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!