U.S.A.

That was quite a break huh? A gazillion things have happened in my life since I last checked in and promised that I wouldn’t check out.

First and most importantly, I became a US citizen! I really should have blogged about this while it was happening. I actually spend most nights thinking, I should blog about this, about everything.

I put my application in for citizenship mid April and really didn’t expect to go through the process that quickly. My interview was the day after my 37th birthday in August. It wasn’t a requirement but I brought N and Lucky with to the interview for brownie points.

The interviewer was a tiny young lady who was really sweet. The interview itself was an absolute breeze. I answered all of the questions correctly but don’t remember which were asked (I really should have blogged about this). She literally only asked me to confirm what was on my application. I then signed a few things and that was that.

The ceremony was the day that school started. One of the most important days for me at my job so I was happy but stressed that I couldn’t be there. The ceremony invitation clearly stated that I could only bring one guest which was such a bummer because my friends and US family wanted to be there and I wanted them to be there. And it was even more of a bummer when N and I got to the venue and all the other new citizens brought loads of guests and so many babies. I was so sad. Anyway, the ceremony was long. No, the actual ceremony was 15 minutes. Waiting for the judge?… TWO HOURS!!!

They funneled all of us into the huge hall while our guests sat upstairs in the gallery. It took about an hour to get everyone settled in. They kept coming up to make announcements and tell us to chat to each other. I sat next to a Russian (I think) couple who were chatting to themselves and a younger lady who was not at all interested in making friends. So I just sat on my phone and listened to conversations around me. One man from Israel who had been here for years but thought it was time, chatting to his new friend who couldn’t get a word in edgewise. And another lady yelling on the phone to her colleague that she didn’t know they would be taking her green card so she would likely not be able to take that business trip to Australia.

Almost 2 hours later right before the judge came in the couple next to me peaced out. I have no idea why, I assumed to go the bathroom but they never came back. So they didn’t do the pledge and I never saw them again so I don’t know if they got their certificate. I wonder about them sometimes.

After I got the official documents we grabbed lunch at a chinese buffet then rushed home. N had to get back to work and Lucky and I just spent the rest of the day hanging out. Sort of anti-climactic. No fireworks or parades. Just me and my boy watching reality tv. You know, living the American dream.

But truth be told this journey to become a citizen is something else. I’m fortunate, in that I get to retain my SA citizenship which I absolutely did and even then I found it very difficult to surrender that part of my identity. A part of me felt like I was turning my back on my country and with that came a lot of other emotions so I was dragging my feet for a very long time. But with this current administration’s view on immigration, legal and illegal, my parents finally put their foot down and decided to pay for my application and they all but stood over me with their hands of their hips while I filled out the application.

Now that it’s over and done with I am glad that they did. It still feels weird. But good weird. I was very excited to vote this past Tuesday. I loved the process of registering. I loved stressing for weeks that my registration didn’t appear until a few days before voting day. I loved filling out the ballot and feeding it into the machine. I love the old volunteers gushing over Lucky and saying “congratulations, you voted”.

I love that I get to experience these things for the first time. And then this morning I got word that I get to experience something else as a new citizen and I am beside myself. N laughed at me but I can’t wait.

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Adult Brace Yourself

I had my braces off yesterday!!

It was a glorious day. I’m not at the end of my normal human smile journey but this was a big hurdle. Something I’ve wanted since after high school.

My teeth have always been a huge issue for me. I’ve always hated my smile. I have two giant front teeth with a massive gap and I never grew a right lateral incisor and my left one was just a pointy tiny one. I think this is genetic? And I believe it’s called a peg lateral incisor.

So when I was in high school my lovely parents paid for me to get braces. Unfortunately, my family dentist at the time did them and not an orthodontist. He removed the peg and I wore the braces for around 2 years to close the gap and make space for the incisors and at the end was fitted with a partial denture with the 2 teeth attached. A denture… at around 16 years old… prime boy kissing age!

And the denture wasn’t perfect either. One of the teeth was really small. It would later be dubbed “tiny tooth” by my nearest and dearest and it became a part of me. Something I would try to hide from cute boys but something we all openly laughed about in trusted circles.

Sadly, because I was too busy living life, dental care was the least of my worries my teeth eventually moved and my giant gap came back.

At this point I was well into University and too old for my parents to pay for braces again so I suffered through my 20’s with these shitty teeth and I vowed to get them fixed once and for all one day when I had a grown up job with grown up money.

Grown up jobs came and grown up jobs went. Every time I started a new job I would visit a dentist and get a quote for a dental overhaul and every time it was just too expensive.

And then I met my husband and one of the ways I knew he was the one was that I told him I had a denture AND I even removed it in front of him and he never ran for the hills. (I don’t tell many people about the denture. You guys are in my inner circle now as well) But I just hated everything about my smile. I felt like it was holding me back somehow. I didn’t like taking pictures. My dreams of Instagram fame were dashed because my selfie game was non-existent :).

At my previous job before this one I did my “new job dentist check” and the dentist had promised a quick fix that he would do himself and since he wasn’t a dental surgeon I decided to hold off until I found a new job yet again. So when I found this job I was so excited to start the ball rolling. I met with my dentist and a surgeon and an orthodontist and we put together a plan and two years ago around my birthday I was fitted with braces and was on my way to find true happiness.

One of my favourite things to watch on tv is makeover shows (see Queer Eye and Botched). I relate to these people so much and to love see the joy on their faces at the end result. I wanted to feel that joy. I needed it. And yesterday I got to experience it. And it was amazing.

Granted I’m not done yet. I have to go back to the surgeon to get dental implants that will take 3 months to heal and then after that back to my dentist for crowns and right now I have a retainer with two temporary incisors.

But yesterday was the first time I saw my smile with all my teeth being the correct size in the correct spot. Yesterday was just another dream come true for me. It was a great day. I still can’t stop smiling.

It was so worth the wait, I’m so happy. And my orthodontist office deserves special mention here. It’s run by all women and they’re just the best. They’re very caring and thorough. I’m glad they fell into my lap (dentist recommendation). I couldn’t be happier with the care I received there.

If you’re thinking about fixing something cosmetic on your body but you’re not sure and feel a bit trepidatious, take this post as your nudge to DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

You won’t regret it. You deserve it. It will be worth it!

 

Before:

 

During:

t2

 

After:

 

She’s Aliiive!

I certainly didn’t intend to take an almost 6 month hiatus from this blog. In hindsight, I really shouldn’t have waited this long because I’ve had some good stuff to write about but I guess now that I’m back at work I can make some time to write again I hope to get back into the swing of things rather quickly.

First things first. Lucky, is doing wonderfully. I don’t know where to begin. He’s just wonderful. I could talk about him for ages of course but this post isn’t about him. I just wanted to quickly write down what I want to cover to catch you all up on the past 6 months. Here are a few topics I want to write about:

  • Thoughts on the birth
  • Thoughts on being on this side
  • My experience with breastfeeding
  • My husband is now a dad
  • Next time?
  • Therapy
  • My journey with adult braces
  • Mom’s groups
  • My tribe
  • Favourites (I’m gonna bring them back in earnest)

I think that’s enough to keep me busy for a few weeks.

I’m slowly keeping up to date with all of your blogs and I’m right there with each of you (even if I’m a few weeks late). Reading all of your posts is motivating me to get back in asap.

I’ll leave it there for now. But know that we’re doing well. We have found our groove I think even though I’ll admit that I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time. I just know that he is loved immeasurably and I like to think that the way his face lights up when he sees us that he feels the same way.

Until next time friends.

xxx

Christmas Came Early This Year

A week early to be exact. I had every intention of at least having a birth story by his due date which I thought was today but I was wrong. It was yesterday. Lol. 

So I’m going to be realistic and wait to tell the story I’ve been dreaming to tell for a very long time. I’m just going to enjoy Christmas and not worry about plans and due dates and timelines. My baby certainly does not 😁.

But I wanted you all know that he is here and he is safe and he is so wonderful. He was born on Monday December 18th at 8:03pm weighing 6lbs 5oz (2.86 kgs) and measuring 19in (48.26cm). 

If you’re on instagram please feel free to add me on doit4babym as I have some pics of him. It’s my IVF account so it’s private but I’d love to follow you all too.

 I also wanted to wish all of you a merry Christmas. It can be really awesome or really shitty but I hope that if it’s shitty you can find moments of awesomeness to cling to to get through and if it’s really awesome I hope you revel in it. I’ll be sparing a lot of thoughts for everyone who might be having a hard time this Christmas. I am here for you and I am always rooting for you.

xxx

3-ish Weeks to Go

Just got out of a hand-over meeting with my manager. He’s going to be taking over my duties while I’m out which makes me feel better. We hired a teacher trainer in August. She’s lovely but (and this is completely silly) I get jealous sometimes because she’s really really lovely and chatty and everyone loves her. She has a background in teaching so all the teachers love her. She’s really bubbly and funny too. She was hired to train our teachers on any new (or old) technology that we have at the school. So what ends up happening sometimes is that questions that I would get now go to her which is good because it gives me time to do my job which is NOT training teachers on how to use technology. Unfortunately, it now feels like I’ve fallen out of favour with them. The other day one of the directors walked into my cubicle and sang-asked “Where’s my new favorite IT person?”… Stab me right in the heart, why don’t you? She sits in the cubicle next to me so I get sad now when everyone walks by me to go to her. She and my boss also have a long conversations about techy and teachy things that I wouldn’t appreciate. In my dramatic moments, I always text N that they’re edging me out and that I won’t have a job to come back to next year. But I think I’m okay, remember a few months ago I mentioned that I’d had the worst year end review ever. I kind of just had a pre-emptive on now since I’m going to miss the next one and he is extremely happy with my progress so I think I’ve done enough to keep my job at least :).

So, how’s our breech situation going? It’s the same. Let’s start at the beginning.

Last week I had an appointment with my old acupuncturist. It was great seeing him again and he was overjoyed for us. The session was relaxing as usual but he said it wasn’t necessary to come again unless I wanted to. He gave me a moxa stick to do moxibustion at home. This is a homeopathic way to get a breech baby to turn. I haven’t used it yet because it doesn’t smell the best. You’re supposed to hold the smoking moxa stick a few centimetres away from the outside of your pinky toe for a few minutes. I don’t know how it works but there have been a few studies on it on the evidence based birth website. So I’ll try it.

On Friday I had a chiropractor appointment. He pulled a face when I said that I was almost 37 weeks almost like he didn’t think it was enough time but he said he’d like to see me twice a week until I deliver and we’ll do everything we can. Let me just say that the chiropractor is awesome! I felt so go afterwards. And it looks like my hips are way out of alignment which explains my back spasms, I guess. I’m happy I found this guy.

Other stuff I’ve been doing is what they called a breech tilt. Just laying at an incline with your hips above your head. Most women can’t do this for long but I find I can lay there for well into an hour long tv show. It feels good to get the pressure of my hips.

There are other exercises on the spinning babies site that help but they tend to make me dizzy or I need a helper and both N and I are too tired when we get home.

Other than that I’ve just been chatting to Lucky and asking him to please turn but if he doesn’t I won’t be mad.

At my appointment yesterday I learned that he is still frank breech. His head and feet are literally protruding on my left side and it’s extremely uncomfortable. He’s also small still. Growing but small. He’s below the 10th percentile at 5.5lbs (2.5kgs). My doctor isn’t concerned. She thinks he’s just small but she wants me to do a level 2 ultrasound on Monday to make sure the placenta and cord are still doing their thing. If that’s all good then we can proceed again with ECV discussions. She felt around on my tummy and kind of gave me an idea of how they’ll try to move him. I’m feeling a little nervous about the pain involved in an ECV but I still think it’ll be worthwhile option to try.

Oh, we also had a doula class last Friday which made me feel a lot better about the situation. There was another couple there who are due 3 days before us and her baby is breech as well. She’s thinking about just going ahead with the c-section though but she was also doing all the techniques that I am. They joked about us having a moxa stick party.

And that’s pretty much where we’re at right now. Sorry if this was a little long. Both of us continue to be healthy though and that’s paramount.

Next time I update my parents will be here which is super exciting. This week is going to draaag. I can’t wait to see them. Yay for mom’s cooking!

Meanwhile, my magnificent husband has been working day and night on upstairs to get it even a little livable before they come. My ability to help is really lacking though. I can’t really bend over and I get winded easily. I can do a few hours and then I’m tapped out so he’s been doing the walls (endless mudding and sanding) by himself largely and he’s just incredible. Hopefully we can do floors this weekend then we can just leave painting for another day.

Okay, that is it from me this week.

I hope everyone is doing well. Sending bucket loads of love to whomever needs it. xxx

4-ish Weeks to Go

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I know it can be a difficult holiday for some. I, personally, have never had trouble with any family gathering. Even in low points in my journey I always found spending time with loved ones re-energising and I just love it. But if you do find any type of gathering saps your energy or makes you feel less than, then know that you are in my thoughts and I hope that you made it through Thanksgiving okay this year. xx

Ours was really good. I won’t bore you with details but it was nice to see everyone again and to catch up and more importantly to eat everything in sight.

Yesterday, I had another appointment. This time I wore my lucky IVF socks and I wrote down all my questions. I just wanted us to get on the same page instead of just sitting there and taking it all in. I’ve also decided that I do not want anymore cervical checks because they suck. So I saw the gel on the table and I was preparing myself to do some serious advocating for myself. Luckily I didn’t have to. It was just a quick blood pressure, fetal heartbeat and tummy measurement check. She said that she felt a head on my top left but let’s keep hoping this little stinker gets his act together.

She’s booked me for an ultrasound next week and if he’s still breech we’ll make an appointment to manually turn him. Woohoo! The socks worked and I didn’t have to fight for an ECV. We talked about how the procedure works, the risks involved and the success rates. I asked all my questions and wrote down all her answers (kinda) and we had a good talk.

I know an ECV isn’t ideal but I’d really like to avoid a scheduled c-section if I can. Or at least say that I’ve tried everything I can. If it doesn’t work and Lucky decides he’s happy where he is then so be it.

Real talk: I worry that I’ll experience some postpartum because I’m not getting the birth that I want. It makes me sad to think about it now. I mean I listen to birth podcasts, I’m on birthtube on fb (it’s great btw if you like birth videos). I read birth without fear blogs. I have fully immersed myself in this world and I’ve just stopped now because they make me sad thinking I may not get the opportunity. It really does feel like infertility again. Like I’m being robbed of something that should be the norm.

That being said, I have the tools to dig myself out of this funk. I have the experience of shifting my mindset and being okay with my new path. I can do it but right now it just hurts.

But I’m doing what I can. I’m looking for planned c-section videos and birth stories and working towards being okay with it. What’s helping the most is that when I think about the day we found out we were having little Lucky every single drop of  hurt and shitty feelings about how we got there was gone and it was just pure happiness. So I know for a fact that once we hear his voice and see his face, how he got into our arms won’t matter at all.

Right now I just have to get out of my own way and let life unfold.

I apologise if I sound a bit ungrateful but I’m hoping you can appreciate the feelings I’m feeling.

Today’s been a bit aggravating as well. I had the worst sleep of my life last night. I was just telling (humble bragging to) my friend that I’ve been sleeping really well considering, and last night I was up at 3 and just could not fall back asleep. Surrounded by 3 cats and a husband all happily snoozing. I just wanted to cry. Eventually I dozed off by some miracle only to have my alarm go off after what felt like 3 minutes. Then when I got to work my space heater died and let off a nice big smelly cloud of smoke which prompted the entire maintenance team to run downstairs to find out if the building was on fire. Now I’m sitting at my desk freezing with my winter coat wrapped around my legs (I work in the basement next to a server room so there will be no warmth for me ever).

Also, I’m working on a terrible project and the deadline is next Thursday. Guys, I finished this project last month but I needed help from a third party company that runs the site to fix a few issues before I submit. It’s taken a month… a month for these dudes to help. It’s so frustrating. Look, I don’t mind if you can’t find a solution. But don’t go missing for days at a time and make me run around after you and have to explain myself several times. I just hate it so much. I’m so angry. Luckily my boss is now involved and hopefully we’ll get it sorted by next week. Well we have to. But today is one of the days I would much rather just start maternity leave.

Okay, that’s enough whining out of this sorry sack for one day. I have appointments everyday this week (dentist, orthodontist, acupuncture and chiropractor) which I’m excited about. Hopefully my next update will be a bit less mopey and a bit more happy.

Until next time!!

Life’s a Breech

**Trigger warning! This is a “p” update. Please take care if you’re not in the mood for this type of post**

 

 

 

We’re in the final stretch.

I vacillate between “OMG we don’t have much time left!! We need to get XYZ done asap!” and “Meh, plenty of time. No need to be an eager beaver.” I haven’t actually done anything but I have plenty of lists. To-do, To-buy and the like.

We’re on weekly appointments now and yesterday’s one didn’t go like I’d expected. Last week she measured my tum and said that it’s a little small so she ordered and ultrasound to check his size. She didn’t seem concerned so I wasn’t either. I did do some Googling but I think I held it together well enough.

I had hoped to get some pics of his little face and perhaps a 3D one as well but unfortunately he’s decided he’s most comfortable in an incomplete breech position and his face was hiding so she couldn’t get any good pics except for the ones the doctor needed. So I saw the top of his head, his abdomen and his thigh bone and I heard his heartbeat. That was enough for me. All through the ultrasound he was squirming and fussing about. I don’t think he liked any of it.

At the appointment afterwards I was told that he’s 4lbs 11oz and in the 13th percentile for weight. She’s going to order another ultrasound in 2 weeks and if he drops to the 10th percentile she’s going to send me to a specialist. She never used the words IUGR or anything scary sounding so it’s probably just to make sure the placenta is working properly.

Then she casually mentioned that because he’s breeched that she’s likely going to do a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks if he hasn’t turned by the next ultrasound.

You know when you’re talking on the phone and someone else is having a conversation with you and you’re trying to concentrate on both voices? That’s how I felt. Like I was talking to the doctor on the phone about this impending c-section and my inner self was like “Wait, what?… What about feeling contractions?… Why 39 weeks?… Can we wait to see what happens?…” all the while the dr was talking and I couldn’t hear what she was saying over the voice in my head. She asked if I was okay with the idea of a c-section, I know that because I answered. I said I’m not at all afraid of a c-section but I’d like to avoid it. I know she mentioned an ECV (External Cephalic Version) and threw out a stat of it working but mentioned that it could put him under some stress. But that was all I caught. I know she said other stuff but it was just a buzz.

While I was trying to process everything she moved onto the glorious GBS test. That certainly took my mind of things. Goodness me!

I don’t remember much of the appointment after that just the words “scheduled c-section” over and over until I got home and jumped in the shower to wash the GBS test feeling off of me.

When N got home and I filled him in he basically asked all the questions inner me was asking. None of which I had an answer for because I  never verbalised them. I decided to text the doula to let her know what’s up and she quickly called me back with ideas on how to get him turn. Techniques on the spinning babies website (which I’m perusing now). Acupuncture. Chiropractor. And she talked a bit about an ECV as well as a last resort.

I’m looking into all of these things. I would be nice to see my acupuncturist again. The last time we saw him was for our 2nd failed transfer. We did pre- and post- acupuncture sessions with him.

I’m also just trying to wrap my head around this new plan in case he decides he’s happy in breech position. He’s really who’s in charge here anyway.

I’m not okay with it yet. I think I will be if I’ve tried my best and nothing works. But for now I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me and I’m frustrated and annoyed and trying to find my footing again. I’m also trying to not blame myself since this is clearly not something I have any control over. It just is what it is.

But Lucky is otherwise perfect and healthy. He moves almost all the time. I’m not sure if he’s active while I sleep because when I do sleep I am dead to the world. I struggle to drift off initially but then it’s on. I usually wake up 15 min before my alarm in the morning but I’m very lucky that it’s not interrupted by needing to pee all the time. I know I’m not drinking enough water but I also try to get all my water in before I leave work to avoid night time peeing.

And he used to be very still until around 7am but lately he’s up and dancing as soon as I wake up. Rests between 2 and 4 during the day then it’s on again for the rest of the night. He’s the most active when I’m trying to doze off. I often have to put my hand over him to get him to calm down just for a second to give me a break.

He reacts to loud noises now which is so cute. One morning N banged a hammer against the wall really loud and it definitely woke him up, poor guy and last night N yelled “Flip baby!” into my belly and he did a little jump. Not enough to actually flip though.

Other than that I’m doing quite well now that I have the hang of the 3rd trimester. The hemorrhoids are under control. The heartburn is annoying but I carry tums with me everywhere. I thought I found some stretch marks but it turns out it’s just a reaction to the kinesiology tape I was using. Driving is the worst but it’s bearable. The only thing I’m struggling with is that bending over actually hurts. Putting pants and shoes on is really difficult but I don’t want to ask for help to get dressed so I just moan and groan through it.

I’ll be doing more updates as the weeks roll on since I guess things will probably ramp up now. In the mean time, here’s to getting this boy to flip.