Little Miss Baby J

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Almost There....

Saturday, I will have made it to a new milestone... 12 weeks.

I still have trouble believing we're here. That we're pregnant--that there is, in fact, a tiny little person growing and developing in me.

...Maybe by the time I give birth I'll believe it.

My waist has slowly been disappearing over the last week or two, and many of my go-to work pants are getting increasingly tighter around the waistline. I've been able to 'mask' my growing belly with loose-fitting or empire-waisted tops thus far, but I'm starting to realize that this tactic may not succeed much longer.

Today was my first OB visit, post RE-graduation. (again, crazy!)

My OB scanned my belly, trying for a few minutes to find the HB, and had no luck. --You'd think I would have been freaking out, but for some reason, I didn't. She said that depending on where the uterus was situated, the pelvic bone can sometimes prohibit them from finding the HB easily.

Lucky for us (as my DH was there with me), this bought us the opportunity for another u/s, which they hadn't initially planned to do. So we were able to get a few more pictures of Baby J today, and see how much bigger our jumping bean had grown since our last one a few weeks ago, which was nice. The arms and legs were so much more distinctive & developed this time, and we could even see the slight shadows of a tiny little nose and eye sockets on the screen.

That made our day, to know that things are still going well, and Baby J is continuing to grow and develop on track.

We're still thanking God every single night for this blessing, and the opportunity to grow our family...and I wake up each morning, just so thankful that I'm pregnant for another day, that we've made it this far.

Another 'first' for us this weekend: my parents, whom we'll be visiting, have offered to take me maternity-wear shopping.

...I think I was in college the last time they bought me clothes... so let's just say it's been about a decade since such an occurence has happened. --Not that I haven't tried, mind you... it's just that somehow, my wish-list for clothes at birthdays & Christmas somehow translated into Lo.wes or De.pot gift cards. (thanks, padre)

So that's kinda exciting - new clothes, paid for by the padres!

Trouble is, I don't know much about maternity wear... what you need, or where to go, etc. Any suggestions on where to shop?

Hope everyone has fun plans for Labor Day. Hooray for 3-day weekends!

Monday, August 30, 2010

From IF to When

Last week, at our monthly staff meeting, I was sitting beside one of my coworkers, D, with whom I have a pretty good relationship… she and I have worked closely together in the past, and at several periods over the past 4 years, have been running/walking partners after work. –Thus, ample time to share what is on our hearts, both work-related and personal. D is also 4 or 5 years older than me (35 or 36 I think?) and single…not happy about it, but pretty apathetic about it.

Needless to say, the great majority of our “personal” time has been sharing the vast, aching voids we’ve been dealing with in our respective lives – she with desiring to find Mr. Right and be married; me, with desiring a baby.

So we’re sitting there, getting ready for the staff meeting to start, when she leans in and says, “So! I hear that M. is pregnant again,” giving me this long, knowing look.

M. – the only other girl in my department “of child-bearing age.” I may have already mentioned to you that she’s currently expecting her 2nd baby…and she’s due exactly two weeks before my own due date in March.

I met D’s glance, reading the sympathy in her gaze, and said, “I know – can you believe it? There has been so many this past year!” …Literally, we’ve had seven women have babies in the past year… SEVEN. For a company with only 80 employees—all of which are NOT women---that’s a lot. Almost 20% of our entire female workforce here.

Then she said something that took me entirely by surprise.

I cried when I found out.”

I was dumbfounded… completely flabbergasted by her confession… heartbroken for her pain, for the fact that she’d never voiced that desire to me before. Up ‘til that moment, I’d had no idea that my friend was harboring that longing or enduring that pain – and had been, most likely for every step of my own journey with IF.

It was all I could do to not throw my arms around her and cry with her, right there in the meeting.

- - - - - - - - -
Long after the meeting was adjourned and everyone had gone back to work, I thought about her confession. ...Even now, it still weighs on me.

I hurt for her…
Knowing that she’s been enduring this pain and longing so silently for all this time.
Knowing how she thinks, wondering if she’s been hiding it for so long because of some inane thought that her longing for a baby was less important or less reasonable, in her single state.
Knowing that as painful as it’s been for me to see all these women having babies around us, that it’s been just as painful for her...and wondering how much more pain she’s inflicted on herself in the hiding of it.

- - - - - - - - -
Fast-forward to last night. I was cuddling next to DH in bed, ready to go to sleep. I asked, “Can you believe we’re almost 12 weeks pregnant??” (I am still pinching myself every day, asking if it’s real)

He just looked at me and said yes, he could… and that he’d never doubted whether we’d get pregnant or not. That it was only a matter of when, not if.

I know there were days/weeks/months of my IF journey when I could not FORCE myself to have hope. When the sheer thought of us one day getting pregnant/having a baby seemed like some sort of cosmic joke by God, laughing in the face of our repeated failures. When all I wanted to do was stay in my bed, curl up under the covers, and shut out life.

But even through the worst of days, some deep part of me could not let go of it. Of faith, of hope… of believing that this would all somehow work out, and we’d one day be a family.

Shortly into our TTC journey, I came across a magnet in some arts-and-crafts store that I immediately bought and put on our fridge at home, as a daily reminder… Believe.

Sometimes you just have to believe that things will get better. That one day, your world will not be consumed by this trial… that good things will come your way, despite the current outlook. That in the end, you will actually be alright…and possibly even stronger/better than you were.

For me, I also had to believe that God is, in fact, good… and not just when things are going my way. He is, in fact, good, even when my life seems crappy and I’m not getting straight answers to my prayers/pleadings.

God is also sovereign – He’s in complete control of what is going on in my life, even when it seems like He’s not, or when I can’t understand why things are going the way they are.

God is God, after all– not man – and therefore, I can’t expect to understand His ways… so to try and analyze why I’ve been subjected to this or what He’s doing, etc., is utterly futile… until I stand before Him in heaven, it will remain a mystery to me.

For me, I found solace, hope, and renewed faith in these scripture. Even on the worst of days, when doubt and hopelessness prevailed in my spirit, the truth of these scripture must have sunk deeply into the recesses of my subconcious, because they kept coming back to me, comforting me when I most needed it.

“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Job 9:10

“He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.” Colossian 1:17

“God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change His mind. Does He speak, and then not act? Does He promise, and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

“…Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23b

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

“Be strong and take heart, all you who trust in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear (worship) Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.” Psalm 62:5

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those whose hope is in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31

“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26

For D, I truly wish I could impart to her how much hope I have for her situation…how strongly I believe that it will not always be as it is now.

How I hope she can stop focusing on the if of her situation, and start believing more in the when.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Shadow of IF

This weekend was a fun one... although busy. Friday night we survived the downpour that was our lawn-seat experience at the Jack Johnson concert, complete with a few extra sound and light effects provided by Mother Nature (LOTS of thunder and lightning)... it was truly one of the wettest nights of my life... Wet, but memorable.

And most likely our last experience with lawnseats... enough with the middle-schoolers and people stepping all over your stuff, already!

Got home late from that, only to get up early the next morning for a quick breakfast with my younger SIL and MIL, and then it was off to the middle-of-nowheresville, to visit with my friend, M, from college. Her parents literally live in a town off the last exit in GA, practically on the state line of GA/SC.... and completely in the boonies. But! They live on the lake, their house is amazing (entirely renovated, and beautiful) and they LOVE their who can find fault with that?

M actually had a baby shower that afternoon, while in town -- my first baby shower since I'd found out I was pregnant. Buying her gift was weird... just walking into, knowing I was carrying our own little one, was beyond strange to me. I couldn't even let myself near the clothes--I knew I'd probably end up either a) crying over some precious little onesie or b) snatching up every cute thing I saw, that I never thought I'd get to buy for a baby of our own... so I restrained myself and kept to the product-focused areas.

The shower, too, was a weird experience. My first that I didn't entirely dread, or suffer through. It was sweet - M's mom truly had gone all-out for her, and the place was decked out in all blues & browns, with a ton of yummy finger foods spread out in between diaper cakes and diaper wreaths, all throughout their den & kitchen. They played a game (the High-low game, where you guess if the item's price should be higher or lower than what was listed), and then M and her husband opened up all their presents, assisted by their adorable 3 1/2 year old daughter.

Two months ago, just the thought of enduring a sight like that would have laid me low for weeks, wondering if I would ever get a chance to have a family like that, or experience a shower thrown for me... have a little one helping me open up my presents for their baby sister/brother.

I would be lying if I said it didn't make my heart hurt a little, even in spite of my current state.

The fact of the matter is that nothing is guaranteed in this world. Nothing. And there's no guarantee that we won't have to go through the prolonged suffering that goes hand-in-hand with fertility treatments at some point again in the future. There's no guarantee that Baby J will make it. There's no guarantee that our totcicles or our frozen eggs will survive, or that we'll have another shot at being parents.

I desperately HOPE none of this comes to pass -- but have no guarantees that it won't.

The real low moment of the day for me came when M and I were downstairs on our own, catching up before all the family arrived for the shower. She was talking about how disappointing her husband's reaction to their pregnancy had been.... This is their 2nd --both of which were unplanned--and they're struggling a bit financially. For him, she explained, he doesn't enjoy feeling so out-of-control. ...he told her that he just wanted them to be able to decide first that they were ready for another child, and then get pregnant...

As if it's ever that easy.

Hearing her voice their regret at not being able to 'plan' the births of their children was difficult... so many of us dealing with IF would give their right arms to 'just' get pregnant, to have an 'oops' baby, to never worry about whether you'll ever ovulate again.

My heart aches when I think of that.

And for my friend-- for her disappointment that her husband wasn't immediately thrilled at the knews. For her husband -- for taking for granted the incredible blessing that pregnancy is --even if it was unexpected. For his sheer arrogance at thinking he's really in control of ANYTHING in his life.

For all of us IF'ers out there... for the families that we hope and pray for each and every day.

Saturday's visit was just another reminder that IF will never leave me... It clings to me like my own shadow -- always there, even if you can't see it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dress Size (Gasp!) and the Weekend

Soooo... let's just say that the dress shop wasn't as prepared for the 'knocked-up bridesmaid' scenario as I was hoping...

No belly prosthetic or pillows on hand to use as potential estimators of belly growth.

They just measured me as I was, and recommended I order a dress two sizes up from that, since I'll be greater than 5 months at that point.

My normal dress size: 8

My current waist size: 10

My current chest size: 12

So they had me order a dress two sizes greater than my largest measurement.... which means, you guessed it: a 16. DOUBLE my normal size.


And to top it all off -- I had to ask them if there was anything that could be done about increasing the dress length, given a big poochy belly would raise the front of my dress significantly, leaving me showing a lot more leg than I'd like -- or worse. So they ordered an addition 4 inches of length to the dress.

....made me glad I asked!

But at least it's ordered, and now I don't have to really worry about it 'til mid-October, when it arrives.

I'm really hoping and praying that I will be swimming in it... just for my poor pride's sake. :)

On a happier note --- it's Friday! Woohoo! Headed out early this afternoon to see Jack Johnson in concert (love him!), and then get to visit with one of my good friends from college... one of those friends that I'm thankful to say you just grow closer to and love more and more each year, in spite of geographical distance (she's in CO, I'm here in GA).

Hope you all have some fun plans for your weekend, too. Enjoy it, ladies!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Bellies & Bridesmaids Dresses

Tonight I'm headed into town to get fitted and place my order for the bridesmaids dress I'll be wearing in December, for the wedding of my college best friend.

While I'm very excited for the upcoming nuptials of my friend, I am less than excited about the process (or let's just say guessing-game, or random shot in the dark) that will go down tonight.

How in the world do you estimate what your size will be in four months, at six mos. pregnant?

I know there are women out there who barely even show at that point (which is crazy, and let me go ahead and say now that I know I won't be one of 'em). Then there are the ones that definitely look six mos preggo---or even those who get teased for looking like they're full-term already.

Which will I be, I wonder? ---of the last two, that is.

Do dress shops have any means of helping expectant moms plan for this sort of thing? ...I briefly considered calling one of the Motherhood Maternity stores nearby and asking if they'd let me borrow their 6-mo. fake belly to take with me to the store tonight... but I figure that would be an odd request to make, so... I'm just going to risk it, and hope that these ladies have seen and dealt with far more difficult planning issues than this.

I finally got to share my news with the bride-to-be yesterday, thank goodness. She is the absolute WORST in communicating... If I hear from her more than twice a year, it's a shockingly good year. If she returns a call or emails within 2-4 months of my last stalking campaign (this girl requires comm-stalking by all available modes of communication: email, FB, text, and phone calls), then I practically fall out of my chair in surprise.

Needless to say, I was relieved to hear from her. It wasn't something I'd wanted to share via email...nor did I want to just show up with a big preggo belly at her wedding in December. So I felt much better after we'd had a chance to talk, and she'd reassured me that she still wanted me in her b-maid line up, even if my belly knocks over the girls next to me.

Wish me luck for tonight, ladies! Anyone want to place bets for how many dress sizes up they make me order? 1? 3? 5? ....this could be scary...!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Telling, Picture Update, and Graduation

SO. Back from vacation (boo!), which was wonderful(sigh)... spent the week sleeping in (recovering from both nightly pee breaks and incessant wakings by our overly-excited puppies), reading books (makes me sooo happy!), swimming and skiing out on the lake, and just general lazing about... it was pretty darn nice. The only things missing were the a) margaritas (next year!), and b) sand/the ocean. Still really really miss the beach. A lake is nice, but not exactly a perfect substitute.

But it was FREE -- and we'll take that any day of the week!

On to The Telling.

We got to the lakehouse about 7:30 on Friday night, at which point we'd be joining all the family present (DH's parents, older sister & fam, and two 2nd cousins from L.A. with us for the week) for dinner. The plan was to tell them at dinner, when we had a captive audience. ---At least, that's what we'd discussed for the whole 1.5 hour drive up to the lakehouse.

However, it didn't exactly go as planned... dinner was passing us rapidly by, throughout which I kept stealing furtive glances at DH, awaiting some sign from him that he was about to make our big announcement.

No response from the DH.

In fact, I believe there may have been several non-verbal shushing made in my direction.

So dinnertime passed with no big announcement... not even an attempt at one. People started getting up, leaving the room to go get things, cleaning-up of cookware and plates began, and basically everyone was quickly scattering with the wind as I was frantically elbowing the hubs, wondering why the heck he was letting such a perfect opportunity pass us by.

He then disappeared for a moment, leaving me entirely baffled... only to reappear minutes later with a bottle of bubbly in one hand, and sparkling wine in another.

At this point, he just walked back in the kitchen, and over the din of chatting and pots clattering (it was mass chaos, I tell you), he just started yelling out "Hey everyone, we wanted to share our good news with you that (Musewander)'s pregnant! We hope you'll share a glass with us to celebrate the occasion."

By the end of his schpiel, everyone had stopped talking... and after a 5-second delay to register exactly what he'd said, the celebration broke out... then it was hugs and congratulations all around, and we all toasted our (anxiety-ridden) happiness over the occasion.

All in all, it was a good moment -- and of course, had transpired as only such tellings in my husband's family could transpire...

Fast-forward to yesterday's final visit with our RE.

We'd known that we only had 1 or 2 visits with our RE left, and that our 'graduation' from the fertility specialist back to our regular ob/gyn would be coming sooner or later... but somehow, I was still really surprised when our RE told us that he was officially graduating us yesterday...

It's like having to give up your security blanket as a kid... you know you're probably going to have to give it up soon, but when the moment comes to pack it away, somehow you thought you'd have longer with it. Somehow you still feel caught off-guard when the day arrives that you must give it up for good. That was me yesterday.

So we had one last ultrasound with them, and got to see our little Bean jumping all over the place, waving his/her little arms and legs for us. Our little one looks more like a baby and less like a tadpole now, with distinct head, spine, arms and legs... We got to hear the heartbeat pounding away again, very strong and regular. And everything is measuring right on track for where it should be. So all in all, we got a great report on Baby J, and our RE decided that from here on out, our regular ob/gyn would be taking over.

A big day for an infertile.

Other than being there, watching our ultrasound, this is still so entirely surreal to me... and moving on to our regular ob/gyn---no longer having to see our RE, to NEED a fertility specialist-- is surreal. I mean, my life has essentially revolved around them for the past 2+ years. To quit cold-turkey just seems like crazy-talk.

I guess I'll eventually get used to it, right?

One GREAT thing that came from 'graduating' the RE -- no more intra-muscular Progesterone injections! When the RE told me I could stop taking them, it was as if both sides of my hips sung out a hallelujah chorus in harmony... Thank you, Lord!

Here is the latest ultrasound pick from this morning's appointment -- our little jumping bean. I think this pic is slightly blurrier than our first, but the head is on the right, and the tiny arms are sticking up and down from Baby J's middle... unfortunately the u/s tech couldn't get a good shot that would include the legs, due to Baby J's constant jumping... an active little one! I like to think he/she was having his/her own little dance party in there. DH and I got such a kick out of watching all the movements, and how tiny the arms & legs are at this point.

So crazy... but so FUN. Every time I look at this cute little picture, my heart flutters... please God, let the next 31 weeks go smoothly for us, and let Baby J be healthy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Vacation Here I Come!

Five pm cannot get here soon enough.... and if I'm really lucky, my boss will take pity on me and give me leave to hit the road sooner than that... please God.

I'm so excited to be at the lakehouse already! DH and I will be making our big announcement to the family -- though exactly how we'll be breaking it to them, I have not yet figured out.

While I'd like to do it in some cute, creative way (like having them open up a "Grandparent's Gift" or some other baby-related item to let them know more are on the way), DH has no real interest in that -- he'd just rather flat-out tell 'em. ...But he won't even compromise on how or when we'd even do that. I envision the news being shared over a big family dinner. --My fear is that it will be haphazardly told 5 minutes after we walk in the door, to whoever may be around.

DH is really no good with secrets... a guy friend of his asked him several weeks ago how things were going with us -- he'd known that we were doing IVF --- and DH told him that "things looked positive."

Even though technically, we'd agreed we weren't "telling" anyone for several weeks yet.

Fast forward to last weekend -- we had dinner with the same guy and another couple friend of ours (of whom one reads this blog, so she was well aware of the sitch), and they all started congratulating us about our pregnancy when we arrived....which was SO wonderful! It felt so nice to celebrate it and talk about it! But on the car ride home, DH acted surprised that his buddy had known. ...All I could muster back was, honey, you TOLD him when you said "things look positive."

I think he thought he was being all vague and covert --- but positive is a positive here... and we are talking about pregnancy after all. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out!

In related news, my parents went to an extended family reunion last weekend, and my mom kept telling me that she was going to absolutely fail at keeping this a secret... claiming, as her lame excuse, that her "honest face" would surely give it all away.

I had to remind her that she still had/has the ability to choose what she shares when she SPEAKS -- and that people can't necessarily tell that her youngest daughter is pregnant just from her smile...

Thankfully, my dad was around to patrole her and keep an eye on the situation. HE is as good as Fort Knox with a secret. Which definitely comes in handy sometimes.

So anyways...

Come one, five o'clock! (please God, make time stop draaaaggging)

I may not have very good access to the internet at the lake, but I'll try to keep up with everyone's blogs and email... Hope you ladies have a great weekend, and everybody gets to do something fun!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Picture Page

...If I don't post it now, it'll never get done..!

Here's the picture from last Friday's ultrasound, at 6w6d:

...Everytime I look at it, I'm just so overwhelmed and amazed... by everything about it all. How God works, and how He knits these cells together so intricately into our baby...

I know Baby J resembles more of a tadpole at this point than of a human form, but according to the books, Baby J should look more like an actual BABY by the next ultrasound on the 16th, when I'm 9w2d.

I can't wait to see how our little one has changed and grown!

Okay---no more tonight. Am half asleep in my chair here -- gotta hit the sack.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Heat Wave

Blast... forgot to scan and upload the ultrasound pic!! Oh well -- I'll try to remember to do that tonight.

The weekend FLEW by... both DH and I had separate plans on Friday night - me w/ a girlfriend of mine, and him to out on the boat w/ some guy friends --- so we didn't meet up again to relive the excitement of the morning 'til our "shot-date" time at 9 pm, when he gives me my nightly progesterone shot. Which the RE told me I could decrease to only a 1/2 ml now... thank goodness.

Saturday, the DH roped me in to some work outdoors... used his best sweet talkin' to convince me to help him re-stain the deck. "I swear, only 30-45 minutes," he said.

...Two and a half hours later, it was done. But good gracious, it was a boiler outside-- 98 degrees and humid as can be!

Even though he did trick me into helping him longer than the initially-requested time, and even though he preyed upon my compassion and generosity ("You wouldn't want me to do this all by myself, would you? Without your help, this would take me forever!"), I did feel a bit sorry for him... he'd been working on the deck for 5 or 6 weeks now, replacing rotten boards, or sanding down rough patches -- and he'd only made a small dent in the whole job. ...So despite my reluctance at pitching in, I was glad to see that we were able to finish it, once and for all.

Now the deal is that we need to move out of this house before the deck needs refinishing in the future!

Saturday night was a lot of fun -- had dinner with a few couple friends of ours, both of whom were privy to our news. So we had a little mini-celebration, which was nice...we hadn't really even talked about it that much ourselves yet! I think DH had been nervous to talk about it, for fear of jinxing the pregnancy somehow. Saturday night he was forced to face reality though, thanks to our friends! And oh, the yummy home-cooked Thai! All in all, a real treat to rejoice with close friends and spend an evening together.

While I'd been dreaming of a slow and lazy Sunday, my husband had other ideas... so of course, mine didn't come true. Instead of napping away my afternoon on the couch, DH loaded the pups and I into the car and took us on a 2-3 hour tour of about 4 different boat slips & parks in the (relatively) nearby area... all for the sake of "research" for a boat day he wants our sunday school class to have at the end of the month. He was bound and determined to find the 'perfect' locale for the event -- easy access to the water, picnic area with grills, enough green space for kids to play, but a shady area to seek retreat from the sun when needed. Thankfully, the third park was the perfect match to all our criteria.

Then it was on to the dog park to let the girls run off some steam.

By the time we made it home, I was beyond done -- tired from not sleeping great at night and being woken up by my loving-yet-demanding pups early each morning, hot from being sat on by a 35 lb dog that insists on a) having the windows down the whole time and b) sitting on mommy or daddy's laps the entire drive, and hotter still from sitting out in the sun and humidity at the dog park. It was enough to bring about my first episode of nausea! Thankfully, it didn't last long, and wasn't anything that a good 30-45 minute nap couldn't handle.

Only 4 more days to go, and we'll be officially on vacation, and headed up to the family lakehouse with all my inlaws. I am SO beyond ready!!

Hope you all succeeded in keeping cool and enjoying yourselves over the weekend ladies~