Saturday, December 10, 2011

I have emerged victorious

About a month ago our HR department held its benefits open season presentation and informed us that we were switching health insurance carriers from Oxford to Cigna. Aside from the tremendous pain in the ass of switching doctors, learning a new computer system, etc., we were told that our coverage was essentially the same so there was nothing much to worry about.

But since this isn't my first rodeo, I figured I would call up our "benefits services" company and ask about our infertility coverage. Turns out that our benefits services people didn't even understand that we currently had $10K of advanced infertility coverage (IVF and IUI) in addition to full coverage for all ultrasounds, drugs, etc. And what they told me about our new coverage? That we had none. Well, that's not entirely true. They told me that our new coverage "met the state mandate" in NY (coverage of testing and treatment of medical causes of infertility. So if I had a blocked tube, and needed that sorted out, all covered. If I had crappy eggs and wanted to do IUI with injectables, no dice.

Clearly, that was not "equivalent coverage" so I marched myself into our Chief Admin Officer's office and began the first of a series of very awkward conversations about infertility benefits and coverage levels. Now, let's put aside for a second how imprudent it is to discuss one's potential future desires to be pregnant and out on maternity leave. The uncomfortable conversations where I had to explain to him that artificial insemination and ivf were different things (and what each were) were just really so awkward as to be comical.

Long story short, after 3 weeks of working directly with our new insurance company (because despite my infertility treatment tutorial, the CAO deferred sorting this out to me, leading me to wonder whether I could get part of his large salary), we now have even better benefits.

Our new coverage covers everything. The only limits are:
- if you (female) are over 45, you don't qualify for ivf
- you have to be able to document that you have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years (under 35) and 1 year (over 35)
- 4 complete lifetime retrievals are covered. No limit on the transfers.
- All drugs are covered

So we are good to go. As are all of the other people in my office. No one else knows that I did this, and there is no one that I really think needs telling, but I am happy I could ensure that others have this same coverage.

Pat Pat (that's me, patting myself on the back).

Friday, December 2, 2011

How soon we forget.

I recently had an HSG (that's hysterosalpingogram for the uninitiated). Why didn't I remember how much that sucked? Was I more willing to deal with the pain and the anxiety and the hassle last time before there was B? Or am I just older (2+ years) and wimpier now? Either way, having glowing dye shot up into one's uterus is really f*ing uncomfortable. But, no scarring from the c-section, so we are all good.

Going in next week for annual OBGYN exam and to get all my tests updated. Looks like we are moving forward.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this. Yeah, he's a bit big for the tub and he's lapping bathwater out of the soapdish, but as long as he's having fun....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And now we are 9 (months)

I cannot believe nine months has gone by since B has been out in the world and in our lives. His arrival was eagerly anticipated, but in no way could I have imagined how wonderful it would be to be his mother, and how he would bring joy and love (and a little bit of much-needed perspective about what's important) to our lives.

What I also could not have anticipated is how enormous he would be -- considering we brought him home at 5.5 lbs and 19.5 inches, that he is now 31 inches and a whopping 25.2 lbs is simply shocking. He's enormous. And funny and very mobile, although he still prefers the army crawl to the standard hands-and-knees version. And he can stand up all by himself, which is pretty terrifying.

Every day he seems to learn something new -- he claps, gives high fives, feeds himself, drinks from a sippy cup -- and he knows songs. I can sing one song and he will be sort of disinterested, but if I sing another (She'll be coming 'round the mountain, in particular) his face lights up and he bounces up and down. His brain is evolving daily, and I can practically see it happening.

We are so so lucky.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In which my husband purchases a pregnancy test

More fun and games with (in)fertility over here at Casa Irrational.

I got my period the day B turned 7 months. Then, about 29 days later, I got it again. B is 9 months and a week old, and I'm still waiting. That's a cycle of 40 days, and that's waay longer than normal for me.

I know that it takes a while for cycles to even out post pregnancy (and I called my OB and she reminded me of this fact), but it would be SO nice just to miraculously be pregnant. I know it is not the case and I know it is not even remotely likely, but magical thinking is sometimes very therapeutic, you know?

I told DH over the weekend that my period was late. He sort of panicked. And then proceeded to ask me "is it here yet" every 8 minutes. Or so it seemed. And on Monday he was at the store and picked up some fancy HPTs. Two to a box.

That night, I used one. I know you are supposed to test in the morning, but you couldn't just put the sticks in front of me and expect me not to use them for 12 hours, right? So I did, and it was negative. And I was surprisingly disappointed, because I thought that this would have really very nicely resolved the disagreement over how (if) to go about having a second child that we are having. And everyone would have won.

And then some spotting started last night (just a wee bit), and today there is just a wee bit more. But that isn't usually how I roll on a monthly basis. Once the spotting starts, the full on flow is usually only a few hours behind. So now I am perplexed. And weirdly, foolishly hopeful again. Which seems more cruel than fair, since I've taken the first HPT but I still have neither my period nor a positive result.

I know that if I use the second of the fancy-dancy HPTs tomorrow morning, my period will come on strong by 10-11am or so. Either way, I'd like to just get on with it and move forward.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What does it mean to want?

I'm dipping my toe very gingerly back into the "let's try to get pregnant and have a baby" waters. But I'm taking it slow because, well, I lucked out and I have a baby. And that baby is awesome, and the last thing I want is to be distracted or rotten-with-desire (InBetween came up with that term and I think it's exactly right) instead of paying attention to him.

For those of you long time readers, you might recall that I was going to switch REs after our last FET, seeing that my first 2 cycles didn't work. So I spoke to New RE last month and he suggested that, before we make any plans, I get AMH levels tested to see if I am even still in the game.

So last week I went in to New REs office to get bloodwork done.

It was weird.

It was weird because I kept looking at my watch knowing that I couldn't be late to get home to B since our nanny had to leave at a time certain. It was weird because I could look people in the eye and smile. It was weird because I didn't have that sense of panic and dread weighing heavily in my gut.

Turns out my AMH is fine. It's 1.1. I can't seem to dig out the info about what it was last time it was taken back in 2009, but my lack of comparative data isn't freaking me out. I'm curious, but not obsessed. And mostly, I can't seem to dig it out b/c the file is in B's closet and I forget to look when I get home. Because when I get home I need to hear how his day was, what he did, and see all of his new tricks. (Clapping was the most recent, and it makes both B and I laugh and laugh.) And the clapping and laughing are way more important than my hormone levels from 2009. (OK 4 days later, I did look it up and it was 1.28 in May, 2009. The rate of decline so far is not bad.)

So now I am wondering -- if I don't feel that burning desire, is that trying to tell me something? Or is wanting another child in a less intense way actually normal and natural, and the intense longing only caused by the pain of infertility? Partially I think that I am trying to convince myself that maybe I don't want this because of the disagreement with DH about approach (he is in the "no more IVF" camp, I am not). But the thing is, I think it is ok to want something but not be consumed by desire for it. And even without that crazy all-consuming want, I'm ok with the IVF, because, well, that's kind of what we need to do to have a child. Maybe I've blocked out how horrid it was, and maybe I believe that this time couldn't possibly be as bad because of B.

I feel like, because I don't know how to change my husband's position, that I am trying to convince myself that I don't want something that I do, and I am using as an excuse how I was feeling 24 months ago. But actually, if I am honest, I know that it's a good thing that the wanting isn't as painful and terrifying. And it's a good thing that I can walk into a physicians office and not feel gut-wrenching panic. And that it is ok to want something that might be hard even though you may be alone in the wanting. And once again, I know that not being able to get pregnant without intervention makes everything so. much. harder.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ouch! That still stings!

Turns out that the emotional wounds from being infertile don't just disappear after you have a child. Having B has insulated me from some of the pain for the last many months, and so I almost forgot it was there. Until Friday.

Friday I ended up at the drugstore near my office with a friend of mine from work. She is just married, 31 years old. Husband is 37. So in my world, they are very young (we are 41 and 46). I was buying tampons because on B's 7-month birthday my period came back. And it appears to be back for keeps, since 31 days later it came back again. Coworker was buying ovulation predictor kits. Because they have been trying for 2 months and, according to her, her husband was starting to freak out that she wasn't pregnant yet and was thinking they needed to go see a doctor.

And while I would wish the pain of month after month of failure on no one, and certainly not on her because she is lovely, I was surprised at how much it bothered me that there are people who think that 1-2 months of trying is a lot. And who take it for granted that it will work. And for whom a couple of months of timed sex actually does work. Because it bothered me so much that I still can't stop stewing about it. I kind of wanted to shout "are you f*ing kidding? 2 months at your age? you have no idea what you are talking about! do you think that this is magic and just happens with a snap of your fingers? it is NOT easy."

But, as it turns out, for some people it is easy. And I just happen to resent the hell out of them. Yeah, it's not mature or kind, but I still struggle with the unfairness of it all.

I think this was harder than usual because at casa Irrational we have been discussing whether we should try for a second child. I'm all in and ready to go (we have been lulled into thinking it's a good idea by B being a very easy baby), and would do another ivf cycle next month, but DH doesn't want to do any more intervention. His view is that if it happens it happens, and if not, he is ok with that too. What that means to me is that it most certainly is NOT going to happen, and then my window of opportunity will definitely be closed.* There is more to discuss with us, for sure, but that is where we are now.

So I resent the people who can just be more casual about having kids and actually have the option of no assistance. Being infertile just makes so many things so hard.

*Note: there is much more to say on this, and I know that, for those struggling to have their first child this seems crazy at best and greedy and ungrateful at worst. I love without measure my little boy, and if I never had another child that would be OK. But a second child is still something I'd like and it still stinks to have to work so hard and negotiate so many obstacles to have the option.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Holy moley how have 6 months gone by?

Sorry for the vast, unending silence from my end (is anyone still even reading this or waiting for updates?) I've been following along and commenting when I can, but I have found that time to sit and compose a real post is in short supply. Time, in general, seems to be in short supply, but more on that later.

So things are good. Really good.

My baby is 6 months old today and, well, unbelievably awesome.

A few items on what's going on with Mr. B:

- He eats. Man oh man does he eat. He is in love with bananas, and a pretty big fan of sweet potato, zucchini, peach and apple. Broccoli was not a winner, but he ate it when mixed into the all purpose yumminess of sweet potato. At this point he's eating about 4-5 oz a day in 2 meals. That doesn't keep him from downing about 32 oz of milk as well. He has decided that he wants to feed himself so he grabs the spoon and shoves it into his mouth. Super cute. Super messy, as he also shoves his hand in his mouth. Yum!

- He rolls. He pretty much decided that his tummy is where he wants to be, and he can get there very easily. It freaked me out in the beginning (my baby is going to DIE if he sleeps on his stomach! I need to flip him back over! He MUST be on his BACK!) but now, well, there is really nothing I can do. And he is fine. And it appears that he can roll the other way as well, as I have found him on his back the last two mornings. He hasn't yet figured out that rolling can get him places, but that will be soon, I'm sure.

- He (kind of) sits. He still has his hands on the floor or his lap, but he's getting the hang of it. Although he often decides his feet are more interesting and just folds right over so he can nom on his toes.

- He grabs. Everything. My glasses and hair are favorites, and are usually in his mouth in about 2 seconds. And he loves putting his hands in my mouth, and holding my face. And despite the fact that sometimes it hurts when he chooses to grab, I love it. I seriously cannot get enough of staring at each other with his hands on my face.

- He laughs. All the time. He laughs at toys, at his books, and funny sounds we make. He is a super happy kid, and I am so grateful.

- He sleeps. Here, I seem to have lucked out. He is in bed by 8pm every night, goes down without a fuss, and sleeps until about 6am. I'd love it if he slept until 7am, and I strongly discourage 5am (Yeah, that sucked.), but he sleeps at least 10 hours a night with no interruption, and that is f-ing awesome. Daytime sleep is less fabulous -- usually one good 1.5-2.5 hour nap and then several smaller 45 minute naps, but I'm not complaining.

He is, truly, the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me -- I cannot believe how much I love this baby. I didn't even know that I could love this much. There are times, and they are frequent, that I look at him and just tear up because I am so grateful that I have a child, that I have this child.

I was playing peekaboo the other day with him and was hiding and said "Where's mommy? Here's mommy" and it hit me. "Mommy" isn't *my* mom hiding behind the burpcloth, it's actually me. He is my son and I am his mommy. And I will be always. And that is so wonderful and beautiful and perfect.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is it

Today is my last day of maternity leave and I am losing it. I keep telling b that I love him and am not abandoning him, but I really just want to hold him tight and not ever leave him. I am pretty sure that this whole working thing is going to be better than I envision it right now, but the anticipation of starting back, and the worry that I will miss something important is driving me to distraction -- it's literally all I can think about and it's making me weepy and pretty agitated.

Luckily, we've been on vacation (you know, from my stressful maternity leave) for the last week, and it was great and a good distraction for me. Benjamin was a champ on both flights, which were long (NYC to CA) and adjusted well to new surroundings. He is now on west coast time, so we need to bring his bedtime back to 730 from where it is now at 11. Of course I'd prefer to keep him a late night baby if I'm going to be working all day, but I know that is a bad idea, and not good for him, and all of those things. But still... The thought has crossed my mind more than once.

While on vacation, the wee one managed to go swimming for the first time, go into the ocean, roll over from front to back twice in one day (so we know it's not a fluke) and find his feet and get them into his mouth... And since we were with grandparents the entire time, others got to share these moments as well.

And I'm sure there will be more moments, but I'm going to miss them all because I will be working.

I'm very lucky to have a great job that I really like with a really flexible workplace and a very generous salary. And the work is stimulating and I have great colleagues and I feel good about the positive things we do (i work for a foundation that gives money to poverty-fighting causes like food pantries and homeless shelters). And we also could really use the income and the benefits, since my DH works for himself presently. But despite all of these positives, right now my job might as well be in the salt mines.

Shit. I'm starting to cry again. I already miss my little boy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I wrote this post Thursday, but I think it got buried in the readers because it posted with the day I started writing. It kind of breaks my heart to have no comments, so I'm shamelessly drawing your attention to it. Because, well, I could use the virtual hug.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Belated father's day post

I know that fathers day is now receding into the past, but I've been noodling on this post for some time and trying to figure out what I mean to say. Still not quite sure.

Fathers day is hard for me. Always is. My dad died suddenly when I was a kid -- 14 years old. And while I have healed and am a generally functioning adult, his death left his mark. I find that, now that I have a child, I miss my dad more than I have in a long, long time. Maybe it because I sing songs to my son that my father used to sing to me, or maybe it's because I am just sad that he doesn't get to know his grandson (or adult daughter, or son-in-law, for that matter), but I find myself crying more often than usual, and it's hard to blame the hormones when my baby is 5 months old.

After my dad died, my maternal grandparents, who lived nearby, stepped in and became very very active parts of our lives-- we saw them at least every week and they were at every school concert, play, and graduation until I finished grad school. My grandmother died 3 years ago after several years with Alzheimer's, and my grandfather, who was possibly the warmest, most generous man ever, died in March. He died peacefully and quickly, at 95 years old, in his home where he still lived independently.

He died 31 days after my baby was born, and 3 days after B's expected due date. So my grandfather knew he was a boy, knew his name, and knew he was healthy and that i was doing well. He got to see the baby over the magic of video chat, but I had not flown home for our first visit since we were instructed to wait until B had his 2month shots. But my great regret is that I did not make it home with the baby before he died. My grandfather was in great shape, and aside from being old, we had no reason to believe he would not live longer.

So while I had hoped that this year father's day would be a happier time-- after struggling to have a baby for so long, my husband was finally a father, it was hard and I'm still reeling a bit.

Making the day both better and perversely worse was that we had a lovely day visiting my in-laws. My FIL, who isn't the most laid back of guys, spent a ton of time on the floor with the wee one, and it was really wonderful to see him so happy. He has cancer, which is in remission, but still hangs over his head like a sword, and so this baby has really been a fabulous boost to his spirits. I love that this little boy can, just by being there and wiggling and smiling, bring so much joy.

So it was a really nice day for my MIL and FIL and DH, and for me too. But not too far beneath the surface was sadness that my dad doesn't get days like that with his grandson. That i don't get days with my child and my father. And that my grandfather, who gave me so much, never got to hold his only great-grandchild. He would have loved this boy more than the world-- I know this because that's how he loved me, his eldest grandchild.

I'm sad. I miss my dad and I miss my grandfather.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

Yep, it's been a year. (For the record, re: this blog post title, I hate show tunes, and thought Rent was stupid, but I do think that it gives a good sense of the passage of time. So I used it.)

A year ago we put the last of our icicles back in for what we really thought was a total waste of time cycle. I had already done orientation at clinic number two where I was hoping to have more success since I had not managed to get a beta greater than 5 during 2 ivf and an fet. I admit that ivf 1 and fet 1 were both single embryo transfers, but after 4 back in and no pregnancy I was losing hope.

Fast forward to today -- I have a wonderful, happy, cuddly baby boy asleep in his room. I could not possibly feel more luck or grateful, and still surprised. That little ball of cells in the photo tht we gripped super tightly after we went home is a really human being now. The source of the kicks and the pokes and the endless heartburn can smile and laugh and shake his rattle. Despite the fact that I know where babies come from, I still have the hardest time putting it all together in my head. But even if it still seems amazing (and honestly, I hope this sense of gratitude and wonder never fades), I wouldn't want to miss it for the world. I've had a lot of experiences and done a lot of stuff in my 41 years -- professionally and personally -- and this is by far the best and most important thing I have ever done.

Monday, June 13, 2011

We're still here!

I had no intention of waiting a month between posts, and I have composed many in my head during this time, but somehow I never seem to find the time or the mental space to make it happen (and I haven't been able to pull it off while hooked up to the milking machine, fancy portable iPad notwithstanding). I don't want this to be a summary post, as that doesn't really interest me, so I will hopefully this will be the first in a series of posts that have been in a holding pattern. But seriously, with my recent track record? Who knows.

So what has been going on? I love my little boy more than I ever thought possible. I love the way he smells, the way he holds my little finger when I am feeding him, how he smiles at me when he sees me, and turns his head when he hears my voice. I love his laugh, and most of all I love love love his little voice, since he has been cooing like crazy these last few days. He is so sweet and so earnest and is trying to desperately to communicate. My eyes well up with tears pretty much every time it happens, but I don't want him to think that talking makes me cry (but it does!). I can't really figure out why the cooing just melts my heart, but I think its because it is his individuality coming through for the first time, and I can see how he will one day use that same voice to make words.

Here's a recent photo -- he looks like such a little boy in this picture and he's a bit confused because he just rolled over and is not quite sure what happened....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

3 months!

My little one turned 3 months old on Tuesday! It's a testament to how crazy busy I am (or feel) that I've been wanting to post since then but have not yet found the time. But it's Saturday night and our social calendar is pretty wide open, so we are home and hopefully by the end of the evening this post will be finished. I hope. But it's looking like a long one, so buckle your seatbelts.

Basics on his growth -- Mr. B is now 13 lbs 3 oz and 24 inches long. For those of you keeping track of these sorts of things, he is smack on the mean for his age now in both height and weight, which is pretty awesome considering he was in the 5th % for both when he was born because he was early. He's still lagging on head size, but since my head is small too, and I seem to be just fine, we are not worried. He's super healthy and we appear to have his reflux under control, but he's still sleeping in his carseat (it sits in his crib) for a while longer until we are sure its under control. And once again, he was smiley and adorable for the appointment, and didn't cry at all. Yay B!

Key learnings of the past few weeks -- A couple of things really surprised me, and they are all pretty yucky:
- Babies make ear wax. Or at least my baby does.
- When your baby's hands are clenched into little fists a lot of the time, icky stuff gets between his fingers and needs to be washed a couple of times a day.
- When your baby only poops every 3 days, it's pretty dramatic when it happens. And it will happen when he is dressed and ready to go out and you have somewhere to be. Another bath will usually be required.
- It's amazing how much goo can get in the folds of the neck every day, despite a good scrubbing during bath time.

Our challenges -- B is not a super consistent napper. That means that some days I get only a couple of 20 minute naps between 6am and 7pm. This not only makes me worried for his health and happiness, but it makes me kind of insane, since I can't really do ANYTHING during the day without figuring out where to park the baby. I'm pretty much in love with the swing and bouncy seat on those days, as it makes it possible for me to pump, eat, wash bottles, shower -- you know, just do stuff. But sometimes we get a good 2+ hour nap a day, and that is awesome. I love my baby, but I also love when he sleeps.
- We need to break up with our swaddle, but it's going to be tough. If B isn't swaddled, he shocks himself awake with his moro reflex, and so will only sleep about 30-40 minutes at most. However, he loves having his hands in his mouth now, and is super kicky, so being swaddled when he is wide awake just pisses him off and he will struggle against it. What that means is that I have to rock him to extreme drowsiness, then swaddle, then rock some more to get him mostly asleep before I can put him down. This takes a fair amount of time, and it's also training B that he will be rocked to sleep every time, which is likely to be problematic in the future. So we are trying to break up with the swaddle by leaving one arm out during naps, and then will move to both arms and just hope it coincides with the diminishing moro reflex. I spend a lot of time strategizing about this. Too much time, probably, but I don't want it to start messing with his sleeping.
- I wish the reflux would go away. It makes him so unhappy and I hate putting him to sleep in his carseat. Our ped assured me that it's fine, but I just would prefer to have him in his crib on his back, and we will need to once he starts moving more.

What I am loving right now -- B is super smiley now -- he started slow, but now he smiles all the time, and I can make him laugh pretty easily. It's not a real laugh yet, but just the most adorable squeal. I cannot get enough of the smiling.
- He is in love with the little monkey on his bouncy seat. He looks at it and smiles and laughs. It's such a huge change from him not even noticing the lights and movement a few weeks ago -- I'm amazed at how fast he has changed.
- He has started to grab at things. He's not super coordinated yet, but he's pretty happy once he gets his hands on his toys.
- He smells so good. I cannot get enough of how he smells. My DH goes in every night to smell the baby, and I totally get that.
- B loves his bath -- he is smiley and happy the entire time if the water is warm enough. The drying off and dressing time usually elicits some crying, but it's mercifully brief.
- I love when he falls asleep on my chest. He's been napping on me a couple of times a week, and I love it. If that could go on forever, I would sign up for it right now. It just makes me feel so lucky; I'm just so grateful that I get to experience that.
- On a more prosaic note, he is a good night sleeper -- we get a 7-8 hour stretch from his bedtime (about 7.30pm) and then are back to every 3 hours. We had one 9 hour night, but that appears to be a fluke, which makes my DH very sad.

What scares me -- we started interviewing for nannies when I go back to work in July. I actually think we found one who we really like,, but I am terrified of how I will feel when I have to leave B at home and go back to work. I'm already sad about it, honestly. But I know I will be a happier person working, so that's the plan right now. But it doesn't lessen my sadness about missing any of the moments of his childhood -- it goes so quickly, I can't imagine not being present for every moment. Sigh.

This was kind of all over the place, but that's what happens when 3 or 4 posts get jammed together, I guess. Maybe once he starts napping, I'll be able to post more!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

yeah, but *I* think it's funny

So as it turns out, when you are an infant, people (like your mom) can dress you up in funny outfits and you cannot do a damned thing about it. Except make funny faces and look sort of put out, which is what Mr B resorted to when I put his sunglasses on.

It was bad enough that I insisted on the concert t-shirt that his daddy bought, the one that doesn't have snaps or anything at the neckline. But the glasses? The indignities never end. In fact, I suspect that they are only beginning.

Everything else is going really well. There have been a couple of days where Mr B would not, could not sleep for more than 20 minutes at time between 6am and 8pm, but other than that? It's been really awesome. (But let me not minimize that -- 3 days in a row of no real napping is very stressful -- it means that there is no time to do ANYTHING at all for the entire day. Like eat, or shower, or rest. But we are back in nap land, at least for today, and I am grateful for it.)

And feeding him has reached a decent equilibrium -- I pump and feed him from a bottle and supplement with the anti-reflux formula to help him feel better -- otherwise he has bad reflux 30-60 minues after he eats. It breaks my heart -- he has these little wet hiccups and each one makes him cry this sad, pathetic little cry that says "that hurts, mommy. Please make it stop." And there is nothing to be done except hold him. So preventing it is the key to happiness for both of us.

Do I like pumping? Nope. Do my boobs hurt? Yep. And I get clogged ducts and had a blister thing that I had to tend to with a sterilized needle, but it is OK. Although the needle surgery was really really not fun. Seriously -- needle + nipple? Not awesome. More like something from a bad horror movie. And while I would like to say "never again" I'll do it if necessary, as it did the trick.

But otherwise all is good -- we went on a couple of car rides (which are a big deal, since we don't have a car) and he did great, and he is on a pretty decent night time sleep schedule -- he goes to sleep around 8pm then wakes at 2 and again at 5 and at 8. And the 2pm wakeup is usually only for about 20 minutes or as long as it takes him to eat 3-4 oz and then he falls right back to sleep. It's really not so bad, and since he is bottle fed, my husband usually takes one of the feeds so I can sleep a bit more. Although I still find that I rock myself to sleep more quickly than I rock B into slumber. Probably not exactly the best plan, but the motion is so relaxing!

I ended up sleeping in B's room last night so that my husband could get some sleep before a big meeting, and was lying there listening to him breathe. And all I could think was that I am so grateful and so lucky and so in love. It is wonderful. And amazing and I am happy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mr B is 2 months old!

I can't believe my little baby is 2 months old! To mark the occasion, here's a comprehensive posting about what's going on (I stole the idea from others -- seemed useful!)

BREAST-FEEDING: Thanks to all for your input and support on my "I hate this breast feeding crap" post. We've settled into what I think is a good place and hopefully we can keep it going. At this point, I pretty much just pump and feed breastmilk from a bottle. I put him up to my boob directly once a day or so, but at this point, he gets a little annoyed by the slower pace. Is it what I had envisioned? Nope. Is it time consuming to pump and feed? Yep. But is it working? Yes. And supply has increased so he gets very little formula. In fact, the only reason he gets any is because he appears to have reflux, and so the formula we use is helping that.

SLEEP/FUSSINESS: Right now, he's the best night time sleeper EV-ER. (Here, I have cursed myself. I'm sure the next post will be all about how he doesn't sleep.) He goes to bed at 8ish every night and usually sleeps through until about 3am. Then he's up for a feed and back down until about 6.30am. My husband works some magic on him and snuggles with him in the morning and can get him to stay asleep until 9am or so, and then we start our day. Of course, I can't get him to sleep past 7 or so in the morning, but that's still pretty ok with me. We have a bed in his room, and so every once in a while one of us decamps to his room so that the other can stay asleep and we don't have to go so far to see what's going on. Bear in mind, of course, that we are talking about a NYC apartment, so nothing is really far, but at 3am, not having to walk those extra 15 feet helps. He grunts and groans a fair amount while sleeping, but we are learning how to discern which noise is serious and going to lead to a crying baby and which noise is just gas or a dream or something we can ignore.

He used to be really easy to put to sleep, and could be put in his crib awake and he would just fall asleep after some time. Now, however, he needs rocking, patting, etc. and has to be pretty drowsy before he can be put down. Case in point -- he finally fell asleep at 930pm after starting with bedtime feeding at about 8. Not the end of the world, but I miss the old days!

In terms of where he sleeps, he's been in his crib since day 1 -- we put him down there for naps and at night. Since his reflux/ spitting up has gotten worse (about 2 weeks ago) we have him sleeping in his car seat, but that's not going to last, and we are going to have to talk to the ped about a better solution when we go in this week.

DEVELOPMENT: He hasn't smiled yet, but he is doing a whole lot more looking and following people, their voices, images in his books (esp. the b/w ones). Considering he was so early -- he really is only one month past his due date -- we are assuming he is fine. But man -- I'd love to see a smile. Sometimes when he is dropping off to sleep he makes a bunch of funny faces, to include a smile, but I don't think it counts unless he is fully conscious. But despite the lack of smiling, he does appear to know who I am and his eyes follow me around, which is remarkably emotionally gratifying.

On the physical development, though, his small size appears to be helping hi -- he is great pushing up his chest and head, and, in a move that we don't think was either intentional or replicable, he rolled over from tummy to back last week. It surprised the hell out of everyone and, while I think it's pretty cool, am hoping that he doesn't start moving too soon! He also uses his newly developed neck muscles when he is up against my shoulder and looks around or, if he's hungry, bops his head around looking for something to suck on. It's actually quite entertaining, although I'm worried he's going to bash his head into mine.

SIZE -- He's probably around 10lbs at this point, but we will find out exactly what is going on with his weight and length gain on Tuesday at his appointment. He's already outgrown some newborn size clothes and has moved from newborn to size 1 diapers (see -- I told you my little boy was growing up!). And amusingly, he has outgrown a lot of his socks -- he has big hands and feet!!

OTHER STUFF -- I still am beyond happy and grateful that I get to be this little boy's mom. I'm tired, but I'm ecstatic.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's 4am; where else would a new mom be?

It is 4am and I am awake and hooked up to my breast pump sitting in our darkened living room. And bored, so posting via blackberry seems like a good way to while away the time.

B is asleep, after much wrangling - I think I swaddled and then unswaddled about 4 times, which may be a record. Long gone are the days (yeah, that's funny - the kid is only 54 days old) where we could swaddle a wide awake babe and place him in his crib, where he would drift off to sleep without a peep. Now there is rocking, and shushing and rubbing to induce drowsiness before he is put to bed. And if he's not yet ready? He will fight like hell to get out of the wrap, and grunt and cry until you liberate him. And sometimes (as in tonight, I *think* he's ready to sleep well before he actually is. But now, and hopefully for the next 5 hours or so, he's asleep. The video monitor shows him sleeping peacefully.

And I'm not complaining - he is a wonderful sleeper and usually is asleep from around 8-9pm until 2-3am and then until 7-8am. So while it's a long wakeup, it's only one. Of course I am up to pump at 1 and then after he goes to sleep at 4, so I get extra time awake, but its worth it to me to get him the good stuff to eat.

And on that, thanks to all of you for your comments - very much appreciated. I'll be emailing a couple of you for LC recs - I've seen two, but am open to more views to get this sorted - I am on mat leave until July so there is plenty of time to feed full time.

And on that, the latching seems to have improved - it is nearly pain free at this point - he was causing these vasospasms (basically draining the blood flow by compressing) and then for an hour or so afterwards there was pretty excruciating pain as blood flow came back.think of when your toes get really cold and then you warm them. And then put that feeling onto your nipple. It was not awesome.) But he's still not getting enough, as evidenced by another feedathon that resulted in him still rooting around looking for more. So right now, we have a supply shortfall, but I'm hopeful that it is solveable.

Ok - pumping done. I'm off to bed. I hope he stays sleeping!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I spend all day thinking about my boobs

So I've mentioned this before, but I really am not digging breastfeeding. I think its a combination of factors:
- my son is not the greatest latcher and so has been compressing my nipples in a way that caused a lot of pain during and after feeding. Most likely because he is small, but he also is a bit tongue tied, but I'm not really up for doing the frenulum snipping procedure.
- Per the pediatrician, I had to supplement with formula early on because he was so small (he was 5 lbs 6 oz when we took him home) and my milk wasn't in yet, and so bottles were introduced early.
- I got some lousy advice (from a pediatrician, no less) to not start pumping right away, so my supply was never up to the demand since formula was already in the mix, and I am still trying to catch up
- I got other lousy advice to switch boobs after 10 minutes, and therefore ended up with a baby still hungry after each feeding session and having to either go back to boob 1 (which in light of the pain, I really loathed) or get topped off with a bottle, usually of breastmilk, but sometimes formula, thereby causing more supply issues.
- My son is a very aggressive eater, and gets really really worked up before he eats and so is all gaping mouth and flailing arms and legs when I try to latch him on. We call it the hungry shark routine -- he roots around so violently it's like a shark in chummed waters who will grab onto anything. So in the wee hours of the night, and sometimes in the middle of the day, it is not super fun to get him to latch on, and usually involves one of us crying.

I guess I thought that breastfeeding would be just this dreamy, wonderful way for us to bond and that it would come easily to both of us. Because, you know, the whole getting pregnant and childbirth parts had gone just exactly according to plan, so why not this? (Here, I jest. I appear to be completely unable to actually learn from my experiences or, for that matter, from the experiences of others -- there are plenty of women who have detailed their breastfeeding woes on their blogs, and I have read them. But I was certain that I would be different.)

But breastfeeding is not dreamy, and feeding my son has become, for me, fraught with stress and self-doubt. Because what kind of mom hates breastfeeding? The rational part of my brain knows that, for the time being at least, he is still getting as much breastmilk as I can produce, which is right now 100% of his intake, just from a bottle. And that feeding him and keeping him growing and healthy, no matter how, is more important than some preconceived notion of ideal motherhood. And that we still snuggle and are close and spend the same time together.

Yet the emotional part of my brain is telling me that I have failed. I feel like, once again, my body has let me down. And I feel that, if I really really was meant to be a mom, that this would work and that I would love it. And that I am shortchanging me and Benjamin from an important experience and that his development and nutrition are suffering. Frankly, I *know* that's crap, but I have trouble not letting those doubts about what I am doing seep in.

Case in point: despite the fact that I am either breastfeeding or pumping 8-10 times a day (and this includes waking up at night to pump while the baby is sleeping, which is really sucky), I don't appear to be able to keep up with his demand. He's been unusually hungry in the past couple of days, and neither sticking him on my boobs nor feeding him his bottle appears to be satisfying him. So I am coming to a point where I am running out of food for him, and will likely need to resort to formula if he is to remain satisfied. Honestly, there is nothing quite so heartbreaking as nursing your child for over an hour (letting him nurse until he drops off each side -- twice!) and then having him be visibly hungry 30 minutes later. Because that's what happened yesterday afternoon, and when offered a bottle of breastmilk, he downed 4 oz.

So here I am -- facing the fact that I have run out of my refrigerator stash of breastmilk, knowing I don't pump enough at each sitting for a full feed, and recognizing that, no matter how long I keep him at my breasts, he's likely not going to get enough, and will start getting frustrated before he gets full. It sucks, and it makes me feel broken and pathetic, but I'm going to have to supplement with formula tonight if I don't have some sort of miracle pumping output.

Combine that with the fact that he still causes a decent amount of pain and that I had a clogged duct on the left side that would not resolve with nursing, pumping and hot compresses (it has, but it took about 20 hours), it's no wonder I think that this breastfeeding thing sucks.

So that's the stressful part of being a mom. Everything else is actually going really well -- he's a good sleeper, is easily consoled when he cries (well, except for 2 nights, but those were outliers), and he's alert and playful for much of the day. But feeding him makes me super anxious, and I'm either going to have to figure out how to make more breastmilk (and yeah, I'm drinking the tea, taking the fenugreek, which makes me smell like Indian food, and eating oatmeal) or I'm going to have to just be ok with supplementing with formula when the need arises.

Here's my request of you -- tell me it's ok that I am getting him as much breastmilk as I can produce, that delivery mechanism doesn't really matter, and that formula won't kill him or make him hate me when he is 18 and doesn't get into his first choice of college (yeah, I TOLD you I was irrational.)

Monday, February 28, 2011

No, I'm not dead, just a human snack bar

Wow -- I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I posted. I think about doing so all of the time, and have the best intnetions, but well, things (like feeding, changing and sleeping) get in the way.

Case in point, I wrote the first half of the above paragraph two hours ago. And now, after some consternation on Benjamin's part, I have a sleeping baby in a bouncy seat next to the desk.

And nope-- now I am holding him. Someone has a tummy ache. So I will proceed with my non-dominant hand.

I think the biggest surprise and challenge so far is breast feeding> I don't want to complain or whine, but it is hard. No shit hard. (fwiw, I just took another hour break. This stomachache is really messing with napping today.)

Yeah. And then I took a break for 4 more weeks. Because I wrote the above on February 18th and today? Today is March 14th. Its not that I don't have time, or a lot to say, but just that I use Benjamin's down time as an opportunity to do mindless things like eat, watch TV or sleep.

But anyway, where are we now? Things are, by and large, awesome. We love our little man and think that we have drawn an especially good card from the deck -- he sleeps for up to 6 hours some nights, he is alert and happy for several hours each day, during which time we can play, and he can pretty much put himself to sleep when we put him in his crib awake -- he just hangs out until he falls asleep. So, yeah, it appears he is an easy baby.

That said, this is tiring and, well, hard work. And feeding the little one still is a source of stress for me, because he still is not latching great and when he does, he is having a compressing issue. By that I mean that he mashes the living crap out of my nipple leaving me in some amount of excruciating pain. So we are trying to sort through the balance between my desire to breastfeed and my own survival instinct. Today we are on a pump and bottle plan and that's going just fine.

There's a lot more to write about breastfeeding, about my feelings about it, and about how I thought it would all work but yet isn't really, but if I embark upon that longer post, this will NEVER see the light of day. Or at least not until April.

So here's my highlights, in no particular order:
- I have never felt so totally overwhelmed with emotion as I do when I look at my baby boy.
- My DH is more in love with Benjamin than he thought possible.
- My husband has been an awesome father so far. It's been really wonderful to work together on meeting our little one's many, many needs.
- B is an easy kid -- he can be put in his crib awake, he can hang out there awake for a while, he is generally easy to soothe, he is often awake and alert for an hour at a time after he eats, and has only had one or two episodes of inconsolable crying.
- Breastfeeding is not as easy as it might be. And when it hurts, it really hurts.
- Pumping makes me feel like a cow.
- C-section recovery isn't so bad.
- Yes, I do talk about poop and farting all the time. And I'm convinced it's fascinating.
- Motherhood is better than I could have imagined.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Life with baby -- birth

Wow -- I've tried sitting down to post about 100 times, and yet never quite make it (and now should be napping, but...).

I'm totally in love with my son. Heart-stoppingly, life-changingly in love. It is more amazing than I could have expected, and just thinking about how lucky I am and how grateful my husband and I both are for the opportunity to have this child -- our child -- makes me cry.

So how did I get here? After my routine 36 week sonogram showed very very low fluid levels, I was admitted to the hospital and hooked up to an IV and fetal monitor and basically let alone until the next morning. Note that, at 36 weeks pregnant and being pumped full of fluids, I became quite adept at moving through the cramped double room to the bathroom with the IV pole. I probably slept no more than one hour, because, well, I had to pee over and over and was terrified that they would have to deliver the baby early.

My OB came in at 730 the next morning and did another sonogram and, to our dismay, there was still low fluid. No good reason for it (I was drinking HUGE amounts of water every day), but so low that it could have led to cord compression and danger to the baby. So we started to prep for an 11.30am delivery time. And I started to get really really nervous. Apparently I hid it well, because my husband was not aware of how terrified I really was. The Boy arrived at the hospital at 9 and we both began the pre-op process. Even if the baby hadn't been breech, he would have had to be a c-section, because with such low fluid, contractions could have harmed him.

At 1030 they took me to the OR and yes, I was still scared. Scared that the c-section itself would hurt, scared that there would be something wrong with the baby, scared of being so completely mentally and practically not ready to have a baby that day and how we would manage.

Anesthesia was not bad (remember, we are all good with needles, and this one I didn't even have to see!) and my OB who I love love love basically hugged me as the anesthesiologist put in the local and then the spinal block. Then the nursing team and OB sprang into action and started prep for the procedure. At this point the curtain was set up over my chest and so my husband came in. I swear I have never held anyone's hand so tightly for so long. And I kept my eyes either closed or on him -- for some reason looking up at the lights or at the curtain just amplified my anxiety. But talking to him about what was happening -- that we were about to meet our baby -- made it much much less scary.

The team was great about telling me what they were doing and when, and were very forthright about the fact that there would be "pressure not pain" -- I honestly couldn't even figure out what that meant until it was happening. But once I was opened they really started compressing my belly up near the top -- there were a couple of very big pushes into my chest so as to move the baby down so that he could be brought out. It didn't hurt, per se, but was just a very foreign and not entirely pleasant feeling.

And then, after only about 10 minutes from the time the procedure started, he was out. And it -- the mystery baby that we have talked to and hoped for and loved -- came into the world and we got to see him. And finding out that the baby was a boy, and knowing that our names were all picked out, was just wonderful because there was this one moment where the baby went from being a theoretical "it" baby to being a our son with a name.

And so they showed us Benajmin, all covered in goo, and then took him to be cleaned up and checked out. And we cried, because he cried loudly and healthily, and because we were so so lucky that he was not very small and was breathing without trouble. He scored brilliantly on his Apgar test (9.9! Yeah for slightly premature babies exceeding expectations) and so was deemed healthy enough to avoid the NICU entirely and go to the well baby nursery. He weighed in at 6lbs 1oz and 20 5/8th inches -- he was clearly on track to be a big baby!

And then they brought him back to my husband and let him hold him while they put me back together, and we all reconnected about 30 minutes later (really, I have no idea of the time -- there were drugs involved) in the recovery room. And I got to hold him and touch him for the very first time and it was magic.

It wasn't at all how we had prepared or planned, but it was wonderful all the same. Because all that is really important is that Benjamin entered the world and that he is here and is healthy.

More on the days after in a later post.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Benjamin ....

its a boy!!! 6 lbs 1 oz, 20 5/8 in.

Born 1122 on 2/2/11

thats 1122 on 2211 cant make that up!

More to follow!

happy birthday to...

I'm having this baby today.

I'm both excited and terrified, but the baby looks great on the monitors and it appears that out is better than in. So I have to trust my doctor and the staff here to take good care and make the right decisions.

More later!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Best laid plans

I was intending to write a post about my shower this past weekend and how I felt so loved and special and like I was just wrapped in a big hug the entire time. And it was wonderful and I had a simply perfect weekend.

However, I've got other stuff going on - I'm in the hospital. I went for a standard, scheduled sonogram to check on baby size and position. All looks good with le bebe - still breech, about 6 lbs - and that is a huge relief.

The problem? My amniotic fluid volume is very very low - like 1.5l instead of 5l. And so I'm here, hooked up to an IV and spending the night.

But heart rate is good and there's tons of movement, so no one is worried about the baby right now. But this is likely something I'll be fighting for the next month, if the IV does the trick.

The plan is to measure me again tomorrow, and if the levels are still low, I'm having a c-section at 1130am. My OB gives it about 60% probability that tomorrow will be the day.

I had actually already come to grips with the c-section since this baby was breech, so that's fine. But we are NOT READY and the baby is still very very small. So I'm kind of freaking out, trying to be more centered and calm than anything else.

But mostly, I'm just dealing with things like furniture delivery, buying clothes over the phone and washing sheets.I think my brain can't take the fact that tomorrow there may be a baby.

Did I just write that? Holy mother of g*d, there might be a baby tomorrow!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Settling in for the long wait

I wish I could hibernate and when I woke up the baby would be ready to come out into the world. Because this part of pregnancy? This part is starting to be a bit on the suck-ola side. (Feel free to stop reading if this makes you want to hurl. I am still incredibly grateful and so so excited, but I'm feeling a wee bit entitled to a bit of a whine.)

My pregnancy compromised immune system and lack of decent sleep have caused -- get this -- an outbreak of shingles. Because it's not enough to have to get up 3x a night to pee. I now need to stay up trying desperately not to rip my own skin off with itching. I'm doing better now than I was earlier this week, but on Wednesday as I was trudging through the snow and slush after my diagnosis, I was pretty precariously balanced on that ragged edge between reason and meltdown. I just was worried that the shingles or the associated treatment would be bad for the little one. But apparently not, and as long as this is cleared up by the time I deliver (which it should be -- it should be cleared up within a week) I will not have to be quarantined from my newborn baby. I'm slathered with calamine lotion and doing a good job of not scratching, and am pleased that I have yet to have a crying meltdown over this. Because this part of pregnancy is hard, and the itching and worry about some random disease? Not making it easier.

My baby (Can I say that? Is it really a baby yet? Holy shit, every time I think about what is actually IN there I start to freak out a wee bit that I am nearly 36 weeks pregnant...) is breech. Head is right in the middle, some appendages with sharp points are on my right side and every once in a while something hard pokes my bladder/ cervix. I've discussed with my OB trying to flip the baby, and we'd both prefer not to, as she's seen too many of these attempts end up in emergency c-sections because there was a good reason the babies were breech. I've also gone to acupuncture 2x and burned that stinky stuff over my little toes at home. I only did that once, though, as it made everyone in the house, to include the dog, nauseated. But head is still up. I'm not even going to go into how I think that head up means that something is wrong, as I've tried to put those fears to rest. But they are there, just lurking waiting for a moment of weakness.

Breech means (for me, at least) heartburn. The heartburn is killing me. Water, bread, lettuce -- they all cause it, mostly because there is just a tremendous amount of pressure upwards from the little one's head. It is without a doubt my least favorite part of pregnancy. I'll trade the gagging for the reflux/ heartburn. I'm not even kidding.

Snow. Enough, people. We've had snow, sleet, ice way more than usual, and that has made commuting to work scary and hard. It just wipes me out, and so today I am working from home. I could use a bit of a break on the weather so that I am not so exhausted just by getting to work.

Oh -- and my shower is this weekend (more on that later). Which is very exciting and I have friends coming in from all over (Texas, people, they are flying in from as far away as Texas!), but I have (a) this icky looking rash on my neck which is not very nice for photos and (b) since there is the possibility of giving people chicken pox if they haven't had them, two people have had to drop out. One has never had chicken pox or the vaccine (this is just crazy -- she has two little kids!) and one was going to bring her 3 week old, as she is nursing. But the baby shouldn't be too near me, so now she can't make it. But I am excited about the shower and think that it still will be loads of fun. But shingles is complicating my life unnecessarily and I resent that.

OK -- I feel better now, a bit, after venting. But still itchy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm not sure I needed to see that

We went to our first childbirth class last evening, and I have to say that I am a bit traumatized -- I'm not sure I needed to see the super up close video of the baby being born. I mean, that is a VERY large head coming out of what I assume was once a rather small hole. And there's goo and blood and all manner of painful grimacing and noises and the placenta is e-freaking-normous and yucky looking and....

Can you tell that I am in some amount of denial about how the baby gets from inside me to out in the world?

Can you also tell that I am going to ask for an epidural at my first opportunity?

Overall, though, class was pretty good. We opted to go for the "low threshold" class -- 3 nights of 2 hours each plus a hospital tour -- and this was a good first introduction, although I knew a lot already since I've read a couple of books about labor/ delivery (despite the fact that it was much more natural-childbirth focused than I am, I quite liked The Birth Partner. ) But I suspect that many of the things that seem so simple now are going to completely flee from our minds once labor actually arrives.

A couple of observations:
- My husband and I are like small children and kept giggling. At pretty much everything, to include the naked women grunting their way through childbirth. And at any mention of pee.
- We are not the oldest parents in NYC. That should not be a surprise, but it makes me feel good.
- I'm not actually that enormous, compared to the other women at the class. Again, made me feel good. Although 2 of 6 other women were teensy weensy. WhatEVS.
- The Boy's ability to focus and count breaths needs to improve: when asked "how many breaths in the last minute?" He shouldn't answer "ummm, 4 or 5?"
- Breathing exercises are funny when your eyes are open. Closing them relieves some embarrassment, but there was still a lot of giggling.

High point of the evening: after going over all the material, when the instructor asked another guy what to do if his wife was 32 weeks and having contractions every 5 minutes, and he said "I'd tell her to relax." (The correct answer is "call the doctor.") I was quite heartened to see that the Boy realized what a grave error this other father-to-be made and looked at me knowingly --he and I both know full well that I will remove his head from his body if he tells me to "just relax" when I am experiencing contractions with that regularity.

I'm going back to the OB tomorrow for another check-in. Le bebe was very much not head down last time, so I will be interested to see if it has flipped over. I think not, as I am feeling what I believe to be a very sharp shoulder above my navel, but we will see. I'm not worried about the breech thing yet -- still have time for flipping -- but for my own personal comfort I wouldn't mind a flip over (see comment about sharp shoulder).

It's all getting to be very real -- and I'm really getting very excited.