Saturday, May 24, 2008

What a difference a day makes

As bad as Thursday night/Friday morning was, that's how good it's been since. Remember how I said I was only going to give Liam a couple of days of these non-breastfeeding shenanigans before I moved to pumping and bottle feeding? Well apparently I meant a couple of hours. By 1pm yesterday, I had pumped and he'd eaten from a bottle. What changed my mind? While on the phone with the LC from the hospital (as I explained that even the nipple shield didn't work), she said something that made my blood run cold: SNS. I knew that if that was my next option, we were doomed. So off to pump and bottles for us.

It's been straight uphill since then. He's had several more bottles, and by this morning even has the hang of eating from it without the obligatory 5 minutes of confused crying at the beginning. He's sleeping like an angel and was great at the doctor this morning. Things are really looking up.

I will definitely try breastfeeding again after this weekend. We want to get the rest of the bilirubin out of him and get him back to his birthweight, then I'll try it again. Also, in an incredibly sexy twist on things, my nipples have scabbed over. Nice, huh? He abused them so badly in the hospital that they are literally scabbed over. So no doubt breastfeeding wouldn't be much fun for him either.

He was born at 7lbs, weighed 6lbs 12oz the next day, and 6 lbs 11oz when we were discharged on Thursday. Today, just 2 days later, he weighed 6lbs 13.5oz. I'm not sure how he managed to gain 2.5oz while also missing essentially 3 meals yesterday, but I'll take it!

Megan? Doing about the same. Still unreasonable. Still refuses to nap (3rd day in a row). Still refuses to go to bed early (just lays up there and sings for an hour instead of falling asleep). Still pure evil. She's a bit less obnoxious with Liam, but has now turned on her beloved Grandparents. Which is sad, but we all understand what is going on. To ease things, we tried giving her a little 1-on-1 time today. After the doctor (where she was VERY helpful), we came home. I pumped, we packed up some food, and headed out the door. Grandma and Grandpa stayed home to take care of Liam while Kevin, Megan and I had a picnic at the park. It was really nice. Although both Kevin and I already felt that there was someone missing. Amazing! Now she's upstairs crying, refusing to nap, being generally evil.

I am going to pump and then nap myself. Hopefully when I get up the little boy will be awake so we can snuggle for a bit. All in all, things are good today. Thanks for your words of support and encouragement, I really appreciate it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A couple of pics of Spidey

Sorry to make this brief, but it's approaching dinner time around here and that's when it all goes crazy... :-) Here are a couple pics of Liam. Goodness knows we'll have lots more as the days go on, but I thought I'd put just a couple up here for now.

We're home (subtitle: Crash and Burn)

Thank you to everyone for the well wishes! I am very happy to report that the c-section was uneventful with no surprises. My recovery seems to be going well, so that's good news too.

In the hospital, little Liam was an angel. He proved to be a champion breastfeeder, although his suck is almost as powerful as a jet engine. Ouch! But that's okay, Megan was so horrible at it that I would take the opposite problem any day of the week. The first night, he was as good as gold and we actually got lots of sleep. The 2nd and 3rd nights, he cluster fed overnight which wasn't much fun, but it helped my milk come in quickly. He barely lost any weight, much to everyone's amazement. I didn't have one single freak out hormonal meltdown. In fact, I don't think I cried at all. Megan came to the hospital for a visit every day and was an angel for her Grandparents. All in all, things were going great.

Then we came home. We've been home about 24 hours now. I'm not sure who has cried the most in this first day -- Liam, Megan or me. Megan was out of control, spinning between being wildly overhelpful and lying on the floor screaming, kicking and crying. She didn't nap yesterday (too excited) and didn't get to bed early (despite the fact it could have happened, but that's another topic for another day). She's pissed that we won't let her carry Liam around by herself, that we won't let her change his diaper by herself, and that she can't hold him on her lap non-stop. I knew this would happen, so I was prepared, but I didn't realize how badly she was going to freak out. That's what started my crying jag and it's continued now for the better part of 18 hours. Good times.

Liam decided he didn't like breastfeeding that much after all. He latches on, sucks a while, and pulls off screaming. I have been pumping with the hand pump a bit before he latches on (new since coming home and his boycott) to make sure there's milk there and something nice and long for him to latch on to. But he's lazy. His suck is much, much weaker. One theory is that I've got so much freakin' milk in there that my boobs are too hard and he can't get as good a latch. So today I will pump and do something the LC recommended called reverse softening (or something like that). He was up from 3:00 - 6:30am last night screaming, eating, burping, screaming, burping, screaming, eating, etc. It was exhausting, mostly in an emotional sense. He'll only get a few days of these shenanigans and then I'll go to pumping and bottle feeding. I went through hell and back to get Megan to breastfeed and I don't have it in me to do it again.

At this very moment, Megan is at school and Liam is sleeping on his Grandma's shoulder. I've showered, dressed, had breakfast and time to update my blog. So I really shouldn't be complaining. I think it's just that it seemed like things were going to be so much easier this time around and we took such a sharp nosedive. But this too shall pass.

Thank you again to everyone who commented. It made me feel so good to see how many people were checking in! I'll catch up on my reading over the next few days, so forgive me for not commenting. Also, I'll post some pictures of the little dude later today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Hey everybody this is Leah's friend Rhonda. I am SO SO SO very excited to announce the arrival of LIAM MASON!! He was born yesterday am at 08:59, was 7lbs even and 19 in. Leah and Liam are doing great.

I am absolutely overjoyed for Leah, Kevin and Megan. Yahoo!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


No, not pictures of the baby. He's not here yet. But good grief, now that I think about it, he will be here in about 24 hours. Holy shit, people.

Anyway, I've been asked a bunch of times for pictures of Spidey's room, and for belly shots. I'm more of a pee stick picture person, personally. But I realized that I only have 1 picture of myself pregnant with Megan and it bums me out. She asks to see it all the time. So I figured I'd let Kevin take 1 today seeing as how this is our last chance.

Therefore, there are quite a few pictures in this post. The first one is the best -- it's the blanket that the amazing, wonderful, beautiful and talented JJ made for Spidey. I swear to you that I tear up every single time I look at it. JJ, you are the best. I love you and can't wait to return the favor. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY today, my friend.

The next few pictures are of Spidey's room.

These last couple are belly shots, but Megan decided to get in on the act. I think they are just adorable. Achingly cute, in fact. So if you don't want to see a cute toddler kissing a giant belly, I'll understand. In that case, I'll sign off now and will plan to update sometime tomorrow with a picture of the little dude. Rumor has it my wireless will work at the hospital. Thanks again for all of your support!
Scroll down for the last couple of pictures...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are You Ready to Rumble?

This post is basically all about baby preparations. If you don't want to read that junk, feel free to skip it.

Nothing interesting going on here with me. I had another NST on Friday and things look good. They declared Spidey's fetal monitoring strip as "perfect" and my blood pressure as "good enough." I've got one last NST this coming Friday and then, assuming nothing extraordinary happens this week or over the weekend, Spidey will get evicted at 9am on Monday. It's crazy to think that a week from right now he'll be on the outside. Wow.

My friend C, whom I've posted about before, is having her baby today. She's the one who had the high NT numbers and the Kell positive blood problem. She's been getting weekly MCA sonograms (which measure the velocity of the throughput of a particular artery in the baby's brain) to monitor the Kell issue. She's also been having some amniotic fluid issues, but they tend to correct themselves by the next appointment. She's 37w1d today and went in for an amnio to ensure that the baby's lungs were ready for the scheduled c-section tomorrow. Well, her amniotic fluid is so low that she's having the baby today. Wow.

I'm still not sleeping for shit. I basically don't even bother attempting to go to sleep until sometime between 2:30 - 3:00am. Then I sleep in the chair until around 4:30am. Then I move to the guest bed until I get up around 6:30am. I've been trying to nap for an hour or two in the afternoon to make up some lost ground. I'm tired, but not completely useless so I guess my plan is working.

What's nice is that in those quiet hours between 11pm and 3am (when Megan and Kevin are asleep), I'm getting a lot done. I've written down everything I can possibly think of to help my in-laws take care of Megan. They live in Syracuse, and although we talk to them often on the phone, they only get to actually see Megan about 3 times a year. So to show up and attempt to care for her on their own for nearly a week while I'm in the hospital will be interesting. Plus, they aren't arriving until Sunday afternoon and we are leaving at 6:15am on Monday morning for the hospital. Nothing like cutting it close, folks! But beggars can't be choosers and I'm grateful they are uprooting their lives to help us so I shouldn't complain.

I've left directions to everywhere they would want to go (her school, the park, the library, the mall, the hospital, the grocery store) complete with maps. I've left detailed schedules for the 4 days I'll be in the hospital. I've left lists of what she eats (luckily she's not picky). I've created a medical authorization form for them in case of an emergency. I've made up a menu for the week and the corresponding grocery list to do over the weekend.

Spidey's room is ready. There are even decorative things on the walls. This past weekend we washed the car seat lining and brought the bassinet up from the basement. We didn't use a bassinet with Megan, she slept in her crib from the first night home from the hospital, but we were in a small townhouse at the time. Now we are in a larger house, it's a haul to get to the baby's room umpteen times a night. My neighbor gave me a perfectly lovely bassinet so I figured why not try it out. If it doesn't work, we'll ditch it and move him to the crib.

Megan is crazy excited. Frankly, a little too excited. I'm 100% certain she will be doing inappropriately dangerous things to/with the baby in the name of "helping." She's also been doing some advance homework on the whole regression thing. She cried 2 different times last week at night going to bed because I wouldn't let her wear a diaper (she's been potty trained for 1.5 years). She cried another night because I wouldn't let her sleep in the crib. She's asked twice if we will be moving back to the townhouse once the baby comes (presumably because she knows we lived in the townhouse when *she* was a baby, so that's where babies live). I've read so much on Shelby's blog about her struggles with Celia's potty accidents that I'm scared shitless about what's going to happen here. Heavy sigh. But, whatever it will be, it will be. And we'll figure it out. She's not the first kid in the history of the world who had to welcome a sibling and lose their spot in the limelight. She'll get over it.

Boy, I sure did ramble on for someone who has basically nothing to say. Perhaps it's my way of forced optimism after that neurotic and depressing angst-filled post about the DBTs. I actually do believe that this might work out, I might have a live baby next week. FINALLY, FINALLY this past weekend, I caught myself switching from using "if" to "when" while discussing the baby's homecoming. At this point, I think I'm more nervous about the c-section recovery than anything else. No driving for 2 weeks, no lifting Megan for a while, that will be rough. Especially because she's so short that I still need to lift her up to wash her hands whenever we are out somewhere. Kevin suggested I just bring hand wipes and ditch the sink washing activities until I'm fully healed. Good idea!

I said dozens and dozens of prayers yesterday for all of my friends who are hopeful mothers. I pray that each and every one of you experience a wildly happy and fulfulling Mother's Day in 2009.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Book Tour: The Working Woman's Pregnacy Book

Because I love Mel so much, I thought it would be cool to participate in a book review when she asked. I didn't get the book I wanted to review, but instead was asked to do The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book. To be honest, I didn't expect learn anything new. I had a bit of an attitude from the minute I picked up the book, just knowing that it was a waste of my time.

See, I've been at this game (trying to get pregnant, trying to stay pregnant, or being pregnant) for the better part of 6 years. Plus, I've been the working pregnant woman through all of my pregnancies (full time for the first one, 30 hours a week for the others). I know how to work and be pregnant at the same time. I couldn't imagine how or why someone would need to write a whole book about it.

Also, I'm an information junkie who takes a stranglehold approach to the control of my own medical issues, fertility treatments, and prenatal care. I research, I read, I scour the Internet, I quiz my Doctors like they are sitting before an exam review board. Therefore, I have the dubious distinction of being wildly overeducated. Based on that, it would really take a lot for me to be bowled over by too much in the way of information related to pregnancy.

Well, let me tell you that I was in for a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure I can come up with 1 thing that isn't addressed in this book. I expected it to be a bunch of crap about employment law, how you aren't supposed to lift heavy boxes or handle radioactive chemicals (duh), when/how to tell your boss, and whatnot. While all that was covered (without the pandering attitude), it was also a treasure trove of general pregnancy information. Seriously, there is so much in this book that you don't even need the other pregnancy books (you know the ones I mean).

Here were some of my favorite things about it:
  • I love how she just outright called bullshit on a bunch of myths related to conception (myth of adoption as a fertility treatment, myth about propping your hips up after sex, etc.). Unfortunately that didn't stop her, just a few short pages later, from quoting a woman who magically turned up pregnant (after 5 unsuccessful IUIs) the day of their meeting with the adoption counselor.
  • She also called bullshit on numerous other myths such as heartrate being able to determine gender and the like.
  • I liked the section on nutrition in the first trimester. She said if you are only able to keep down crackers and Reese's peanut butter cups, then go for it. She was very realistic about soft cheeses, sushi, lunch meats, etc. One of my favorite lines in the book (and maybe it's because it made my mini cupcake obsession in the first trimester feel justified) was, "Food that isn't particularly healthful, such as a candy bar, isn't poison; it just substitutes for other fare that might provide more of what you and your baby need." Yay for junk food!
  • She did an excellent job of clearly explaining the specific differences between all of various types of Practitioners you could see for prenatal care (OB, family doctor, different kinds of midwives, RNs, NPs, doulas, MFMs). She also cleared up the differences between Level I, II and III NICUs. Very helpful.
  • She discussed any and all of the crappy pregnancy aches, pains and ailments. She said what it was, what you could try, and when to call the doctor. That's my kind of advice -- don't dwell on it, yet don't tell me I'm being a wuss either.
  • She makes an honest effort to explain the vortex of logic that surrounds the whole "40 weeks = 9 months" concept.
  • When discussing the debilitating first trimester fatigue, she says one of the smartest things I've ever heard: "Accept less of yourself."
  • Plus so many others my carpal tunnel was starting to flare up from jotting them all down, so I had to stop.
Being near and dear to my heart, I devoured the section on infertility treatments. I found her advice to be honest, timely and correct. I especially loved her explanation of how treatments will impact you -- how hard they are on a marriage, how you will experience a negative reaction to other people's pregnancy announcements, how you should expect to feel emotional throughout the process. She provides tips for how to juggle work demands and the grueling requirements of infertility treatment appointments. All in all, it felt like she knew what she was talking about. The biggest bonus of all was that she never once botched the difference between transfer and implantation.

I am just a huge fan of the way the she approached most everything in the book: here is what it is, here is the medical explanation, here is how it works, here are the myths and other crap you'll hear about it, here's how you might feel about it, and here is what you can do about it. I loved that she went into a lot more medical detail than most pregnancy books, because I prefer that type of information. Glossing over the medical specifics and using "floofy" words feels patronizing to me (personally). Perhaps some other women don't want all these laborious details, but it's exactly what piques my interest in a topic.

Of course she included quotes from a bunch of people that I loathe: people who had a forceps delivery without an episiotomy. People who exercised every day -- "I went for a run 30 minutes before I went into labor." (Yeah? Well screw you.) People who exercised 4 times per week -- including the day they went into the hospital. (That's just silly.) There was even some lady who climbed a 4,000 foot mountain at the end of each of her pregnancies just to prove she could do it. (Me, personally? I have WAY better uses for my precious free time and scant supply of energy.)

The worst one of all was in there: "I wasn't sick one day of my pregnancy, I felt great." Those are the people that kill me the most, the people who say, "I never felt better!" Are you freakin' kidding me? I mean how BAD must you have felt prior to being pregnant that this now feels GOOD? Geez.

Good grief, everything is in this book. There are too many great things to name but it covers soup to nuts including prenatal care, BBT charting, infertility treatments, fetus growth milestones, prenatal testing, maternity clothes, job accomodations, how jacked up your body gets and all the unpleasantness that goes with it, how amazing your body is as it magically grows another human being, birth plans, labor, breastfeeding (including how to do it successfully after returning to work), the trainwreck your body becomes after delivery, the trainwreck your emotions become after delivery, newborn behavior, PPD, childcare options, postnatal care, birth control, etc.

For any woman embarking on pregnancy while working, it is probably exactly what they are looking for -- a compliation of useful information all in one spot. Hell, it's a great resource for people who aren't working. Truthfully, many times it read just like I talk. It contained the same information in the same straightforward manner that I convey to my friends when I'm aiming to offer helpful advice. Based on that, I'm going to declare that I liked it. Lots. Go buy it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cathartic or just whining on my part?

LJ and I have been sharing our ugly, dark & twisty thoughts lately. It's so wonderful to have someone to discuss these things with. Although our thoughts are on completely and totally different topics, we both have the ability to understand how much they suck. I know you already know this, but I heart you LJ. :-)

Since LJ had the guts to post her thoughts, I will too. These aren't exactly Earth-shattering and there will be many pregnant infertiles alike that will nod their head as they read them, but it was cathartic to get them out of my noggin to LJ (I actually slept a few hours last night -- woohoo!), and perhaps it will be even better if I put them out there for the IF world to see. Feel free to comment and tell me I'm not totally crazy.

A big problem I'm having right now is that I can't sleep. I can't get comfortable in the physical sense one bit. But I also can't quiet my mind...

The bigger problem I have is the dead baby thoughts. Every time I feel the baby kick, I look at the clock. No, I'm not doing kick counts. I'm noting the time so that later in the day when I call my OB in a panic to say I haven't felt any movement in X hours, I know exactly how long it's been. This is exhausting. It's like eternally being on the "fight" side of the fight or flight reflex. I wish I could stop.

The DBTs are always, ALWAYS there but I became totally irrational on Saturday night. After spending, oh, I don't know, about 2 hours reading blogs of stillborn stories (which I do often), I decided to turn in for the night. Usually when I settle into the glider to pretend like I'm going to get some sleep, the baby starts going crazy. I swear he's rearranging furniture in there most days. Well, on Saturday night he was completely still. Nada. Nothing. I pretended like it was okay. Finally, when I started to break into a sweat, I started poking and pushing him around. I wasn't exactly gentle, I was really manhandling him. That always elicits at least a roll or elbow or something. Again, nothing. I started sort of hyperventilating and trying to figure out who I could call at 1am to stay with Megan while Kevin and I went off to the hospital to confirm the worst.

Finally, after 5 straight minutes of torturing this kid, I went downstairs. Still nothing. I drank some milk, ate some Oreos, and sat on the couch. I stared at my stomaching, willing it to move. Still nothing. It must have taken another 5 minutes of jacking around, jabbing myself in the midsection, to get him to wake the hell up and move. Then he was up for the night, ready to party (totally my fault). But I didn't even care, I was so happy to feel it that it didn't matter.

I'm just having a hard time understanding why I should get a live baby when so many people experience horrible late term loss. I'm still not fully on board with why I ever got knocked up in the first place when totally deserving, wonderful people are not. I don't mean to be hard on myself, but I am not sure why I got so lucky when others don't. Therefore, I'm always on high alert expecting tragedy to strike at any moment. It's not like I think that 3 years, tens of thousands of dollars, 2 miscarriages, 4 IUIs and 3 IVFs isn't "enough dues to pay". Perhaps it is. But I still feel so sad and so empty that so many of my IF friends are still being tortured. I suppose I'll never understand.

But, the hormones, the lack of sleep, and the reality of what's about to happen here is clearly fucking with my head. I need to try to be happy and stop obsessing about when my baby will up and die inside of me. That's not helpful. I countered all of that shit on Sunday by acting wildly optimistic. I pre-ordered envelopes for birth announcements so I could get them addressed. I wrote thank you notes for baby presents that people had already sent us. We hung pictures and other stuff on the walls in the baby's room. All in all, I acted like I really think this is going to work out. God knows I hope it does, but I still have a hard time believing it.

Is this Survivor Guilt? I don't consider myself a survivor yet, not until he gets here safe and sound. But I think I'm perhaps trying to assuage my impending Survivor Guilt by assuming that the worst will happen. Why I do get to be a survivor? Why do I get to be the inmate in the dirty and tattered striped prison pants on the outside of the fence? It hurts so much to see all the other wrongfully imprisoned inmates on the "wrong" side of the fence, looking forlorn and banging their tin cups up against the chain link. We are all trying to tunnel our way out, digging to China with a broken plastic spoon. Why did I hit less rocks, why was my fence seemingly buried a bit less deep? For Pete's sake, why can't I just be happy for myself and not obsess about everyone else who isn't?

This has all been rattling around in my head for some time now and hopefully it's cathartic to get it out. I've hesitated to post this because I feel foolish putting stuff like this up here. Who wants to read an infertility blog when it's paragraph after paragraph of an enormously pregnant chick complaining about being pregnant? No one, that's who.

Thanks to everyone who listens to me whine. Poor Rho usually got the brunt of it but goodness knows she's got enough on her plate right now. Therefore, I've been torturing LJ and a select handful of others (lucky you!). I pray each and every day that things will turn out okay. Words simply can't describe how much it would suck to get this far and then lose it all. Dear God, please don't let that happen.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Arrivals and Anticipations

Many of my blog buddies recently delivered their babies (most in the last week) or will be delivering soon.

For those of you up to sharing in their joy, please stop by and offer congratulations. For those of you not in the frame of mind to be able to do so, please know that I am sending you dozens of warm and sincere hugs.

Here are the newest arrivals to my little circle of friends:

Jackie welcomed Sylvia Grace on May 1st
Delenn welcomed Willow on April 24th
Caro welcomed Theo on April 30th
Erin welcomed the WonderTwins on May 1st
CE welcomed Baby J on April 13th

And yet more are due in the next 2 months. Feel free to stop by and cheer them along in the home stretch:

Grad3 is waiting to meet Lil' P any day now (a few days shy of 40 weeks)
Gabby is waiting to meet Wyatt Ethan in about 5 weeks
Farah is waiting to meet MiniVann in about 8 weeks
Kami is waiting to meet Little Butterfly in 6 about weeks
In and Out of Luck is waiting to meet their baby in about 7 weeks (going to be surprised about the sex)

As for me, nothing too exciting. Today's OB visit revealed elevated blood pressure, but not so bad that they were worried. The NST went well, Spidey cooperated just fine. Only trace amounts of protein in my urine, so the Doc was pleased. He said to keep on doing what I am and come back next week for more of the same fun. Meanwhile, I'm continually on the verge of hyperventilating at the thought that I'm having a baby in 2 weeks. Good grief, people.