one more person asks me what we’ll name this kid, I’m going to tell them Avocado because it’s gender neutral, walk away, and leave them to wonder if I’m serious.

Mwahahaha.

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Survivor’s Guilt and the Future of This Blog

July 8th, 2014.  15w 5d.

I’ve been asked – more than once – and I’ve wondered myself for some time now what exactly will become of this blog now that I’m on my way to the “other side” of the infertility struggle.

In many ways, I just don’t know how to answer.

Yes, I want this to remain a resource for those who are struggling – and an outlet for myself, as I still struggle as well.

No, I don’t want to lose readers who just can’t bear to hear about pregnant life at this point in their journeys.

Yes, I want to continue to tell my story, the same way I always have – no holds barred, TMI ablaze.

No, I don’t want to stop writing… nor do I want to start a whole new blog at the moment.

Yes, I want to become a mommy.

No, I do not want to become a mommy blogger.

So that’s where I am.  Halfway between where I’m headed and where I’ve spent the last five-ish years.

Limbo is a sucky place to be.

I don’t want to turn away anyone who isn’t in a place to hear pregnancy updates, and I understand that some will have to back away from my posts for exactly that reason.  I do understand, truly.  I’ve had to do the same at points in my journey as well… It comes with the territory, and I can only hope that my story offers some light at the end of the tunnel for those who are still in the trenches – even if they’re not in a place to read it.

I also don’t want to stop blogging details of my life, because the infertility struggle doesn’t just stop when you become pregnant.  If anything, it can come crashing back as hardcore as it ever was in the beginning, and the need for support and an outlet is even greater than before.

An Infertile once is an Infertile always, despite success or resolution.

I do feel a large amount of survivor’s guilt as well.  I feel it when I post something on my personal Facebook, knowing that I have friends who are struggling.  I try to remain sensitive to that and not blast my news feed with ultrasound or bump pics.  I tried to be sensitive when we officially “came out” a couple of weeks back, emailing those friends I knew were struggling before posting the announcement photo.  I wanted them to have a heads-up, as I know I’ve appreciated having one in the past.

I feel badly that I am allowing myself to be happy.  I have been such a steadfast and reliably infertile confidante for so many over the years, that now when I’ve sort of crossed over, I worry that those who relied on me won’t have the same support I was able to offer before.

Part of this worry comes from being fiercely protective of my support group, and worrying that I won’t be able to carry the torch for them for much longer… at least not without an obvious and growing abdominal-area distraction which could cause discomfort for all in its presence.  I want them to continue, and to be well taken care of by whoever comes forward to take over hosting (or co-hosting) duties.  Most of all, I don’t want to be a drain on the complete openness we’ve managed to accomplish at our meetings and in our little online group.

Basically, I’m a woman stuck between two worlds.

My heart still leaps to my throat when I see a pregnancy announcement.  I feel dread and fear and jealousy before I am able to tell myself that it’s okay, and that I’m there too now.

I worry more now than I ever did in the past.  I have this precious thing now, and I feel like every time I do something that’s considered a big step in a normal pregnancy journey (like starting a baby registry… YIKES), I feel like I’m tempting fate and waiting for that other shoe to come down on my head.  Hard.  With a pile of bricks in its wake.

I have two baby name books in my possession.  My mom bought me one, and I picked up the other… I’ve wanted to have one for years, but always felt it too jinx-y to actually own one.  Now that I have them, I can’t bring myself to highlight them.  Any step like that feels like a step toward a permanence I’m terrified to look forward to.

People want to plan baby showers, and they ask me about nursery colors and bedding designs and baby names, and it’s all I do to quell that inner voice that’s screaming “OH MY GOD STOP!  THE MORE WE TALK ABOUT THIS, THE MORE I SPIRAL INTO INCAPACITATING WORRY THAT IT WILL NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!!”

Infertility is terrifying.

Miscarriage is terrifying.

Pregnancy is terrifying.

Those two pink lines do not in any way solve every problem infertility causes.  While I thank God every single day for the reason that I’m so damn terrified all the time, and while I know how unbelievably lucky I am to be here right now, I still struggle.

I think I always will.

And that’s why I need this space.  Badly.

I need to write, and I need all of you.

I want you to know that if you need to back away at this time, I completely understand.  I’ve done it, too.  It’s what you need, and that’s perfectly fine.

As for me, I will be here.  I will be sharing what I can without blasting pregnancy crap down your throats.  I will struggle and I’ll take you with me, and I will (hopefully) triumph and you’ll be there too.

So there it is.  I’m staying here.

Steadfast, terrified, confused, worried, and so happy in those small moments in between.

You can be here, too.  If you want, and when you want.

I’m here for me, but I’m here for you as well.

Stick around if you can… I get the feeling that this ride’s just getting started.

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“Sooo… How did this happen?”

Since dropping my little 14 week bombshell, I’ve had numerous comments and questions, both here at the blog and in real life, to the effect of:

“How did this happen?”

“What finally worked for you?”

“All this time and it was getting drunk that did the trick, huh?”

“Did you conceive naturally or have some kind of treatment?”

“I told you to just stop trying!  See??”

…And so on.  🙂

I figure I should probably let you in on the not-really-so-secret series of events that led to this amazing, if unexpected development.  Here we go…

1.  Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  And not just dabbling with it – full-on hardcore living the lifestyle that meshed best with my Chinese diagnosis, which included reading books, giving up cold drinks and food for months, spending three hours driving round trip weekly to appointments, spending money on said appointments, supplements and herbs, lying on a table with tiny needles sticking out of me at regular intervals, and learning to have the kind of patience that only five years of infertility can really teach a person.

I’m serious about the patience thing.  I gave my life, diet, medicine cabinet, and pocketbook to this process over the course of eight full months of treatment before I learned that I was pregnant.  That’s eight solid months of prepping my body to do something in a healthy way it had never been able to previously; eight months of retraining my hormonal system to operate correctly and release healthy eggs; eight months of helping blood flow where it should, increasing my intake of whole foods, and improving and repairing my body with the right kinds of supplements.

It sounds like a lot,  but spread over the course of time, it was relatively simple to integrate the changes into my everyday life.  The part that wasn’t simple was the part where I had to learn to let go completely, learn to trust a soft science verging on straight voodoo, and learn to let the positive changes come to me over time rather than as instantaneously as taking five days’ worth of Clomid.

So that was the biggest part of what worked.  The conundrum is that the researcher in me may never be satisfied with why it worked, because there are just so many unknowns about TCM.  I’m working on just accepting that things just are, rather than asking how they got there.  It’s a process,  but I’ve got a pretty good distraction to keep me occupied while I figure things out.  😉

2.  Time.  I know, I know… We all hate to hear “good things happen to those who wait!” and “it will happen if you just give it time!”… I hate it too.  Even now.  But I’m telling you that for me, the journey to this point had to happen the way it did for me to arrive at the solution.

Five years ago, you would not have been able to tell me that if I invested in some kooky Chinese voodoo that I’d likely conceive in eight months’ time.  I would have laughed you right out the door and promptly marched over to my RE’s office for pills and shots that would obviously work faster.  It’s funny, but I look back at how much younger I was then.   Not just in years, but in life experience.  I’ve learned more than I can even comprehend, about medicine – traditional and alternative, my body, and myself.

Time gave me a new outlook on life, and taught me about loss, letting go, and still having a full life.  I think coming to that conclusion was so freeing… McStabby might say that reaching this conclusion unblocked some meridians or some crap, and maybe he’s right.  Either way, getting to that point made a big difference for me, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

3.  Heredity?  My maternal grandmother passed away when I was 15, long before I was even thinking about having babies, or about my reproductive system in general.  I can’t ask her the questions I want to ask, but if I could, I would ask if she knows why at her young age, and in the generation of Baby Boomers, it took her and my grandpa five years to have their first baby – my aunt.  I’d also ask if she knows why it took another seven years after that to conceive my mom.

No one seems to know, and maybe she didn’t either.  Maybe she struggled like I did, and maybe her five year journey will mirror mine.  There’s no way to know, and that’s frustrating, but it’s a bit heartening to know that despite obvious setbacks – whatever they were – she had two beautiful girls who grew up to have families of their own.  A happy ending to a mysterious tale…

4.  Straight-up Voodoo.  Surprised by this one?  Don’t be.  Something in the universe – besides my fallopian tubes – aligned perfectly in order for this miracle to have happened the way it did, when it did.

There are several factors that I think played into the voodoo aspect of this nearly immaculate conception.  One was the fact that just a few months back, I was speaking with the RESOLVE representative about starting a support group.  One of the questions she asked was how I planned to handle the situation that would arise should a group member get pregnant, and then further, what if I, as the support group host, were to get pregnant.  I laughed at that, but she said “You know, you’d be surprised.  It happens much more than you’d think!  There’s just something about taking this step that seems to launch many women into their path for resolution, even if completely unexpectedly…”  Hmmmm.

So aside from the RESOLVE voodoo, there’s also the fact that a coworker came to me around that same time and asked me to join his soccer team, to which I also laughed.  I mean, have you met me?  I’m not exactly athletic.  Or coordinated.  Or anything even remotely close to what should appear on or near a soccer field.  I also don’t know how to sports, so there’s that.  Anyhoo, he said that all of the girls he’d had join his team typically dropped off within a month or two because they kept getting pregnant.  He felt like maybe if I joined as an “honorary member”, that this would dramatically increase my odds.  I thought it was silly, but I agreed to an honorary membership where I didn’t have to attend or participate at all, and could still say that I was part of this cursed/blessed team composed of men and very fertile women.  I’ve also had to drop off the team since joining.  Another hmmmm.

There were several other hmmm-inducing factors that may or may not have played into this blessed event, including the fact that I’ve loved Christmas and the whole holiday season my whole life, and that I’ve always dreamed of a Christmas baby.  Too many weird little bits all falling together at one time to make me think that this baby is anything but perfectly timed for me, for us, and for this weird little life we’re stumbling through.

So now that you have a little insight into what probably and maybe led to a healthy, happy pregnancy after more than five years of heartache, I’d like to share a short list of things that I know for a fact didn’t work:

1.  Going on vacation.  Yes, I had been out of town for a night just before this happened, but no, that’s not what actually did the trick here.  Don’t be silly.

2.  Getting drunk.  Again, soaking one’s membranes in cheap vodka will not increase one’s fertility.  That’s just stupid.  I did it anyway, but still… stupid.

3.  RelaxingHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Shut up.  Never.  Relaxation doesn’t make your ovaries function any more than taking a nap cures cancer.

4.  The “just stop trying…” tactic.  Come on.  Be serious here.  I may have taken a bit more of a passive approach to things over the course of the last few months, but that was largely because Chinese medicine somewhat forces you into a state of patience.  Changes don’t come overnight, and neither do solutions.  Once I embraced that fact, I was able to calm myself enough to see the positives that were coming to me over time.

That being said, I never, ever, EVER stopped trying.  Even in those last few months where the husband and I had been talking about how fulfilling a life could be without having children, I still knew when I was ovulating.  Even after I had laid down the thermometer and stopped letting temping and charting rule my mornings, I was always very aware of when I was fertile.

The month we conceived, the “encounter” was timed, at least on my part and at least mostly consciously.  I actually felt more pressure that month than I had in quite a few, as I held April’s fertile days as my last-ditch effort.  I had made the decision that it would be my last month of really trying, and that the next month the husband and I would just… be.  I don’t know if I would have been able to just stop cold turkey like that, but as it happened, it didn’t matter… surprising though it was at the time.

I didn’t stop trying.

I couldn’t.

And for all of those efforts – for all of the reasons, both logical and completely illogical above – what do I have?

My little Hail-Mary Jelly Bean, due on Christmas Day.

As much as the journey sucked , there’s absolutely no way I could ever argue with that timing.  It’s completely perfect, and completely worth every minute of struggle it took to get here.

*****

So while I’d love to tell you that this miracle child is being brought to you by booze and irony, do you want to know my answer to the question, “How did this happen?”

 

I never, ever, EVER stopped trying.

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