Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's here! V-day!

Today is V-day! I'm 24 weeks! I am so happy I could cry. With two babies in heaven, today just seems surreal. We had an appointment this morning and everything looks good. We got a glimpse at Sammy, but she kept her hands up by her face. And no matter what the tech did, we couldn't get a clear shot. And although we didn't get a picture of it, she had her little legs crossed again at the ankles. It's hilarious because she did this at our 20w appointment too. Such a little Southern Belle. We also learned that she's flipped head down from her previous position of being breech. Way to go, Sammy!

Below is a bump picture and the best shot we could get of her face this morning with the little she decided to cooperate. She is a strong-willed little snowflake and we just love her to pieces!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My I-don't-have-a-plan birth plan

Today I wanted to share my birth plan. Or should I say, my lack of a birth plan.

I don't have one. And that's intentional.

Had you asked me before infertility, I would have given a far different answer. I am the kind of planner and organizer who would have probably had a three page birth plan typed up and handed to the hospital at the time of delivery. But infertility and loss changed all of that. I learned that planning can sometimes set up unrealistic expectations for myself. And it taught me that it doesn't matter how I get to the finish line, it just matters to me that I do. It's certainly taught be to be flexible. So on the topic of how Sammy makes it into this world, I don't want a plan. I want to go with whatever happens and be okay with whatever unfolds. I trust my doctor 110% and I know he has me and Sammy as a top priority. I told him the only request I have is to please let both of us live through it. So if keeping me and Sammy alive is my birth plan, I guess we can call it that.

For ladies who became pregnant after infertility or loss, did your experience with infertility/loss change your expectations for birth?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baby shower plans and crazy pregnancy dreams

I had always heard about the wacky dreams that women can have during pregnancy, but I'm learning about it first hand now-a-days! No doubt that the underlying themes to my dreams are probably fears of loss manifesting themselves through my subconscious. For example, a couple of nights ago I had a dream that I met Sammy at a mall in New York City and was feeding her, but the twist was that she was only about two inches long. Then she dissolved! What?! Gone in an instant! And in last night's dream, I found her as a full-grown baby sleeping on a shelf with some liquid pouring off of her face. It turned out she had a gruesome eye infection. Um, disturbing! Anyway, I was able to hold her in my arms as she gave a sweet yawn. I was just completely in love. I remember that she wore a cute little rainbow jumper. All of the sudden the freaky ghost lady from "The Grudge" movie came flying down and tried to try to take her away. I yelled at her and said YOU CAN'T HAVE HER! These dreams are so over the top ridiculous though that when I wake up, I have to laugh. Sheesh. Figured I'd share.

Meanwhile, back to reality in my waking moments....

Sammy is kicking SO much! She actually woke me up from my freaky dreams last night with a baby dance party. I was glad to have her rescue me! It's always a very reassuring feeling. V-day is exactly one week from today. I know nothing magical will happen precisely next Thursday, but it's such an important milestone for us to get to. Knowing if something terrible were to happen and if I were to go into labor, thinking she has a fighting chance is such an amazing difference from reality of now. Until then, her perfect little body wouldn't have any chance to survive. So keep on growing, my baby girl!

And in happy news, my friend Candace is throwing me a baby shower and just booked her tickets to come visit the end of June! I haven't seen her since she and her family moved from Texas to Maryland in 2011. It's going to be so fun to have her visit. I still can't believe I'm having a baby shower. I am going to confess to you all that I kind of wondered if I would never have one. I always figured that even if I were so lucky to become pregnant, I couldn't figure out who would come or who would offer to host it. Obviously my mom has passed away. But I lost a lot of my friends when I distanced myself during the pain of infertility and loss. My "in real life" friends became more and more sparse as I chose not to go out to girls-nights, parties, and family barbecues. I hated being trapped in limbo where I couldn't identify with the friends-with-kids crowd, and I also could no longer identify with the young-without-a-care-in-the-world crowd either. Most of the friends I became closest to I had met online through infertility support groups. When I became pregnant and started thinking about a shower, it was a sad realization to see what infertility (and my choices, I'll own it) had done to my relationships in real life. For the friends who stuck it out with me through the good times and the bad, you have no idea how grateful I am. Thank you. I love each of you so much.

Last update for today, we registered for four hospital classes booked all throughout in June. So between those and the June baby shower, it seems that June will be a busy month. To think all of this is happening the month after next is just a huge reality check that again, this is REALLY HAPPENING. Still seems surreal.

I'll leave you with my latest bump photo. I hope to start doing this every week as I hit the new weekly milestone. Here is today, now at 23weeks majorly cheesing it up. Clearly I'm very happy to be sporting a baby bump!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Exciting daddy news

It's so much fun learning about Sammy's little personality while she is still in my tummy. I've now learned that she has an opinion about electronic music, especially that with a pulsing bass. For a few weeks now, she seems to get really active whenever I listen to house music, dub step, or any other dance music with a fast, loud bass line. I *think* that means she likes it, but perhaps she actually hates it and is protesting. Who knows? But it's funny to me that now I can count on her dancing around in there when I turn on a little Skrillex, ha!

That leads me to the update that I am so thrilled to share....

Yesterday, Kevin felt Sammy kick from the outside!

I didn't expect this to happen for quite a few more weeks. It happened while we were curled up on the couch watching the movie Pi (totally weird movie, by the way.) There is an electronica soundtrack with a heavy, pulsating bass. So in true Sammy fashion, she was bouncing around to her own little party in there, enjoying the movie in her own baby-ways. Since the movement was so constant, I had Kevin put his hand over the area she was kicking most, then BAM -  he got one swift kick! Just one, but one is enough!!! Until now, Kevin has only been able to hear me talk about it.  I am thrilled to be able to share this with him and I'm sure it will only get better as she grows. He loves his little girl so much!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ten things I didn't expect about expecting

I'm 22w2d today. Lucky twos!

Yesterday I spent some time reading through my blog from my very first blog post back in 2012 through the middle part of last year. I found myself thinking about all of the incredible things that pregnancy has brought me, much of which has surpassed my dreams. It was emotional going through some of the very dark posts, but doing so makes these wonderful moments today that much sweeter. It got me reflecting about some of the things I expected to happen and feel when I was pregnant, and how the reality turned out to be different in some cases. This isn't a bad thing, just an observation about how I had no idea how the pregnant-me would feel in a lot of ways. Some of these are lighthearted, some are not. But NONE on this list are complaints - just reflections about how the reality of pregnancy isn't what I had pictured it would be while dealing with infertility.

1 - I expected to live every day in fear. I really can't believe this, but I'm not fearful. Sure, I have moments where I worry about Sammy surviving or that we might get some heartbreaking news. But it's not gnawing away at me during every moment of every day like I pictured it would. I think that part of this is because I'm intentionally shoving any scary thoughts to the side and purposefully focusing on what we have today. I don't live in the "what IFs", I live in the "what AREs." I'm only drifting my thoughts to the future if it's in a positive way. I am grateful to God because my mental state is such a polar opposite compared to when I was trying to become pregnant.

2 - I expected I'd have lots of pregnancy-related complications by now. Before getting pregnant I had elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance. I am gluten intolerant and have MTHFR mutation. Heck, I even have a fairly rare infertility diagnosis and suffered two devastating miscarriages. I figured I'd always draw the unlucky card, even if I was lucky enough to get pregnant. Even believing that, I didn't care and was willing to do whatever it took to bring a baby home. But to my surprise, I've had been blessed to have a very easy pregnancy. I know it's not easy for everyone, and I acknowledge how hard it must be to have complications. I also know I'm not out of the woods yet. But I'm beyond grateful I've made it this far with nothing serious.

3 - I expected pregnancy to be full of cravings. I was sure I'd be chowing down rocky road ice cream, German chocolate cake, and would be sending Kevin to the store at 2 am for some calorie-ridden craving. I did not expect to have such a tumultuous relationship with food. Sure, I figured first trimester to be rough followed by insatiable, weird cravings in second and third trimesters. But overall, I just hate food even to this day. I really don't have any cravings to speak of. Well, maybe chocolate milk but that's about it. Everything else pretty much sounds like sawdust to me. I love to eat normally, so this surprises me.

4 - I expected to gain a bunch of weight from the above mentioned expected cravings. But in fact, I've actually lost a pound. I have a good explanation to this one, aside from the fact I hate food. I had some extra padding to begin with! Women with my BMI tend to gain less during than other women who are thinner. For what it's worth, My OB isn't worried whatsoever because I am making a point to get nutritious (usually liquid) calories down whenever I can. I'm surprised to learn that this is pretty common!

5 - I expected baby kicks to feel like butterflies fluttering or popcorn popping. They don't feel that way to me at all. I have had GI issues most of my life and have had my share of intestinal spasms. And hands down, to me baby kicks feel like intestinal spasms. They are so similar that they are nearly indiscernible from them, but I know that's not what they are. It doesn't change the fact that I find them just incredible!

6 -  I never expected to have a recognizable baby bump. I expected to just look fat, not pregnant. As mentioned above, I'm not a tiny chick with a tiny body. I'm 5'11" and have some padding. I expected I'd go through pregnancy with everyone wondering if I just ate too many cupcakes or burritos. That didn't bother me too much, but I secretly coveted the ladies who had obvious baby bumps. I figured that would never be my reality. But I'm shocked and elated how much this belly has rounded out and is obviously full of baby. I've even had a couple of strangers approach me in public and ask me when my due date was! I'm proud of my body for finally being kind to me in an unexpected way.

7 - I expected my parents to be involved. Before infertility, I always pictured my mom and dad being involved and excited about my pregnancy. Then weeks after being diagnosed with DOR in 2011, my mom died of cancer. I didn't expect that and it sent a ripple through my world. After years of treatments and now I'm finally expecting I hoped at least my dad would be involved. Sadly, this one isn't true. For reasons far too long to list here, my dad is distanced. This is a sad realization for me and not what I expected.

8 - I expected to still have difficulty with others who had children the "easy way." No doubt infertility has forever changed me. But I have genuinely embraced all things baby, regardless of how they came to be. I thought a future-me would perhaps be capable of that someday, but I had no idea how quickly. This makes me proud of myself because it scared me thinking I'd hold onto some difficult feelings for so long. I'm so glad to finally feel somewhat normal again. I never EVER thought I'd feel 99% normal during pregnancy.

9 - I expected to be an advocate for embryo adoption. But I had no idea how passionate I'd become. Becoming pregnant has lit a fire in me that is impossible to put out. I shout about EA from the rooftops whenever I can. I am working on ways to get the word out on it whenever possible. I give the elevator speech at any opportunity. I want to help others who want to know more. This is to a degree I never imagined and I feel fulfilled to a degree I never would have imagined either.

And the one that will certainly make me cry. Yup, here come the tears, I feel them....

10 -  I expected to love my baby, but I had absolutely no idea how much. I love her so much more than I ever thought was possible. I imagine every day what it will be like to hold her in my arms, to enjoy those gleeful moments on Christmas morning, and to have the soapy mohawks in the tub. I knew I would be in love, but my brain couldn't comprehend it would be this much. And I'm sure I still have no idea to the degree I can ultimately love this little girl until I meet her and watch her grow.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An uneventful update

Is this really me? Am I really typing this?
I'm 22 weeks today! Really? REALLY! I'm just two weeks away from one of my most anticipated milestones - Viability Day! I am counting down the days, the hours, the minutes! I don't really have any big updates to give, so today will be a potpourri of a little bit of everything.

Other than dealing with the vomiting and nausea, I'm doing pretty good. Things are uneventful - just the way I like them to be. For the vomiting and nausea, I'm eating lots of small meals, taking my pills in the morning, and praying that I can keep my food down at night. Kevin is so sweet and actually cuts up the pieces of meat for me into tiny pieces which strangely enough makes them far more appetizing. Something about a large hunk of meat just makes my tummy turn!

Let's see, what else to share?

Sammy is on a schedule these days. She's sleeping and inactive much of the day, but starts kicking and wiggling in early afternoons and again when I go to bed at night. Her movement has become less of a swooshing sensation and much more thumps and thuds. Her sweet little baby arms, legs, and head must be bopping all around. I can't believe how lucky I am. It's a feeling I thought I'd NEVER get to experience. And in my darkest, darkest days, these feelings were the ones I felt I'd grieve the most when I thought I'd never get to be here. Yet here I am feeling them now as I type this. I couldn't be more thankful.

Oh! As you may know, I read to Sammy every morning. But sometimes I wonder if I'm really only reading to Oscar, our dog. :) I see him watching and listening intently! But while I know Sammy technically can hear, is she listening to my voice? How much can she actually hear? I'm obviously not wondering if she's comprehending what I'm reading. Duh, she's not. But I do wonder if I'm a nut for reading to her at all if she's not listening. I still do it because I like it, and Oscar does too.

Well, I got the answer to my question. The  other day Kevin's alarm clock went off and Sammy JOLTED. She's listening! It made me laugh and it gave me confidence that she really must hear my voice if she was startled by an alarm clock across the room.

I'll leave you with a belly picture from this morning.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

I had some nausea and vomiting in first trimester. It seemed to strike in the morning, evenings, and especially the middle of the night. However, starting at about 19 1/2 weeks, I've been VERY nauseated only after dinner every. single. night. It's like clockwork. It hits about 20 minutes after I'm done taking my last bite. The bigger problem I'm running into is that I take all of my pills with dinner and have thrown them up (violently, might I add) a few times now. I'm planning to shift my pills to breakfast so even as I inevitably get sick at dinner, at least my pills won't be lost. I have a normal sized lunch and a small breakfast and this doesn't happen. Dinner is the winner here! And PS, I don't think it's the pills causing this because I've been on these exact same pills for far longer than I've been pregnant. No issues until just recently.

I'm not complaining, I'm so grateful to be in this position to even ask this question, but I'm wondering if anyone else ran into something similar? Only after-dinner nausea and vomiting? Sammy is breech, and the only explanation I can come up with is that her sweet little (or big?) noggin is squishing my stomach making it unable to hold very much volume. If I eat a VERY small dinner, it seems to help somewhat. So that's kind of my resolution right now. A few bites for dinner every night. Curious if this sounded familiar to anyone else reading.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The official nursery reveal!

I showed you guys a big part of our nursery the other day when I posted about the decal. Sammy's room is finished for all intents and purposes. Just a few finishing touches will be added after she is born such as family pictures in some of the empty photo frames. Obviously, we need photos of her to do that which means she has to be here!

Here's is the official nursery reveal complete with an extensive source list. Enjoy!

Gray Paint - Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore (in Home Depot's Behr formula)
White Paint - Snowy Pine from Behr
Snowflake Wall Decal - custom order from Right on the Walls
Crib - Amazon - Delta Children's Products 4 in 1 Silverton
Sheep Sound Machine - Cloud b - Amazon
Crib Skirt and Bumper - Amazon - Baby Doll Hotel style collection
Snowflake Blanket - Target

Floor Lamp - Xhilaration Stardust - Target
Glider Chair - Wayfair
All of the white wall frames in the room - Ribba - Ikea
Curtains and chair pillow - Sewn with love by me! Hancock Custom Pink Canvas Fabric
Curtain Rod - Amazon - Levelor Sphere
Curtain Medallion Holdbacks - Amazon

Book shelf - Target - Threshold two-shelf bookcase
Desk lamp - Target
Bucket - Ikea (spray painted pink)
Pink picture Frame - Ross Dress for Less
Heartbeat Sheep (From RE)

Dresser - Eddie Bauer Langley - Target
Elephant - Heartbeat Elephant (from RE)
Wall Art - Free printable art  - various sources online
Small circle frame - Hobby Lobby
Mirrored music box - Family heirloom from my grandma

Changer - Target - Langley Open Changer
Changing pad cover - Target - Circo plush popcorn
Baby Monitor - Amazon - Infant Optics
Wall Wood S - Hobby Lobby - spray painted pink
Baskets - Burlington Coat Factory
Wall Art - Free printable art  - various sources online
Blanket - Ross Dress for Less

And we didn't buy these beautiful Muslin Swaddlers, but one of Kevin's co-workers got them for us. Too sweet not to share! They are monogrammed Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddlers with Sammy's SLK initials on them. Love!

So there you have it - the nursery we have dreamed so long to create! Thanks for letting me share it with you all!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's more than just a nursery

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you'll know we started on our nursery crazy early. Probably as early as 12 weeks, or even earlier if I had to confess. We've had that room empty for a couple years prepping for this elusive baby during our long baby chase. But I realize now that working on it meant so much more than just getting the decor up or the furniture assembled. It was very symbolic for me. I felt like moving forward with it was a way of sending a message to my pregnant-after-loss brain stating this baby WILL get here, it's not IF she gets here. I was making a statement loud and clear. And besides, since we waited so long to have this baby, it didn't feel "early" to me anyway.

By pressing forward with the nursery and shoving fear aside I was telling infertility and the nagging loss brain to go eff itself. And it's felt really good.

So here I am today at 21 weeks (yay!) and it's about 99% finished. But I'm curious for the rest of you who have found success after infertility/loss, how has the timing of your nursery decorating been impacted by your infertility or loss thoughts? Do you feel like you should wait until the end of your pregnancy because of thoughts around infertility and/or loss? Or did/will you do it sooner? Did that not even weigh into the decisions at all? Did you forge ahead early because you felt entitled to after the long wait?