Update

Who knew, the days get away from you quickly when you have a baby and it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging!

My daughter is now just shy of 4 months old. I love her beyond measure, more than I thought possible… All those cliche things that new Moms say, but are so true. I have had a blast at home with her, and returning to work recently was tough, though fortunately only part-time.

It’s unbelievable how much a baby changes after the first 1-2 months. Once she hit 3 months, she started doing all kinds of new fun things. It’s almost hard to believe that just a few short months ago she was sleeping 90% of the time and had no ability to interact.

I am thoroughly enjoying her smiles, cooing, increased attempts to babble, and most especially, watching her discover the world around her. (Our dog has become fascinating to her recently!) I dream frequently about her future: What kind of child, teenager, and adult will she be? What will she enjoy? What will she be afraid of? As I’m sure we all do, I hope beyond all hope that she wakes up happy and fulfilled every day.

What I was not prepared for was the constant worry! My worries of miscarriage are now replaced by worries about my child. Is she developing properly? Am I a good enough Mom? And so on.

In the first 2 monts post-partum, the anxiety was the worst and I do wonder if this can be attributed to some from of PPD/PPA. It has improved over the past few weeks, almost as if I am coming out of a fog. More than anything I just want to enjoy each second with my child, and she deserves better than a nail-biting worrying obsessive Mom. I tell myself each and every day that I am going to do better, for her. And little by little, I am.

I’m not sure how much I will continue to update this blog, as I started it to document the pain and struggle of infertility, partially with the hope that others would find it and not feel so alone. Now that I have overcome that, it no longer seems appropriate to broadcast my happiness when others still struggle.

What no one told me about breastfeeding..

For some reason when you are expecting a baby, people want to know if you plan to breastfeed. This was never in doubt for me – I always had every intention of breastfeeding. Not because I believe “breast is best” (sorry but I hate that term), but more because I wanted that bonding experience with my child.

In the 3rd trimester, I took a breastfeeding course. The whole endeavor seemed overwhelming and complicated, but I vowed to give it my best shot once baby arrived. At the time, my attitude was that I would give it a try but if it didn’t work out, I wouldn’t sweat it too much. At the time, I naively believed that the only reason breastfeeding wouldn’t work out is if I didn’t produce enough milk. I had no idea there were so many complications and frustrations that could accompany breastfeeding.

When my daughter was born, we did not have that magical moment some other moms do where she instantly latched and our breastfeeding bond was sealed. She was sleepy, had low blood sugar, and couldn’t stay awake long enough to even latch onto my breast. We tried around the clock for the entire time I was in the hospital and it was just a disaster. I ended up having to feed her formula when she lost 12% of her birth weight, and I already felt like a failure of a mother before I even brought her home.

Fast forward a week, my milk finally came in and the lactation consultant I’d been working with finally helped us achieve a decent latch. I was thrilled the first time she fed from me! It felt as amazing and loving as I had imagined it would. However, things have certainly been a roller coaster since then, and at almost one month after her birth, we still haven’t been able to exclusively feed her from the breast. Sometimes she can’t latch at all, sometimes she can and falls off a million times without a decent meal. She’s gummed and chewed my nipples to shreds during the times she is latched on. This is the most frustration and disappointment I’ve experienced since my struggle with infertility.

Why didn’t anyone tell me breastfeeding could be so hard? That for something so natural, it doesn’t exactly come as second nature for some moms and babies? All the times I’ve tried so hard to nurse her only to have to give up and give her a bottle in the end has stirred up so many feelings of inadequacy. Why can’t we get this right? Why does it seem so much easier for so many other women? I have experienced so much frustration and disappointment that I wonder if perhaps I should have just salvaged my emotional health, given up on nursing, and focused on pumping and enjoying my time with her more.

The lactation consultant suggested she has a lip and tongue tie, which we are going to have fixed this week.  After a month of hell trying to breastfeed my daughter, I have come to realize that I need to admit defeat if this tongue and lip tie revision do not work. She needs me to be emotionaly strong and healthy, and crying every day about my failure to breastfeed is not what’s best for our relationship. I just wish I had been better prepared that there were so many different difficulties and disappointments that could accompany the feat of trying to exclusively breastfeed.

Finally.

I still can’t believe it, but I am finally a mom.

My daughter was born on February 16th at 39 weeks exactly. I worried right up until I walked into the hospital whether or not she’d make it here safe and sound. But she did, and the dream of being a parent which has driven me through the past 4 years of infertiltiy hell, has finally come true.

At 6:00 AM on February 16th I walked into the hospital with my husband and doula for my scheduled cesarean section. I sat calmly in the waiting room as I was admitted and enjoyed the last of my baby’s kicks inside my stomach.

The nerves set in as we were walked upstairs to triage for pre-op. I changed into a gown and sat on the bed. I chatted with my husband and doula as the nurse took my vitals, listened to baby’s heartbeat, and administered my IV. We kept the conversation light and they kept me calm and lighthearted which helped my nerves tremendously. I felt calm and ready. The big red digital clock on the wall was constantly in my line of vision as I watched it edge closer to 7:30, my scheduled surgery time.

Finally, it was time. I felt like I was in a dream as I was handed a cap and walked back into the OR. The doors swung open and the lights of the OR were blindingly bright, just like in the movies. I was taken aback by how many doctors and hospital staff were in there, busy preparing for the surgery. I was instructed to hop up on the table so they could administer my spinal and it was at precisely this moment that my nerves went into overdrive.

I sat on the table, wordlessly, shaking from both anticipation and fear. I barely noticed the sting of the needle as I leaned forward and the medication was inserted into my back to numb me for the surgery. I wondered briefly how it would make me feel, and within seconds the entire lower half of my body felt like it had fallen asleep. I was laid down on the table and began to panic internally. What if the medication wasn’t strong enough and I could feel them cut into me? I wanted to ask for a few minutes to collect myself, but didn’t want them to think I was weak or scared.

The anesthesiologist was all business and explained that he was going to poke me with what felt like a thumbtack to assess how numb I was.  He sounded like he had done this a million times, which was comforting. When you have your abdomen cut open you want an anesthesiologist who comes with lots of experience and confidence! As he poked me he asked to what degree I could feel it. I prayed I wouldn’t get the answer wrong as I feared it might lead him to not give me enough medications to sufficiently numb me.

Suddenly, it was go time. The drape went up and I had an overwhelming feeling of This is really happening. Like, right now. There is no turning back. 

My memory from that moment is spotty but I recall finally seeing my husband come into the OR and sit behind the drape right by my head. I asked him if they were almost ready to start the surgery, as I had felt pressure on my stomach for a while now and assumed it was the doctor cleaning and prepping me. My husband told me that they had already began and were well into the procedure, which surprised me more than it should have. From that moment on I became acutely aware that all of the pressure and tugging I felt was, well, my abdomen and uterus being cut into. It was a sickening feeling and left me very unsettled.

The tugging and pressure increased and I heard my husband say they were getting close to pulling the baby out. All of a sudden, the anesthesiologist grabbed my husbands shoulders and told him to stand up so he could see the baby being born and announce the sex.

“It’s a girl!”

I couldn’t believe it. My baby was here, finally she had joined us, safe and sound. And she was a girl! There had been no doubt in my mind for 9 months that it was going to be a boy. I began to cry. I heard her first cry, and the tears rolled down my face faster. My husband kissed me and I felt like I was in a dream. I was listening to my own child cry. Of the thousands of babies I’d heard cry throughout my life, nothing sounds like the first cry from your own child.

They cleaned her up, weighed her, (9 lb 10 oz!) and brought her behind the drape. I kissed her head. I’m a mom. Finally. This is my daughter.

She is two weeks old today and it feels both like I’ve never known life without her, and at the same time, I still can’t believe she’s here and she’s ours. If given the choice I would never want to suffer through those years of infertility, but with her birth it all made more sense. She is who we were waiting for and working towards all that time. And I can say that she was absolutely worth the wait.

10 days

Between the last several weeks flying by, and my c-section getting moved up a week thanks to another patient delivering early, I am now only 10 days away from (hopefully) meeting my baby.

I was conflicted about whether to insert the “(hopefully)” there, but in these last few weeks, my confidence has waned as the fear mounts about everything that could go wrong. I never would have guessed I would be 38 weeks pregnant with still so much uncertainty over whether I will bring my baby home.

I don’t know why I feel so much anxiety – I have no reason to believe anything will go seriously wrong, other than the few hiccups I’ve had (kidney stones and now GBS positive). I guess I’ve just done too much Googling and reading about all the tragic things that can happen.

I am trying to live minute to minute, then day to day.  This is similar to how I felt when I was dealing with the subchorionic bleed in the second trimester and was desperately hoping to make it to viability. Every so often I think, “Ok great, I’m another hour closer.” I wake up in the morning and mentally tick another day off my countdown. The nights are the worst.  I wake up at least 5-7 times a night to use the restroom, and when I get back into bed, I can’t go back to sleep until I feel the baby move and kick a few times. Needless to say, between that anxiety, my kidney pain, and frequent bathroom trips, sleep is not something I am getting much of these days.

At this point I am actually seeing the upside of delivering via cesarean. Being GBS positive plus all the other things I worry about may have made a natural delivery too anxiety provoking for me to enjoy. (By the way, I know bieng GBS positive isn’t the end of the world – Just one of those additional wrenches in the plan that throws me all off balance, mentally).  If I can get to next Thursday without going into labor or having my water break, and can walk into the OR healthy and ready, I may finally be able to relax a little bit as they bring my baby into the world.

 

Ending the last few weeks on an eventful note

Just when I was getting ready to spend the last few weeks of my pregnancy doing the “normal” things like nesting and getting everything in order, my body reminds me it has other plans.

Last Thursday night my husband was out to dinner with colleagues, so I settled in for an evening relaxing on the couch.  Out of nowhere, I felt the strangest pain in my back.  It wasn’t excruciating, but certainly noticeable. I wrote it off as muscle pain, considering I’d been having a lot of muscle pain in my back lately. I changed positions a few times, hoping it would go away, but it didn’t.

It got a little worse, so I decided to go to bed for the night in an attempt to sleep it off. But it kept escalating, so I couldn’t fall asleep. By the time my husband got home, I was crying from the pain. He too thought it was muscle pain and suggested a hot shower. The pain was localized in just the spot that made me start to think it might be kidney pain. In tears, I called the on-call number for my OB.  The midwife asked me to describe the location, then suggested I go down to labor & delivery to get it checked out.

Five hours and a whole lot of pain later, an ultrasound of my kidneys revealed kidney stones. I was admitted for the night and hooked up to IV fluids in an attempt to flush the stones out.

Thirty six hours later it had become clear my body was not going to pass the stone on its own.  It was Saturday morning by this point, and I had been in the hospital since Thursday night.  It was strongly suggested I allow a ureteral stent to be placed.  I begrudgingly agreed. I was not happy about being sedated while pregnant, but by this point I had spent almost two days in excruciating pain that even the painkillers barely touched.

The procedure was quick and my baby was monitored the whole time until s/he perked back up after the sedation wore off. I woke up to instant relief from the kidney pain. I was finally discharged the following morning from the hospital after regular monitoring of the baby through the remainder of the night to ensure its well being.

All the nurses assured me that labor would be a walk in the park after my kidney stone experience, but I’ll never know how true that is, considering baby will arrive via scheduled c-section.

I’m home and trying to recoup now, though this stent comes with its own set of pain and discomfort – Not exactly a welcome addition on top of the aches, pains and edema I’ve been dealing with. But, I can’t complain. For three years I said I would undergo absolutely anything to bring my baby into this world, and its clear the universe is holding my feet to the fire on that one. I would gladly do it a million times over if it means this baby will arrive healthy and safe in a few weeks.

33 weeks

My anxiety has unfortunately not improved in the past few weeks.  While I feel like I am getting so much closer to the finish line, I also continue to panic that something could go wrong at any moment.  Baby’s movement continues to be a source of anxiety for me as well. I also made the mistake of spending too much time on Google reading up on breech babies (why are they breech, risks of remaining breech etc.), and let’s just say I shouldn’t have done that.

If/when hopefully baby arrives safely I am sure I will miss being pregnant, but at this point I just want to it to be over. The weight gain and being physically uncomfortable does suck, but it’s more the mental torment that is making me question whether I could handle another pregnancy in the future. I have not felt fully emotionally stable or healthy since before I was pregnant. That’s a long time to feel so much stress!

Last week I had my 32 week growth scan, at which time baby was still breech – Frank breech position to be exact. (Explains why I’ve been feeling big pokes on the right side, it’s baby’s foot).  My OB’s office started the paperwork for my c-section, which is scheduled for February 22. I will be 39 weeks + 6 days.  Of course, I have a whole other set of worries here. That’s pretty much 40 weeks – what if I go into labor before then? Again I’ve read way too many scary things about going into labor with a breech baby.I feel a little bit like a ticking time bomb, though maybe that’s just me being overreactive with my anxiety.

To a much much lesser extent, I am still a bit disappointed about not being able to labor naturally. People keep saying there is plenty of time for the baby to turn head-down, but I’m starting to feel skeptical. The further along I get with a baby that is still breech, the less likely I know it is that he/she will turn.  Ultimately all that matters is a baby that arrives healthy and safe, but in a perfect world I would have gotten to have a normal birth experience.

At this point I am trying to make preparations as I feel up to it. It’s hard some days to pick up a baby book or buy things for the baby when I lack the confidence that everything will turn out ok ,but I am doing the best I can.  When I first told my family I was pregnant, I asked them not to plan a baby shower as I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable having one, and at this point I’m very glad that I had that foresight.  Going to a big celebration centered around my pregnancy/baby would have been way too much for me at this point, mentally.

Spiraling

After feeling really optimistic and positive for a few weeks, I am finding myself back on a downward spiral of anxiety and fear. I think it is something about entering a new trimester that brings all the fear back as I experienced this around 14-15 weeks as well.  It’s like I suddenly realize all the new potential things that could go wrong in the weeks to come and start panicking.

Since hitting 28 weeks, frequency of movement has been a major source of anxiety for me. Most days I have an extremely active baby that pretty much never stops moving, but once or twice a week he/she will have a pretty quiet day that gets me worried. If I am being honest, even on the active days when baby stops moving for an hour or two to sleep I start to panic a bit.

The frequency of movement didn’t concern me so much in the second trimester when I knew it wouldn’t be unusual to not feel movement all day, every day. However now I feel like I should be feeling it constantly and whenever I don’t, I really start to worry.  This morning I didn’t feel any kicks when I was lying in bed after waking up like I usually do. I got up and drank some juice and laid back down, and got some kicks but still not the normal activity level. I already had an OB visit scheduled for this morning so I mentioned the change in movement to my midwife. She had me do an NST and squeezed in an ultrasound. Fortunately all looked well in terms of baby’s health, but due to the level of my anxiety, that really only comforted me for a few hours.

I don’t know how I am going to make it through 9-10 more weeks with this level of anxiety. Compounding my overall feelings of stress is the fact that I was told today that baby is still breech and if he/she didn’t turn by my next growth scan in 2 weeks at 32 weeks, I would need to schedule a c-section.  I burst into tears instantly as the thought of missing out on labor and a vaginal birth makes me feel like in addition to everything infertility has taken from me, now I’ve been robbed of yet another part of the pregnancy experience. It is not the biggest deal in the world as what matters most is baby’s safe arrival, and I was told that they will continue to check baby up until the day of the section in case he/she does turn, but its still upsetting.