Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome, 2013!

2012 was definitely an interesting year!

In January I was diagnosed with endometriosis  and my husband and I made the decision to hold off treatment until June. We were expecting that the earliest possible month for us to even have a chance of getting pregnant would be July, and that was if surgery and recovery went perfectly. I spent January through the beginning of May feeling mostly sad and hopeless (and, let's be honest, angry, jealous, impatient...). To help me through the waiting period, I began really paying attention to what I put in and on my body. I went officially gluten free, ate more organic produce, stopped using bath and body products that contained icky chemicals, and started a new vitamin regimen (how hard is it to keep buying prenatal vitamins without actually being pregnant? I was thankful for a break from those!).

In April, my Grandma called me on tax day (I don't know why that stands out to me so much!) and told me she had been praying for us and talking to her grandmother (so, my great-great-grandmother) and that "these next few days are THE days, if it is convenient for you to spend some time with your husband." I kind of giggled and she got annoyed, telling me that she wasn't joking! I didn't even tell my husband about that conversation, but it ended up that he was home from work earlier than usual several days that week which allowed for us to "spend some time together."

On May 4, I wrote this post about the stress of infertility and talking to the surgery scheduler about my laparoscopy. Little did I know that on the very next day, I would take a pregnancy test and would see my first ever "Pregnant" on the display. We were in utter disbelief, to say the least! And as for the timing, this little baby that gave us the biggest shock of our lives was conceived the week of tax day!

Now, on December 31, 2012 we are 13 days away from my due date. One year after I was finally diagnosed with the cause of our infertility. To say we know we are blessed doesn't even begin to describe how we feel.

As we usher out 2012, a hard year for so many, I am hopeful that 2013 will be a better year!

A non-fertility related update that some of you may enjoy...remember this Kindergartner from last spring? Well, the Monday before Christmas vacation began she came into my classroom with the biggest, cheesiest grin and said, "Mrs. BiiiiiiiIIIIIiiiiiiiird!" I noticed the change right away...she was missing a tooth! "Oh, A!" I said, "You lost a tooth!" "My first tooth!" she exclaimed through laughter. We had an extended conversation about how long she had waited, how exciting it was now that it happened, and what the Tooth Fairy left for her in exchange for that perfect little tooth (a golden dollar and a My Little Pony, in case you were wondering!). THAT, friends in the blogospere, is the kind of moment I dream of 2013 being chock-full of!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Roles reversed

The Bee has a cousin who is about 5 years older than I am. She and her husband have been married for 10 years and decided back then that they didn't want children. About 2.5 years ago, shortly after The Bee and I started trying to conceive, they also made the decision that they wanted children after all. Things have not been easy for them. I know they have tried clomid and at least one IUI. His cousin will be undergoing ovarian drilling for her PCOS and then they will try naturally for a few months before moving on to IVF.

I felt awful this Christmas when I found out that The Bee's cousin and her husband requested that her family (The Bee's aunt, uncle, 2 other cousins and their husbands and 2 children of said cousins) not spend Christmas with The Bee's family because it would be too hard with 2 babies (my nieces who were both born last summer) and myself (being 8-ish months pregnant) there. I know what it is like to be in those shoes and I hate that I am now a cause of heartache for someone. As if that weren't hard enough, the cousin was fine with the rest of extended family being with them on Christmas and invited The Bee's other aunt and uncle and grandparents (who were already invited by my mother-in-law, as it goes every year). We were specifically excluded. I wish I could remind his cousin that of me and my 3 sisters-in-law, 3 of us has trouble getting pregnant. One of them is currently struggling with secondary infertility (after 2 IUI's last summer, she and her husband are taking a break to focus on their health).

In November, I sent some of my resources to The Bee's cousin via his aunt. I sent my Circle and Bloom CDs, my yoga for increased fertility dvds, and a few books that I thought she might like to look at if she hadn't already. Because I didn't get to talk to her, I sent an e-mail letting her know that these resources helped me while in the time that The Bee and I were ttc (mainly with stress management). I told her that we know how painful it is and that we are so hopeful for them, keeping them in our prayers that their time will be soon.

I am not sure what the point of this post is. I just needed to get it out there. Infertlilty sucks and I wish no one had to experience it. For pregnant infertiles, the pain of infertility lingers and makes pregnancy scarier than it seems for most women who got pregnant easily. Pregnancy can also be a source of guilt...instead of asking "Why them and not me?" the question becomes, "Why me and not these other couples who are still struggling?"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

37 weeks + 4 days

At the appointment today:

  • I weighed 138.8lbs 
  • My blood pressure was good
  • Ponyo's heart rate was 145 beats per minute
  • I was told that Ponyo has definitely moved down since my appointment last week (I could have told them that...starting Sunday I have been taking way more trips to the restroom because I am pretty sure my bladder is being squished flat!)
  • I am still 50% effaced.
  • I am now 1cm dilated
The doctor said that she couldn't make any guarantees, but she doubts that Ponyo will be born within the next week (great news to my ears!). 

Now that I am in serious crunch time, I am FINALLY packing my hospital bag tonight. I have most of the items sitting on my dresser, I just need to put them in the suitcase! I also need to get my act together and get my curriculum written for my sub (so hard to focus on that right now but I have to do it!).

I hope everyone had wonderful Christmas celebrations with loved ones! Only 5 more days left of 2012!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ponyo update!

In all of the chaos, I forgot that my appointment was today (not yesterday!). Thankfully, I checked the schedule on my phone Wednesday night so we didn't show up at the clinic 24 hours early :) 

At the appointment today, we found out that:
  • Ponyo is head down and face down (facing my back) - the perfect position for being born! 
  • Her estimated weight is about 6lbs
  • She is measuring 27th percentile
  • Her heart rate was 170bpm (she was kicking around and squirming as usual! They said 170 is perfect for when she is active)
  • I am 50% effaced and 0cm dilated - Great news! Since I am considered full term tomorrow, she can really come any time and be healthy outside of my body, but there is no indication of her arrival within the next week or so (especially if I try not to overdo it with activities on my feet).
  • All of the new aches and pains (Braxton Hicks contractions, lower back pain, shooting pains in my inner thighs) are normal for this point in pregnancy and are likely caused by Ponyo starting to engage into my pelvis. First babies tend to start doing this earlier than babies in subsequent pregnancies, so she is right on track!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1 day to go...

until Christmas vacation

I am SO excited! Last Friday, I chaperoned a field trip to a theater that is very close to my school. It is about a mile away, so instead of paying for busing, all of the K-4's, teachers, and parent chaperones walked. It was a lot harder than I expected. When I talked to The Bee that night and told him how tired I was from the 2 mile round trip he laughed and looked at my belly saying, "You are 8 months pregnant...of course it tired you out!" Since the field trip, I have started having Braxton Hicks contractions, which has me a little worried and uncomfortable. Everyone tells me that it is nothing to worry about, especially at 36 weeks along. Today I started having dull back pain, too, though, which makes me even more worried that Ponyo is making plans to arrive sooner than later. I don't want her to be born over Christmas break! I have been hoping that if I can make it through tomorrow, lots of rest and couch time over the following 13 days will keep her safe in my belly at least until I am 39 weeks on January 6. I need the 13 days off to finish preparing for my sub. My classroom is a mess (I am not the tidiest art teacher and it has been impossible to keep my room as clean as I want to leave it for my sub when art making has been in full swing up until today. I am taking it easy tomorrow...markers and crayons for my K's and cut paper and tape for my 6's).

After tomorrow, The Bee has forbidden me to go to school again until next Monday. My first day of break will be spent having our last ultrasound and seeing our little girl onscreen one more time before we get to meet her, going out to lunch with my Mom, getting my hair done, and trying to do some Christmas shopping. Friday will be finishing Christmas shopping and working on curriculum mapping/making sub plans while laying on the couch. Saturday and Sunday will be spent with The Bee and hopefully we'll get the nursery more set up...we have plenty to hang on the walls and still need to wash and put away most of the the clothing for Ponyo. Thank goodness that The Bee finished the painting a few weeks ago and shampooed the carpeting a week and a half ago. Her room is really coming together :)

So, 1 day to go! I can do this!

*35 week photo posted under pregnancy tab. We missed 31-34 and 36...just too much time away from home to make time for pictures.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I have a sub, hallelujah!

We wrapped up the interviews last night and my principal made the offer to my #1 pick this afternoon...and she accepted the position! She is a licensed art teacher and local jewelry artist who is about my age and is getting back into teaching after taking a hiatus for a few years to focus on her own artwork and then staying home with her son for 16 months. She seems very knowledgeable about art content and processes and has 2 years experience in the classroom.

Now I need to get down to business planning for her, doing one last supply order for the year, and tidying my classroom. It feels so good to know who I am planning for while I will be away!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A weekend off the grid

The Bee and I turned down two invitations this weekend so that we have our first commitment-free weekend  in like 5 or 6 weeks. We are really not that popular and we are certainly not so cool that our presence is in great demand, life has just been busier than usual for the past two months. The poor man is still at work (at 8:30pm on a Friday night) and we only got to have dinner together once this whole week (yesterday at 8:30pm). I brought home a TON of work (art to photograph for student online portfolios, art to grade, and lesson plan supplies for my long term sub). The Bee will be bringing work home, too. It stinks that it will be a working weekend, but we are both just looking forward to being together and being home!

We feel selfish for telling people not to bug us this weekend, but we are both huge stress balls right now. Overly tired, under the weather, and missing each other terribly. I have been so stressed because of work this week and was so upset this morning that I threw up my breakfast before heading to school. We still don't have a long term sub and yesterday, after I expressed my anxiety to my principal. he told me that "we are right on track" for finding someone and that they will have "plenty of time to work with [me] " before Ponyo arrives. "They will have almost a month to work with you!" he told me with enthusiasm. We have interviewed one person (that was before Thanksgiving) and she didn't end up working out. Now we have interviews set up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week.We have 8 days of school before Christmas vacation. After break, we have 8 days of school before my due date. My sub isn't even supposed to start shadowing  me until January 3rd. My principal is making some huge assumptions about when Ponyo will make her debut. She'll be considered full term at 37 weeks, which means December 22nd. There haven't been any signs of her deciding to arrive early, but there is a chance that she could be here before school resumes January 2! I am hoping that she decides to stay safe in my belly at least until her due date and I would love to be at school through January 11, but come on! Let's be realistic here...all three teachers at my school that had babies last spring gave birth early. Two of them were one week early and the other was 3 weeks early! And I'll be damned if he thinks I will be working with my sub over Christmas break! No way! I am going to be preparing our home and getting MY loose ends tied up for work, NOT training someone else! I still have so much planning to do for whoever will be in my classroom!

Sorry for sounding like a huge whiner. I really am looking forward to the weekend! I'll be checking in on all of you next week and wish you all wonderful weekends with loved ones!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Growth scan results

So, after 9 days of worry and many tears in front of family, friends and co-workers, we finally had our growth scan last Thursday. The Bee came with me (that man is so supportive, I can't believe how lucky I am most days!) and the ultrasound tech got Ponyo up on the screen right away. She was moving a lot and, once again, would not let us have a good view of her face. Her head and abdomen were measured multiple times to get an average measurement.

After all was said and done, we were told that she weighs about 4.11lbs, measures at the 36th percentile, and there was plenty of fluid present. She was measuring about 2 days behind schedule, but they said that at this point in pregnancy, it is nothing of concern. In addition, the tech and my doctor both said that, given my height and pre-pregnancy weight, she is the perfect size. The tech also told us that she already has a mind of her own. As I mentioned, she was turning her face away from us (and/or keeping her hands up by her face). She kicked the ultrasound probe more than once, too. I thought she was being kind of naughty (or "spirited" as I tend to a refer to my students who are less than compliant) but when we reported the good news to my mother-in-law she said that Ponyo is just shy, "and does that surprise you with you and The Bee for parents?" she asked. I guess it shouldn't because we were both shy kids!

After the tech told us that she looked great, I started to cry out of sheer relief. Then she looked around a little more and started laughing because she could see Ponyo's hair! It was long enough that it was sticking up off of her head like a fuzzy little halo. We also got to watch her practice breath for a little while. The tech said that she was doing a great job and that if we had done a non-stress test she would have passed with flying colors.

Despite the wonderful news, I am still finding plenty to worry about. Only about 6 weeks until my due date and there is far too much to do for work and home. We still don't have a long term sub for my job and people keep making less than helpful comments about possible candidates. Like, "You better hope they don't find someone better than you" and "They probably want to take your job from you." Isn't there some rule about not saying rude things to overly emotional women? There should be. I am getting really frustrated with 1. feeling guilty about taking time off for my family and 2. feeling worried that my job will be lost because I am trying to put my family first at the beginning of this new phase in our lives.

Thank you again for all of the well wishes and prayers - I know they have made a difference!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sick day :(

First of all, thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts for Ponyo! They mean so much to us!

Today I am home either with a sinus infection or just a bad cold + being overly tired. I woke up with The Bee this morning to pack his lunch then went back to bed until 9. I am feeling a little bit better already so I am leaning towards the bad cold + being overly tired. My ultrasound is today at 2:40, and while we are excited to see Ponyo again, we wish it weren't under stressful circumstances.

So far today I:
1. woke up and packed The Bee's lunch
2. slept until 9
3. ate breakfast
4. checked my school e-mail and found out that our school pool did not win the Powerball drawing last night...bummer
5. popped onto facebook and found out that 2 of our very good friends who have been dating for 5 years are no longer together. I am very sad about this.
6. finally finished grading my middle schoolers for trimester 1

Now I am off to shower and do some cleaning around home before I leave to pick up The Bee and head to our appointment. I am going to take it pretty easy today because I plan to be back in the art room tomorrow and I don't want to take any more sick days!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving and a prayer request

I am up baking gluten free pumpkin bread and The Bee is still snoozing in bed. We'll be heading to my Grandma's in a few hours and I am looking forward to a day filled with family and food! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday ahead of you as well!

Yesterday I had an appointment. I have only gained 1 pound in the last 2 weeks (they expected me to gain at least 2). Ponyo's heart rate was good again, which was a relief because we got some possibly bad news. I am measuring small on the fundal height measurement.

Fundal height is "a measure of the size of the uterus used to assess fetal growth and development during pregnancy

It is measured from the top of the mother's uterus to the top of the mother's pubic bone in centimeters. It should match the fetus' gestational age in weeks within 1 to 3 cm, e.g., a pregnant woman's uterus at 26 weeks should measure 23 to 29 cm. This is valid from 24 weeks.

Most caregivers will record their patient's fundal height on every prenatal visit. Measuring the fundal height can be an indicator of proper fetal growth and amniotic fluid development." source
Dr. D didn't tell me what my measurement was, just that it was "a tad small." She said it could have something to do with Ponyo's position. The funny little girl is currently transverse (stretched from left to right in my uterus instead of being head up or head down). This has caused my belly to be wide like a watermelon for the past week or so. The Bee and I knew she was in this position starting last Saturday because when she moves, we can see and feel body parts on my right side high by my ribs and on my left side lower, kind of near my hip bone. Needless to say, at almost 33 weeks, we hope that she will change position to head down soon. The longer she remains transverse, the more likely a c-section becomes. So, friends on the internet, if you could pray for Ponyo, we would appreciate it so much! We are praying that the growth scan we have scheduled for next Thursday shows:

1. a healthy, growing baby girl
2. enough amniotic fluid 
3. that she is making her way into a head down position

Of course, the most important thing is #1. If amniotic fluid is low, though, it could mean I need to be induced early. If she remains transverse, it could mean an impending c-section instead of the natural childbirth I was imagining. If both 2 and 3 are a problem...then I am going to lose it. That would mean a c-section before she is full term (which I know they will try to avoid at all costs). 

In the meantime, I will be trying to get her to spin on her own. I am sure you wonder how, right? Well, I'll be spending some time on my hands and knees after work (great time to scrub the floors and tubs!), trying to do some yoga positions that may help (downward dog and child's pose) and I may try these moves from the site Spinning Babies:

This video shows an inversion you can do off the edge of your couch. Looks fun, don't you think?

And here is a picture of the breech tilt:

So, that is where we are Thanksgiving morning, 2012. So thankful for each other and our baby, but worried that she is not growing and wondering if she'll move to the position we need her to in order to avoid a c-section. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baby class, facebook, and being whiny

Yesterday The Bee and I attended our first baby class. It was through the parenting center affiliated with the hospital we will be delivering Ponyo at. We were there from 9am-3:30pm for the "All-in-one express" that briefly goes over:

  • The birth process
  • Coping strategies for labor, including pain medication
  • Cesarean birth
  • Postpartum healing
  • Starting out at breastfeeding, and how to recognize signs of success
  • Introducing a bottle
  • Newborn care procedures in the hospital
  • Signs of illness, and when to call the doctor
  • Giving a bath
  • Newborn care: diapering, swaddling and soothing, taking a temperature, and buckling the baby into the car seat
In a few weeks we'll be taking a labor skills class, too, that goes more in depth than the class we took yesterday. In some ways, the class made me feel more confident. I had previously read a lot of the information we went over. It also made me nervous, though. We watched a video of a natural childbirth (which is how I hope things go for us) and seeing the pain and tension in the woman's body made me cry. I think I can get through it, but I am afraid that it will be harder than I am imagining. I am hoping to avoid all pain medications if possible because many times interfering with your body's natural progression can cause a chain reaction of other interventions. If labor and dilation are progressing well on their own, for example, an epidural can actually slow or halt the process which prompts doctors to give drugs to speed up labor again, which may or may not work well and could lead to more interventions, including a c-section.  

When we got home from the class I checked facebook for the details for a friend's birthday party we were going to attend later that night. I saw a post from my cousin that boiled my blood. He is 22 and his wife is 21. They celebrated their first wedding anniversary in September and are expecting their first child on December 24th. The baby was a total surprise and I remember how finding out just about broke me last spring. Well, yesterday he posted a status that said, "Were the youngest people in our birthing class. Awkward" Things like this and the massive time sink that facebook can be are precisely why I have been limiting the time I spend on the social networking site. Even though I am expecting a baby now, I am still sensitive to stupid things people say and do when it comes to pregnancy, babies, etc. The spelling and punctuation was all his, btw. I wanted to respond with something like, "I bet you were also the only ones in your birthing class working part time jobs and living rent free with your grandmother." I can be such a snot sometimes, no? I resisted, though. No reason to start a family feud, especially right before I'll be seeing them at my Grandma's on Thursday for Thanksgiving. 

Anyhow, things (besides my attitude) are going pretty well. We are extremely overbooked (who isn't this time of year, though?!) for the next few weekends and I am feeling pretty rough from lack of sleep. For example, last weekend I had my art educators conference AND my henna artists convention. I was an art teacher by day and henna artist by night and then it was back to the grindstone Monday morning. This weekend we had our baby class, a roller girls bout (a friend from high school recently became a roller girl [how cool is that?!]), and a karaoke birthday party for another friend's 30th birthday. This morning we have our newest niece's baptism. Thank goodness I only have 2 days of school this week! But then it is on to: 

Wednesday: Thanksgiving food prep, trimester 1 report cards for school, prep for my bff's baby shower, 32 week doctor appointment
Thursday: Thanksgiving at my Grandma's followed by Thanksgiving at The Bee's aunt and uncle's
Friday: Food prep for my bff's shower, other baby shower prep, finish grading
Saturday: My best friend's baby shower (thankfully being co-hosted with her sister and another friend of ours)
Sunday: My baby shower (co-hosted by my sister and 2 friends)

I am glad I complained about this on my blog (although I apologize to all of you for my whiny-ness!) because seeing it in writing doesn't look as bad as the mental checklist I've had haunting me for the last several weeks. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The power of food

I had an appointment today. Ponyo's heart rate was 142 beats per minute. My weight gain and belly size are spot on for 30 weeks, 4 days. And my iron (hemoglobin level) was up to 11.3! When it was measured last month, it was borderline low (like 10.8 or something). I guess they like to see it above 11 and I got it there by changing my diet for the last month. Nothing major, just lots more spinach (I eat a spinach salad or green smoothie almost everyday), lots of broccoli with dinners, tons of nuts and seeds (especially almonds and sunflower nuts, yum!), and a healthy amount of legumes (mainly garbanzo beans...Ponyo has a dance party every time I eat anything with chickpeas!).

I also cut back on dairy a little, especially when I am eating iron rich foods. Did you know that calcium inhibits the body's ability to absorb iron? I learned that from the little cheat sheet they gave me at the clinic.  So, no more cheese on chili, burritos, or my baked potatoes with broccoli on top. Instead I've been sprinkling nutritional yeast on my food. Growing up, we used to sprinkle nutritional yeast on our chili all the time. Thankfully my Mom gave me a jar a few months ago, so I had it on hand, and now I am using it instead of just having it take up space in the fridge. It has a cheesy flavor but is much more awesome than cheese when it comes to vitamins:

Eating a heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast is like taking a high-potency B-vitamin complex. A serving will generally stock you up with a couple of days’ worth of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, and a substantial amount of folic acid. Nutritional yeast also packs a decent amount of fiber and protein into a pretty small, low-calorie package.  All in all, as cheesy-flavored toppings for popcorn and pizza go, it’s pretty impressive. (source)

It is win, win, win! I get to absorb my iron more efficiently, I get the satisfying taste of cheese (which I LOVE), and I get all those vitamins plus extra protein! Woo hoo! And nutritional yeast has no calcium in it whatsoever. Oh, and it is gluten free.

For anyone else struggling with low iron, eating foods rich in vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. So, I try to make sure that if I have a green smoothie, I include vitamin C rich fruits like mangoes or oranges in it. When I eat chili or a dish with garbanzo beans, I make sure there are tomatoes involved in the meal.

It seems that my body is very sensitive to what I put in it. Food and nutrition are such powerful things!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Long term sub position posted!

The position for my long term substitute was posted today! To say this makes me nervous is an understatement! I am sure what everyone tells me is true: once Ponyo arrives I won't stress about my job until it is time to go back next August! Right now I am worried that we won't find someone awesome and at the same time I am worried that whoever is hired for the last 5 months of the school year will be better at MY JOB than I am. I can't help it. I want to be wanted. I want to be missed. This job has been a huge (arguably a too huge) part of my life and identity for over 4 years now. I will still have a presence at school as I will continue to serve on the teacher leadership council while on leave. I am taking January off completely and starting in February it will be a commitment that requires me to attend 1 meeting a month and to lead the specialist meeting once a month. Not too bad. I figure it will get me out of the apartment (which will be no small feat in Minnesota in winter with a baby. Ugh to cold and snow) and provide good contact with my coworkers and long term sub without being over the top. I've already had multiple teachers offer to watch Ponyo for that 1 hour a month that I have to be in the meeting with the other teacher leaders and my principal. My team is excited to see her once a month at our meetings :) I hope that attending and leading the meetings will make the transition back to work easier next summer/fall since it will allow me to stay in the loop.

I am glad to be feeling as well as I do for 30 weeks. My sleep is starting to get a little bit funny. I am beat by 8pm or so and usually fall asleep on the couch by 9pm. Then I wake up between 11 and midnight and am wide awake for a couple of hours. Then I go to bed and wake up around 3 or 4 and lay in bed as long as I can stand (I try to stay in bed until my alarm goes off at 5:30 but I start to get stir crazy). The positive to the early wake time is that I have been getting to work before 7am, which gives me about an hour and a half of prep time before my first class starts. Since I am not exhausted from teaching in the morning, I get A LOT done and can leave school a bit earlier in the afternoon. I've been getting home between 4:30 and 5pm, which is so nice!

I am looking forward to this coming weekend. Friday and Saturday is my Art Educators Conference. There will be over 300 art teachers gathered to learn and network. It is always so much fun and refreshes my enthusiasm for my job as the year starts to take a toll on me. Also this weekend (Friday-Sunday) is my henna group's convention! So, by day I will be an art teacher and by night I will be a henna artist! So much fun! I have already had 2 henna artists ask to henna my belly, which will be neat.

Thinking of all of you (and trying to check in and comment on the weekends and weekdays if possible). Hope everyone has a great election day tomorrow!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Practical Joker

I am 29 weeks today! About 11 weeks to go and we still have so much to do. I think limiting my blog time and facebook time helped me be a lot more productive this week! Not reading all of the updates on your blogs was very hard, though! I think about you ladies everyday!

I had an appointment on Wednesday morning and Ponyo is doing well. Her heart rate was 163.

TMI warning...

On Thursday night Ponyo was a kicking fool. Starting at about 10:30pm it seemed that I started leaking... something. I convinced myself that Ponyo's enthusiastic movements were just wreaking havoc on my bladder and I was very slowly and unpleasantly leaking urine. The next morning it was still going on. I went to work Friday and taught my morning classes and then did recess duty. On my lunch break I called the clinic hoping they would say, "No worries! Sounds like you are just peeing on yourself!" Well, the nurse sort of freaked out (and freaked me out) when she said, "You need to come in right away. If you have a ruptured membrane you need to be hospitalized today." She transferred me to the appointment line and they got me an appointment at a clinic in another city (my clinic was booked for the day and my doctor was out of town).

I called my husband and let him know what was happening. I told him it was probably nothing so he didn't need to try to come to the appointment and that I would call him as soon as I knew more. I stopped in at the school office to let them know I needed to use half of a sick day and would cancel my only afternoon class. The office staff (who are truly wonderful) looked very concerned and asked what was going on. I started to cry as I told them and they started saying things like, "You are so far along, things will be fine! Even if she is born today!" Then I REALLY lost it! I can't have this baby today, I thought, She is much too small and our home isn't ready. My classroom isn't ready. We didn't even get to take the classes we are registered for.

I drove to the clinic and called my Mom on the way as she lives about 10 minutes from the clinic I was going to. She invited me to come over after the appointment and assured me everything would be okay! At the appointment the doctor watched my cervix for a little while (very uncomfortable!) to see if there was any pooling of fluid. Thankfully, she couldn't see any and my cervix was closed. They also did a ferning test (if the fluid swabbed from the cervix ferns, then they can tell there is amniotic fluid present) and it came back negative. When the doctor came to tell me the good news she was laughing and said, "Your baby is just kicking your bladder!" Thankfully she has stopped (for now, anyway) so I haven't experienced that unpleasant feeling since yesterday. Mostly, we are just glad that our little stinker is safe and healthy! Seems like we have a practical joker on our hands already!

(29 week photo posted under the pregnancy tab)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weekday hiatus

Due to what seems to be a never ending to do list, I'll be catching up on all of your blogs on the weekends for a little while. I know everyone feels this way sometimes and I am sure my anxiety will pass, but I need to get some work done for both my job and home. I have this growing sense of impending doom over the last few weeks. Not about Ponyo, we are thrilled about that part of our lives! Mainly about interviewing for long term subs, planning for said long term sub, handing my classroom and students over to someone who is probably a stranger! I am not sure exactly why this is what I am worried about, but it currently makes me more freaked out than the thought of giving birth.

I will be keeping all of you in my prayers as always and I look forward to catching up Saturday/Sunday (maybe Friday because I know this will be hard for me!).

Days like these

Days like these I wish I could stay in bed and snuggle with my husband instead of getting up to go to work. He got home at 11:30 last night (after a 14.5 hour day) and by then I had fallen asleep on the couch trying to wait up for him. Now I am up getting ready for a day at school and he is nestled in bed, sound asleep, as the rain pours down outside.

I hope things at his work slow down. I am not sure how long either of us can keep this up. He is sick (just a bad cold) and stressed from his workload and late nights. I am exhausted from trying to keep up with everything at home by myself (housework, cooking, grocery shopping, preparing for Ponyo) on top of working full-time as a teacher and being on my feet all day. It is slowly getting harder and harder as Ponyo grows. Carrying an extra 20+ pounds puts a lot of strain on a body and I just don't have the energy to spend much more time on my feet after teaching 7 classes and covering recess duty!

Enough whining on this Tuesday morning. I just miss my husband!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Third tri

Yesterday marked 27 weeks* for Ponyo, which means we made it to the third trimester! After all of those months (and years) of praying and hoping for a baby, I cannot believe that this is where we are today. According to my Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book (which I highly recommend, by the is my only baby/pregnancy related book aside from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding), Ponyo has a greater than 85% chance of survival if she decides to arrive right now. Of course, we still want her to stay put at least until the beginning of January!

She must know that she made it to another milestone because I am experiencing new and exciting aches and pains. The Bee was concerned yesterday when I was retrieving something from a low cupboard in the kitchen as I cooked dinner and all of the sudden I yelped and sat down on the floor. He rushed over to my aid, and asked what happened. This is so weird to share, but it might save someone some anxiety some totally felt like Ponyo kicked me in the backside (NOT a cheek, either, if you know what I mean). And it HURT! Additionally, I now require even MORE water to stay hydrated, which means more middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks. And I think the nesting instinct may be starting because I feel like I need to get everything done all at the same time! This doesn't work very well and so far has resulted in me starting a lot of things and then feeling overwhelmed and not getting much more done than some laundry and excessive cooking. I think I need to make a list and tackle one thing at a time so I can actually make some progress.

I am beyond thankful that things have been going so well so far. And like I said, we still (yes, STILL) can't believe we have been so incredibly blessed to be expecting Ponyo. We are praying for 3 more relatively uneventful months and the arrival of a healthy Ponyo in early 2013!

*I posted a 27 week photo. Week 26 was missed b/c my husband was out of town.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Amazing Bee

I just got home from work and noticed right away that The Bee cleaned the kitchen this morning before he left for work!

I immediately texted him: Thank you SO much for cleaning the kitchen! I love you, sweetie!

And he texted back: :) you are welcome! I could tell it was stressing you out. Can't wait to come home to you!

I didn't even share my anxiety over the mess with him. He just knows me so well:) How amazing is my husband?!


Over the past 3 weeks or so, I have woken up in a panic over several things. Most of the time they don't seem as daunting during the daytime, but at 2:30am (i.e. right now) they have me terrified. Some of the causes of my anxiety include:

  • Getting all of my clock hours submitted for my relicensure next spring
  • The Bee's wardrobe for family photos this weekend (this is taken care of now, but it woke me up more than once!)
  • Preparing plans for my long term sub
  • Interviewing long term sub applicants
  • Finishing curriculum mapping for all 9 grades that I teach
  • Ponyo's nursery (which is still our library/art room/office at this point)
  • Planning the baby shower for my BFF
  • Dirty dishes in my sink
  • Signing up for our birthing classes (we have the time and place chosen, we just have to officially register but The Bee wants to finish his next exam before thinking about the classes)
  • Photographing and uploading student work to their online portfolios (I haven't even started this for this school year and it is mid-October already!)
  • Stories "helpful" people have told me about labor and delivery (i.e. "When are you due?" January 12th "Oh, my daughter was due January 10th but then arrived December 17th!" or "All of the teachers I know have gone into preterm labor. You'd better be careful." or "Are you sure you want to deliver at a hospital so far from work? You might have the baby in the car like my cousin did!")
  • Our carpeting. It is fine, but I really want to clean it all before Ponyo arrives. I'll just feel better about tummy time if I know it is as clean as possible.
  • The holidays (not sure why these freak me out this year. I LOVE Thanksgiving and Christmas!)
That is all I can think of right now. I've finished my toast so I should try to get a few more winks of sleep before my alarm goes off at 5:45 (sleeping in an extra 15 minutes because it is Friday!).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

26 weeks

Today's appointment included:

1. Glucose screening: Passed! They need to see a number under 150 and mine was 95. Phew! Not sure what I would have eaten if they told me to change my diet even more!

2. Ultrasound: It was confirmed that Ponyo is a girl. She is measuring at the 52nd percentile, weighs about 2lb 2oz, and had a heart rate of 151 beats per minute. And, she is currently head down! We hope she favors staying that way instead of deciding to be breech.

3. Normal appointment: My hemoglobin is low so I have to eat more iron rich foods. Totally thinking of indulging in my red meat craving due to's really Ponyo that wants steak, right? My blood pressure was great. I have gained about 20 pounds and thankfully my doctor is not concerned about that...I can still gain 15 more over the next 3 months and be within the range they'd like to see me.

All in all, everything looks good! I have all of the rest of my appointments scheduled through January 16, but I am hoping Ponyo arrives before then (if she is not born by that point she will be 4 days overdue).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Not much to report so, as a typical Minnesotan, I'll talk a lot about the weather

Not too much to report around here. The Bee has been working crazy hours (as usual) and this weekend he is out of town with his Dad to winterize the house that my mother-in-law and father-in-law are fixing up in order to retire to some years down the road. Starting in July, they began the enormous project of lifting the house and digging a basement. Yes, they lifted the entire house off of the ground and added a basement! It sounds so crazy and was even crazier to see all of the pictures as the project progressed. This weekend they are trying to put in the last of the windows and dig the window wells for the egress windows so everything is sealed before winter officially hits. The poor men are working in pretty cold snowed Friday night and has been in the 40s and 50s since then.

Yesterday I went to my twin niece and nephew's third birthday party! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law waited 6 years and did many treatments in order to have them join our family. It was a fun party (although, admittedly, it would have been more fun had my husband been there!). I am a little worried because several of the little kids had pretty nasty coughs and now I woke up with a stuffy nose and a cough! Ugh! Hopefully that has more to do with the dry weather (a cold front moved in Wednesday and it has been in the 40s, 50s and 60s since then. Right now (at 10am) it is 32 degrees out but it feels like 25 due to the cold winds) we have been experiencing.

In exciting news, we have our next appointment on Wednesday morning and we will get to see Ponyo again! She has been very active the last 2 days and on Friday night my Mom and one of my sisters got to feel some pretty strong kicks! Prior to that, it was only the Bee and I who had felt her wiggling around. I am lucky to be feeling well. I am just experiencing some of the normal stuff: some back pain, especially at night, and ankle swelling (I haven't worn my compression tights since Tuesday and I am paying for that choice now...eek!). Many people (mostly relatives and parents at my school) have been telling me that I am looking really good for being 26 weeks (and that I am still pretty small) which makes me think that either: 1. I really look terrible and they are all saying nice things to make me feel better or 2. Ponyo might not be getting all she needs from my vegetarian/gluten free diet. We'll see what Dr. D tells us Wednesday. I hope Ponyo is measuring right on track again!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I uploaded a few photos from weeks 23-25 to my "Pregnancy" page.

When I thought getting pregnant would be easy, I always thought I'd do weekly belly pictures. When it didn't happen for us, I changed my mind and thought I wouldn't do them. Now, after having seen our baby girl growing at our ultrasound last month, my husband and I decided that it would be fun to document things.

A real post will be coming, family events, and trying to keep up with housework while still finding time for some fun with my husband has been preventing me from spending as much time online. I am sure as things calm down and the days get colder, I will find myself curled up with a blanket and my laptop again!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ponyo's first coffee...

So, I haven't had a whole cup of coffee since the week before I got pregnant. I gave up coffee for Lent last Easter season and decided that
1. I felt better without it and
2. since caffeine is bad for women with endometriosis it wasn't worth any deliciousness I was missing.

I have had a sip here and there from The Bee's coffee when we've gone out for brunch or with dessert out to dinner.

Well, today I walked to the Caribou a few blocks from my school after my last class of the day was dismissed (crazy 7th graders, ugh) and treated myself to a Pumpkin Latte. I looked up the nutrition facts before going, for peace of mind. Only 180mg of caffeine in a medium. This is well within the "moderate" range according to the American Pregnancy Association:

Experts have stated that moderate levels of caffeine have not been found to have a negative effect on pregnancy. The definition of moderate varies anywhere from 150 mg - 300 mg a day. source

Why do I need this pick me up?

1. The school year is in full swing.

2. I was asked by my principal to do a special project for our school's fall festival this morning. It needs to be finished by tomorrow morning.

3. I still have brushes to wash from YESTERDAY'S classes that painted with me in Art class.

4. I am trying to prepare sub plans for my Friday classes so I can attend the funeral of my husband's grandmother.

5. In the past 2 nights, I have gotten a total of 11 hours of sleep.

I should probably stop spending time on my blog, but I need a mental break from school and sadness! My husband and I were with his grandmother when she passed away Monday night. We knew it was going to happen that night and we were with 5 other family members at the care home. I have been to way too many funerals, but I had never been with anyone during their last moments. Friday's funeral will be the third funeral my husband has ever attended. He is grieving so much right now. His grandmother was an amazing woman with a kind heart and the most gentle nature. I knew her quite well because she lived with my husband's parents while we were in college and engaged. We played a lot of card games and we sat together on a plane to California to visit family there in 2004.

Back to work...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The name game

A few of you (okay, actually exactly 2 of you) asked about if we will be sharing names now that we know we are having a little girl (I still can't believe this most days!). We have 2 names at the top of our list, each with their own middle name. Our thought right now is to keep the names secret (I feel like a third grader saying that! ha!) until the birth. Here are our reasons:

1. We think we will narrow it to a favorite before January but wait to see her face before making anything official. We don't want people to say, "Hey, you said you were going to name her ________, not ________!" If we change our minds.

2. Being a teacher, I already have pretty strong opinions about many names. I'm going to be honest here, there are a few names I would NEVER consider due to the experiences I have had with some rather mean children. I am not about to name my daughter anything close to the biggest bully in our school (who happens to be a fourth grade girl!), for example. So, we don't want other people's opinions on the names we like on top of opinions we already hold. We really don't want to hear, "Oh, I knew a girl named Henrietta and she was just insufferable" if we want to name our daughter Henrietta. We figure that after people see our baby and hear her name, our daughter will be the one they remember, not the insufferable Henrietta of their past.

3. Since we have taken the mystery out of whether our little one is a boy or a girl, we want to have something to make an announcement about when she joins us in January. Of course the day, the time, and her size are all a mystery, but we are excited to share her name after it is given.

Here is some information about the names at the top of our list:

I thought of one of the names (first and middle) when I was in high school. After we got married, during a conversation about future children, I told my husband that I love this name for a little girl! He loved it, too, and now I think he feels more attached to it than I do! The first name is one that I have always just liked. It is an older, more classic name but is not too common (at least not around here).  However, we know someone (a friend of my sister's) who named a daughter this 3 years ago. The middle name is after my bff and is a pretty common middle name for girls right now.

The second name is a family name. It was my great-great-grandmother's middle name and my great-great-great-grandmother's first name. It has not been used in our family since. This name has special meaning to me because my grandma called me, out of the blue, at the beginning of the week that I ended up getting pregnant and told me that she had been praying for us and talking to her grandmother (so, my great-great-grandmother) and was told that this was the month for us, so "spend some time with your husband this week if possible." This is still so amazing to me and I know it sounds crazy to write, but my grandmother is very wise and she just seems to know things that the rest of us don't!

So, as the story goes, we conceived sometime that week, after almost 2 years of trying! When we told my grandma that I am pregnant, she said, "I TOLD you! I KNEW it!" and then she said that she thought it was a little girl. The meaning of the name seems perfect for the situation we have found ourselves in and I think my grandma here on earth and my great-great-grandma up there in heaven were both looking out for us. Also, my great-great-grandma was a teacher (she taught in a one room school house in North Dakota working with the children of French immigrants) and so am I (Art) and my grandma says that I remind her of herself and my great-great-grandma as well. Did any of that make sense? It is easier to say in a conversation than to type in a post, I guess :) The middle name is just one that I like and that I think sounds beautiful with the first name. My husband likes this first name and middle name, but thinks maybe we should use my bff's name as the middle so the whole name has important meaning to us.

Here is a "yearbook" from my great-great-grandmother's school back in 1913! My grandma gave it to me 5 years ago when I got my first teaching job and told me that she wanted me to have it because I am the only person in our family who has become a teacher since her grandmother and because I remind her so much of my great-great-grandmother:

And, no, the name is not Murray! That was my great-great-grandmother's last name after she married!

That is where we sit with names!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ponyo is...

a little miss!

The appointment went well this morning! Thank you all for the kind messages and prayers; they mean so much to us! Ponyo was very active during the ultrasound. Lots of kicks and somersaults! She had her hands up by her face most of the time so we got a few glimpses of her profile but we did not get any good images of her face. We got to see her rub her eyes and open and close her mouth. Her heart rate was measured at 162 beats per minute (which was probably caused by her activity level). She measured at the 46th percentile, so right on track. At 22 weeks, 4 days she weighs about 1lb 4oz already! Her heart, brain, kidneys, stomach, and other organs all look 'perfect' according to the ultrasound tech and our doctor. When she was not moving around, her feet were up by her head which gave of a good view that she is, indeed, a little girl:)  We are so thankful and relieved that she is healthy and growing! 

And, yes, obviously my husband convinced me to find out the gender! I am glad that we is so fun to be able to say "she" and "her" when we talk about our little one.

Other notes from the appointment:
  • I am on track to gain 34-35lbs by the end of this pregnancy (I am up 16lbs already), but Dr. D said that is what I should gain given my pre-pregnancy weight.
  • I got a prescription for some medical grade maternity support pantyhose. So, if you ever need them, ask your doctor and hopefully insurance will offset or cover the cost! Now I will have 4 pairs, which will be great!
  • I got my flu shot. I was uncertain about whether or not I wanted to, but given the "cesspool of germs" (those are Dr. D's words!) that I work in and the fact that the vaccine I received did not contain the preservative that is considered possibly controversial for pregnant women, I thought the benefits outweighed any risks.
  • We will have a follow-up ultrasound in 4 weeks because they couldn't get a good image of the umbilical cord entering Ponyo's abdomen even though from what they could see everything looked fine.
Again, thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers! I pray for all of my blogger friends everyday and am so glad to be part of this supportive community of women!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

By the 5th day of school...

By the fifth day of school (that was yesterday) we already had stomach flu, pink eye, strep throat, and hand, foot, and mouth disease going around. No joke. In September. Holy cow, I don't even want to know what that means for the rest of the year, especially when flu season hits! To make things seem even worse, while we were discussing these illnesses in the staff lunch room yesterday, a new teacher turned to me and said, "You'd better be careful. Some of those things can kill babies before they are born. Fifth Disease is a really bad one, too, so watch out for that..." All I could think was, Thanks, lady. I really need to get more nervous about every little thing!

I had never even heard of Fifth Disease! In my year of student teaching and my first 4 years as a teacher I have never heard of a student (or anyone for that matter) having this illness. So, right after lunch, I googled it. For once Dr. Google actually made me worry LESS about something! Can you believe it?! Sounds like it is not too terribly common, has pretty obvious symptoms, and doesn't pose a risk to pregnant women and their unborn children after early pregnancy (for those of you newly pregnant, I wouldn't even worry about this one...I see sooooo many kids and they are germy little buggers and have never had a kid get this! And I was newly pregnant at the end of the school year last year and everything has seemed fine so far!). Even so, I have been washing my hands as often as possible and using hand sanitizer between each class, given the crazy amount of sickness roaming the halls already this school year.

We have our appointment tomorrow. I am excited but also nervous! My subfertile self made (rather crappy) sub plans for my classes in case we get bad news and I can't make it to school tomorrow afternoon. In my heart I feel like things will be fine, but there is this little nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me to brace myself. I have still been able to feel Ponyo move since starting school but he/she is a lot less active since I started spending so much time on my feet. More than one person has told me that Ponyo is probably just sleeping more since he/she is being rocked by my movement all day. I have felt a few flips and kicks each night but nothing like I experienced the week before school started up again. We are praying that Ponyo is healthy and that everything is as it should be!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First week of school!

The first week of school went so well! Maybe it is my years of experience finally making me realize how competent I am as a teacher or maybe it is my rapport with my students - this is my 5th year with many of them! Really, I suppose it is a combination of both of those things. I have been feeling well all day at school, but as soon as I take off my compression tights (still waiting on these ones, but they should arrive Monday so I don't feel like poor Ponyo is being crushed anymore), prepare dinner and sit down to eat, I am completely useless. My husband is having a hard time adjusting to me being exhausted because in the summer I would stay up with him, often until midnight or 1am. When I wasn't teaching, I could sleep in with him until he had to get up for work. Now I get up almost 3 hours earlier and am spending most of the day on my feet...I just can't function on 5 or less hours of sleep!

The kids at school are over the moon about Ponyo. My belly has received many hugs, rubs, and even kisses from my elementary students. One fourth grader made up a song that she sang to Ponyo, right up close to my belly, at recess yesterday. The most common questions/comments I have heard after the kids find out I am pregnant:

Will you RETIRE now?!

Is it a boy or a girl?

Do you want a boy or a girl more?

I think you should name the baby _________________! (in the blank they fill in their own name)

Will you bring the baby to school to visit us after it is born? 

When you bring the baby to school he/she can pose for us to draw!

I hope you have the baby on my birthday! (they say this no matter when their birthday falls...Ponyo, please don't try to come too early or too late!)

Who will be our art teacher after the baby is born?! 

I knew it! You are skinny everywhere except your stomach!  

Is the baby moving now? and 2 seconds later Is it now??

Here are some of the more uncommon funny things I have been asked/told:

You should take yoga classes from my mom! She teaches pregnant ladies. followed by another student with My sister teaches zumba! You should do that, too!

You should get a massage! (I like that idea!)

At lunch while I ate with my 4th graders yesterday, Do you always eat that healthy or is it for the baby? They might like a cookie, too, you know...

Some of the sweetest things:

A fifth grade girl, with teary eyes, I am so happy for you! I have always thought you would be a really great mom.

This 2nd grader at recess on the first day of school: Hey, Mrs. Bird, do you have a baby? Not yet, but I will in January! I KNEW it! I just KNEW it! Guys, guys...Mrs. Bird is having a baby! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

I love your baby, Mrs. Bird!

Here's hoping that my energy can keep up with my 350 original kids :)

One more thing: Our anatomy scan is this coming Wednesday. When we scheduled it, I thought it would never come! We are praying that everything looks great and that we get to see a healthy Ponyo :) We are still undecided about finding out if Ponyo is a boy or a girl. I am fine with waiting until the birth, but The Bee wants to know now. So, we may find out if we are having a little mister or little miss in less than 5 days!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sexy and I know it

Thursday night was orientation at school! It was so fun to see all of my returning students and to meet some new ones (including my kindergartners who seem like spit fires this year!). After a day in my classroom, dinner with my co-workers (which included a lot of salty potato chips), and 3 hours on my feet handing out orientation folders in a very hot and humid, non-air conditioned school, I glanced down to see ankles twice the size they should be. My Mom always had swelling with her pregnancies so I knew it was a possibility that I would, too, but I wasn't expecting it this soon. So, when I got home at around 8:30pm I immediately put my feet up. When my husband got home about 2 hours later, my ankles and feet were still pretty awful looking. Thankfully, by the next morning they were back to regular size.

Friday, even though it was about 85 degrees out, I wore support hose to work. I have worn them on and off for about 5 years because I do have slightly bad circulation that can cause my feet and toes to get very cold in winter. The support hose work through compression and keep blood from pooling at my feet and ankles on long days at school (which, any teacher knows is spent entirely standing up and walking around!) which helps reduce swelling, pain, and fatigue. My regular support hose still fit but are pretty snug around my middle. So, I asked my Mom if I should order a size up for the school year. She laughed and said, "You just need to order maternity ones!" So, after much looking at online stores and checking actual store sites (like Kohls, Walgreens, Motherhood Maternity, etc) I found out that these hideous maternity compression pantyhose are pretty spendy. But, it is better than swollen ankles and even the possibility of permanent damage to my legs (my maternal grandmother who was a nurse (i.e. spent A LOT of hours on her feet)  and had 8 children has had multiple surgeries to strip veins, remove clots, and take care of other circulation related problems in her legs) so I ordered 2 pairs these:

My husband thinks they are HILARIOUS and said that I should stand like that whenever I wear them. He thought they were slightly less funny after I told him that I shelled out almost $70 for two pairs of these sexy things. So much for being one of those cute pregnant ladies, I guess!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bonding over hardship

Yesterday was the first day that I got to see all of my co-workers this school year! It was great to catch up and find out who is going to school to seek advanced degrees, to hear about weddings and engagements that happened over the summer, and to hear details of lots of travel adventures (one of my fellow teachers went to London for the Olympics - whoa!). I also got to make the announcement to all of the teachers about Ponyo.

When some of the women asked about when we found out, they seem shocked that I have kept quiet with my news for this long. I was honest with them about how long it took, how we were seeing a specialist, my diagnosis and my scheduled surgery. I was very surprised when 3 (THREE!) other women who teach in my school shared their stories of infertility with me. I had no idea! And one of these women is one of the three teachers who gave birth to her first child last spring! She, in particular, shared her joy with me. She acknowledged how hard last year must have been for me to see three pregnant ladies all year and attend the showers and be present for the lunch chatter about babies and nurseries and names and ultrasounds. She gave me a hug and told me that she is so happy that we are now expecting our own miracle baby, "This baby is a miracle, you know!" she said through tears.

It makes me sad that these three women suffered alone at work, much like I did, out of fear, shame, embarrassment, worry about being pc in the workplace - whatever their reason was for keeping this information completely hidden. I am not sure why in our culture we are so secretive about things like this. I wish I had been more open BEFORE. I am being open now, so hopefully if any other co-workers of mine are experiencing something similar they will know I have ears open and hugs ready for those hard days! Those of us who have experienced or are experiencing infertility are not alone and people do care!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jury duty and happiness

Day II of jury duty was a bust. I sat in the same room (picked a new chair today, though!) and talked with a few other potential jurors. I also logged another 200 pages or so in the book I am reading, which never would have happened if not for jury duty! So, I guess that is a plus if I am trying to be positive about this experience. I was released at 2:30 today so now I am home for a snack and then heading (hopefully, if I can get motivated!) to school to work in my mess of a classroom!

Moving on: Fellow blogger, Amanda, posted some wonderful news this morning! Head on over to Meet the Joiners to see her announcement and to join her in celebrating!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The juror that wasn't...

Well, I reported for duty about a half-hour early. Thirty minutes early even though I got lost downtown and asked a nice guy for directions (which he sweetly looked up on his phone for me!), and got my fork confiscated at security. I knew I couldn't bring weapons, scissors or knitting needles. No forks, either. Thankfully there were plastic forks in the lunch room so I still got to eat my salad at lunchtime.

Attendance was taken and orientation started about 45 minutes later than it was supposed to. Then we all sat around for a LONNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG time. I got all of my sketchbook spines folded for grades K-5 and read. Then some people were called from the pool. But not me. Then I read some more. Then a bunch of people were dismissed for the day and put on call for the rest of the week. Not me, though! Then we got a 1 hour and 45 minute lunch break where I got to eat my salad with a plastic fork. Then I read even more. Then they made us all excited by making an announcement that there were 2 trials needing jurors yet today. Then they said, "Just kidding!" and dismissed more people. This time I was included. So, I was dismissed about 45 minutes before my jury day was scheduled to end and now I am on call! On my way out of the courthouse, I got my dangerous fork weapon back and apologized and promised not to bring one tomorrow (if I even have to go!). So, I need to call the courthouse jury number between 5pm and 7:30am to find out if I need to report tomorrow morning. After all the sitting around today, I kind of want to be called back in! I'd like to see the inside of a courtroom! If I don't have to go in, that is good, too! Then I get to go to school with all of my co-workers and prepare for the school year.

We shall see what tomorrow holds!

*UPDATE* It turns out my group DOES need to report to the courthouse tomorrow. Things that will be different tomorrow: I will not get lost, I will not bring a fork, and I will bring more snacks for the long day of sitting in a windowless room! Do you guys think a stapler counts as a weapon? I'd like to bring mine to staple sketchbooks but don't want to get it taken away at security!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crazy begins!

Tuesday I had a dentist appointment and felt Ponyo kick my hand for the first time while I was laying in the dentist chair. It was so surreal and weird! The Bee got to feel her/him move later that night. It made both of us feel reassured that our little one is growing and strong!

Thursday-Saturday The Bee and I were living at my sister and brother-in-law's house while they were in California. We (well, mostly I since it was my last week of summer break) took care of my almost-2-year-old nephew and made sure their cats had food and water. It was a lot of fun! Unfortunately, I only got a little school prep done while the little man was napping. Also unfortunately, their air conditioning stopped working Thursday afternoon and it was almost 90 outside (and humid, ugh!). We made do by keeping the back of the house (where the bedrooms are) closed during the day (it stayed pretty cool back there), running fans at night, drinking lots of water, and heading out multiple times a day to run errands in air conditioned stores. I also took my nephew to my Grandma's house for a visit with her, my Mom, my Grandma's 3 tiny dogs, 3 big cats, and tank of tropical fish. He loved that part of the day!

This morning my husband and I walked the 5K at the State Fair. This is the fourth year we have participated. He was so nice and walked with me the whole way. We still finished in under an hour, rewarded ourselves with ice cream (chocolate malt for him, strawberry-rhubarb sundae for me!), and checked out the student art show before heading home.

Tomorrow is the first day of teacher meetings/classroom prep for the new school year! It is also the beginning of my service on jury duty. I am hoping SO MUCH that I don't have to go to jury duty for the whole week. My classroom furniture just got put back in my room on Saturday (they replaced my ceiling and lights last week) so I haven't done anything in there to prepare for school! Yikes! I have all of the supplies I need for constructing sketchbooks for the kids at home, though, and plan on bringing bits and pieces of them to jury duty with me to work on. I just got a new bone folder that I am so excited to use for folding all of the book spines - last year I got blisters from all of the folding and burnishing!

Here ends the summer I was so lucky to have and begins the craziness of year 5 of teaching! I am so thankful to have a husband who insisted that I take this summer off even before we knew about endometriosis, surgery, and Ponyo. He really looks out for me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pregnant infertile

Despite my current pregnancy, I still have a diagnosis of infertility caused by endometriosis. A statistic that I read somewhere (I know that sounds very official, but I can't remember the source!) stated that 30-40% of infertile women have endometriosis (some of these women also have other fertility diagnoses comorbid with the endo). It is a serious condition that, until last winter, I thought just caused painful periods and heavy bleeding. I had no idea what all of the other symptoms were. I had no idea what the causes were. I had no idea that Western medicine believes there is nothing a woman can do to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.

I am sure I sound like a broken record lately, but I identify much more closely to other women who are struggling or have struggled with infertility than I do with women who become pregnant effortlessly. I am easily offended by some of the statements people make in regards to pregnancy and motherhood. I am annoyed by requests from people to post belly pictures on facebook. I was royally peeved at a friend who commented on our public facebook announcement by talking about how she knows 9 pregnant friends now. That is NOT what anyone needs to hear when they are announcing a pregnancy. Especially after dealing with infertility. I get really, really angry when parents tell me to enjoy these last months of freedom. As if I don't know the first thing about what we are getting ourselves into. As if I was lucky that it took two years so that my husband and I could enjoy life child free for longer. I know we will be on a steep learning curve once Ponyo arrives. I am sure there will be unforeseen challenges in addition to the hardships we are expecting (i.e. sleepless nights, less disposable income, etc), but we are fully invested in this child and the life we will have with them.

I don't think I have come right out and said it, so I am saying it now. If I ever post anything that hurts any of you or even slightly annoys you, please let me know (in a nice way, if you can, please!). It will never be my intention to sound like I have forgotten where we were earlier this year. I am not sure what direction this blog will go as time passes. For now, I plan on keeping it as is. I will post pregnancy related items in the main body of my blog as we learn more about Ponyo. However, I have added a new tab up top where I will post any pregnancy related pictures so that they don't show up on your reader. Trust me, I know how even a tasteful pregnancy photo post can make a hard day even harder!

Many of you have slowed down on posts and I am curious about how you are! I hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dreaded family photos

Almost two years ago, my husband's siblings and their families took family photos together. We opted out even though they invited us to join. Reasons we did not participate: 1. We had a busy weekend when they had it scheduled. 2. I was having allergies to everything under the sun and my eyes look horrible at the time (and I couldn't wear eye make-up due to the terrible allergies...totally not cool for a professional family photo shoot). 3. We were the only ones without children and we thought it would look weird to just stick us in there.

Last Sunday, we found out that they are doing a photo session together again this fall. We were invited and my mother-in-law mentioned that the pictures from 2 years ago would be perfect if The Bee and I had been in them. We said we would do it this year as long as we don't have another commitment that day. Then my mother-in-law and one of my sisters-in-law asked me to think about color combinations that might look good for the outdoor, autumn shoot.

I obliged and posted some useful links on my sister-in-law's facebook wall. All three of his sisters and I have had kind of a running conversation under one of the links to share our opinions about what we think would look best. I suggested greys, whites, and a pop of yellow. My mother-in-law and 2 sisters-in-law liked that and they also like brown and orange. Then someone suggested that each family have a color. I am fine with that, even though they all have kids and we don't. I suggested that we choose a common neutral (i.e. blacks and greys) and then each family uses pops of their color in elements like shoes, headbands, sweaters, scarves, etc, so we all coordinate but there is connection between immediate family without being matchy-matchy or looking cheesy.  Everyone thought that sounded perfect and then my sister-in-law, who is due this month with her third child, commented

...or maybe the babies could wear the color?

Maybe it is me being overly sensitive, but (probably against my better judgement) I commented,

So, no family color then? And The Bee and I won't have any kids/babies yet in October.

I don't think that was too mean to point out, but The Bee isn't home to calm me down and I was thinking, "Really? Excluding us again?" And I don't even know what "the babies" means since there will be 2 teenagers, 3 toddlers, and 2 infants between the four couples at that point. So, 2 infants in color? Or 3 toddlers and 2 infants in color? Or 1 toddler and 2 infants in color (this option would be having the youngest in each of their families in color). And The Bee and I in black and grey. I think that would look stupid. Having 8 adults and 2 teens in black and grey and everyone under 4 years in color? Am I overreacting here?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is this a test?

Two years ago we thought we would have a baby in the spring of 2011. This is typical teacher planning...get pregnant in the summer/early fall and have your baby in the spring/early summer so that you have the summer off with the little one and can take off some additional time at the beginning of the school year. Maximum time home with minimal issues at work. Oh, we were such fools! As if most people can actually plan that! For the people that it works for, there is a lot more luck involved than anything else!

When we failed to get pregnant that first summer and fall, we decided to keep trying despite a due date being at a different time in the school year. We didn't care about convenience...we cared about having a baby! Well, as most of you know, it took 21 cycles of well timed ttc. Although, to be honest, by cycle 18 we scrapped the "we must bd NOW" for, "this week should be the week, so we'll try to if we can but we won't bite eachother's heads off if the timing doesn't match up perfectly with our NFP chart" (since "perfect timing" hadn't done a darn thing for us, with my anovulation and all!). We were waiting for July or August before getting our hopes up again since my surgery was scheduled for June. Now we are having a baby in January! The worst time for a teacher and for my husband's profession, too! We are not upset (obviously, who would be after infertility!) but it does pose some challenges that we weren't anticipating.

A few weeks ago, a co-worker of mine was chatting with me about everything going on in our lives. He smiled at me (as I was getting a little anxious about work, jury duty, maternity leave, The Bee's work schedule, family stuff, etc...) and said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

God is either giggling away up there or He is watching us closely to see how we handle some of the stresses we've been dealt recently. Currently my main stress is the upcoming school year. My contracted year starts next Monday. August 27-31 are days of teacher training and preparing our rooms and materials for school to start after Labor Day. Instead of heading back with all of my co-workers, I will be downtown sitting at the county courthouse waiting to see if I get called in to serve on a jury.

Okay. I can handle that. I'll go in this week and set up my room early. Just kidding! My falling down classroom ceiling is being replaced this week. The ceiling that was supposed to be replaced before I even started working there in September of 2008! And it is being replaced NOW when I need to go in and set things up and cut paper and make seating charts and hang bulletin boards and put together sketchbooks for over 250 K-5ers and make over 300 portfolios and cut out 40 art eyeglasses for my new K's. Oh, but you say the ceiling might be done by Wednesday? Great. That doesn't help me. I'll be watching my 21-month-old nephew (so, yes, he can run and climb things) Thursday morning-Saturday morning while his parents are in California (I agreed to do this BEFORE JURY DUTY AND THE CEILING entered the picture!). Well, maybe I can go in in the evenings when the ceiling crew is done for the day? NOPE. The old ceiling is made of asbestos tiles and you need special gear to safely enter the room once they disturb it.

It is looking like next week I will be serving jury duty 8-4:30, busing home (it costs like $25/day to park downtown...even at the courthouse ramp! I'd rather bus for $6 round trip), eating dinner, driving to work and setting up my room until I am too tired to do more. That is my Monday-Friday. Arg. I am stopping by work today to drop off some paper work and, if they are doing the music room first, I am going to try to sneak into my room to get the sketchbook supplies so I can work on them at home. I know I will survive this, we have been through much worse, but WHY CAN'T THINGS JUST GO SMOOTHLY FOR US SOMETIMES?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

5 years

Today The Bee and I celebrate 5 years of marriage. They have been the best years of my life, even with all of the hardships we have faced. Today we are announcing Ponyo publicly, as well. Here is how we are doing it:

At a wedding shower in July of 2007, my now sister-in-law wrote these words to me and my husband-to-be:

“Whatever life throws your way – you will always have each other and you will continue to grow stronger as a couple.”

As newlyweds 5 years ago we didn’t truly understand what she meant. After I was diagnosed with endometriosis and we found out that we might not be able to have children, we started to comprehend. We are each other’s biggest supporters, most enthusiastic cheerleaders, the ones who try our hardest to ensure the health and happiness of the other. 

Today we have so much to be thankful for: Over 11 years together.  5 wonderful years of marriage.  2 years of hopes and prayers, answered.  1 baby, due to arrive in January.  And a stronger relationship than ever before.  I thank God every day for my husband and the life we have together. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making the announcement

We have yet to make a public facebook announcement. I think we will write something simple on Saturday, which is our 5th wedding anniversary. When we started ttc (exactly 2 years ago this month) I thought I would want to take belly pictures every week and would be very open with our pregnancy. Instead, we started out this part of the journey uncertain and afraid, wondering how our hearts could handle another let down if anything went wrong.

We have slowly told family and friends as we see them in person. Most of the time we share the whole story. The hope in the beginning. How we thought we would have a one-year-old son or daughter already. The months of tests and tears. The diagnosis. How I missed having surgery by one month. How incredibly lucky and blessed we know we are that we've been given the chance to be parents to this specific child at this particular time. We've recently made phone calls and sent texts to friends who have busy schedules and aren't able to get together. Our relatives and real life friends know now (all of the close ones, anyway).

We took one belly picture before my cousin's wedding when I was 14 weeks but haven't shared it. This is a much more intimate experience than I expected and I don't need the attention of others like so many of our acquaintances seem to. I haven't felt the need to shout it from the roof tops. I also want to spare people sadness. I know some of my friends and relatives on facebook are struggling with infertility and secondary infertility. When we were waiting, some announcements burned more than others. Some didn't burn at all. I still find this to be true. Isn't it funny how the same news, simply delivered in a different way, can have a completely different impact on people?

More recently, we've had a lot of joyful moments. We've chosen colors for the nursery, my husband talks to Ponyo everyday by leaning close to my belly and speaking in a soft voice, we have talked about names. My belly is clearly not just pudgy anymore. We weren't sure if I actually look pregnant yet, but a ticket scalper outside of the Twins game we attended last night made us very aware that it is obvious. He looked at us as we walked by and said to my husband, "When are you going to marry that girl and make this an honest relationship?" We were caught off guard but started laughing pretty hard. Then my husband lifted his left hand to show his wedding band and said, "Already taken care of!" We have our big ultrasound scheduled for September 12.

Thinking of all of you...hoping for all of you...praying for all of you!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Transfer buddies

Hey, all! Here is a very important prayer request:

Amanda and L both had 2 embryos transferred on Friday! Please pray for peace and successful, healthy pregnancies for these women and their husbands.

Thief of joy

Last winter when I was feeling particularly low, Amanda wrote this quote in a comment:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Boy, did that ever strike a chord with me! It is so true!

I have thought about this post many times, and even tried to start it a few, but never succeeded.

Infertility is also the thief of joy.

Before we found out about Ponyo, infertility threatened to take over my entire life. It found a way into every part of my being: work, home, time with family and friends, Mass, name the place/time and the sting and hopelessness of infertility had found me there.

After getting the surprise positive test, infertility stole the joy out of the moment. I questioned whether the test was accurate. Could my body even get pregnant? If I did conceive, could my body sustain a pregnancy? Is my body capable of producing healthy eggs? What would I do if I had a miscarriage? Now I am 18 weeks and I still worry with each ache and pain, feeling like this is all too good to be true. We tried to stay cautious and not get too attached until we made it through the first trimester (I know that sounds terrible, but I am trying to be honest). We knew that we failed miserably at staying detached when I had spotting at 10 weeks and we thought we were losing our baby. We had never been so afraid or sad as that night. We are completely in love with this little one who we have never met and terrified of losing her or him even though everything seems to be going smoothly.

Then comes the guilt. I had read about this on other blogs, where subfertiles got pregnant (either on their own or with assistance, doesn't seem to matter) and they are excited, thrilled, happy, but then there is a part of them that questions, "Why me? Why are these other women who have been suffering in the same way still waiting?" I want to be clear, this is not pity. I just know that I am not more qualified, I will not be a better mother, I did not do anything to deserve this baby. Am I happy about Ponyo? Of course! Am I excited for January? Certainly! But I still relate to all of the posts about getting your period, about the hurt that comes from facebook pregnancy posts, another round of tests and ultrasounds to find out what in the world is going on inside of your body, insensitive comments from people who think they are being helpful...

For those of you still waiting, I pray for you daily.

I would like to know, how do you feel when other bloggers achieve the goal we all share? When I was still waiting, most blogger pregnancy announcements gave me hope but, I hate to admit this, some made me really sad for myself and where I was in our journey. The uncertainty of if and when is so painful. How do you think you will feel when you get your positive test?

For those of you expecting, I pray for you, too. Do you think infertility has changed your experience as a pregnant woman?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We will be okay

When I was growing up my Mom attended La Leche League (LLL) meetings (at least after having my youngest three siblings). I remember her taking a whole crew with her when #4 was born (I was 7 at the time) and had a lot of fun playing with all of the babies and other kids. For those of you not familiar with La Leche League, it is an organization that states this as their mission:

"Our Mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother." source

Breastfeeding has always been my plan for when I have kids, so when my older sister invited me to attend a LLL meeting with her I thought, Why not? Maybe I'll meet some working moms and be able to pick their brains a little. So I went with her this morning. As I, my sister, and my nephew were walking up to the church where they meet, the LLL leader was also walking in with her 9 month old daughter. My sister introduced me to the leader and she seemed really familiar but I wasn't sure because we were all wearing sunglasses at that point. After chatting on the walk in, the leader asked me, "Did you used to work at a library?" I got really excited and said, "I THOUGHT it was you! Yes, how have you been?" For almost 7.5 years prior to getting married I worked at the county library and this woman, we'll call her "L", started working at the same library as me about two years before I left to get married and start student teaching. We haven't seen each other for almost 5 years when she attended my wedding in August of '07!

She told me she has been well. She has 3 daughters now (the one born when we worked together is now 6.5 years old! Crazy!). Then she laughed and said, "It is so neat to see you! You know, you were the one who told me about La Leche League when I was pregnant! And now I am a group leader!" I vaguely remember that...I think I brought it up when she was feeling anxious about nursing and coming back to work. I told her about LLL and said something like, "I bet they'd have some good information about pumping so you can still nurse when you go back to work."

Being reminded of that conversation made me feel better about if I have to return to work before fall of 2013. At least I know I will be able to find some support from LLL! I had my meeting with my principal yesterday and he seemed very supportive but did say he would need to consider if I can take the whole year off. It sounds like he is mainly concerned about finding a substitute that he feels can do a good enough job from January-June (can you say ego boost?). Just to make sure it wasn't a money thing, I asked if the school would be losing money if I didn't come back until fall of 2013 and he said, "The school would actually be making money the longer you have a sub. But you are good at what you do and that would be a long time to be away, especially if we don't find someone who can do what you can do with the kids!" I think I made it clear that I would prefer not to come back earlier for my baby, for my family financially, for myself mentally/emotionally, and for my students because I know my attention would be very divided April-June if I have to leave a 3-month-old in the hands of a stranger. I told my husband about the meeting and he didn't seem too concerned. He said we'd make things work no matter what, and then he kissed my belly and talked to Ponyo a little.

We will be okay!