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

...to 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.