Last Post of 2017: A Birth Story

Last year’s last post of the year was a tough read. Sure I was hopeful because we had 1 pgd perfect embryo on ice but the year itself was so so rough. And here I am a year later writing my very own birth story. Wow.

Man, I wish I knew where to begin. I want to start with how I’m feeling but those feelings are just too complex to unpack right now so I’m just going to start at the beginning and just recount his birth as it went from start to finish. Just the facts. This is going to be a long post.

I wrapped up work on Friday the 15th. It was a relief but didn’t really feel real since it was a Friday. The weekend was pretty uneventful. Had dinner at my mom-in-law’s, Went to a Christmas party and Sunday we had friends over then N and I went to watch Star Wars as our last hoorah together.

On Monday I had the fullest schedule. In hindsight I wonder if I did too much. That morning I was feeling a lot of the contractions and I told N to keep his phone nearby but I’d been having them all the time so we both brushed it off.

9am: I had an appointment with one of the cats. All is well, just a check up and some shots.

10:45am: Chiropractor appointment in Providence. Set up a follow up appointment for Friday. He wishes me luck for the version the following day. Stop at Target to buy a baby book.

12pm: Get home and rest for a while but all the while I’m running through the laundry list of things we have to get done. I still have to finalise my and N’s bag. There’s no telling what could happen at the version the next day.

2:45pm: Go to last OB appointment before the version. Everything looks good. We set up an appointment for next Wednesday in case everything goes well with the version.

3:45pm: Head straight from OB to Orthodontist appointment to tighten braces. I’m feeling a bit anxious about the next day because that damned bag isn’t packed. why didn’t I pack it last week? It’s okay, I have all night to get myself calm. I’m just doing my checklist in my head but I’m also going through the things I haven’t done. Like I haven’t really taken the gentle birth classes seriously. I haven’t really listened to my hypnosis tracks. I bought my affirmations but haven’t read them really. Can I really do this? Shit is getting real now. But it’s okay, the version will go well and I’ll have time to get my shit together. There’s time.

4pm: Walk into the orthodontist office and check in. As soon as I sit down I feel a quick sharp pain in my vagina and warm liquid starts flowing down my thighs. WTF! Luckily my pants are dark and there’s only one other lady in the waiting room. I make a mad dash for the ladies room but I know this is my water breaking. It stops when I get to the toilet. I check and there’s nothing red or brown. My heart is racing and I’m suddenly very excited. This is it. But what the heck do I tell the receptionist? and how wet are my pants? I check and it’s not too too bad. I could leave without a big scene.I text my girlfriends back home to tell them what’s up. One is the best nurse in the world so I’m hoping she has good advice. They all just say to go home and get my ass ready to go to the hospital. As I pull my pants up to contemplate and exit strategy another big gush. There’s no time to think. I stick my head out the door, the receptionist desk is right across from me. She looks at me curiously. “I’m just going going to leave if that’s okay, I think my water just broke”.
“What’s that?”
“Um, my water just broke, I’m gonna go, if that’s okay.”
“What?!! Yes Yes go go oh my god go!”
“Okay, everything is okay in there, I’ll reschedule the appointment when I…”
“Oh my god it’s okay just go!!!”
I run my wet ass outta there as quick as I can and I hear “That’s so exciting!” as I close the door behind me.

I call N on my way home. He’s at Home Depot looking at trim. He’ll drop everything and meet me at home. Not to worry, we have time. Contractions shouldn’t really start for at least an hour. I’ll go home and shower and pack that damned bag in the meantime.

I call B to recount the story and have a laugh. She also says to go home and take a shower I have about an hour to kill. While I’m talking to her I feel my first real contraction. Like what I’ve been feeling before but way more painful. But bearable. Hmm, I thought they only start a little later. No worries, that was a little one. I have time.

I call another friend to have another laugh for some company. Another contraction during that call. Hmmm.

4:20pm: Walk into the house. Parents are laying on the blow up mattress in the tv room
“Okay guys, please please don’t panic. Please don’t panic. My water just broke. I need you to not panic and go to the car and please wipe my seat down for me. I’m going to jump in the shower and then I’m going to need help packing my bag”
They both jump  up simultaneously and panic ensues. I leave them behind and jump in the shower.
Two more contractions while I’m in there and the stuff just keeps coming out of me. It is really cool how it all works. The heat of the water on my back is great and I’m able to collect my thoughts. I’m excited. N walks in and he sticks his head around the curtain and we chat about our feelings and stuff. We’re both calm but we both say we have time. But I tell him I’ve now had 4 contractions. I should probably time them.
I tell him to text the doula even though she’s at a resort with her family and she likely won’t make it to the hospital. It’s okay. We’ll text the backup doula, L.
I get out of the shower and instruct everyone to eat. N says I should probably eat too and he’s right but I have zero appetite. Everyone is eating, I’m standing in the bedroom looking at the closet… What the fuck do I wear?
“What do I wear??!!”
All the while I’m texting my friends to keep them up to date. Consensus is wear any damn thing. I’m opting for pyjama pants, nursing sports bra to labour in maybe, a sweatshirt and slippers, no socks. Another big contraction. This one is big! I yell for N to come and put pressure on my hips. One of the techniques the doula taught us.
I’m starting to panic a little. I’m not dressed yet and the bag isn’t packed!
I put mom on bag duty but I’m remembering little details that are putting me in a tail spin because I’m now on a steady schedule of contractions but there’s not rhyme or reason to the severity. Some are small and quick, some are long and painful, some are short and painful. 3 to 5 minute breaks in between. This can’t be right. It’s not been an hour yet has it?
N gets in touch with doula L who will meet us at the hospital but we should call ahead and see if we can talk to our doctor.
At this point I realize I have no phone numbers for the doctor or the hospital. I’m in full blown panic mode right now because these contractions hurt and I am not ready for this to be  happening so fast.
My husband is shaving and is then going to jump in the shower because the last time we spoke I was the picture of calm. But he hasn’t seen me since I got out of the clothing debacle and that one big contraction.
While he’s in the shower my mom is now on hip duty since I need someone to put pressure on these hips when I’m contracting. I’ve also for some reason instructed my dad to cut my toenails because that’s clearly what’s important right now.
So, I’m laying on the bed googling a number for the hospital while breathing, my dad is cutting my toenails and my mom is running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off because I’m barking orders at her about what to put in that damned bag.
I get through to the hospital but I don’t know what to ask for. I ask for maternity and then the mother of all contractions starts and I’m up off the bed screaming for my mom who has a million stuff in her arms. I throw the phone at my dad and stand up leaning on the bed yelling for mom to push on my hips. My foot still in my dad’s hands who is still calmly clipping. He calmly picks up the phone and takes over with N telling him what to ask for. Apparently Dr L isn’t on call but we should go in.
The contraction passes and my mother is flipping out.
Mom: Let’s just go, I don’t understand why we haven’t left yet
Me: Mummy just calm down
Mom: *Not in English* Don’t tell me to calm down!!
Dad: Okay okay *still clipping nails* Your nails are done. I think N should finish shaving, not shower and let’s just go.
All three of us: N! Don’t shower, Let’s just go!

5:45pm (I believe): I don’t know how but we’re all in the car even that damned bag! I’ve stopped timing contractions but last I checked they were 2 – 3 minutes apart and ranging anywhere from 20 seconds to 1minute 10 seconds.

6pm: N drops us at the entrance. I have another C (I can’t type contraction anymore. I will refer to them as C’s from now one as there are lots of them) as I get out of the car. The 3 of us walk in while N parks the car. I’ve been to this hospital. I think I know where the maternity ward is but we stop at reception anyway to ask.
The oldest man in the whole entire world is sitting at the front desk with and another old lady who’s on the phone.
“Where’s maternity?”
He leans forward scrunching his face, ever so slowly.
“Maternity??!!” I shout
“Rezendes?” He asks
My mother and I look at each other incredulously and swear in Afrikaans. The lady gets off the phone and points us in the right direction. When we get to the elevator N is right there. Then N’s mom is there too.
We find the ward and drop the parents off at the waiting room and we make our way in.

Maternity Triage

There’s obviously no one at reception because why would there be. Eventually a nurse strolls in and says they’ve been waiting for us.

6:15pm: We are checked into triage in the maternity ward. Intake Nurse N is asking me a million questions that I have no time for. She warns me that she has a lot of questions and she understands but they’re necessary. In the meantime she has me strip down and put on the Johnny. Then I remember the damned bag. Everything I need for my perfect labour is in the bag!! The bag is in the fucking car! The pretty pusher johnny I bought so I wouldn’t have to wear the hospital one. The fairy lights. My affirmation cards. My Birth Plan!! The bluetooth speaker for calming  music! Oh my god another C! Fuck it. Put the hospital Johnny on. Fuck everything.

I’m on the bed now and Nurse N need to test the amniotic fluid to make sure that’s what it is. Oh you mean the stuff that’s pouring out of me right now as I’m contracting that’s definitely not pee? Sure go ahead. I feel a little bad for her because we all know it’s amniotic fluid but there’s also that hospital policy. I ask when we’ll get results through gritted teeth.

20 minutes.

I look up at N in desperation and start doing C math. That’s at least 4 more C’s. She walks away and that’s the first time I show weakness. I tell N I don’t think I can do this, it hurts too much. Where is Doula L? I don’t know if I can do this. N looks me in the eyes and says that I absolutely can and I will. He obviously doesn’t love me and wants to see me die. I’m alone here and I’m going to die alone.

Doula L is at the hospital but they won’t allow her into triage. Are you fucking kidding me? Only one person allowed in. It’s okay, we’ll talk to her in a bit because the on-call Dr is here.

Dr H… A tall woman. A bored smile. She introduces herself and proceeds to do a scan. “Oh I see a little butt down here, someone is breech… Okay we’ll have to do a c-section. Let me check  your cervix”. I’m protesting a little bit. Let’s just do the damned surgery, just don’t check my cervix!

Cervical checks are awful. This one in particular was horrendous. It feels like she was in there for hours and up to her elbow I’m sure. I’m kicking and moaning. When she pulls out I have another huge C and as I roll over I see her pull and exasperated face to Nurse N. I don’t think she got a good reading on that. She leaves without a word.

Things are ramping up now. 2 more nurses come in with forms that need signing and more and more questions that need answering. N and I are trying to wrap our heads around this new outcome. Should we protest? Why can’t we wait? But I’m in so much pain. N looks scared. He did not want this for us. It being major surgery and all. We decide that he should go get Doula L for a talk and maybe swap out. I’ll be okay I think. They’re putting an IV in.

Once I’m alone Nurse N asks the personal questions about whether I feel safe with my husband. Am I being abused etc etc. While she’s asking another C comes and I beg her to rub my back. She obliges. When it’s done I ask her if the c-section is absolutely necessary. Can we wait til her turns? Can we try an ecv now? She says now because I likely don’t have enough amniotic fluid to turn him and best to get him out sooner rather than later. I’m sad now because I’m having a moment of clarity between C’s. My first in a while. I’m able to get my wits about me.

In all that craziness I’ve assessed the C’s. It feels like small, small, big, really big… small, small, big, really big. And if my calculations are correct I have two small ones coming. That means I can do this!! As Doula L walks in she throws her coat and bag on the chair because she sees my face contorting. She comes over to me really quickly. She bends her whole body over mine holding my right hand and rubbing my lower back and whispering in my ear “You’re doing so awesome! You’re doing a great job!” over and over. Where has she been all my life? It’s like she was sent from the angels. That C was bearable again. Okay we have  small, then big then really big coming. I have time to fill her and in answer questions and sign forms. Oh the forms.

The anesthetist comes in to explain what he’s going to do. While he’s going through his spiel I realise my calculations were way off or my body is changing the rules. It’s big.. It’s really big and it’s fast. I roll over to my side and I can’t see straight through the pain. I’m remembering to try to keep my eyes open and not scrunch them. Breathing isn’t helping so I’m now loud moaning. Doula L is still whispering in my ear but she sounds far off. I only feel pain. Why is it lasting so long? It feels like hours. I want to climb the walls to run away from the pain but I can’t move. Finally it’s reached the peak and it slowly (I mean slowly) calms down. “What the hell?!”. I hear the form filling out nurse say “Wow that was long”. Doula L tells me that breech babies make irregular contractions. I’m very frightened now. I definitely can’t do another one of those. Thankfully, the next 2 C’s  as small and small again but with 30 seconds spaces in between.

Doula L asks me how I’m feeling. I’m feeling sad and relieved. I feel a bit like I failed. She reminds me that I’m in labour right now. I did it. I got to experience labour. I’m in good  hands here and c-section is not the end of the world. We’ll see our son soon. I feel a little better. She says she’ll stick around until after he’s born but she’s going to swap out with N again. She grabs her coat and bag and looks back at me and it’s time for another big C. She drops everything and runs over to me and for some reason both of us are laughing a little through this one. Just a little because it still hurts.

Okay she’s off. While I’m waiting for N to come back. Dr H sticks her head through the curtain “Hey do you want some painkillers?”…. “Hell yes!” I say, forgetting that point #1 on my birth plan was Please don’t offer pain killers, I will request them.

This was really a mistake. I’m given Stadol through the IV. N comes in and I am incapacitated. The Stadol makes me completely woozy and speaking is very difficult. My head seems to be lolling about. But it doesn’t take the pain of the C’s away. It’s worse now because I can’t tell N what I need. I need him to whisper in my ear that I’m doing  great job. All I can get through the next few C’s is “Say something nice to me”. He chuckles and tells me I’m beautiful and kisses me. It works.

It’s just N me and Nurse N. N asks her about the c-section and how it’s going to go. The hospital is supposed to offer gentle c-section so N asks if that’s what we’re getting. She assures us that it is. They’ll do delayed cord clamping and I’ll get skin-to-skin and we’ll get him very soon after he’s out, etc. etc. N won’t be allowed in immediately though. He’ll stay behind and get changed into the full zip-up outfit and they’ll come get him once they start cutting.

Operating Room

OR Nurse B and another Nurse come to get me for surgery. I’m still not really able to speak and I don’t remember saying goodbye to N. Nurse B and her friend are bubbly and lovely and telling me things that I don’t remember. I’m so woozy. But nurse B has a very pretty rose pin on her shirt. I’m so focused on this pin. It’s all I can see and think of right now.

We’re in the OR now and I’m asked to sit up. They’re talking about the epidural or spinal block or whatever. I have to curl over a lot and push my lower back out as much as possible. I still can’t really believe I have to have a c-section but there’s no turning back now. People are saying things but it’s just me and my thoughts. How is this happening? I’m starting to freak out and here comes another C. A big one. I can’t curl my back!! Nurse B has me rest my head on her shoulder. I see the pin again. I strongly believe the pin is keeping me alive because it’s the only thing I can see and focus on. Why is the epidural taking so long? I can hear them saying things to me about curling my back but I’m moaning loudly over their instructions and focusing on the beautiful pink petals on the rose. I’m now on C number 2 moaning again and there is still no epidural in. What’s the hold up?!

C number 3 has started and I hear them say they’re all set. Really? I didn’t feel a thing. I thought he was just digging his thumbs into my back. They lay me down and I think maybe the stadol is wearing off because I’m feeling a bit better. Nurse B is telling me how well I did through those C’s. But now I’m panicking because I’m about to have major abdominal surgery and where is my husband?

Stay calm, stay calm. They’re talking to me about what I should be feeling. The anesthesiologist says something about no more C’s. I realise he’s right and my legs feeling tingly. Someone says they’re going to put the catheter in now and I can feel them doing so I’m really panicking now. I frantically tell him I can feel things. I can still feel!!

He assures me that I’ll still have a bit of sensation but no pain. I don’t like it. Where is N?! I don’t want this. Stay calm. Stay calm.

They put the draping on my chest and start pulling it up so I can’t see. I really don’t like that. I’m the IVF patient who watches them draw blood. I’d like to see what you’re doing to my body please. But do I really want to see them cut me open and not feel it? Better leave this to the professionals.

Dr H walks in. Where the fuck have you been all night. She’s different now. No fake smile. All business. “Okay, I’m going to poke you and you tell me if you feel it”. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes. “Okay we are good to go… Agree?” then everyone in the rooms says “Agree!”. But no! no! I said yes to all your pokes!

I look at the only person who’s talking to me. Larry the anesthesiologist. “But I said yes to all the pokes”… “Not all of them” He smiles. I’m not reassured. I want my husband.

The room goes very quiet now and it’s just me and Larry but I can’t see him without craning my neck. I smell something. They’re cutting! or cauterizing! Finally N walks in stage right and sits down and grabs my hand. He looks calm. That calms me down. “What’s that smell?” he asks.

I chuckle. I’m okay now. We’re okay. It’s still deathly quiet. No one is talking. Waiting to feel that tugging but it’s not coming. I look at the clock over N’s shoulder. 8pm. Then I feel the tugging. It’s weird. Then someone says “Look up mama”. I look up and  up pops a little head with a hand on the forehead then it’s gone.

“Oh he just peed again”… Everyone laughs.

So that’s it, huh? I just had a baby. Boy, is he screaming. Poor guy. I wonder what they’re doing with him. Aren’t I supposed to get him for skin to skin? What’s taking so long? I look over N’s shoulder again. 8:05 I think. What’s taking so long? N is also starting to worry. He leans over to ask where the baby is. Everything is fine they’re just cleaning him up. But aren’t they not supposed to do that really? This doesn’t feel very gentle c-section to me. It feels cold and harsh. N asks if they did delayed cord clamping. Dr H snaps back “No.”

N’s face changes to irritation. But as he’s about to protest Nurse B’s friend brings over our little bundle and places him on my chest. He’s warm and squirmy and difficult to get a good hold on. He’s laying across my chest and crying. I can kind of see his face. So this is the baby I just gave birth to. He’s cute and little but I can’t hold him. He keeps slipping up to my face. I tell N to take him and do skin-to-skin. The nurse says no at first because N would have to take his t shirt off. He unzips the suit they gave him to reveal no t-shirt “Way ahead of you”. She laughs and moves Lucky to his father.

His father. My husband. A father. To my son. Our son. I look over at the two of them and he is beaming. A beam I’ve never seen before. It’s beautiful. I could look at them forever.

Okay I want him back now. I think I can handle it. N puts him back on my chest and we let him try to rooting around and crawl to maybe find my breast. He finds his way but never latches but it’s okay.

I’m not sure how much time has passed but they tell us that N and Lucky have to go to recovery so they can finish up with me. I’m still feeling like this isn’t real.

I hear counting. They’re counting the swabs or whatever. Just like on Grey’s Anatomy. I look up at the bright lights and I catch a glimpse of my incision in the reflection. Cool!! I can’t tell what they’re doing but the fun part is over. Everyone is talking about vacations to Cancun. The drape comes down and Nurse B is including me in the conversation but I’m just smiling. Did I really just have a baby?

Eventually they’re ready to wheel me into recovery. I’m enjoying the ride I keep hearing babies cry as we pass rooms. Then I hear my baby’s cry! Why are we going passed it? “Stop! stop! I know that voice!”

Both nurses laugh at me. They were just turning me around. I see N leaning over the baby in the warmer bed thingies as I’m wheeled in. He’s still beaming. Baby is still crying and I am still trying to understand how this is real life.

N comes over to be with me while the nurse swaddles up our little bundle. They adjust my pillows a bit and we try to get him to latch. It’s not very easy but we got him eventually. But he’s lazy and probably tired from you know.. being born.

While I’m watching this little person familiarize himself with his surroundings I notice that the nurse has my leg in her hands and I can’t feel her holding it. It’s freaky as hell so turn my attention back to the little person.

Once we’re all settled our family and doula L are allowed in to come say hi. I only vaguely remember this because I’ve been given some morphine before they come in. I know that my mother is crying big mom tears and my dad just has the biggest smile on his face. I don’t remember much about the conversation. They don’t stick around for very long but doula L stays for a bit to drop a few words of wisdom. Again,  I wish I could remember all that she says but it’s similar to her words in triage. I do remember that she is holding my hand and squeezing it lightly and reassuringly. I’m sad when she leaves. I know I’ll likely not see her again and she was pivotal in this story. I’m sad.

10pm: We’re a family of three now. N and I are in my hospital bed in room C210, holding this little body watching him sleep. I’m trying to take everything in. Wondering if I should be feeling a certain way. Shouldn’t I have cried by now? Shouldn’t my heart have grown three sizes? Aren’t I supposed to be experiencing a love I’ve never known?

None of that is happening but I can’t take my eyes off him. He’s so fuzzy. He has so much hair. I knew he would have lots of pitch black hair. The way his little top lip sticks out looks exactly like his ultrasounds. His eyes look like my nephew’s. His perfect little nose is… perfect. Is this really my child?

***

I don’t know how long we stared at him while he slept. I don’t know how the night ended actually but I remember we just stared and stared silently at this person we made.

So the birth didn’t go as planned at all and everything is not how they said it would be. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that it didn’t go as planned, but 2 weeks in and I’m feeling much better about it. My incision is healing nicely and my baby is breastfeeding with the best of them. And while I didn’t feel that instant love that you read about when I saw him the first time but, again, 2 weeks in and I find that I worry about him constantly and I can’t stop looking at him and kissing his little fingers. It makes putting him down to sleep very difficult. I would be happy if he could sleep on me or N forever thank you very much. Maybe that’s the love they’re talking about?

My favourite part of all of this is watching my husband as a father. He does a lot of things better than I do. He’s so patient with Lucky. He can’t seem to get enough of him. It really is the best thing in the world. I hardly recognise this man but I love it and I love him more and more because of it.

Okay, it’s 2 minutes to midnight here. My parents are sleeping on the blow up mattress at our feet. N is playing Zelda on the Nintendo Switch and I’m typing this while little Lucky is sleeping on my lap.

Life is fucking fantastic at the end of 2017.

 

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Double Digits

**Trigger Warning ** This is just a quick boring update on Lucky and the renovation but please take care if you feel like  this isn’t something you’d like to hear about. ❤

We’re currently 92 days from our due date. I was going to post this on 99 days but… life. I saw on a December babies forum someone was 100 days so I did a quick calculation and realized we were on 100 as well and had a tiny little panic attack because we are nowhere near done with our reno and time is clearly running out.

We’ve been lackadaisical the past few weeks because the deadline seemed far off but now we’re realising that time may not be on our side so when we were just working on weekends we’re going to have to pull some weekday shifts as well. In theory we don’t have much to do so we’ve made a schedule, here’s hoping we can stick to it.

Our house is teeny tiny and old, as I’ve mentioned, and our reno consists of us creating a master bedroom and ensuite bathroom out of a shell of an attic. We installed a dormer up there to increase space but right now the entire room is gutted except for the walls for the bathroom and mini built in closet.

We’ve started the wiring but we need to finish it and have the inspector come check it out. After that it’ll be putting in insulation. Then we have to do the walls and ceiling then fully finish the wiring with the outlets and lights etc. At some point the inspector has to come check again. After that we’ll mud and paint the walls and ceiling and see about trim. Maybe we won’t need it. Then lastly we’ll install the wood floors. While this is happening the plumber has to come and fix a few pipes. Once he’s done we’ll move into the bathroom. I’m not too worried about this since we have a working one downstairs but it would pretty awesome to get it done before my parents come.

When you write it down it seem quick quick but let’s see how it goes. If we can get done by November life will be good. I hope to be of some use during that time.

 

Scroll a bit for baby news if you’re interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything that’s been going on is completely different to what I expected. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a very smooth 2nd trimester. Yes there’s heartburn and yes I’m struggling to sleep some nights but the heartburn is something I’ve struggled with all my life it seems and the sleeping is not that bad yet. I find I’ll a bad night every second night and the good nights I’m so exhausted I fall right asleep as my head hits the pillow and that amounts to feeling well rested the next day. I’m told it does get worse though so I’m not resting on my laurels.

I have officially stopped wearing underwire bras. I don’t know why I was suffering for so long. I should have stopped ages ago. My pants still fit but I have a feeling that won’t be for much longer based on my struggle this morning in the bathroom.

I will say that things are getting a bit uncomfortable and I find that I can’t sit in one position for very long. This is making the commute home a little challenging. Right now my car seat is positioned completely straight up but it’s still not the best. I tend to move it back and forth a few times while driving. That coupled with leaning to my left then right every 15 minutes is just how I live now. If anyone has tips on what’s a comfortable position to drive in, please help. Should I be getting an exercise ball for work do you think? My job is quite sedentary so I have to remind myself to go for a walk at least twice a day or it just starts to ache all over and it feels like I’ve been doing crazy ab workouts all day.

As for little Lucky. He seems to be pretty happy in there. I did start to feel what I believe are hiccups and it absolutely is my favourite right now. I can see the kicks from the outside but N has yet to see it. He’s felt a few kicks but Lucky gets shy when you put your hand where he’s kicking. I can’t wait to tell which body part is doing the kicking. Sometimes I do worry if he’s kicking for fun or because he wants me to move because he’s uncomfortable. I think that’s part of why I keep changing positions too. It’s probably silly but I worry if I’m squishing him of it there’s an arm or a leg trapped somewhere.

We haven’t had many appointments with our OB. Going to see her again early October, after which we’ll move to bi-weekly appointments. I’m not sure if there’ll be anymore scans though.

But we’ve seen our doula quite a bit. She teaches a gentle birth class which uses hypnobirthing techniques. We finished that course last week and it was pretty cool. They also have a mobile app with mindfulness, affirmation and hypnosis tracks that we have to listen to. We have to save our favourite ones to use during labour. We’re slowly working our way through the list. Slowly. We listen to the hypnosis at night and I listen to the others during the day when I can. The hypnosis isn’t that easy to get into. I’m too in my head I think. That, and the lady has an Irish accent and she says the word “calm” strangely and it sends N and I into a fit of giggles every time. But we’ll keep trying.

The doula also has bi-weekly prenatal group classes with all of her and her team’s clients. It’s nice to get to interact with other couples and talk about some fears. It’s been going well. I’m glad we chose her.

I am having a bit of trouble. I feel like I know which way I’m going to go but maybe you could weigh and let me know what you think. After talking to the doula a few times, she stated that she didn’t have a good experience at our hospital the one birth she had there. She operates in Rhode Island so doesn’t come to Mass often but when she does she goes to another hospital which she is in love with. We decided to check the other hospital out just because it couldn’t hurt. It was absolutely beautiful! Brand new and the rooms were huuuge. And another bonus was that they had a tub. Something my current hospital doesn’t have but something that I would really love to have access to.

So now I’m torn between the two because they both have pros and cons. Here’s the list of pros and cons.

Hospital 1 (our current hospital):
Pro’s
15 minute drive from home
We love our OB but she only delivers here. But we may not get her anyway because they rotate.
Pretty much everyone we know gave birth at this hospital and have only good things to say about it.
Con’s
One of the OB’s who I complained about in a previous post is in this rotation and I would hate for her to deliver my child. I don’t want her near me.
No tub
The postpartum room is oh so tiny. I know it’s not a big deal but it’s really really small. Barely enough room for partners to sleep in.

Hospital 2:
Pro’s
It’s so big and pretty and new
They have a tub (Big selling point for me)
Doula recommended
The same nurse took us on a tour at both hospitals and she recommended hospital 2. She works at both.
Con’s
We would need to find a new OB who’s in rotation at this hospital (really don’t want to do this)
It’s a 45 minute drive from home (boo)

Now this is only round 1 of the pros and cons list. The biggest deciding factor would be whether or not the hospital/doctor’s policies are in line with how we want the birth to go. I plan to find out from my current OB at our next appointment. And I’ve just made an appointment with a midwife at hospital 2 for next Thursday to see how she will do things.

I just need to know where they stand on inducing and episiotomies and things of that sort. My next update will be on their responses and I’ll have to decide what are deal breakers.

Right now I’m leaning towards staying with my OB and current hospital because it’s so close to home and I love my OB but that being said I really don’t know how she approaches each birth and she may not have the same thoughts as we do.

Part of me is frustrated that I’ve put myself in this situation.  I was content not being presented with choice. It never occurred to me to be open to different hospitals etc. I would be happy if someone told me what to do. I even asked N to choose and he flat out refused. He’s afraid he’ll choose one that we end up hating and that he’ll be blamed. But he’s insistent that we do our due diligence and he’s going along to the appointments to ask questions. So he’s involved but he’s reluctant to make a choice for me which is enough for me right now.

So that’s where we’re at right now. I can’t believe this is going by so quickly. I am still in awe of everything. Not everyday is easy but, as they say, everyday is so worth it.

 

 

My Last Two Week Wait

Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who’s responded to my last post and gave their thoughts. You’ve all really made me feel better about how I’m handling being on this side of the fence. I did some thinking and what usually triggers me (even for a few seconds) is bump and ultrasound pics. I think those I’ll add to a separate page if anyone is interested to see (if I take any bump pics). My reasoning is mostly because this wasn’t intended to be a strict infertility blog. It was a “Life in my 30s” blog. Infertility just took over the last few years of it.

But please know that I will always try to be mindful of what I say and which words I choose. I hope that I can stay true to this blog and this part of the journey while still remaining sensitive and respectful. ❤

In this post I want to go into detail, with dates, about my TWW. I’m going to try my best to remember what happened both for myself and anyone who likes to compare symptoms. I also realized that I never posted my beta numbers and I enjoy comparing these to others as well.

Wednesday April 5, 2017: Transfer day.  Spent the day resting on the couch.

1dp5dt: Took this day off work as well and spent the day with my friend B and her son. I don’t remember too many details just that we watched Dave Chapelle on Netflix. No symptoms.

2dp5dt: Back at work. Spent most of the day Googling symptoms. Shocked at how many women have symptoms on day 2. Granted they could be progesterone but still. I had nothing.

3dp5dt: Still no symptoms. We went to our friends’ daughter’s 3rd birthday party and spent the day with them afterwards. It was a great distraction. Plus pizza and cake!

4dp5dt: Woke up in the middle of the night by what felt like a panic attack. I felt a strong wooshing feeling through my body. I could even hear it in my ears it was so weird. Then I got an instant hot flash (flash or flush? anyway) and had to throw the blankets off my and my heart was pounding. It was a little scary but I remember reading about this in one of the forums. Could this be it? The rest of the day I felt unrested and sluggish but no other real symptoms. Obsessively Googling. This was also the day N and I went on that quick hike and I was attacked by that tick.

5dpd5dt: Half way! Feeling normal again. Distraught. Decide to start getting into the Easter spirit with baking and food prep. I remember this being the worst day and being quite weepy.

6dp5dt: Another symptom-less day at work. On the drive home an extremely sharp pain runs across my abdomen and down to my lady bits. It took my breath away and I even had to take my foot off the gas and hunch over. Something clicked right then and I began talking to my child. “Oh my goodness, that’s you isn’t it? You sure took your sweet time but thanks for that, little one”. I’ll never forget this day.

7dp5dt: Tiny little lower abdomen twitches about every 2 hours or so. Absolutely no other symptoms. I rubbed my tummy and talked to my embryo all day. We were in this together.

8dp5dt: I couldn’t tell if this is nausea or if I was making it up it was so mild. But my boobs were starting to ache. Something like just before my period and it was almost period time. I was also having more discharge. Another “almost period time” symptom. I’m feeling despondent.

9dp5dt: Easter Friday. Day off work. N had to work. I had planned to visit B again but she fell ill. I was quite bummed not knowing how to distract myself for the last day. I ended up sitting in the sun and reading and then went to search for a bottle of sparkling sake (saw it on Instagram) in case the cycle failed. My nerves were shot all day and I kept switching between begging and pleading and planning our next… our last cycle. It was not a good day to be alone. I found a giant bottle of sake. It wasn’t sparkling but it would do the trick. Watching TV with N that night, I got up to use the ladies. Brown spotting. It’s a strange place feeling your heart break and trying to be positive at the same time. The day before’s symptoms were increasing including the nausea and an added headache. I didn’t know what to think. I came out and told N about the bleeding. He had a worried look in my eyes and just said “oh no”. I climbed back under the blankets and we held hands and remained quiet the rest of the night.

20170718_170010

Saturday, April 15 – 10dp5dt: Beta day. I’m sad that most of this day, before and after the phone call, was a blur. I don’t remember what we ate for dinner or what the blood draw was like. But I know the appointment was at 7am. I drove up by myself and then N had to do a few work things so I drove around with him in his work van while we waited for the call. We went to a few boat yards and I was talking to my friends back home on Whatsapp all day. Everyone was on tenterhooks.  I remember stopping at Dunkin’ around 1pm and we got some bad food. We then went to his office so he could unload some stuff. I waited in the car for an hour just staring at my phone. I resolved to call them at 2 if I’d heard nothing. The closer we got to 2pm the more I was shaking. I ran to the toilet every few minutes for nervous farts and poops. Finally at 3 minutes past 2pm the call came through. I held my phone in my sweaty shaking hands until it went to voicemail. My eyes had tears in them already and I couldn’t shout to N to come because my voice would have cracked with emotion. He eventually joined me in the car and we took a few moments to collect ourselves. I told him I want to video tape our reactions. He reluctantly agreed. With his phone set on the dashboard he hit record and I hit play.
“Hi xxx, this is xxx from Dr xxx’s office just giving you a call with the results of your blood work today. Um, I am calling with good news. Congratulations, your result today was positive. So, we like to see the minimum level for HCG for this first test at at least 100, yours today was at 341. So a very good place to start. We always do subsequent blood draws to make sure that the level is rising so we do need you to come back in 2 days, that’s Monday morning for your next blood draw. I booked you in for 7:15 at the xxx office. In the meantime just continue your medication and we will see you in the office on Monday morning. If you have any questions we’ll be in the office until 2:30. Okay thanks. Bye bye.”

I didn’t really catch anything after 341 but I’ve listened to this voicemail enough times since. Most of the video is me with my mouth open and N laughing and then I just started crying and he hugged me and we kissed. Then we drove home in complete shock.

I on the drive home I sent the video to my family and my girlfriends back home and to B here and I was just in a daze for the rest of the day.

The day wasn’t perfect but close to it. N’s mom came over, she didn’t know that we had transferred this cycle and she was having a really tough time. One of her dogs, a black lab named Busta, had been really ill all week and he passed the night before our beta. She came over to drop something off but she was in tears telling us the story. It’s really heart wrenching. He was getting old and had hip problems. The vet gave her some medication for it but unfortunately the medication is lethal for some dogs. How this medication isn’t banned is another story. She was really a mess and we weren’t sure if we should give her some good news while she was grieving so badly. In the end N told her. She was over the moon so I’m glad we told her but I wonder if going from that sad to that happy that quickly is good. I don’t know if that makes sense.

12dp5dt: I spent this day with B and her son again. We went to the zoo. I think I was fine this day symptom-wise. My beta jumped up to 873. I was told that my next beta would only be a week later so I spent the rest of the week peeing on my wondfo’s every morning. My symptoms weren’t crazy so I needed other assurance. But so far so good.

19dp5dt: The before the the beta N and I went out for lunch and I had a virgin daiquiri. I’d never ordered one before and I was really excited. I think it was the first time I let my guard down a little bit and it felt good. My final beta before ultrasound was 11626. These betas were really reassuring, of course, but I did have that very scary bleed the next day so my guard was promptly reinstated. I remember the 3 weeks from this beta until the ultrasound being pure torture. I only started feeling real hard symptoms after the ultrasound. But getting this beta was a really good. I celebrated on this day.

And that’s the story of how I managed to allow a bottle of alcohol to go unopened for longer than a day.

It’s also the story of how my 10th embryo, my last embryo, found it’s way into my uterine wall and changed my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talking About IVF

Hello! It has been a rough few months at work. I always forget what a nightmare the end of the year always is but it’s all over now. The kids are gone and this week my whole team is on vacation. It actually feels like the whole building is empty, it’s a little scary.

Anyway.

So we’re in the telling people phase of this journey. Not family and friends but other individuals we come across in our daily or not so daily lives. This includes social media.

With regards to the latter, we couldn’t come to an agreement on an announcement so we decided to not announce. I wanted to mention IVF. In fact, I wanted to do the “ultrasound picture and onesie surrounded by needles in the shape of a heart” announcement but N did not want everyone in Facebook land to have that much insight into our lives. I definitely respect that so I’ve let it go.

With regards to the former, I generally tend to blurt out “We did IVF” if the conversation carries on long enough. But I’ve noticed, and I don’t know why I’m surprised, that it makes people uncomfortable and quiet if I mention it and it makes people giddy if I don’t.

The first time was at my dentist cleaning. This was earlier on, maybe around 8 weeks. The hygienist mentioned x-rays and I told her why I couldn’t have one. She then would not shut up about her kids and didn’t really let me get a word in edge wise (I also had a million metal pointy things in my mouth so there was that too). Needless to say, I didn’t get a chance to slip in how we got to where we were. I was a little disappointed but it’s okay.

The second time was strange. This time at my orthodontist with my mouth wide open again. I’d called earlier to let them know that I can’t do x-ray’s so when they nurse and ortho came in it was baby talk all over again. The I find my way in is if they ask if we know what we’re having. She asked if we knew the gender and after I told her I said that we did IVF and genetic testing on the embryo so we knew the gender very early on. Then very coldly, she said “Well, we did IVF too and we still had to wait to find out the gender”.

I didn’t know what to say. The nurse who was in there with us didn’t know what to say. I think it was the way she said it that threw me off. I know she has two kids so if she did do IVF shouldn’t she have been more excited to find an IVF sister? Did my pgd testing go against her beliefs somehow? Was I being too sensitive? I was thinking all of this in the 5 seconds of silence in the room when she finally said “Well, it’s amazing what they can do nowadays anyway.” and that was that.

Yes, I did cry a little in the car. The first time I wanted to share this triumphant story and it wasn’t received how I expected. I was baffled.

My third opportunity was with the HR director. I sent her an email asking a few questions about the school’s leave policy and she set up a meeting for us to discuss. She’s really lovely. The conversation was great, we both had smiles on our faces throughout. Mostly because the school’s parental leave policy is pretty fantastic considering the US’s stance on maternity leave. And once we ironed out all the details the questions started coming. It was time. I started getting nervous and excited, then it happened exactly as scripted in my head.

“Do you know what you’re having?”

“Yes, it’s a boy”

“Oh my goodness, how lovely”

“Thank you! We did IVF so we found out very early on”

*continues to smile, does not break eye contact, keeps nodding slowly searching for words*

“So you had a hard road getting here, huh”

“Yes ma’am, a hard long road but we did it”

“Well, I’m so very happy for you”

Yes!! I did it! This exchange was much better. I was very happy. But it didn’t last long.

I started thinking about those awkward few seconds when people have to think of something to say. Is it fair for me to put them through this? If they don’t answer satisfactorily does that change my perception of them? Why was I doing this? Is it something that people need to know?

For me, personally, I want people to know that not every pregnancy is wham bam, thank you ma’am. I would like for someone who is struggling to know that they’re not alone. I want to break the silence. And mostly importantly, it’s my story and it’s the story of my son and it’s sad and it’s rough but, damn it, it’s mine, it’s awesome and I’m proud of it.

So right now I’m torn. Do I protect people’s fragility and innocence when it comes to reproduction? Do I respect my husband’s want for a little bit of privacy? Or do I break the silence and stay true to myself?

Update on Lucky Bean

This has been the longest week of my life but I’m glad it’s over. But yesterday was nothing like I imagined it.

On Monday we had an horrendous PIO ordeal. N had to inject me 3 times. The first time he hit a nerve and the second there was blood. The third was fine but resulted in the worst bruise. He pleaded for me to call the nurse to find out if there’s something we could do. I eventually called on Wednesday and she said we would draw blood to check my progesterone and if it’s high enough we can stop. Of course I would do a gazillion more shots if it meant this would end happily but I’m not going to lie, I definitely dread PIO time now. Both of us do.

Wednesday, I must have cried a million times. My symptoms had all but disappeared and I took a pregnancy test and although the test line popped up immediately it was lighter than the control. N only got home after 9 so I was stuck in my head for most of the evening. When he got home I asked him if he wasn’t afraid that there would be nothing there. He simply said No. There was no reason for him to  be afraid. His only fear was that there would be twins lol. I’ve never met anyone going through infertility more opposed to the idea of twins.

Thursday both of us were up ridiculously early. Thankfully my symptoms came back in full force. I felt very calm. We were just sitting around for a while so we just decided to go in early. Good thing we did because traffic was atrocious and we got there with minutes to spare.

The ultrasound tech A came running out at 10 and said she has been waiting all morning for this. As we walked in with her she said she was so excited to see my name on the OB ultrasound list :). I love that they get so involved. As I was getting ready N was talking to her about recording the scan for family and she said sure but to let her first see what’s going on, just in case. She told me that she would be able to see right away so she wouldn’t leave me in suspense.

As soon as she put the probe in we saw the black circle. She said Awww loook. But I just saw the circle. She said N could go ahead and record and when she adjusted everything came into view perfectly.

I thought I would cry instantly (I’m welling up a bit now) but I think I was in disbelief. Lucky bean wasn’t moving or wiggling and I couldn’t see a heartbeat so I wasn’t breathing. Was A lying to us about everything being perfect?

She said that I was 7 weeks 5 days but this baby wants to be 8 weeks. She said it was the best looking baby she’d seen that day. I’m sure she says that to everyone but it made my day. The more she gushed the more relaxed I felt. She took loads of pics. Showed us the yolk sac which looked like a balloon that our little Pennywise was holding.

Then she showed us the heartbeat. So tiny. So perfect. We couldn’t hear it but there it was. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Everything else was good. No swollen ovaries. No SCH. Just the luckiest bean there ever has been.

Afterwards we met with L. One of our team nurses. I recognized the voice and she said we spoke on the phone before. She just went over all the pictures and answered our few questions. I’m an idiot. I forgot to write down all the questions I had and I just remembered another one. I’m going to have to call again. Anyway, after a longish discussion we were pretty much sent on our way with our pics and a handshake.

No chorus line. No fireworks. But it felt good. Certainly bittersweet like people describe but I think I kept my relationship with everyone very professional so even though I’d been there for almost 2 years I didn’t form any unbreakable bonds with anyone. I was sad that I didn’t see my RE or L my main nurse. I’m going to pop her an email later. She’s been with me since day one. We’ve only seen each other face to face twice but I’d really like to express my eternal gratitude even though she wasn’t my nurse with this successful round.

We also told pretty much everyone. Still missing N’s grandad, his brother on his mom’s side and he’s step dad and his aunts and uncles. But pretty much everyone on my side knows. And I told my boss this morning. He was very happy an excited. I still couldn’t say the words, I just said that our last round of IVF worked. We talked for a bit about symptoms etc etc and he just kept saying “That’s awesome… that’s awesome”.

So that’s where we are now. Oh after work yesterday I called my beloved OB to make and appointment and just as I suspected he doesn’t do prenatal care. They told me I could meet with anyone else at the office (Dr G and two midwives). You’ll remember Dr G from my awful OB post. I made an appointment with one of the midwives but they said that I would meet with all of them eventually because anyone could be there when I give birth… Uh, no thank you.

I have 2 other options for OB offices. One, my friend B recommended had midwives but I don’t like the OB’s. Dr Y was one of them, also from my awful OB post and I don’t want to be stuck with her at go time. My last option seems to be where I’m going to go but they don’t have midwives. I don’t know. I’m going to see what N thinks.

I still can’t believe I’m having this problem, though. Struggling to choose prenatal care… Me… Shitty egg girl.

It’s difficult to describe my feelings now. I feel like there are too many to process all at once. Thankfully I have years of infertility training to help.

Just one day at a time.

No Happiness Allowed

N

We’re almost out of the woods and everything is going really well so far. My beta today more than doubled and I don’t have to go back until next Monday for a final beta. I assume them moving it to next week means they’re feeling confident so that makes me feel good and I even dared to change the settings on my period tracker app.

I really wish I was able to enjoy the tww. I understand that no one finds joy in the two week wait but this one was  quite particularly difficult.

From day 4 on I started feeling symptoms that I’d never felt before. Even with the ERA when I was on progesterone and estrogen for 10 days I felt nothing like this.

In my heart of hearts I knew this was different. I just knew this was it but with every wave of nausea, with every cramp that made me double over, I just kept asking myself why? why would this round be any different? Yes we changed protocols but that embryo. It’s the same as the other two that were transferred. Don’t you dare be happy. Don’t you dare.

In fact we did the same protocol as round two and my round two embryo was a better graded embryo than this one. That one was hatching. Why would this embryo take?

Remember all the shit you ate this past month? Remember all the drinking? Remember that bad thought you had about that person? You don’t deserve this. This is not it.

These negative thoughts left me in tears at least once everyday. I was a mess. I don’t remember the other two being this hard.

Even after the beta. We told everyone who knew about the transfer (basically all of my friends and family) and that night we went out for N’s cousin’s bday and he told his brother and cousin. His cousin then told everyone at the party (shocked face). I mean it is what it is. I’m not mad at all but the following morning both us were thinking “What have we done?”.

Again that nagging voice came. Don’t you dare be happy. Don’t you dare! Why would you tell people? Good things don’t happen to you.

Today I spent the day with my friend and waited all day until N got home so that we could listen to the latest beta voicemail. Today was the first time I breathed I think. A tiny little quiet breath.

The voice is still there “Seriously dude, no happiness for you”, but it’s quieter now. I have a feeling it won’t ever go away. I think I’m forever scarred but I can ignore it on good days.

I have to actively ignore it. Everyone has been telling me to live in the moment and that helps. When I’m done with this post I may even download an actual app (recommendations welcome).

You haven’t won yet voice in my head. You’re 0 for 2 so far, so G…T…F…O… please.

Thank you everyone for the kind messages on my last post. I haven’t read everything yet but I will do so right now. And I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend.

Myyyy Goodness

M

Well, it’s good news. I’m still in shock. I might still be in shock for a few more months.

I know it’s only the first beta and I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I understand that this might be hard for someone to read so I want to be sensitive to that and truth be told, I’m very much in disbelief so writing this feels like it will be taken away.

I keep listening to the voicemail to make sure the nurse got the names right.

I also want to say thank you to everyone in this community. Thank you for the prayers and the positive thoughts and the crossed fingers. You are all appreciated so much. I love you all.

I’m trying to live in the moment. That’s the advice everyone is giving me so I’m taking it. I don’t know if my next beta will be good or not. I don’t want to think about it because

Today, it was good news.

If you’re reading this and you feel that pang in your heart. The pang we all know so well. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and I hope that you can find strength to get through this Easter holiday if you find it difficult.

❤ ❤