Thursday, May 28, 2015


Baby's size: Lemon.

Next appointment: June 12.

Total weight gain: 18.8 lbs. But I'm on the decline again, so hoping some of this is just my body trying to figure out how to operate off the progesterone and HCTZ at the same time. (So. Frustrating.)

Exercise: I'm walking more, but it's hot and mall walking isn't my thing. That said, I have a plan in place. Tomorrow I'm starting these pregnancy workout DVDs I ordered with Nugget but never got to use. Next weekend, I'm starting a pregnancy yoga class with a preggo friend. And gym with the BFF starts that week, too, so within the next 10 days I should have a comfortable routine down.

Sleep: Same as last week - waking up at least 3x a night to pee, waking up between 2:30 and 3:30 sick from hunger. New thing I tried last night: keeping a date-and-nut bar on my beside table. Ate half with the 1:30 pee and the other half with the 3:30 pee. No scary-sick hunger!

Food cravings: Fruit like you wouldn't believe, but I always get this way in the summer. Strawberries, blueberries, apricots, watermelon, cantaloupe - you name it, I want it.

Symptoms: I mentioned to the BFF that my nipples were so dark they were almost black, and she was like, "Uh, good luck with that." But that's a thing, right? Darkening areolas?

What I'm loving: The nursery chair we bought this weekend! It's a La-Z-Boy rocker/recliner. I'd had my eye on it for a couple of weeks, and then found out they were having a huge Memorial Day sale. The chair was almost $300 off! It was a bit of a splurge, but with this purchase we're officially finished buying nursery furniture.

What I'm not loving: Just how huge and gross I feel. I mean, I expected to feel like this at some point, but not at 14 weeks, you know?

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing the baby. I don't even know if I get to at the next appointment, or if she'll just go for Doppler, but I'm finding ultrasound withdrawal harder than expected. Is the baby still in there? My boobs are still killing me, and I'm not spotting or cramping, so I'm assuming yes, but you never know.

Best moment this week: This is TMI, but last night I had my first O in 14 weeks. So, that was pretty spectacular.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

the weight of pregnancy, part 2.

My weight woes continue.

I'd just started to lose a couple of pounds when I discontinued the progesterone. I know that whenever I take progesterone, I lose weight. So it should have occurred to me that stopping the progesterone would cause another gain, but it didn't.

I went up a pound and a half my first day off. Then another pound and a half the next day, and the next day after that - which put me at a 20+ lb. gain in the first 13.5 weeks.

Say what now?

I've dropped a little since, but not very much. It's so disheartening. I know I'm not supposed to care but I keep thinking the weight gain is going to pick up over the next two trimesters and I'm going to be well over 300 lbs. by the time I deliver.

Then again, I've also read that some women gain all of their weight in the first trimester and then very little the next two. Maybe I will be one of those?

In other news: the freelance project is done! I turned it into the project manager over the weekend. There may be some minor edits needed but I know the whole thing goes into production June 1 so I'm guessing I am almost at the finish line, if not already over it completely.

Of course, the day I turned it in, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I'm all sinus pressure and green snot right now. Not a full-blown illness - my body is desperately trying to fight it off - but there are headaches and general exhaustion with which to content. It's not fun.

I don't mean to sound all complain-y, and I guess that's what's happening here. So I will shut up before I whine anymore.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


(Welcome to the second trimester, y'all!)

Baby's size: Peach or pea pod (the baby is now 3" - go look at that on a ruler)

Next appointment: June 12

Total weight gain: 15 lbs. But I was up to 17 lbs. a couple of days ago, so this is improvement. I think the rebound from discontinuing the HCTZ is starting to dissipate already. Keeping fingers crossed!

Exercise: I'm not doing enough walking. The plan currently is to finish the freelance project due next week, then start meeting the BFF at the gym 2-3 nights a week. I can't do much - just walk on the treadmill at a leisurely pace - but anything should help.

Sleep: Still kind of crappy. I wake to pee 1-3 times in the middle of the night. Also, between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m., I wake up nauseated and starving. For the past four nights I've wandered into the darkened kitchen, toasted up a piece of sprouted grain bread, put a little cream cheese on it, ate it standing up, and then gone back to bed. No joke.

Food cravings: Besides my middle-of-the-night toast breaks, I've had random cravings, like the other night when I sent Mr. Hope out for pudding and animal crackers. But also I've noticed I've been eating a lot more red meat than I typically do, and a lot less chicken. The other night I made this one pot dish with ground beef and peppers and it was so good, I was walking the leftovers into co-workers' offices and telling them how good it was.

Food aversions: None.

Symptoms: My boobs are still these things I wish I could unhook from my body and put on a shelf. The heartburn has gotten more persistent; people tell me this means I'll have a hairy baby. And I'm guessing the waking up hungry thing is a symptom of something - a friend said it meant the baby was having growth spurts while I was sleeping that was causing my blood sugar to drop.

What I'm loving: NO. MORE. PIO. Took the last shot last night. It's so liberating!

What I'm not loving: That I'm still exhausted so much of the time. This may ease up now that I'm off the progesterone. But, like, yesterday was gorgeous. My plan was to come home from work, leash up the dog, and go for a long walk. But on the drive home I started to get really hungry. So when I got home, I drank two glasses of milk, ate a cheese stick, and then promptly wanted to pass out. Which I later did.

What I'm looking forward to: This isn't entirely pregnancy related, but I should be done with the freelance project before my next update. And if I get some more energy back, that means lots of free time for myself. I want to enjoy it before I lose it!

Best moment this week: When Mr. Hope and I decided that we were turning in our membership to the "One and Done" club. More on this later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

the weight of pregnancy.

Before I got pregnant, none of my doctors seemed concerned about my weight. I was the one freaking out. But they kept telling me, "Look, you can stand to lose some poundage, but your BP is good, your blood sugar is perfect, you don't have sleep apnea or anything like that. You're going to be fine."

So at some point in the TTC process, I stopped freaking out. I mean, yes, I was concerned about inflammation, so I ate a lot of avocados. And there was the three- to four-month period where I ate the EZ Diet and lost 20 lbs. and was all YAY, I AM LOSING AGAIN! But then our first pregnancy started to go south and the depression eating began. If the doctors told me nothing I ate was going to make a difference, why wouldn't I get a creamy pasta dish at the Italian restaurant? Why would I deny myself baked goods at Christmas?

When we miscarried (for those just tuning in, this was not due to anything I did or didn't eat, but chromosomal abnormalities), both Mr. Hope and I turned up the depression eating. I'm not going to lie; it was bad. Real bad. We basically ate whatever we wanted for a one-month period. And then, when we knew the next transfer was imminent, we started cleaning things up. But not nearly as hardcore as we did the first time around.

I was 45 lbs. up from my lowest weight when I got pregnant this time around. About 25 lbs. up from where I was the first time I got pregnant. And, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, it was my intention to not gain a single pound during the first trimester.

My body had other plans.

I bounced around in the same 4- to 5-pound range the first 8 weeks. Down, up, down, up. Nothing major. And then, in week 8, I started to put on weight. A lb. here, a lb. there. When I saw the OB for the first time, at almost 12 weeks, I was up 9 full pounds.


And then she took me off the HCTZ, which I knew would cause more gain. How much? Here, take a look:

Day 0 (first day I discontinued): 0 lbs.
Day 1: + 2 lbs.
Day 2: + 2 lbs.
Day 3: + 1.2 lbs.
Day 4: + 1 lb.
Day 5: + .6 lb.
Day 6: + .4 lb.
Day 7:  - 1.6 lbs.

You see that last entry? That -1.6 lbs.? That's not a typo. I really did drop 1.6 lbs. between yesterday and today. Not eating anything radically different. Not adding any more exercise. Just poof! Extra water bloat starting to fall off.

There is hope for me yet.

I went back for my BP check yesterday. Quick recap: it was a little high at the first OB appt., 144/88. Pre-pregnancy, my BP was always in the 120/70 range. So when Dr. Direct wanted to put me on BP meds, I asked her if we could wait a week to see what my body did off the estrogen.

It paid off. My BP yesterday was 136/84. High end of normal. Something we need to keep an eye on, but not something requiring medication at this time. (Virtual high five, y'all!)

Dr. Direct is not a fan of me weighing myself every day. I brought in an index card with the same recorded weights I typed above. She said, "What's this?" I explained it to her, and how I weigh myself the same time every morning, naked, after I've gone to the bathroom but before I've had anything to eat or drink. She just kind of looked at me.

Later in the appointment, she ripped the card in half in front of me. She said, "I need you to stop obsessing over your weight. You're pregnant. You're going to gain weight."

I tried to explain how I didn't want to gain anything in the first trimester, and yet here I was, 17 lbs. up (as of yesterday).

Dr. Direct said, "Look, you need to lose weight. So do I know. We know this. But you can't do anything about it while you're pregnant. You can't reduce. You can eat healthfully. You can move around. But that's it. You can't deal with your weight until that baby is no longer inside of you."

She told me to stop weighing myself every day. Obviously, I did not heed this advice. I've weighed myself nearly every day for the past six years. This is how I keep an eye on the bottom line. Make sure I'm not putting on too much weight. If I am up 6 lbs., I course-correct and eat super-clean until I take it back off. When I'm in weight-loss mode, watching the scale daily helps keep me motivated. It tells me that what I'm doing is working. (The only exception being when I'm weight-training; the first month of new muscle results in very few lbs. lost but clothes fitting more loosely, so I'm okay in the long run.)

I'm sure you're wondering, "If you're so obsessed with your weight, why didn't you lose it all before you got pregnant?"

It's not like I didn't try. I did. I've been losing significant weight for the past 6 years (hence the scale-watching). Sometimes I'm better at it than others. Depression plays a huge factor; when I'm in the hole, I have a really hard time caring about what I put into my body. And also: I'm a fat girl who unabashedly likes food. I like to cook it, I like to eat it. Because of this, I will never be thin. I'm okay with that. But I would like to get down to a 14/16 at some time in my life. That would make me really, really  happy.


Yesterday I ate 90% good and 10% not so good. Dessert was about 1/3 of a cup of chocolate pudding, some whipped cream on top, and a handful of animal crackers. Other than that, I ate a ton of protein, fiber, good fats, fruits, and vegetables. I drank water, herbal tea, decaf coffee, milk. This is my typical daily diet - mostly clean with a sweet thing or salty snack thrown in at night, depending on what I'm craving.

I'm not sure if the weight loss has anything to do with what I'm eating and/or how much OR if it's just because the retention from stopping the HCTZ is easing up and/or weening from the prednisone is helping. I might never know.

But I will say that today, I feel lighter. Not just because I literally am, but because pretty soon, my body will be close to its natural state. I'm on half doses of prednisone that are about to go down to quarter doses. I have one shot of PIO left and two nights of progesterone capsules. Then, no more artificial hormones. And within another week, no more steroids.

Let's see what this body does when left to its own devices.

Friday, May 15, 2015

special needs.

My Facebook friends are always commenting on how perfect my  husband is. It's true; if we're FB friends and you are not in the loop on the most intimate details of my life, you probably think I have this totally too-good-to-be-true marriage. It's not exactly fake, either. Mr. Hope is one of the sweetest, most loving people I know. He genuinely adores me. I love him more deeply than I have ever loved anyone ever. We really do have as much fun together as it seems.

So definitely not fake. More like...edited. 

What I don't ever talk about on Facebook (nor will I ever) is the mental illness that almost destroyed us.

Mr. Hope has bipolar disorder. Technically, it's bipolar disorder with psychotic features, but I tend to leave that last part off since the psychosis has been in check for years. But it's there. He takes a small dose of a scary little pill every night that keeps the olfactory and auditory hallucinations away. He takes a lot of medicine to keep his brain functioning in a way that's conducive to so-called normal life.

Today, I consider us lucky. Mr. Hope is so "normal" now that sometimes I forget he even has this disorder. He's been working steadily for more than two years and just got a new position at his company that came with a nearly 50% pay increase. He went from twice-weekly therapy sessions to one every other week. When bad things happen, he is better equipped to handle them. I am confident that he's going to be a great dad to Jellybean.

But if you'd asked me even four years ago, I would've had a very different take on our relationship. 

The quick and dirty version is this: when Mr. Hope and I got together I soon realized he was a binge drinker. Not every day, mind you. But, like, out of the blue he'd get blackout drunk. Sometimes he'd be verbally abusive. There was an incident that pushed me over the edge about six months in. I told him to get sober or get gone. 

He chose sober, and has been sober ever since.

The bipolar was diagnosed in the wake of this. The drinking was a way to self-medicate the mania. This is common in mental illness. Not just drinking but dependence on any substance.

Mr. Hope also has ADHD. It's pretty bad. His psychiatrist tried him on a non-habit-forming ADHD med. Things got better...until they got worse. Here's the fun thing: symptoms of ADHD and symptoms of mania look an awful lot alike. So as the shrink upped the ADHD medicine, the symptoms got worse. More medicine. More symptoms.

Eventually, the medicine broke his brain.

That marked the first time Mr. Hope logged time in a mental hospital, but not the last. After he recovered from that episode and returned to work, the shrink put him back on the same ADHD medicine. Once again, it broke his brain - only this time, it did it a lot quicker. And also a lot worse.

More hospitalizations. More leaves from work. In a three-year stretch, Mr. Hope only logged about 8 months on the job. He was actually on SSI for a couple of years. Fortunately, his company has really good short- and long-term disability. He never lost his benefits. In fact, he never went below 50% of his salary.

Taking an extended leave from work gave us a lot of time to find the right med combo. This took more than a year. No joke. When we eventually went for a consult at a world-renowned hospital, the doctors we met with said they'd never seen anyone on as many medications as Mr. Hope and still be functional. They dried him out and started fresh, and that's what got us where we are today.

When Mr. Hope returned to work, we weren't sure he was going to make it. But he did. Not only that, he excelled. He got picked for training jobs. He got assigned to special task forces. He was accepted into a prestigious leadership development program. And just this week, he was hired into the new position, jumping up two job grades in the process. 

I honestly could not be more proud.

Why am I telling you all of this? This is a blog about infertility, not mental illness, right? 

Because I wasn't entirely honest in yesterday's post. I wrote something about being afraid of the test not telling me that our kid had a damaged heart. But what I'm really afraid of - the thing I've always been afraid of - is having a kid with special needs. Not your garden variety special needs, but like the kind that keeps your kid a kid forever, even when they're 40. 

This makes me a horrible person, I know. Before anyone else says it, let me: YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A BABY IF YOU WEREN'T OKAY WITH A BABY THAT NEEDED MORE LOVE AND CARE. Okay, fine. I'm awful. I'm the worst. Nothing you say can make me hate myself more than I already do.

But I know what I can handle. I know what I am capable of. I have glossed over Mr. Hope's breakdowns here but let me be clear: those were some of the worst days of my life. They were scary and dark and nearly broke me. Bouncing back - putting not only his brain back together but also our relationship - took years of hard work on both our parts. And there were times I thought we'd never get to where we are today.

This is one of the reasons I've always been more in favor of having one child, not two. If I have one and Mr. Hope's meds stop working, or if something triggers another break, I'll be okay. I can handle being a single mom of one while he is in the hospital. I can handle taking care of one kid by myself while he is healing. But two? Two seems like it might be too much. Throw in a child that requires an extreme level of care? I don't know that I could do it.

But what about autism? you ask. They can't see that on a test. This is true. We could have a kid that requires a high level of care that no diagnostic test would ever pick up. It's a gamble. I get it.

It's a gamble we were willing to take.

Anyway, there it is. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. Skewer me if you desire, but like I said: I have enough self-loathing for all of us. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

the results are in...

...and if the MaterniT21 Plus test can be believed, we are having a healthy baby boy.

Why do I say "if"?

Well, I'm me, you know. Mrs. Agony, at your service.

When I got the call this morning, just as I was about to leave for work, I was a little shaky. Then the nurse told me that the test was negative for all of the bad stuff, and before I could even process that she said, "And it looks like - wait, do you want to know what you're having?"

"Yes," I said.

"The test is consistent with characteristics of a male."

I'd expected this, so it wasn't a shocker. In fact, I would've been MORE shocked if it had been a girl.

I called Mr. Hope, who'd left less than five minutes earlier. I told him the test was negative. Then I said, "We're having a [insert male name here]."

"No!" he said.

"Yep," I said.

"I guess we're going for a sibling then?"

"Let's get through this one first," I said. "Then we can talk about going again."

I got in the car. I started driving to work.

It's hard to explain what I was feeling. I'd spent most of the past week terrified that our baby would have a trisomy that was incompatible with life. It was all-consuming, thinking of this. It wouldn't matter if it was a girl if the baby wasn't meant for this world.

So there was overwhelming relief about that.

There was also a kind of flatness. I wasn't sad, or upset, or even disappointed. Resigned, maybe? I kept saying it was going to be a boy, because I wanted a girl so badly. That's just how things work in my world. So I'd been steeling myself for a boy.

"You want too much," Glam Coworker admonished me later. "After everything you've been through...just stop talking."

"Little boys are adorable," Fellow Preggo said. "Just wait. You'll fall in love the minute you lay eyes on him."

But that is not what this is about. It's really not. I am obsessed with Precious Pup. Obsessed. I know it will be worse with a tiny human. I know I will love this child with every fiber of my being.

When I think about why I wanted a girl, it's less about cute dresses and Barbie dolls and more about getting the chance to re-parent myself. I texted a couple of people about being disappointed that I wouldn't get the chance to be the mom I never had. But you will! they told me. But they weren't getting it. Because so much of that, psychologically, is tied up in getting a do-over for myself.

Is that selfish? I know that's one reason Mr. Hope wanted a boy. It can't be that uncommon.

So then I started Googling to see if there was any way the test was wrong about the sex of the baby. It's 97% accurate. Not 100%. There are plenty of stories of women who had the test tell them one sex and then on the level 2 u/s discovered they're having the other. And then I thought, "It would so be in the spirit of everything I've been through on this journey to get all excited about having a little boy and then, in week 18, discover that we're actually having a girl."

And then I went down the rabbit hole. If the test could be wrong about the sex, and could produce false positives for a bunch of different reasons, could it also produce false negatives, too?

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. But if not, the answer is yes. False negatives happen. Women think they're having perfectly healthy babies and give birth to ones who have heart defects that require weeks of surgeries once they're born.

The fear that gripped me as I was reading these things was overwhelming. You are never safe. Never. I thought this test would make me feel better, but really, all it did was make me feel like I have a false sense of security.

So now I want to call tomorrow and see if I can still get an NT scan in over the next two weeks. I want to do all of the noninvasive screenings that my insurance will cover. If no markers come up on any of those, I'll feel better. Maybe.

Glam Coworker told me not to steal Mr. Hope's joy. She told me I had no right to worry him with my anxieties and fears. But I am not good at keeping things from Mr. Hope. And he knows who he married.

So on the ride home from work I called and told him about the rabbit hole and my fears and how I wish I could stop feeling terrified all the time. How I hate being this person. I started crying.

He gets it. And he comforts me the best he can. But I still feel like this raw, gaping wound that just. won't. heal.


Baby's size: Plum.

Next appointment: May 19 (just a BP check - next OB appt. isn't until June 12!)

Total weight gain: 11.8 lbs. To be fair, a little more than four lbs. of that was added since yesterday, when I discontinued the HCTZ. This is exactly what I feared. I've read that after going off of it, people pack on up to 20 lbs. of water weight and that it can take them up to a month for that to start to come off. Yeah, this isn't going to fuck with my head at all.

Exercise: OB is encouraging me to walk. So I should probably start doing that.

Sleep: Crappy this week. Have been peeing a lot in the middle of the night. Then have trouble getting back to sleep. It doesn't help that Mr. Hope is a psycho-snorer.

Food cravings: None this week.

Food aversions: None.

Symptoms: My boobs are crazy sore. Like, so bad that I don't even want to release them from my bra at night. Also this bloating. MY GOD, THE BLOATING.

What I'm loving: Our families' reaction to the news. Also that we bought a crib. That's huge for me.

What I'm not loving: Where do I start? My anxiety level, the overnight water weight gain, waking up to pee 12 times a night, the fact that I still haven't gotten my MaterniT21 Plus test results (though my OB's nurse said I should get them today).

What I'm looking forward to: I am hoping that the test results are good and give me some peace of mind. Also that I don't keep packing on pounds of water weight. I literally drank 18 8 oz. glasses of pure water yesterday, plus another two of lemon water, two of decaf coffee, and 4 oz. of milk. So I was surprised by the scale this morning. I don't know what else I can do. Might just have to ride this out.

Best moment this week: I don't know. Maybe it was when I didn't freak out after Dr. Direct said she wasn't going to give us an ultrasound? I feel like if I get those test results and it's good news, then that would be what goes here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

'ultrasound dependence' and other fun things.

Mr. Hope and I had our first official OB appointment today. It experience.

First of all, there was a long wait. Nearly 30 minutes before we got taken back to an exam room and another 15 before the OB showed up. We shall call her Dr. Direct, because as Quirky told me ahead of time, she's very no-nonsense - a real straight-shooter. (For the record, we like this.)

The first think Dr. Direct does is say, "I'm sorry they brought the ultrasound machine out. I'm not going to do an ultrasound today. I need to wean you from ultrasound dependence."

Of course, on the ride over, Mr. Hope and I were singing, "We gonna see our baby, we gonna see our baby..." So this made him pout. I wasn't thrilled, but I didn't put up a fight either.

We went over my meds. She told me I could stop the estrogen immediately, but she wanted me to stay on the progesterone until the end of week 12 (so, a week from Wednesday). My butt isn't happy, but I lose weight on progesterone and gain it on estrogen, so I was thinking, "Maybe when I get off the estrogen I'll take off a few pounds!"

But then Dr. Direct told me she wasn't happy that I am taking HCTZ. No one at the RE's office ever questioned it, but it's the second time someone at the OB's office did. She asked me why I was on it. I told her that 9 years ago, I had high BP. They put me on a combo pill. When my BP got under control, they took me off of it...and I bloated up with 13 lbs. of fluid in like two days. My stomach got hard from it and I thought I was having heart failure. Turned out my body just got addicted to the water pill, so they put me back on it. My BP is fine (or, at least it was). No fluid build up.

Now I have to stop taking the HCTZ, starting tomorrow. This terrifies me.

She wanted to put me on a different BP medicine. I asked her if we could wait a week, because my BP was always 120/70 until I started the estrogen. Today it was 144/88. So I go back for a BP check next week, and if my BP has come down, I don't have to start a new med. If it hasn't, I have to start one right away.

This also terrifies me.

I have to start weaning off the prednisone, too. Five days at 10 mg, five days at 5 mg, and five days at 5 mg every other day. Remember what happened the last time I stopped the prednisone? MORE TERROR.

But okay, all of this is doable.

Then Dr. Direct tells us she thinks that we shouldn't go public until 14 weeks, maybe longer. Say wha? We shouldn't have sex for a couple more weeks either. Could we wait until our level 2 u/s? Um, that's not until JULY. Okay, 14 weeks it is.

(Mr. Hope is pouting at this point. Dr. Smiles had said we were released earlier to have sex, but we decided to wait until 12 or 13 weeks. Lately we've both been really randy, so it's been a lot of "Thursday, baby. Just wait until Thursday." Now, no nookie for 2+ more weeks. I. Am. DYING.)

She tries to find the baby's heartbeat with doppler. It's still early and I am "fluffy," she tells me. She'll do a quick scan to assure us the baby's okay.

So we got an u/s after all. It was over the tummy, not transvag, and the images weren't super clear. She didn't tell us the CRL or FHR, just that the baby looked great and had a strong heartbeat. She pointed out its jaw. She pointed out the umbilical cord. Yay, Jellybean!

I told her that Mr. Hope insisted we get a hand-held doppler. She told me I shouldn't use it until I was 20 weeks. If I bring it to my 18-week appointment she'll show me how to use it. Okay, we can handle this.

The results from our MaterniT21 test aren't in yet. When I got home, I called Sequenom, the people who make the test. They couldn't tell me the results, and they couldn't tell me if the test had been completed, but they did call the OB's office to ask them to tell me the results should be ready tomorrow.

What does this mean? Is my baby okay? Why is it taking so long?

I Google a little. It takes most women a week to 10 days to get the results. I stop panicking. But I can't help but feel like something might be off. I have no reason to believe things aren't okay but I need to know that for sure. I JUST WANT TO KNOW.

Other than the BP check next week, I don't go back to the OB until 4.5 weeks from now, on June 12. It feels like an eternity.

And I'm totally stressing about MaterniT21, and my high BP, and pre-e and GD and whether or not I have an incompetent cervix. I just want to feel CALM. How can I get there? How can I *stay* there?

Despite everything I like the new OB. She won't BS me. She read my chart carefully. She asked good questions. She let me ask questions. She spent a lot of time with us.


I am so ready to get these test results. I need want reassurance that the baby is healthy. I've been doing a pretty good job at keeping my anxiety in check, but today it flared up again. Big time.

Does it ever get any better?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

motherless child, childless mother.

Is it me, or is everyone going extra-special crazy this Mother's Day?

Maybe I just didn't notice it last year. I had to work Mother's Day weekend. It was the first without my own mom and came on the heels of two failed IVF cycles, so working was like the best distraction ever.

There are a lot of motherless people in my life. Mr. Hope. My aunt. Some long-distance friends. Facebook acquaintances. This day tends to be hard for all of them.

I thought I'd feel different this year. This year, I am a mother-to-be. But it's weird. Even though this is the first Mother's Day that I am an actual mother (remember, never so much as had a pregnancy prior to last November), I am still just me. I feel slightly uncomfortable over all of the maternal outpouring. This is pretty much how I've felt even prior to my IF diagnosis, when motherhood was something I longed for and thought was only out of reach due to timing and circumstance.

Part of me hoped that my husband would make a big deal out of today. That instead of giving me his annual card from the dog, I'd get one that referred to our tiny human. There should be flowers, I thought. Some sort of sweet gift, maybe a silly onesie or a magnet that referred to me as Mom.

I didn't really tell him I was hoping for hoopla. When we were purchasing cards for the other mothers in our lives, I said something like, "You know, technically this is my first Mother's Day." He bought me a card while I was with him, which kind of sucked.

Maybe he'll surprise me. He often does.

I feel like I sound so spoiled here. I am so lucky. There is a presumably healthy baby baking in my belly. It's what I've wanted for so long, what I've tried for in earnest over the span of 4+ years. I know so many other women who haven't made it this far yet, whose longing runs every bit as deep as mine. I am grateful that we are where we are. I honestly never thought we'd get here.

But I guess I'm just sad that I don't feel less sad. Does that make sense? We're going to visit family today. We're going to tell some of the most important people in our lives about Jellybean. This is huge. And once we get the results of our MaterniT21 test next week, confirming that our baby looks healthy by all counts, we'll tell Mini-Hope. After she's in the know, we can go public.

Maybe that will be the turning point. When this will start to feel more real. Or maybe it's when we first hear the heartbeat? Or maybe I just need the results of that test.

I am possibly buying a crib off Craigslist. It's a white, four-way convertible with good reviews. You can get it brand-new for $220 and the woman is listing it for $120, but I talked her down to $90 because there are scratches on the top. I don't really care about the scratches, but I'm thinking if I can save money on certain things then I'll have more money for the top-of-the-line car seat/stroller combo I want, and a really comfy nursing chair.

At any rate: I am making plans. I am moving forward. I have stopped fearing that I will lose this child every single second of every single day. All good things.

So why am I not happier today? I want to be, honestly.

Maybe I just need to stay off Facebook for the next 24 hours.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Baby's size: Fig, lime, or Brussels sprout, depending on which site you go by.

Next appointment: May 12 (first full OB appt., first time we'll get to hear the heartbeat!)

Total weight gain: 7.4 lbs. :: sob ::  Non-obese people are told to keep their first trimester weight gain to 5 lbs. or less. Please let this be the artificial hormones!

Exercise: Nothing official, but I've been doing a lot more walking. And I went grocery shopping with Mr. Hope this weekend for the first time in forever. Plus, I get to help cook again. So that's all really good.

Sleep: Still averaging about 8.5 hours a night. The exhaustion comes and goes.

Food cravings: Dairy. Lots and lots of dairy.

Food aversions: None, but I made Brussels sprouts for dinner last night (before I knew a pregnancy site would compare my unborn child to one!) and they tasted bitter and wrong. And I *love* Brussels sprouts.

Symptoms: I can feel the uterus stretching. More groin pressure, some mild lower back cramping, a few twinges here and there. And I feel crazy fat. So bloated. My fingers have started to swell into fat sausages. Swapped my wedding band out for a larger ring I got years ago. The wedding band still fits but only just barely, and I didn't want to take any chances.

What I'm loving: That I've made it this far. That I've graduated from the RE. That I spend more time thinking about what it means to have a baby than I do fearing losing the baby.

What I'm not loving: How fat I feel. Some of it is normal hot weather stuff (I tend to swell in heat regardless) but my boobs are spilling out of my bra, my jeans are getting too snug for comfort, and I don't know. It's just uncomfortable. (I'm sure it's going to get worse.)

What I'm looking forward to: Getting the results of my MaterniT21 Plus test. The tech said it could be four days to a week, so I could get them anywhere between today and Monday.

Best moment this week: Seeing our little ninja punching and kicking all over that ultrasound!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

the odds are never in my favor.

Since I got the MaterniT21 Plus test drawn on Monday, it's only a matter of time until I get the results. I am hoping for a healthy baby. Period, end of discussion. But, because I've taken this test, in one to four more days I will find out if Mr. Hope and I are having a girl or a boy.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly because I am semi-convinced we are having a boy. To be fair, this conviction stems from me always wanting a little girl and assuming that I will not get what I want in that department. The conviction deepened when I learned tonight that another friend found out today that she's having a girl. That makes TWO close, personal preggos having girls. What are the odds that I will be having one, too?

I've had one dream about the baby's sex, and in that dream it was a girl. The BFF has had several, and in all but one I am having a boy. Gumbo thinks it's a girl. Mr. Hope says he hopes that it's a girl, but I think he's thinking it's a boy, too.

And I feel so stupid even thinking about these things, because really, all I want is a healthy baby. This isn't just lip service. If I find out I'm having a perfectly healthy boy, I will still be ecstatic, BECAUSE MY BABY IS HEALTHY.

But I'd be lying if I wasn't Team Pink. I don't know that Mr. Hope and I will ever have another kid. This really might be it for us. And I dream of having a mother/daughter relationship like my own mother and I never had. I dream of so many things, and none of them include a little baby boy.

Lately I've been looking at boy stuff on Pinterest. Things like bibs with bow ties. Adorable little boy things. But then again, I never said that boys weren't adorable. They totally are. I've just never pictured myself playing Mommy to one.

Still, I'm steeling myself for finding out that there's a little dude cooking in my oven. Because nothing about this fertility journey has turned out the way that I hoped or expected. Not a single thing.

I kind of hate myself for even fretting over this - for feeling the tiniest bit jealous that another friend is having another little girl. But I totally AM fretting over it, and I totally AM jealous, and I am hating myself very, very much right now.

Monday, May 4, 2015

graduation day.

Today we bid a fond farewell to Posh Clinic. And what a send-off it was!

First of all, we left the house a little late. Like 15 minutes late. And then we hit traffic. So we were almost a full 20 minutes late arriving. That is totally on us.

But when we got there, we saw a packed-to-the-gills house. All three waiting rooms were loaded up. It was 20 minutes before I got taken back for blood work. Then we waited almost a full hour (no exaggeration - it was roughly 55 minutes) before going in for the ultrasound.

Let me back up for a sec and say that last night, I baked a batch of the best oatmeal cookies I've ever tasted. I've made them at least half a dozen times - maybe more - and I'm always amazed and just how good they are. No nuts. No raisins. No cinnamon. And yet, they are perfection.

This morning I bagged them up into batches so that I could give them to some of our favorite people at Posh Clinic. Only, the blond who normally draws my blood didn't draw it today (and this is awful, but I don't know her name). And then we didn't get K for our u/s today, either.

This, to me, was the saddest part. K helped us through our miscarriage. She helped me through my anxiety in early pregnancy. We love K. We've seen other u/s techs, including the one who scanned us today, but K is our person. In addition to cookies, she got a hand-written thank you note, because she has been so awesome. (We did get to give them to her - just didn't have her for one last scan.)

The scan itself went well. Very well. We saw the blinky-blink of the heart. Jellybean was measuring perfectly at 33.6 mm. The FHR was lower - only 144 - which freaked me out a bit, but Dr. Smiles said it was perfect and to not stress over it. And Jellybean was so wiggly! Literally did not stop moving the whole time. Mr. Hope said, "I think we're having a ninja baby."

We waited another 20 minutes or so before seeing Dr. Smiles. When we did, it was a very quick and unceremonious visit. We gave him a thank you note and two bags of cookies, one for him and one for his PA. There were some quick housekeeping items. Then Dr. Smiles said, "I can't wait to meet this baby." I said, "We can't either."

And then it was over, and I wasn't given my three-inch-thick file, just a one-page form and the slip of paper I put my phone number on so they can call me if there are problems. I said to the receptionist, "I don't have to make another appointment." She said, "Congratulations!"

Peace out, Posh Clinic. It's been real.

Next, we ventured across the street, to the hospital. I took us on an unnecessarily long and circuitous route (by accident). I handed them my script for the MaterniT21 Plus test. After registration, we were taken back to the lab, where a woman in printed scrubs was crunching on a bag of chips and not doing much of anything else. Eventually, she took our paperwork, and then we went into a draw room manned by the chattiest tech you've ever met. I couldn't follow a single one of her stories, but she was friendly and not jamming chips in her mouth, so we liked her.

And that was that. We walked back to the car and headed home. In all, we'd been there for nearly three hours. We were running so late, in fact, that I had to take a conference call in the car as we were driving.

Now I feel...I don't even know. Happy that we don't have to drive the hour up to Posh Clinic and back once a week. Sad that I won't get to see K or Dr. Smiles for the rest of my pregnancy. Relieved that Jellybean is still looking perfect. Anxious to hear the heartbeat at our first official OB appointment a week from tomorrow. Grateful to be carrying this precious gift in my womb. Scared that my body will fuck it all up at some point before I can bring this baby into the world.

I am hoping it will all be okay. I want it to all be okay. But I guess only time will tell.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Mr. Hope and I were both tickled that graduation day landed on May 4. As in, "May the 4th be with you." Yep, we really are that nerdy.