Merry Christmas

Christmas is a horrible time of year for the infertile.  It’s all about family and kids and happiness.  I’ve spent the last few years just getting through the holidays and not enjoying them at all.  Going through the motions really.  I’m not going to tell any of you still in the trenches to “hang in there” or to be “patient” and keep fighting.  I’m a realist and I know that not everyone gets a happy ending… and that sucks.  And makes the holidays that much more unbareable.  I’m eternally grateful to have the best Christmas present I could ever have.  I am one of the lucky ones.  To everyone out there, whatever you are battling, I wish you peace and for joy to find your heart.

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MAX 2013 (99 of 119)


Birth Story

Somehow, 3 weeks and some change have slipped away from me!  But I want to make sure I tell Max’s story of entering the world.

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I had my doctor’s appointment on November 28.  I was so annoyed that I had to make yet another trip to Hamilton that was for a check up and not to have my baby!  The doc did a check and I was 2-3 cm dilated, so he did another stretch and sweep.  We also booked my induction.  According to them, I was 40 weeks and 2 days (my calculations put me two days ahead of them based on an IVF calculator).  I was scheduled for induction the following Thursday — December 5 — my husband’s birthday.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to keep Max cooking for another week!

At about 6:30am the next morning, I woke up to pee and discovered that I was having my “bloody show”.  I texted my doula but we both agreed to not get too excited, because there had been lots of signs over the last week that resulted in nothing.  I started having contractions shortly afterwards but they were very sporatic.  Although I was a little freaked out, I sent my husband to work because we didn’t want to waste one of his precious days off for nothing.  I spent the next several hours tracking contractions with my app and trying to be comfortable — which wasn’t happening.  I forced myself to eat, knowing that I wouldn’t be allowed to eat once we got to the hospital.  And basically wandered around my house getting through contractions.  At about 1pm, I called Labour and Delivery at the hospital to get their opinion as to when I should come in — and you are supposed to call ahead of time to warn them anyways.  I had an hour drive ahead of me, so I was a little scared of leaving things too long — for fear of delivering on the highway, but also because my most comfortable position was walking or standing — impossible in the car!  Because my contractions were still unevenly spaced (5, 9, 13 minuutes type thing), they encouraged me to stick it out.  C got home from work about 2 o’clock and we chatted while contractions continued.  Shortly after 3pm, I called the hospital again and while they were still fine to let me keep going at home, we made the decision to come in.

It was a great day for the drive.  The roads were bare and the sun was shining.  Traffic was mostly smooth until we got nearly to Hamilton.  I was very uncomfortable in the car and I was glad there was only a little traffic as we neared Hamilton.  We arrived at L&D and checked into triage.  They hooked me up to the monitors to check the contractions and baby’s heart rate.  It took some time, but eventually around 6pm, the doc came in to do the internal check and discovered I was 8cm dilated!  I was getting progressively more uncomfortable and they asked me about drugs.  I spoke with the anethesiologist about an epidural, but everyone was really encouraging me to keep going without drugs since I’d made it to 8cm with relative ease.  Since I wanted as natural a birth as possible, I kept going… knowing I could get the epidural later if I wanted.  From there, I was admitted and off we went  to the birthing room and laboured.

I really wanted to try the tub for pain relief, or at least a shower, but the hospital had some sort of issue and had no hot water!!  So I basically sat on the side of the hospital bed and laboured for the next 4 hours.  I had a fantastic nurse and my doula was a life saver.  C was basically clueless but responded well to directions when the nurse or the doula told him to do something!  Poor guy told me later that he just felt so helpless to assist me with the pain and discomfort.  I was exhausted after four hours of hard labour and very much ready for Max to get out.  I kept telling him that with every contraction — “Max get out!”.  The nurse made me go on my hands and knees after doing an internal and seeing that I was almost fully dilated.  This position really got things going.

They had to break my water for me — neither C nor I can remember exactly when they did this.  When they did, they discovered some green in the fluid which meant that Max had pooped.  They explained that this would mean that the Pediatric team would need to be present for his birth and that they would whisk him over to the baby station to suction his lungs.  They also said that there would be extra people on deck in case his shoulders got stuck… a common thing with babies who are larger (at my ultrasound the week before, they estimated 9lbs, 4 oz).   I pushed for about 45 minutes.  I think this was the best part.  It hurt but in a different way.  The contractions during the hard labour part made me feel like my whole body was heaving — the way your body does when you’re throwing up… only way more powerful.  The pushing felt like we were almost there.  The doula and the nurse were so encouraging and telling me that he had lots of hair.  I just wanted him out and gave it all I had.  They had me stop as it came time for him to be delivered and in came the calvary.  There must have been at least a dozen people in that room!  Out he came, and they whisked him over to suction his lungs.  Because of that, C did not get to cut his cord.  I don’t remember him crying but he did cry, I just kept asking if he was okay.  C was with him at the baby station across the room and he said that when they were done suctioning, they did the weight/clean up and started laughing.  That’s when they pointed out that Max was a whopping 11lbs 5oz!  When they told me, my jaw dropped to the floor.   That’s one big baby that just came out of me!  No stuck shoulders either.  And only one flowing stitch on the inside!  I was the talk of labour and delivery for doing it all without drugs.

They brought Max over and laid him on my chest.  It was hard to give him a good cuddle because I had 3 IV lines stuck in me that restricted the movement of my arms.  But I kissed his wet little head and it was the best damn feeling in the whole world.  But then things took a bit of a turn because I couldn’t deliver the placenta.  They left it for a little while and honestly, I was completely oblivious to what was happening because I was so caught up in the amazement of finally having my living, breathing son on my chest.  They took him from me to bring him to the nursery while they dealt with the placenta.  It basically wasn’t coming out.  They talked to me about a couple of options but if they couldn’t get it, they would need to rush me to the OR for a D&C.  The doctor said that she could go in and get it manually but that it would hurt.   I gave her the go-ahead and in she went to get it.  It was the most painful part of the whole experience.  She told me afterwards that she was in there “up to her elbow”, which meant I would need some anti-biotics just in case to ward of infection.  I guess I continued to bleed and shortly after that, my blood pressure dropped really low — 60-something over 40-something.  Turns out my bladder was full and hiding a piece of missed placenta.  So in went the cathetar to drain my bladder, which eventually led to the retrieval of the missed piece of placenta.

This is whole placenta business sent C over the edge because he basically had flashbacks to what happened when I was in hospital with Abby.  Thankfully, he was told to leave the room and the doula stayed with me and agreed to keep him up to date.  It was a painful experience for me but it was a terrifying experience for C.  But once they got the placenta, everything was fine.  They monitored me for the next little while and eventually took me to my room by hospital bed because when I tried to sit up to get in the wheelchair, everything got real spinny and my ears were ringing.  I joked that I was just lazy and wanted to travel in style to my room.  When I got to my room, C went for some food.  I had a ginger ale and a little container of cheese, crackers and grapes.  It was the most delicious food ever.

Max had to stay in the neonatal nursery due to low blood sugar.  Unfortunately, they gave him formula by bottle.  When I finally got to see him, it was noon the next day.  And he also had a soother stuck in his mouth.  We got him in our room a few hours later, only to find out that he had jaundice.  And while he could stay in our room, he had to be in the phototherapy box.  He was in the “tanning booth” for 48 hours.  We were only allowed to take him out to feed and change him.  It sucked.  And I think it messed with my milk supply too.  We’re still battling that.

We were finally released from the hospital on Wednesday.  It was a long stay at the hospital.  And hospital beds are damn uncomfortable.  We had to go back the very next day for a final jaundice check but we were just happy to get sprung.

And that’s our story.  We finally got our take home baby.

 

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** I mentioned in my “welcome” post that I was proud of my body.  After the infertilty, all the failed treatments and the profound failure of my body in carrying Abby, I was always waiting for bad things to happen.  I had a great pregnancy.  I was healthy.  And I birthed a healthy, HUGE, baby boy naturally.  I felt vindicated.  Like this was me giving infertility the finger.  I won this one, bitch.


Welcome Baby

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Meet Maxwell Robert. Our beautiful rainbow entered the world on Friday, November 29 at 11:06pm. He’s living up to his nickname, Bubba, because he weighed in at 11lbs, 5 oz! He was born vaginally with no drugs!! So proud of him and of my body, but more about that later.

He is healthy despite some initial troubles with blood sugar, and now some jaundice that is keeping us in hospital. He is absolutely perfect and we are in love with this boy!


Due Date and Other Things

It’s here.  My estimated due date.  I’m completely shocked that we’re going past the due date.  I was absolutely convinced Bubba would be early.. convinced!  And now, his legacy is that he will be late… like his momma.  I’m always late.  I have horrible time management — actually it’s more like time estimation — things take longer than I think they will and that’s what makes me late.  I’ll blame it on bad math.  I digress.  40 weeks pregnant and no baby exiting the ute yet.

I had my appointment on Thursday and I was 1.5cm dilated.  The doc did a stretch and sweep and by Friday night, I was losing more gobs of my mucus plug.  But no other progress really.  Lots of discomfort but no strong contractions.  Sigh.  I just want to meet my son.  I just want him to be here safe and sound.  The doc said they won’t induce me just because he’s a big baby, they’ll just let me go on my own or do a c-section if he gets too big.  I’m assuming they’ll induce at some point because he’s overdue, but I didn’t ask that question.  Sometimes it takes me a bit to process the information and then I think of the questions after my time is up!  I go back on Thursday — I told her I didn’t want to see her again unless she was delivering my baby.  The good news is, she’s on Labour & Delivery duty this week, so if Bubba hurries the heck up, maybe we’ll have her deliver him.  (Just to clarify — our care was shared between two MFMs — one male and one female — in case I’ve referred to the doc as “he” in the past).

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And now for the “other things”.  I don’t talk about much else other than infertility and pregnancy on this blog, but I need to talk about what else has been going on.  My dad is in the hospital.  He’s been living with us for 2 years — it was supposed to be a temporary arrangement while he was finishing up radiation treatment for lung cancer, but somehow a round of lung cancer, a round of colon cancer and a round of rheumatoid arthritis later, he’s still here.  He’s been unwell for the last 2-3 weeks with lots of fatigue and low energy — been sleeping excessively.  He had been to the doctor for blood and X-ray but was waiting to follow up next week at his physical.  His doctor is 1.5 hours away where he usually lives.  Anyways, on Tuesday night, he passed out in our hallway and we ended up calling 911 to have him taken to hospital.  There’s a lot of details that I won’t go into so as not to bore you, but they don’t know what’s wrong.  He’s had good days and bad days but they have not been able to provide a diagnosis.  We’ve been at the hospital everyday.  Today, they called at 6:30am and told me he had a rough night and was found wandering the halls disoriented.  When we visited today, he claimed to be fine “if the nurses would just leave him alone” and didn’t have any recollection of being disoriented through the night.  He had very low oxygen and they were concerned about a blood clot so they’ve been giving him Heparin.  Today, he refused the heparin.  And he has refused the CT scan they want to do on his chest and his head.  And despite not being himself, he’s allowed to make these decisions because he hasn’t been declared incompetent.  The nurses were fantastic in explaining things to us, but basically, they’ll just make him comfortable and if he dies, he dies.  So I went in and read him the riot act.  40 weeks pregnant and basically yelling at my father that he needs to do what the doctors tell him or he will die and never meet his grandson.  When we left, he had agreed to the heparin and the CT scan, but who knows what will happen when we are not there.  Because he also told the nurses not to call us with any updates.  I get that he has rights and I know you have to be fairly sick to be declared incompetent, but this is ridiculous.  If he were to get a diagnosis of something serious and decided not to pursue treatment because maybe survival rates were low, I appreciate that.  But to not do the testing, because you think the nurses are bothering you and because the CT scan gunk made you sick?  These are not the decisions of a rational man.

I’m angry that this is happening.  It’s all falling to me because no one else is local.  My energy should be solely focussed on my son right now.  I had a mini-meltdown when we left the hospital today — because I’m terrified of the stress hurting my baby.  I just want to relax and concentrate on having a healthy baby.  I don’t want daily trips to the house of sick people.  I don’t want phone calls at the wee hours of the morning.  This just sucks.  The happiest time of our lives is being marred by dad being sick.

So that’s the other stuff.  I have lots of real life peeps who read my blog and I just wanted to let everyone know what’s been going on.  And to vent and bitch a little.  Thanks for “listening”.


Still hanging in there

Bubba Watch 2013 continues.  I’m 39 weeks today.  I was absolutely positive he would come early and so it feels like his arrival is taking forever!  But in reality, he still has a full week left to cook.  I’ve crossed over the line and am now ready for him to come.  I will miss the awesome parts of pregnancy, but I’m starting to get uncomfortable.  My biggest complaint is this pulled ligament thing in my belly.  I thought initially that it was a foot or something poking me, but it’s not.  Whenever I stand for any length of time, it kills and I need to sit.  It resolves when I sit but it really limits my activity.  I can barely make it through preparing dinner or going grocery shopping without a rest.  It sucks because I feel like I should be walking and doing more, but I can’t.  That’s really my biggest problem/discomfort, so it’s really not that bad.

My body is definitely starting to get ready for birth though.  At my doctor’s appointment on Thursday, my cervix was soft but not dilated at all… so no stretch and sweep for me.. which was kind of okay because it sounds unpleasant.  She also noted that baby was nice and low because she could feel his head… which, quite frankly, weirded me out.  I know he’s low because I can feel him borrowing down in my pelvis, but to think that she could feel his head?  Weird!  I’ve been having Braxton Hicks contractions like crazy for awhile now, my lower back is starting to hurt and today, big news, a glob of snot looking substance exited my vagina.  Reminded me of the good ol’ TTC days of snot-like cervical mucous.  Hopefully that was the beginning of my mucous plug.

I’m excited and surprisingly, not that nervous.  I’m curious to know what the pain will be like and how I will manage it.  I don’t have a “birth plan” other than GET HIM OUT ALIVE.  I would like to not have a c-section and I would like to give it a go without drugs.  But what the hell do I know?  Obviously, if a c-section is needed because there is some sort of problem or his giant shoulders get stuck, then they will do what they need to do.  But what if I end up getting induced?  I’m likely going to need some drugs.  Or I might just need some drugs anyways.  I have no vision of how this is supposed to go, which is probably a good thing.  My only anxiety is getting to the hospital… which really involves knowing when labour has started in earnest.  From what I’ve read, I will “just know”… so I’m hoping that is true.  It’s an hour drive to the hospital sans inclimate weather and traffic.  I also don’t want my baby born on the side of Highway 6.

So that’s where I’m at:  39 weeks, grateful, excited, uncomfortable and ready to meet my son.


Nursery Tour

At long last, the nursery is complete.  It’s been mostly done for a a couple of weeks but I was waiting on my custom made crib set before taking pictures to share.  I’m quite pleased with the way everything looks and I hope we’ve created a bright and cozy room to snuggle Bubba in!

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Dandelion wall decal… because I made a wish and Bubba is making it come true.  Also a tribute to Abby — she’s watching over her baby brother.

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I made this art.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a song I play for Bubba on my iPhone on a regular basis.  It was the song that was playing when he booted the iPhone off my belly for the first time.  We like the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version.

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We re-did this closet so there could be an organization system.  It’s pretty great because the shelves can move into different configurations as he (and his clothes) grow.

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A photo I snagged off of a FB acquaintance many, many moons ago — it’s a Momma (or daddy) elephant and a baby elephant.  It’s a photo they took while on safari somewhere in Africa.

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This wall will also have his name in orange letters… but you can’t know that yet.

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Cute little booties ornament that was attached to a shower gift.  I thought they looked sweet hanging on the closet door knob.

 


37 Weeks

For all intents and purposes, Bubba is now full-term.  FULL FUCKING TERM!!!  He did as his momma asked, and stayed put until 37 weeks.  There’s still that doubting part of me that is cautious in being overly optimistic (old crazy habits die hard), knowing that bad things can still happen, but he’s ready to be born now!

I have very mixed feelings as we near the end of this time together.  I’m beyond excited to meet him and find out what he looks like and snuggle him in my arms.  And I’m feeling ready-ish.  I feel like I’ve got all the things he *needs* (totally spoiled baby – even bought him a wipes warmer) and everything is set up, etc.  So I feel just about as prepared as one can feel.  I just want him here safe and sound.  But there is a part of me who doesn’t want to stop being pregnant.  I’ve been lucky — pregnancy has been good to me.  Despite all my anxieties and waiting for the other shoe to drop, things have went very well.  And I’ve loved being pregnant.  I love being able to feel Bubba moving about and giving me kicks and wiggles.  I’ve enjoyed watching/feeling him respond to my belly rubs, playing music and reading to him.  It’s a very special gift to be able to grow a life in your body and it never ceases to amaze me.  I don’t know if I’ll get another opportunity so it’s like I need/want to savour every last moment.

We had our check up today and Bubba continues to grow on his same trajectory… making him a whopping 8 lbs, 7 oz.  That’s the only reason I want him out sooner rather than later — I don’t want him to get so big that I can’t give vaginal delivery a try.  The only thing that matters is that he makes his arrival safely, but I really don’t want a c-section.  My physician said they will let me go to 11 lbs without a scheduled c-section so we’ve got some space… but Madam Cervix measured at 3cm today, so I wonder how much longer Bubba plans to keep cooking.  He’s happy as a clam in there.  Scored a perfect 8/8 on his bio-physical exam.

I’m trying to just go with the flow and trust that the “little” guy will make his appearance when the time is right.  He’s done well so far, so I’ve got to trust him.

In other news, we did a maternity photo shoot yesterday.  It was another notch on the normal belt to tick off.  My friend did them and she did an awesome job.  I’m so glad to have the opportunity to capture these moments and so grateful to her for doing them!

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Where do all the bloggers go?

The thing about infertility blogs, is that eventually, hopefully, the blogger resolves in some way and becomes a mom.  Or the opposite happens, and she stops treatment and makes a decision to live child-free.  But something else also happens, the blogger stops blogging.  Either she becomes completely entrenched in her new and busy role as a mom and doesn’t have the time to provide updates, or the blog gets abandoned because it’s no longer relevant.  I’ve followed bloggers who have stopped treatment who have also walked away from their blogs because it’s a painful reminder of all they’ve been through and they are looking to move past all the hurt infertility has brought upon their lives.

Another cohort of bloggers continues to blog, either by going private or by moving on to a different site where the mommy blogging can be separate from the infertility blogging.

As I sift through my list of blogs that I follow, the majority have become ghost-towns.  Most because they have brought baby home.  It leaves me wondering what will become of this blog.  Will I have time to keep writing?  Will I want to keep writing?  I’ve been less diligent in my blogging in the last year or more anyways.  Am I done with blogging?  Does the “journey” end with Bubba’s (universe-willing) safe arrival?

I don’t know.  I will commit to this:  I will write a final post if I decide to abandon ship.  I won’t just disappear.  I don’t have a huge “reader-ship” but I do feel like I owe that to the folks who have followed along and supported me.

Thoughts?  Are you a blogger who has faced this?  Is facing this?  Discuss!  Even if you’re not a blogger… discuss!


October 18

Five years ago today, we made it official.  After 8 years together, we threw the party and danced and I looked like a beautiful princess.

Two years ago today, I was PUPO.  Incubating the only 2 embryos that came of our first IVF cycle.  Terrified that my test would be negative after such a crappy retrieval/fertilization outcome.  Little did I know… the heartache was just beginning.

One year ago today, I had 13 more eggs sucked out of my body.  I was laid up on the couch and treated to “reward sushi” for my egg growing efforts.  Again, more heartache would follow as the fresh embryos returned to my uterus from that cycle wouldn’t stick.

But little did I know, that one year ago today, my little Bubba was made.  Today, I sit on the cusp of 35 weeks with his wiggly, squiggly giant self nestled safe inside my body.

C and I may be going our separate ways tonight to go out with friends (we’ll do the dinner thing tomorrow), but it’s truly a happy anniversary this time.

 

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Lucky

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I feel like I should write a cliche post about how “thankful” I am for the “blessings” this year has brought and how “grateful” I am.  And while those things are absolutely true, what I feel is lucky.

I feel lucky to have made it this far — 34 weeks, 1 day.  I feel lucky that things have gone reasonably well and all signs point to having a living baby in a few short weeks.

I feel lucky to have had the chance to be pregnant.  I’ve loved every moment.  Okay, the baby foot poking my guts and causing me so much pain I can’t bend over wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but I’m lucky to be able to share that story.  I know that not every infertility story ends with a pregnancy or a baby.  I feel so lucky to have the experience of being pregnant.  I love the quiet moments when it’s just Bubba and I and he’s kicking and rolling about.  I watch my belly move and distort and it makes me laugh with pure joy.  That’s my son in there.  My body is growing my baby boy and that makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the world.