Thursday, November 22, 2012

The trying not to be cliche Thanksgiving post

I know I've been absent. I know that many of you must think that my absence is because I'm pregnant. I know that it's easy to make excuses.

But, the real deal is that my work life took over my personal life, and I've been nothing but exhausted. No big excuses. I just gave in to that fatigue and gave up one of the things I love most for the last month: blogging. I feel terrible about it and miss it so, so much. I hope to get back to regular blogging soon.

I knew I had to get back here today though. Although I feel grateful every single day, I did turn into a sappy mess this morning. Something about Thanksgiving gave me that extra push to say hello again to the blogosphere and express my deep, deep gratitude to all those who have supported me since my journey began several years ago. Not for one moment do I take for granted all of the love, encouragement, and advice you all gave and continue to give me. It gave me strength when I had none and grounds me to remember where I am here and now. For that, I thank you. I may not be as present here, but I am reading. I send love to every one of you.

I am also thankful for every flip, turn, and kick The Nugget gives me. So many times I was a crumpled, crying mess - never for a second believing I could be this lucky. The infertile in me still winces when I hear complaints about normal pregnancy symptoms from any woman. I have to restrain myself from screaming, "Do you know how lucky you are?! Stop worrying about heartburn and backaches." I've said it before and I'll say it again - I am incredibly fortunate to be where I am, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Not for one second do I take any of it for granted.

Mostly, I am thankful for His Royal Fabulousness and the amazing strength he shows every single day. He is the one constant in my life and without such a completely committed and steadfast partner, I would have been lost long before we had a miscarriage, 2 failed Clomid cycles, 2 failed IUIs, cysts, and failed fertilization on IVF #1.

So there it is. I'm one happy, thankful, sappy, exhausted woman these days.

I'm not big on pregnancy updates, but here are some bullets for those who like such things:
• My low-lying placenta moved up on it's own. Score!
• The Nugget continues to grow well and measure about a week ahead.
• At yesterday's doctor's appointment it seemed like he had finally turned head down. We'll double check in 2 weeks.
• I had my Boston baby shower about 2 weeks ago. I had friends come in from NY, NJ and even Washington DC for it. It was low-key and so, so fun.
• We completed childbirth class last weekend. We feel much more prepared, or at least not as clueless.
• The nursery is coming together. Compared to some of the AMAZING nurseries you all are building, mine seems downright lame by comparison! But it is warm, cozy, and will work just fine for us. My mom made the amazing curtains and we still have a wall decal to put up, as well as some other decorative pieces. We are still figuring out storage for books and toys. But, here is a peek:
Dr. Seuss theme - Seuss lamp, clock on the wall, and curtains!

My awesome SIL gave us the changing table, dresser, and glider. The crib just happens to match!

Close-up of Seuss fabric. It has a very cute blue border.

I hope you all have an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I know, for some of you, getting through the holidays is really tough. It was for me. Just keep your chin up and hug people close to you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Emotional Bookends Today

I'm at the end of day two of parent conferences. 16 down, 10 to go. I'm exhausted, but I have to share this.

In the span of one day, I had two experiences that I just can't stop thinking about.

My first conference of the day was for a kid I love. My teaching partner and I sat for a while going through the usual list of topics - social, work habits, math, reading, social know the deal. Near the end of the meeting the mom shared with us that they are going through the adoption process. In that second, every fiber of my infertile being started to explode with emotion. I was so happy to hear that this wonderful family was opening their home (to an older child!), and so warmed by the excitement on their faces when they discussed it. Then, it dawned on me that this might very well be a situation of secondary infertility. I would never ask that directly. Instead, I asked them whether they knew about RESOLVE's adoption seminars and support groups. Just as I said it, the mom and I had a moment of understanding. She said she hadn't heard about that and wrote down the information, but I swear, I realized right then that she very well might be one of us.

Then, during my last conference of the day, I had the polar opposite explosion of emotions. I sat across from a mother, trying to talk about her son's behavior in class, and all I could think about was the fact that she had a full term still birth two years ago. I remember hearing the announcement from my Head of School vividly. I knew her son casually then, and had only met her in passing. Still, the thought of carrying a baby all the way to delivery and then losing it is just too overwhelming. As we carried out the conference, I realized that I wasn't worried about that happening to me. Instead, I was more worried about how difficult it might be to sit across from me during the conference, with my big belly. I wondered if she was okay with it, or if it hurt her to be in my presence. I wondered how she was doing. I wondered if she would ever try to have another baby. Somehow I resisted the urge to ask her all of those questions, hug her, and tell her that I was so sorry for her loss.

What a day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Art of Enjoying the Moment

My dad: "Have you bought yourself a massage yet?"
Me: "No. There is too much else to spend money on. Besides, they are over too quickly."

I have a love/hate relationship with massage. This relationship is indicative of my personality as a whole.  Whenever I am on the table about to start a 60, 90, or even 120 minute massage, I get consumed with the thought that it will be over soon. Even though I am paying serious bucks to enjoy my muscles being worked into submission, my brain takes over and knows that soon it will be done and disappointment sets in. It's almost like I feel the minutes tick by, and therefore the relaxation piece is diminished. This begs the question, what's the point? Why spend the money? Why can't I just enjoy the moment, and focus on the glorious feeling as it happens? Because I get in my own way, once again.

I have had several moments of feeling this way about the pregnancy. I am 30 weeks on Tuesday. 30 weeks already, and I'm kind of sad about it. Even though the whole idea of getting pregnant is to have a healthy baby in my arms at the end, I can't help but feel some sense of loss that the pregnancy itself will soon be over. Granted, I have had it easy: no complications and really very few unpleasant effects. This kid made it easy to enjoy every second. I'm sure that would be different if I had felt ill, been in pain, or had scary events take place that made me end up on bed rest and such. But, none of that happened and therefore I don't want it to end.

I keep getting into a somewhat negative head space that I'm trying to work through. The pace of this fall hasn't helped matters. Work has been more stressful than it's ever been in all my years of teaching. Days blend together, linked by school events: field trips, progress reports, class play, and next week's conferences. Plus, in the last two months, I've flown to Los Angeles twice for my first baby shower and a wedding. Already, we are near Halloween and I've barely had time to breathe, let alone blog, reflect, take belly shots, or do any nursery preparation. Many days, after working for 10 hours or more (anyone who calls teachers lazy is ignorant), I realize I haven't had time to think about the baby once. Then, I stare at our to-do list (like meeting 2 pediatricians next week and getting our carpet cleaned) and know that somehow we have to get these things done, yet as we check each thing off the list, The Nugget is that much closer to being outside of me. I had a vivid dream about how it would feel to no longer be pregnant, and I woke up nearly in tears. How could this all have gone by so quickly?

I just get angry at how my brain works. Why can't I just be happy and focus on the now? Why do I let my anxiety and psyche take over, eclipsing the joy in the moment? Why can't I just enjoy the massage, without anticipating its end? I don't think I'll ever really understand this part of my personality, but I sure wish I could make it stop.

I keep trying to tell myself that the next step will feel as special as having him in my belly. That although I won't feel his kicks during a stressful workday, I'll get to hug and kiss him. Even though KG won't rub my belly and look at me like I'm the prettiest pregnant woman on earth, he'll see me as a pretty hot mom. Even though we won't have these quiet moments just the two of us, three will make it even better. Anything to make it seem like I haven't wasted these precious moments, which may or may not ever happen again.

After all, as an infertile, we don't take these things for granted. I am grateful every day for where I am, and know how easily it could have gone another way. We could still be waiting for a BFP. I could still be stuck in treatment hell. We could have given up altogether by now, and chosen to be child free. But instead, we were blessed and have managed to get to the third trimester. We just spent so much time and effort to get to this point, I would hate to think I let it pass me by in the blink of an eye. I just don't know how to slow the clock.

I put the latest ultrasound pic up on The Nugget's page, along with an infant pic of KG. Check out the resemblance. It's uncanny.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Suspense over!

This is a quickie because it is a crazy week for us, so here are bullets:

Good News

• Okay...enough suspense. I am incredibly excited and proud to announce that I participated in Episode 7 of the Bitter Infertiles! I had an incredible time taking part in the discussion and you should all go listen. Even better, subscribe on iTunes!

• I passed my 1 hour glucose test with flying colors yay!

Bad News

• My placenta is still low. It isn't previa, but it's close. There is still a chance that it will move up, but they are talking about a possible c-section. I know the most important thing is a healthy Nugget but I have to tell you, it's bumming me out. Still, I'm trying to keep some hope about resolution and they are checking it again in 4 weeks.

We are off to Los Angeles one last time tonight for my cousin's wedding. What a whirlwind month October has turned out to be!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I'm really, really excited about an opportunity I was given today. I'll post again soon with specifics, but let's just say I had the chance to connect with two other bloggers whom I respect and admire. It was an amazing experience. More details to come!

In the meantime, please:
1. Go join Cristy's fall sock exchange. It's an uplifting experience that I have participated in a lot, and am happy to do again.
2. Please give some support to Mrs. Green Grass. She could use all the love and hugs she can get.
3. Go congratulate Shelly on her BFP. I'm completely thrilled for her!

Tuesday I go for my 1 hour glucose testing and 28 week ultrasound, to see if my placenta moved up on it's own. Wish me luck on both!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"So, will you stay home?"

I have been asked this question a lot lately, mostly at work. For reference, my school is in a very wealthy suburb of Boston, and for the most part, women (although we have a couple of stay at home fathers) stay home when they have children. Not to say there aren't any working moms, but even those women usually stayed home for some extended period of time when they had babies. Additionally, there has been a series of teachers at school who quit after their maternity leave. So, I get it. They are asking a logical question. Often, it is even followed by a heartfelt expression of how disappointing it would be if I did stay home. It is meant to be an earnest question and one that is even a compliment.

But, here's the rub.

It's starting to become a painful topic, and one that brings regret and guilt to the surface. For KG and I, it is just not an option for one of us to stay home. Financially, it would be disastrous. I've discussed here before how we have been on our own (money-wise) since we were 18 and each brought some debt to our relationship. In the 11+ years we have been together, our debt grew. We have spent the last several years chipping away at it with moderate success, both working full-time, medium-ish income jobs. But, there is still a long way to go, and that isn't even touching my education debt, which I'm pretty sure I'll have until I'm 80.

We are not lazy, careless, or extravagant people. We rent, we have taken one major vacation in over a decade, KG drives a '97 Camry, and I'm in an '03 CRV. High rollers over here. But, it seems like no matter how conservative we are, we can only get so far. There is no possibility of family help with things like a house, etc. It's just us, trying to make it work. So, living on one income just isn't an option. Do I regret not being more careful with money in my late teens and early/mid twenties? Yes. Do I wish one of us made a lot more money (i.e. went into a more lucrative career path?) Yes. But, we are where we are.

Even when I fantasize about being able to stay home, I get a crushing blow of reality. For example, I was in the car trying to imagine a scenario where it might work, i.e. "What if I never ate out again? What if we rented for another 5 years?" Then, it hit me. ALL of our benefits (medical, dental, retirement) are through my job. KG works for a small company that offers none of these. So, even if we figured out some hypothetical way to make being a stay at home parent work, it would not be me that got that opportunity. That brought a wave of sadness. This is a done deal.

The kicker is that BOTH of us would kill for the CHOICE to be a stay-at-home parent for any significant length of time. I've mentioned how head-over-heels in love with this baby KG is, and I'm pretty sure he would carry the baby and give birth himself if he could. He would be an incredible stay-at-home dad. And I have no idea how I'll feel during my maternity leave. Maybe I'll be dying to go back to work, or maybe I'll feel crushed at the thought. There is no way to predict that now, with no experience in this area. But given the current economy, and the lack of governmental support for new parents, this is the way it is. There is no choice for us.

Sometimes I think people (those I work with, and even some commenters on this blog) assume everyone has this choice. Some have even insinuated that I am selfish or strange for going back to work and leaving The Nugget in daycare (and with my father-in-law 2 days per week) this spring. I get those questions like, "Are you sure you want to do that? I would never leave my baby with strangers," and my heart sinks. They just don't know how lucky they are to be able to make that decision purely based on preference, and not on survival.

Is their perspective skewed? Don't most people have to work when they have kids? 

There's another layer to this. The infertile layer. I had to work for years to have this baby. We went through so much pain and disappointment to get this far. And yet, because of our financial situation, I am sacrificing some really important time with the baby. I suppose I am luckier than most - I get 8 to 10 weeks off in the summer to be with The Nugget. But still, it feels like after all we've been through, it feels like a loss to not get to be with him 100% of the time.

These are the times when I wish I had a rewind button and could make different choices at ages 20, 21, 22... which might have left us with more options. But, instead, I've got to come to terms with the place we are in, which compared to many isn't so bad. Right?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

MIA, Back To School madness, and Dr. Seuss

That's me. Ever since I set foot back in school, I've been completely MIA from the blogosphere. I feel incredibly guilty about this, and I miss you all, but something had to give in September.

Every start of school is stressful - the setting up of the classroom, faculty meetings, lesson planning, parent meetings, Back To School Night, and everything else take an incredibly long time to get under way. I knew that this school year would be tough being pregnant. But, the baby isn't even an issue. It is really all those normal factors, combined with the addition of a brand new math curriculum (nothing like making a teacher with 8 years of experience feel like a rookie) and an iPad pilot project in my classroom that makes me feel like I'm drowning. All I can do is make it from work to home, eat, and go to sleep at night. I've been waking up at 6, arriving at school around 7am, leaving around 5pm, and in bed by 9pm. Trying to squeeze in time to cook, keep our place clean, spend SOME time with KG, and you know, breathe, has been tough. I won't get into how much work I'm bringing home and how my Sundays are spent making Smartboard demonstrations for math class. These are the times that people who criticize teachers for having 8 weeks off in the summer can suck it.

In the middle of all that, I flew home to Los Angeles for my first baby shower.

I was thrilled to go, but missing work this close to the start of school just added to my anxiety. Putting that aside, while I was there, I hit 100 degree weather, saw some friends, spent time with my family, and slept like a baby. My best friend, her partner, and my mom hosted this awesome Dr. Seuss themed brunchy shower and it was wonderful. The BFF and partner did all the decorations, delicious food and drinks, and handled the RSVP details. It was intimate (only about 10 people), mellow, and was sans embarrassing taste-the-baby-food games. Just what I requested.

Then, there was the cake. 10 years ago, my mother made my sister's wedding cake, after taking Wilton classes and practicing for months beforehand. Because I got married in Boston, she couldn't do the same for me. But, guess what she did for the baby shower?

Can you believe it?

The Cake Boss would be jealous!
Mom, me, and my sister

While I was gone, KG spent hours starting the process of physical transformation at our place. He scrubbed, labored, sneezed, and moved Mt. Baby (as we are calling the huge collection of baby gear donated to our cause) into the beginnings of our new office so it doesn't take over our living room. Soon, we'll finish cleaning out the old office (aka the future nursery), move our wireless access to the new office, clean the carpet in the nursery, build the crib, pick up the changing table/glider/ottoman/dresser from SIL, organize Mt. Baby, and make a home for this little guy. I know theoretically we have time for all this, but the weeks seem to be flying by, and the to-do list just seems to grow. Have I mentioned we haven't started looking for a pediatrician yet?

Every time I get overwhelmed with these details, I try to take a breath and remind myself of how fortunate we are. If you told me at the beginning of my infertility treatments in January of 2010 that I would be lucky enough to even HAVE a baby shower, I would have laughed in your face. I can't describe the deep feeling of gratitude I have for every single kick, nudge, and flip The Nugget does in my belly. I also ache for my blogger friends who have experienced a recent loss, have ended their journey, or are still trying for a BFP. Belle, Sometimes, Trisha, ToniMo, Sunny, Cristy, Detour, and more. I hold you close ladies and send you whatever support I can.

I leave you with the new Mumford and Sons song that I am obsessed with, "I Will Wait." This song could have been my anthem during treatments. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

True Life fans?

I am completely overwhelmed with the beginning of the new school year, so I have been a bad, bad blogger. I'm behind reading, writing, and generally keeping up. I will be back soon, but for now I'm trying to keep my chin above water at work.

In the meantime, I wanted to spread the word about a media call that RESOLVE put out. I'm too much of a geezer to participate, but maybe some of you are spring chickens:

MEDIA ALERT: MTV is doing a “True Life” show on infertility. RESOLVE staff recently spoke to the producers, discussed their approach, and advised on how to address infertility. Now MTV is looking for people to share their stories. Have you always wanted to have a baby and are finding out that getting pregnant isn't as easy as it seems? Do you plan to seek help from a fertility clinic? Has trying to have a baby left you emotionally, physically, and financially drained? If you want to share your story, are age 18-29, are currently struggling with fertility issues, please email your name, story, location, PHONE NUMBER, and photograph if possible to 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Crossing Over

As a part of my work as a teacher, we are required to do professional development several times a year. These workshops vary in content and quality. Sometimes they are technology workshops about how to better utilize Smartboards or software. Lately, there have been several related to curriculum design, mostly focusing on STEM/STEAM. My favorites though focus on inclusiveness and diversity in education. Yesterday, we did a three-hour workshop on majority and minority groups, exploring what it feels like to be in both.

During the workshop, we all (about 60 of us) stood on one side of the room. Then, as a scenario was posed, you crossed the room to the empty side, if the scenario applied to you. Some of them were innocuous, such as "Cross over if you grew up outside of New England." Once you got to the other side, you could choose to give more information about your crossing, or not.

This sounds simple, but it was really emotionally challenging at times. The feeling of standing on the side of the room with fewer or no other people with you was really outside my comfort zone. As we worked through the scenarios, they got more and more personal. Some other interesting ones posed were things like, "Cross if you:
- have been the only one of your culture or race within a workplace
- have ever been targeted by police simply because of who you are
- have ever felt targeted by a stranger because of who you are
- have felt embarrassed to tell people whether you went to college or where you attended
- lost a job opportunity because of something about your background
- have suffered from a life-threatening disease or injury
- are adopted
- been a single parent
- married to someone of another culture or race"

Then it got really interesting. The facilitator asked:
- "Cross over if you have ever had feelings of discrimination or discomfort around the question of why you don't have children, or your plans to do so."

I thought about whether to cross the room for a few seconds. As I quickly had to make the decision whether to "come out" to my colleagues, my inner voice became clear. I had to do it. I had to be honest with myself and stop hiding, even if I had to do it by myself. It was a little scary, but I've learned from personal experience that exposing myself in this way can often open a door to incredible conversation with someone else, who might also be struggling. So, I forced my feet to move into the empty space, with lots and lots of eyes on me. Luckily, as I glanced up, those eyes were full of warmth, support, and a little bit of shock.

Then, I got lucky. Within my school, I'm close with three other women who are either currently or have gone through infertility treatment in the past. One is pregnant, due a month after me (after seeing my RE!) and two are still in treatment. The other woman who is pregnant smiled at me, and then crossed over to stand at my side. The other two still TTC stayed where they were.

A second later, another co-worker came to stand near us, one I hadn't expected. This woman is a teacher I have worked with for several years, and over last year became quite unpredictable with some angry outbursts and general aggression. It suddenly dawned on me why there had been such a change in her personality.

All three of us took the opportunity to speak about why we crossed over. I said that I crossed over because it took us a lot of effort to attain this pregnancy, after years of being asked when I would have children. I spoke to the pain of people assuming that if you are young and married, that children are an assumed inevitability.  My pregnant friend spoke to not only how difficult it was to watch co-workers get pregnant while she was still struggling, but also the guilt of currently being pregnant, knowing people close to you are still struggling. We both ended with how strange it feels to be on the other side.

The third woman spoke too. She talked about how she is unable to have children and watching us be pregnant is very painful for her. Instead of being hurt by her words, I felt tremendous empathy for her. How many times have I been in her shoes? How many times did I wish I could say the exact same thing?

After the workshop, I wrote to her and expressed my support. I gave her a bit more background of my situation and offered to speak to her about her process if she ever wanted to or felt comfortable doing so. About 30 seconds after sending my email, she responded in a really appreciative way. We made a date to take a walk after the first week of school and discuss her situation.

If I've learned nothing else from my infertility experience, it's that if you are willing to make yourself vulnerable and exposed to others, the payoff can be huge. Crossing that room may have been hard for me, but maybe it will make her journey just a teeny, tiny bit easier.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My To-Do Lists have To-Do Lists

I don't know where the summer went. One minute, I was wrapping up end-of-year meetings at school, and the next I'm preparing to return on Monday. Although every summer goes quickly for me, this one really seemed jam packed. Between taking a few small trips, searching for day care, doctor's appointments, projects, tutoring, a week in Maine, and working on some curriculum material, it just flew.

Monday, I'll be back at school. Once again, I'll turn into "Mrs. HRF." It's a little known fact that teachers get just as nervous about the new school year as students do. I always get some nerves during this last week of summer, but this year I'm even more anxious. The truth is, I'm really going to have to dig deep to give my normal 100% at school this fall. Not only am I preoccupied with The Nugget but there will also be two other brand spanking new curriculum initiatives in my classroom, which puts me pretty far out of my comfort zone. After eight years of teaching, I'm having to completely change the way I teach. It's a lot to handle, knowing I'll miss 12 weeks of it. 

The best way I know to handle anxiety is to talk about it and write things down. So, this week, I made a pretty comprehensive Baby To-Do list for KG and I to tackle. Holy crap. By the end, the list is at least 20 items long, including cleaning tasks, nursery prep, appointments, phone calls, and more. Then I realized some items on the list necessitated another list, and a post-it.

What I worry about most is how there is going to be enough of me to go around. Logically, I know KG will help me get through the list of practicalities. He will help me clean out our office, move it to another room, and create a nursery. We will rent a truck and pick up the furniture we are receiving from friends and family. We will scrub this place down before the shower. The carpet will get shampooed. Somehow, by the time this baby arrives, the tedious stuff will happen, even though it feels daunting.

I'm more worried about how to accomplish all that, AND be a good teacher, good wife, good friend, and a prepared mama. Then that snowballs into worrying about how I'm going to handle training a maternity leave sub and going back to work in April, after my leave. There almost isn't room right now to be concerned with things like actual parenting and infant care!

I know a lot of my anxiety is purely the anticipation. Once I start again, I'll have to figure out how to manage it all. KG also made a good point the other day. He said I might need to learn how to be okay with not being able to do everything I did before. I'll need to learn how to say no to certain duties, admit when I'm tired, and get my work ego in check. All true.

Thank goodness, just when I'm near meltdown, The Nugget reminds me of the real priority with a kick, nudge, or push.
PSA: RESOLVE is asking for video submissions for this campaign. I am considering making one, and you should too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back from Paradise

I promise there is a blog post in the works. But, since we just got back from Maine, it might take me another day or two.

In the meantime, I am in major post-trip depression, because the week was SO wonderful. If you've never been to Mt. Desert Island, or Acadia National Park, make that happen soon.

Here is a little taste of why I never wanted to come home.

Hodgdon Pond, view from our dock

ideal mode of transportation

Yup, that's a hammock in front of our deck
The Bubbles, near Jordan Pond
 Oh yeah, and I hit 20 weeks. Halfway there. To celebrate, The Nugget started to move and kick.

This is the look of a happy, relaxed woman.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, My Little Blog

Waiting for Little Feet is officially one year old today.

I don't know if I can accurately articulate the feelings I have about the last year of my life, and how important the blog has become. When I went back to re-read the first post I was trembling, remembering how I felt at that point. By the time I started blogging, we'd been TTC for a year and a half. We had already lost a baby, and I hadn't ovulated in months. My bathroom was filled with ovulation tests. I was ready to throw the stupid basal thermometer out the window, as I figured out how useless it was with PCOS. There were tears, tears, and more tears. I felt lost, worried, and mostly scared. I didn't know if I would ever be pregnant again.

Little did I know about what the next 12 months would hold for us. There was the good, (the very good), the bad, and the ugly.

What I really couldn't conceive of  (no pun intended) in August of 2011 was how much joy was ahead of us, to balance the pain. There were so many days when I was ready to give up and move on to living a life without the torment of infertility treatment. In many ways, I was more prepared for that outcome than our current successful pregnancy. All of that makes me so intensely grateful for this baby and every day I can still call myself pregnant.

Reading blogs provided constant comfort for me then, and still does. I finally got the nerve (with a lot of encouragement from the best husband on earth) to start my own blog, as an outlet and a way to reach out for support. That's exactly what blogging gives to me - way to process all I think about and feel without losing my mind. Every time I post, the wave of relief I feel after pouring my heart out, and the subsequent smiles I get from comments, makes it all better. 

I'm indebted to those of you who continue to stick with me and read my little blog, in the sea of other blogs that are out there. I have been lucky enough to meet some of you, email with many of you, and have received an overwhelming amount of support from you.

Thanks so much for making my blogging life so rich.

Happy Birthday, my little blog.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Future of Medicine aka My Doctor Left Me for Someone Wealthier

I think I've spoken before about my primary care doctor. We'll call him Dr. Wonderful. I have to tell you - I love this man. Even though he is in a huge practice with tons of patients, he has never once rushed me through my appointments. He asks not only about my physical health, but also about how KG and I are doing on an emotional level. He kept up to date on all my infertility treatments (since they sent him reports on every single procedure) and trusted my judgement and instincts about my own care. He even trusts me to self diagnose my annual sinus infections, and call in meds for me, without dragging me in for an appointment. He calls me back within hours every single time I leave him a message. I completely trust him with the ickiest of medical issues and even KG is willing to see him, and he hates going to the doctor. Truly, he (along with my RE and my psychiatrist) set the bar for all of my medical care.

My warmest memory of Dr. W. was the night he found out about my failed fertilization during IVF #1. The man called me at 7:00 pm and spoke to me for a half hour about everything I was feeling and gave his opinion on next steps. He stayed after a day full of patients, just to comfort me. I cried after that call, simply because I felt so completely safe and cared for as his patient. 

Then, on Wednesday, I got a letter from Dr. W. At first, when I saw his name on different letterhead, I just assumed he was switching practices (maybe one closer to my house?!).

Then, came the blow.

He is opening his own practice based on the "concierge" model of care. According to the letter, he would be opening a smaller practice, with much more personalized care, but you had to become a member in order to continue to see him. The annual membership fees would cover such things as longer appointment times, an in-house lab, 24/7 phone access to the doctor, wifi and snacks in the waiting room, and lots of other bells and whistles. Additionally, you also need to continue to pay for regular medical insurance to cover the actual office visits, labs, hospitalizations, etc. The fee is simply to join the practice.

How much could this fee possibly be, you might ask? A few hundred a year? A thousand?


We are talking about $5,000 per year for me and KG. $5,000. A number so completely out of reach for us that it isn't even a remote possibility.

When I read the letter, my stomach sank. I immediately searched the internet and got quite the education about this issue. It's becoming more and more popular for PCPs to do this, to avoid pressure from insurance companies to pack in patients, with more and more paperwork. It's a total win for the doctors. Fewer patients, less red tape, appointments that run on time, and better quality of care. Similarly, for those who can afford it, it's a win for the patient too. I mean who wouldn't want all of that?

But I have to tell you, this makes me feel a little sick inside. Simply because I can't afford this extra fee, I am going to lose out on the care of the best doctor I have ever seen. It feels elitist. It feels exclusive. It feels like I am being shut out of an opportunity because I am not among his wealthiest patients. It feels that way, because it's true.

After the sadness, came anger. It just isn't FAIR. I stomped my feet. I pounded my fists. I called my mom to complain (who said her own PCP did this a year ago, but is only charging $300 per year.) Then I called Dr. W. and left a message to please call me back.

And he did. At the end of a long day seeing patients, he did what he always does: called me back promptly to discuss my concerns. He did so with grace and warmth. He explained his point of view (feels like he can't be the doctor he wants to be in his current practice, never sees his family, etc.) and expressed how much he appreciates me as a patient. I couldn't even stay angry. He's just that sweet.

The problem is, I see Dr. Wonderful *maybe* two or three times a year at this point. Other than infertility and the anxiety/depression issues (both covered by insurance), I have no reason to see him, other than physicals and the occasional sicknesses that come with everyday life. So, there is no way I could ever justify the cost to join the practice. So, I made a last ditch effort and asked him about a sliding scale for his fee. He said that I should call and inquire about it in a couple of months, after the new practice is on its feet. In the meantime, he referred me to another doctor and asked about how the pregnancy is going.

Although I can't stay mad at Dr. W. I am thoroughly freaked out by this trend. I know more and more PCPs are going to start following this model, and it scares the shit out of me. Really, it just means the richest people will get the best care, and the rest of us will have to deal with crowded waiting rooms, wait lists, and appointments that never run on time. Maybe this is the way it has been in America on a smaller scale, but it's becoming obvious that the disparity between the haves and the have-nots is going to affect the medical care of more and more people.

For me, it feels personal. It feels like I've been abandoned. It feels like I have one less person in my corner.

So long, Dr. Wonderful.

Anyone else have a PCP who switched to concierge care?

"Mad World," by Tears for Fears

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anatomy Scan

Gender reveal drum roll please....

The Nugget's 18 week profile shot!

The 12 week gender prediction at the NT Scan (and my acupuncturist's reading of my pulse) was right!

It's a boy!

The anatomy scan went perfectly today. The Nugget is looking 100% healthy and was wiggling for us the whole time. He (oh my God, I said HE!) even cooperated so we could look at his junk. Thanks Son!

The only thing we are keeping an eye on is my placenta. Apparently it's a tad low. Not previa, but low. Upside? I get another ultrasound at 28 weeks to make sure it moves up, which they think it will. Score for another peek at MY SON! (Ok, I'll stop now).

Today's appointment with the OB went better than the last too. Yes, she took me an hour late (she had to deliver a baby that morning) but she was more direct and I left feeling good. Having KG there was a good idea too - keeping me calm as the wait started to make me more and more annoyed.

In other news, life is busy. I'm tutoring 3 days a week, working on 2 curriculum projects, and preparing for my sister to arrive for a visit this weekend. We also managed to finish the registry and have started to think about starting to clear out our junk from the room that will become the nursery.

All in all, chugging along.

I can't believe I'll be back in my classroom in 3 weeks. Where did the summer go?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Daycare Post, by popular request

Several of you ladies asked me to post a summary of the daycare hunt I went on, and your wish is my command. Keep in mind, all of this is just my experience and my preferences. I do not claim to be an expert by any means. I am cutting and pasting some of the information below from an email exchange I had with Lanie, for convenience.

Let me preface by saying we had very specific needs for our day care situation. Not only did we need it to be licensed, clean, organized, and have that good "feel," but also it needed to meet very practical concerns. We were looking for a place that would accommodate all (or at least most) of the following:

1. I'm a teacher so I want a 10 month (not 12) schedule.
2. I also want 3 days per week, not 5, since FIL is willing to do 2.
3. I teach at a private school, so our vacation schedule is different than public schools. I wanted a place that does NOT close during public school vacation weeks in February/April.
4. I want the day care to be within very short distance to either home or my husband's work. I work in a very affluent suburb and had no hope of finding affordable care in that area. Plus FIL lives close to our home, so in an emergency I need him to be able to pick up the baby.
5. We have a pretty specific budget.
6. I needed a center that had workable hours for both my husband's schedule and mine, such as 7 or 8 to 5 or 6 instead of closing at 3 or 4, which some did. We wouldn't leave the baby all those hours but some days are different than others.

There were other things we were looking for, but these were the top ones.

I researched, called around, and talked to friends A LOT before setting up 5 appointments. I visited one in-home day care (10 kids - came from personal rec), 3 larger group daycares (1 came from personal rec, 40ish kids each, divided into age groups), and 1 church based daycare (personal rec, 20ish kids, divided into age groups). I didn't visit large chain day cares (Kindercare, Bright Horizons, A Place to Grow) because it was cost prohibitive for us. I also didn't pursue visiting more than 1 in-home daycare because I quickly figured out I was just more comfortable in a center setting.

It was a serious education. It is not as simple as going to the old lady down the street, who served Kraft Mac and Cheese anymore. (Anyone else have that experience?)

Here is what I learned:

1. No where is going to be perfect.
2. A lot is based on gut feeling when you walk into a place and meet the director/caregiver.
3. Personal preference plays a key role. I have a girlfriend whom I love to death, but she and I visited two of the same daycares and had drastically opposing views about them. Go figure.
4. Many daycares in my area often either require 5 days for infant care with a flat fee, or make their part time hourly rate so high that 5 days feels like a bargain. I ended up choosing one that charged a straightforward daily rate.
5. As personal preference, I liked the idea of a center better than an in-home day care because I like the idea of more staff, a director overseeing, more structure, etc. Some people love the homey nature of in-home day cares and I agree that a smaller group of kids is definitely a plus. BUT, I just had to go with my gut and I preferred a center. Many of the centers even have webcams where you can watch what's happening during the day!
6. The Massachusetts state mandated ratio of infants to adults in licensed daycares is 3:1. Check on it for your state.
7. Make sure to ask whether all staff are First Aid/Infant CPR certified.
8. Call references.

I'm relieved to say that we put in a deposit at one of the larger day cares, down the street from our house, last week. It ticked a lot of our boxes, appeared clean and organized, and had good references. I'm lucky in that I can see how it goes from April-June and then re-evaluate while on summer vacation. I have a backup in mind, in case it isn't the right place for us, as long as they have a spot.

I can't believe how stressful choosing a daycare was. The truth is, I have no idea how my feelings or instincts will change when The Nugget is here. I am taking my best guess at what will work for us, until I have a better frame of reference. Here's hoping I made a good choice.

On that note, I leave you with a new pic, because it's been a couple of weeks and I am astounded at the evolution of my belly.

17 weeks

Friday, July 20, 2012


No, not attachment parenting. I'm talking about blog attachment. Lately, I've had a difficult relationship with my blog.

I love this space. I am deeply attached to it. I have "met" (actually, I did meet Jen IRL for lunch yesterday! It was awesome!) incredible women through it, poured my heart out on it, ranted, raved, mused, and gained insight from comments. The blog is very important to me.


I've been much less motivated to write lately. The other day, I wrote a post where I was extremely vulnerable. I had a really bad day. As I often do, when I'm struggling with an issue, I bring it here. For the first time ever, I got a nasty anonymous comment that kicked me while I was down. I know this comes with the territory when you write a blog, but it did sting. I have been living in a blogger bubble for the last year or so (never having had a troll before) so I don't have much experience shaking these things off. It made me pause for the first time about what I write here. I don't want that horrible person to have that kind of effect on me, or the blog. I know the more experienced bloggers might be rolling their eyes as they read this. I need to work at building a tougher skin.

Maybe my reluctance to write also has to do with how boring I've been lately. Because I am lucky enough to get to enjoy summer vacation, I've been spending my days running errands, finding day care for after my maternity leave (yup, 9 months early), lunching with friends, and reading. Exciting huh? By the way, the day care thing deserves an entirely separate post. What an education I gained over the last few weeks.

Really I think it comes down to the fact that the best benefit of being pregnant right now is the mental break I am getting from everything infertility related. I spent two and a half years stuck in a vicious cycle of mental anguish, followed by hope, ending with more mental anguish. It was exhausting but it fueled my writing. Now that I am feeling more confident that this baby might actually be born, it has given me an opportunity to actually be happy and spend some time quietly enjoying it. It's a foreign feeling. I even shipped off my leftover meds to a blogger who needed them, giving me a huge sense of relief. By mailing that box, I felt myself letting go of some of the pain that infertility laid on my shoulders.

Don't take any of this to mean that I am going to stop blogging. I am here. I am staying.

But it's taking me some time to accept that my blog is in transition. It's changing the way I am changing. I can't write about all the same things I did, because I'm preoccupied with new topics, as well as some of the old ones.

The truth is, I will always be an infertile. After this baby is born, I will still have PCOS. I will likely still never ovulate. I will need to unfreeze my embryos in order to have another child. None of that changes with the success of this IVF. But, the pregnancy has changed things. I am not strictly an infertile anymore. I'm something else. I'm also stronger, wiser, and have infinitely more gratitude.

This week, I volunteered in the RESOLVE New England offices for the first time. I met with the director and we talked about how one of the things RESOLVE is dealing with is how to keep women who have found success connected to the organization. This rang true for me (and the blog) as well. Volunteering for RESOLVE will continue to help me stay connected to our journey, and not just the result.

I still follow and root for all of the bloggers still struggling. Even if I don't always comment, I am reading and thinking of all of you. I am also thrilled for many of you who have been in the recent wave of BFPs. There sure are a lot right now! But, as expected, I lost a few followers over the last few weeks. I don't know if it is specifically because I am pregnant, or maybe I touched on controversial topics regarding medication and pregnancy (or even working outside the home?). I don't take it personally, but it did make me sad. It seems unavoidable to lose connection with some people once our situations change.

However, I'm hoping many of you will continue to stick with me while I get more comfortable with how I, and the blog, evolve.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thank You everyone who said kind, supportive, and helpful things in the comments to my last post. It really did help and gave me lots to think about. I'm lucky to have so many people care about me and The Nugget.

Those people close to me know that when I get overwhelmed, it tends to all boil over at once. It's just the way I process that kind of stress. To say I had a bad day is kind of an understatement. But, I woke up the next day feeling better and with a clearer mind. All of these things are a work in progress for me, and KG and I just need to continue to breathe and make our way through decisions, one by one.

So, on a happier note: We are heading down to see some friends in New Jersey this weekend, and spend time on the shore. If you have never been to south Jersey, don't judge. It is clean and beautiful, far from the stigma of that MTV crap. It will be wonderful to get away and spend time with people we love dearly.

And, here's the 15 week pic we took after we got home from our anniversary dinner the other night. If you live in the Boston area and haven't been to Hungry Mother (oh, the irony) in Cambridge, we highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


It happened. I had my first official breakdown this morning, in my OBs office. Yup. That was me. The crazy lady crying in front of a stunned OB. This breakdown was several days in the making, and as KG said when I called him after the appointment, "It just sounds like you had a cry inside you needed to let out." Apparently so. This is a long one, so get comfortable.

Let's back up.

Over the last week, I have been feeling tremendous pressure about finding child care for The Nugget. I had 3 people in the span of as many days ask me the dreaded question, "Have you looked into child care yet?" Cue. Panic. Even though, to me, it sounds totally insane to look at day care when you are 15 weeks pregnant, apparently in Boston it is totally necessary. I started googling, talking to friends, and making some phone calls. Indeed, several places said that now is the time to look for September 2013. Yup, over a year in advance. So, I made some appointments to visit a few places in our area. Oh, and guess what else? You need to be ready to cough up nearly as much money per month as our rent for full time infant care. Again, cue panic. Since staying home is not an option for me (or KG) this is the reality. We'll just have to suck it up and eat ramen for a while.

So there's that.

I'll preface the next bit by saying I am a person who likes direct instruction. Don't make me guess what I should do. Just tell me exactly the right thing to do and when to do it. I follow directions like a champ. Teachers tended to love me for this reason. I generally did exactly what they asked, in order to get a good grade. Open ended assignments? That's another story.

On to today's appointment.

I saw the OB we met last month. Again, she was a bit late (30 mins) but was warm and friendly. All started well, with my uterus measuring just right and The Nugget's heartbeat sounding loud and strong. She said my blood pressure was "on the high end of normal" but that might have been from feeling annoyed that she ran 30 minutes late. Anyway, she told me not to worry about it (then why tell me?). Then, she asked if I had questions. She didn't know what she was in for.

I started off by asking about why my ovaries are still quite large from IVF (they mentioned it at the NT Scan). She kind of brushed it off saying it would go away after the baby and they wouldn't do anything about it now. I'm okay with that I guess, but it did leave me wondering.

Then I asked about exercise. How much should I be doing? For how long? Again, I felt like I got vague answers. It started out okay. She said I should be exercising every day (holy shit!). Then, I got the standard, "Don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable, breathless, too hot, etc." Okay, that's all fine. But, when I pushed her to tell me how long each day, etc. I got, "Whatever feels right." If I knew what felt right, I wouldn't be asking. It feels awfully right to sit and watch Real Housewives instead of going to the gym.

Next, was the heaviest topic. I've written before about the fact that I am on prescription medication for anxiety and depression. I am on very low doses and have consulted my psychiatrist and two years ago (when we began TTC) I even went to a special clinic that deals exclusively with pregnancy and psychiatric medication. At the time, everyone recommended I stay on my medication, even though they are Class C, because the risk of having a depressive or panic episode was overwhelmingly likely, especially postpartum. The research generally shows that the risk to me outweighs the risk to the baby and that the chemicals that the body of a depressed mother releases can be more damaging to the baby than the meds. They also said the amount passed through breastmilk is less than through the placenta, so it shouldn't be a problem. But, I wanted to make sure this OB is on board and that breastfeeding will not be an issue at the hospital. Now, I know this is a complicated issue and honestly the research sucks in this area because they aren't randomized studies. It may not be a clear cut issue at all. But again, instead of giving me a straight recommendation, she wants me to meet again with the clinic. I asked if she has other patients with this issue (she does - many) but she said it is all dependent on individual circumstances, etc. This is all true. But FUCK, I just wanted her opinion and she just wouldn't give it to me.

Then, it happened. I broke down in tears. I didn't see it coming and still don't really know why I went over the edge. She was stunned and thrown by my reaction, as was I. She babbled a bit and I agreed to make the call to the clinic.

Lastly, I decided to press my luck and ask about nutrition advice. Are there specific food groups I should be focusing on more than others? Protein? Calcium? I have all the books with some of this info, but I wanted to know from her experience if she considers some things more important than others. What did she say? I should go see the nutritionist. Another appointment. Another question unanswered. I think I'll just make a greater effort with leafy greens.

Did I mention I am meeting tomorrow with an endocrinologist because she didn't want to tell me when to go off Metformin (for PCOS, not insulin issues) without his opinion?

No one tells you how scary all this pregnancy stuff is. The thing is, I am petrified that I'll do something wrong with this pregnancy, that I'll personally make a choice that will harm this baby. And it seems that with so many of these pregnancy-related things, there is no one right answer. There is only making "comfortable" choices or doing what "feels right." Apparently this is true from everything from choosing a car seat to the question of getting an epidural. For someone like me, that is just about the worst thing I can hear. How the hell do I know what's right if I've never done this before?

Are all OBs like this? Do they all refer you out for tough questions? Are they only good for listening to a doppler and measuring your uterus?

Hell, I have a doppler at home...

By the way, today didn't start off like this. It's actually a really happy day: KG and I have been married for 7 years as of noon today. We are going to a fab restaurant to celebrate later and shake off this mood. Happy Anniversary, KG. You are the best partner to this batshit crazy lady I could ever ask for.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fear of Falling

I spent the last few days with a close friend and her parents at their home, on Cape Cod. We got a mani pedi. We went to a beautiful private beach. I read an entire book. There was even some shopping. Serious girl time and serious relaxation. It was heavenly.

Sandwich, MA and pretty toes
I also took the opportunity of getting away this weekend to take a short vacation from worry about the baby. I took a big step and left my doppler at home. KG panicked when I told him my plan. He warned that there was no way he was going to follow me to the Cape with it if I regretted my decision. But it really felt right. This was a chance to put a little distance between me and my obsession with checking for a heartbeat for a couple of days, and I'm glad I did. Instead I focused on relaxing and being happy. I did a good job.

I have always had a fear of heights. Even climbing ladders or standing on high terraces is a problem. I get that sinking pit feeling in my stomach and unavoidably picture myself falling. The feeling of insecurity and imbalance takes hold and I lose my shit. Without someone or something to hold me steady at that height, I just feel lost. My feelings about this pregnancy have felt very similar until recently. I have been so afraid of loving with this baby because what if it was all taken from me in a heartbeat. What if I fell, and then got hurt? The doppler was holding me to the ground, making me feel safe and in control.

Taking a break from the doppler gave me a chance to explore how I feel without my safety net. I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed and happy I felt. Feel. Honestly, I haven't felt this good since our pre-TTC days. Something could go wrong at any time. But, maybe it won't. Maybe it won't.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

You Turned My Daughter into a Blueberry

Someone a while back mentioned that at a certain point in pregnancy, you can't suck in anymore. I can't believe I reached that point already at 13 weeks. I am full on in maternity pants and needed to buy 2 shirts today. Check out the difference! Holy crap!
13 weeks
12 weeks
I feel a little like Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka.

A few things I'm learning and considering about belly shots:
1. Really consider what you wear. I did not think about that enough before the last 2 shots, and just went with comfy clothes. Note to self: choose cute clothes for the next pic.
2. Make sure no drawstrings are hanging down. Again, see above.
3. Choose pants that don't have VPL. (Thanks for reminding me of this fact on your recent post, Belle!)
4. Think about the possibility of including my head in these shots.
5. If I include my face, spend time on hair and makeup.

Some of you take REALLY cute belly shots (Lanie, Jen, and ADSchill come to mind among others) and you are inspiring me to give a crap about what I look like on the interwebs. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cliche and Proud at 13 weeks

Something has shifted inside of me since Friday. KG noticed. I noticed. My mom noticed. My therapist noticed. Somehow, I've managed to turn a corner and start to fulfill my promise to myself to become 100% invested in this pregnancy. You know, that one Mel held me to. I think it was the NT scan that did it: seeing The Nugget in real time, with fingers and toes. Something inside of me clicked. There really is a baby in there and all of this could turn out okay. Suddenly, I want to tell EVERYONE and am so damn excited.

KG and I have had many discussions about how and when to tell everyone that we are expecting. Obviously we wanted to wait until after the NT Scan but I kept wavering about waiting longer than that. Once an infertile, always an infertile. I don't know how to deal with anything without going first to a place of fear. What if we tell too soon? What if I jinx it?

But here's the thing: if it is just fear holding me back, there's no real point in waiting longer. The truth is that something bad could happen with the baby at any time during this pregnancy and birth. We have passed through the first trimester, but that doesn't mean the danger is over. So, does that mean we should wait until 15 weeks? 18 weeks? 24 weeks? When is the magic time? When does the fear go away?

It doesn't.

So, we took a baby step. Over the weekend we called and emailed some good friends and announced our good news. These were folks that are important to us, but necessarily in the know about our IVF cycle. Still, we wanted them to know before we do IT.

By it I mean, you guessed it, the Bookface announcement. I know, I know. It's tacky and lame to use social media to announce such news. But honestly, it's a quick way to spread the news. And you know what? We are freaking excited to do it, cliche and all. We worked hard to get to this point, and I'm excited to be ending the first trimester. I am so beyond happy right now, and I want to share that joy. Roll your eyes if you must.

So, later tonight, the deed will be done. I'm nervous about it, because I am still a bit stuck in the superstitious frame of mind. But, maybe there will be some relief too, once it's out there.

In other news, here is a list of weird things happening to me:

1. Over the course of the last 3-4 days, BAM. Belly. Has. Popped. No sucking in possible. 13 week belly shot to come.

2. A fine layer of peach fuzz appeared all over my belly. Strange.

3. My skin is breaking out like a 13 year old.

3. I'm having some muscular pains under my belly, near my pelvic bone.

4. There is lots of random crying watching various things on TV, baby-related or not.

Anyone else in either TTC or pregnancy hormonal overload right now?

Friday, June 22, 2012

NT Scan and Bravery

Thanks to my trusty doppler, I wasn't nearly as nervous for today's NT scan as I might have been without it. As of last night, The Nugget still had a heartbeat, so I knew we were in pretty good shape.

Today's scan took place at the high-risk clinic (even though I'm not high risk). Once I was on the table, KG and I both were shocked at the changes with the baby in just 3 weeks. It went from an alien-looking life form to a real, live baby in there.  

I put all the pix from today on The Nugget's page, but here is my favorite one:

Hi Blogosphere!
The measurements all looked great and the baby was moving a lot, kicking and bouncing. The technician was finishing up and I asked her if she had a guess at gender. She confirmed our gut feeling and said boy. But, we won't be certain until the 18 week scan.

I also mentioned to the doctor that I am staying on one medication that has a slightly elevated risk of cleft palate. She said we would check for that at the 18w scan, and to come back to this clinic instead of the regular imaging center, considering my concern. For now, I'll try to put that out of my mind.

I decided to rejoice in the good news of the scan with a celebratory maple chocolate doughnut.

The perfection that is a doughnut from Ohlin's Bakery in Belmont, MA.

Perhaps the doughnut is a contributing factor to the fact that I had to buy maternity shorts from Target today. Yup, I'm down to 1 pair of pants that I can button. Thanks to some friends who gave me a BeBand (thanks Angela!) and 2 Bella Bands (thanks SKB!), I should be okay for a little while longer, but I need to start some shopping.

And with that, I have made a decision to be brave and share that belly shot, horrific angle, bad clothes, and all. If anyone mentions my granny arms, there will be blood.

12 weeks in all its glory.