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I miss my friends

7 Dec

My online friends, that is.

When I started blogging about our struggles TTC, so many women reached out to me who were also facing similar challenges. I bonded with these women over the internet and still follow their stories, as documented online. A few of them are now pregnant, but many are not and my heart aches to think about the pain they must be feeling.

Now that I’m pregnant, I know many of them no longer read my blog. How could I blame them? I remember I didn’t unsubscribe from any blogs of pregnant women during my year + of TTC and I hated myself for it. Every time I’d see a post by yet another pregnant woman, so many emotions would flood through me: longing, anger, jealousy, despair. This goes for social media, as well. I even wrote a post about how hard it was to see status updates about the aches and pains or even the joys of pregnancy. I always thought I’d be different when I was pregnant – I wouldn’t be like them. Haha… well, I’m sure you see what I’ve turned into…

I do try to be mindful about things I write in posts and status updates, but this is my life! It’s impossible to censor everything while still being honest. Plus, I want to document this time in my life so I can look back years down the line and remember how it felt to be pregnant for the first time. Also, I have every right to experience the joys of pregnancy, just as all women do. I have to remind myself of that everyday: it’s ok to enjoy this. It’s ok to feel so happy inside I might burst. And it’s ok to write about those feelings.

Right?

While I’m sad that I no longer have these connections with other women who are still struggling with infertility, I am happy that I’ve made new ones with other pregnant women and even moms. And I know one day my old friends will join me on this new journey.

Fur Babies and Real Babies

10 Aug


Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.

Our dogs are our babies. They have always slept on our bed and used to be allowed on the couch, until our room makeover. We spoil them rotten and aren’t ashamed to admit it.

Ruby is a puggle, which is part pug and part beagle, and Jackson is a labradoodle, which is part lab and part poodle. We didn’t intend to own only fancy hybrid dogs, but that’s what happened. It’s embarrassing when people ask what they are when we meet at the dog park or on a walk.
We’ve known since we starting TTC that we would have to make some changes with how we treat the dogs before adding a baby to the mix. It took us over a year, but when we got back from our trip up to San Francisco last month, we finally kicked them off the bed.
Here they are on night number two of no-dogs-on-the-bed. They took some time getting used to it, but now they’re doing great! I have to admit, sometimes they jump up on the bed uninvited and sometimes I let them stay up there when I’m taking a nap alone, but for the most part, we’ve broken them of their, I mean, OUR bad habit.
So, what else should dog owners do to prepare for a baby? Here are some things I’ve read and heard about on the matter (I can’t remember my sources, so don’t call the MLA police, please):
1. Ignore the dogs in the months leading up to delivery.
I’m not talking about neglect here, but it is important to pay less and less attention to the dogs as it gets closer to baby time. This is most important for the mom, as she will be the primary caregiver for the baby, at least at first. This way, the dogs don’t blame the baby for the lack of attention they’re receiving because it started before the baby got there.
2. Get a crying baby doll and hold it while it makes noise.
This will help get the dogs used to the sound of a crying baby and used to you having something cradled in your arms. Keep the baby in a safe place and never let the dogs play with it.
3. Arrange for someone to take care of the dogs during labor, delivery, and recovery.
You can have someone on stand-by to pick up the dogs for a few days or have someone come by your house to feed, walk, and play with the dogs when you’re gone. Be sure to prepare instructions ahead of time so you’re not worrying about relaying information over the phone while laboring.
4. Bring baby clothes home from the hospital/birth center/etc.
After the baby is born, have someone bring home something that the baby has worn. Let the dogs smell it, but don’t let them play with it. No tug-of-war with the baby’s shirt, ok? Tell them to be gentle as they smell so they know that they are to be on their best behavior.
5. Don’t keep the baby room door closed all the time.
If you decide that you never want the dogs in the baby’s room, put up a baby gate to keep them out, but that allows them to see what is going on inside. If you decide to let them go in and out of the room, give them their own spot to lay down and teach them to respect the baby’s things. This can begin before the baby arrives so you don’t have to worry about training the dogs while you have a screaming baby in your arms.
Overall, remember that this will be a huge adjustment, not just for you, but for all the members of your family, human or not. Have patience, but be firm as you introduce a new member to the pack.
Did I miss anything? What has worked for you when introducing a real baby to your fur babies?

Baby Shower Strike

3 Aug
Read all my Spearmint Baby posts here.
Before we started TTC, I used to love going to baby showers. The games, the cute gifts, the decor… they were fun and I used to imagine what my own would be like. However, once we started having trouble getting pregnant, baby showers seemed more torturous than dental appointments.
Over the past year, I’ve been invited to a couple of baby showers, but have declined. I just couldn’t bring myself to put on a happy face an coo over baby clothes. If one of my really close friends had invited me to a shower, I would have definitely sucked it up and gone, but it would have been tough.

On Saturday, I went to my first baby shower in over a year. Luckily, it was a shower for my husband’s friends and wasn’t just for women. Also, I got to bring my little brother so I had plenty to keep me distracted. Major plus: they didn’t open gifts! They saved that for when they got home.
They called it a baby fiesta and held it at a park! They had beer, tacos, and really delicious cupcakes.
While the adults mingled, the kids had fun feeding the ducks and playing on the jungle gym.
Apparently ducks don’t like corn tortillas. Bummer…
I loved the colorful banners. I think they would look really cute in a nursery, don’t you?
I actually had a great time and didn’t feel awkward at all. I’m glad I went and that it was a coed shower so I could ease into it. I think I can safely say I’m over my baby shower strike!
Have you declined an invitation just because you couldn’t bring yourself to celebrate?

Protecting My Feelings

27 Jul
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
The other day, I was reading a friend’s blog who recently suffered a miscarriage. Her posts express her deep sadness and she writes about how it is taking her weeks to get back to her normal self.
Peonies at Fiori in San Francisco

As I read her story, I start questioning my own feelings about my miscarriage. I cried for about an hour, took one day off of work, was a little introspective for about a week, and then I was basically back to normal. I was on to the next cycle and ready to try again. I don’t think about it like I lost a baby, I think about it as another bump on our road to parenthood.
Golden Gate Bridge
Maybe I’ve become desensitized to the pain and disappointment. Maybe after more than a year of negative home pregnancy tests and blood tests and crying in the doctor’s office, it just doesn’t come as a shock when something doesn’t work out in the baby making department.
Leaving the city on the ferry.
I know that I wasn’t very far along when I lost my pregnancy – most women who have a miscarriage that early never even knew they were pregnant. But shouldn’t I feel more like she does? Does that mean I didn’t love my unborn baby as much as she did? Will I ever let myself go when I get pregnant again, or will I always remain guarded?
What do you think? Do you protect yourself from disappointment like me or do you allow yourself to get excited and feel deeply?

Social Media Faux Pas

20 Jul
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
With the explosion of social networking sites (dude, what am I supposed to do with Google+ ?), our lives are constantly on display. I know what my friends ate for dinner last night and they live in another state. It is easy to paint a rosy picture of your life through your mobile uploads and status updates, but sometimes what you share effects others more than you know.
The view from our tent on our camping trip last week.


I have come to learn that I can’t control what others say and do, I can only control what I say and do. When I become pregnant, I know I won’t complain about it on facebook or twitter. I won’t pretend that everything is always wonderful, either, but I don’t need to update my status with every little ache and pain that I’m going through. On my blog, I might share some of my gripes, but people can easily avoid that if they want to. It is hard not to read someone’s facebook status if you’re friends with them.
Camping flower arrangement.
On the same note, what hurts more than the complaints is the really over the top lovey dovey stuff: women posting that feeling their baby kick is like kisses from heaven or how seeing the heartbeat on the ultrasound sent them into fits of giggles. Those are the things that really sting and while I don’t expect people not to share their joy on various social networking sites, I do expect their support and sensitivity when dealing with me directly (like in a email or personal conversation).
For example, if someone knows I’ve been struggling to conceive for over a year, I’d hope they’d know not to talk to me about every detail of their pregnancy. I hope they’d understand that I’m there for them, but don’t need the play by play because while it may be wonderful for them, it is terribly difficult for me.
A walk through the wildflowers.
On the other hand, I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around me, either. I felt really bad earlier this year when one of my friends told me she was pregnant, but that she was so nervous about telling me because she knew how hard it would be for me. However, it was nice to know that she thought about my feelings.
I’ve learned that people are going to say what they’re going to say – be it on facebook, twitter, blogs, emails, or in real life and the only thing I can control is how I react and what I choose to say. I can’t expect people to be sensitive, but I can work on the best way to react, which is usually to just not.
What do you think? Do you have any social media pet peeves?

What a Difference a Doctor Makes

13 Jul
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
I knew my insurance was changing on July 1st and I purposely chose a new doctor when I signed up for my new insurance because I wasn’t too happy with my current medical group. My previous OBGYN wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t great.
The first thing that bothered me about him was that he had a really thick accent. Sometimes I couldn’t understand what he was saying, especially over the phone. He would have to repeat things over and over and I think he thought I was stupid. He was really a nice guy and very funny, which helped relax me, but he wasn’t easy to talk to and I found myself just shutting up and saying, “ok” instead of pressing for more information.

The second thing that bothered me was that he wouldn’t explain things as completely as I would have liked. For example, after my miscarriage a couple of months ago, I told him I was worried that it would keep happening to me and asked if I would be able to use progesterone therapy. Without any hesitation or explanation, he told me it wasn’t necessary. Well, I know that many women use progesterone in many different ways when pregnant. One of my friends got shots every week of her pregnancy to help prevent a miscarriage and I also knew women could use suppositories to help a baby stick. Instead of explaining t reasons why he wouldn’t recommend it, he just said no and since I don’t feel comfortable with him, I didn’t press the issue.
This is Stella, miracle baby to our friends Marcus and Caren.
The last thing was the office. When I began my previous job, they assigned me to a medical group and I never changed it. I should have, but the office was on the way home from work and easy enough as everything was in one building. If I had to get blood work, I would just go downstairs and take care of it right there. While it was convenient, it wasn’t a nice place to visit. The waiting rooms were huge and dirty and the receptionists weren’t always helpful.
I picked my new doctor based on reviews online and proximity to my house and new job. I was nervous that he wouldn’t be that great and I wouldn’t be happier than I was, but I was pleasantly surprised.
My new doctor is Ah-mazing. The office is the nicest doctor’s office I’ve ever seen. It has a fountain and is decorated like a spa. The receptionist and nurses were very nice and friendly. Most importantly, the doctor is easy to understand and he explains things thoroughly and completely. He is very kind and I can tell he is already looking out for my best interest. When I left, I felt SO relieved and happy and couldn’t wait to tell my husband all about it.
In the sunshine outside the Staples Center.
He explained that progesterone therapy is risky because it can trick you body and delay an inevitable miscarriage, so you’re living your life thinking your pregnant while your baby is dead or dying. He also said that the suppositories, which is the treatment I would use for early pregnancy, can be very messy and expensive. Apparently they’re made by hand in the pharmacy, so they can charge whatever they want. He assured me that if I did decide to use progesterone he would monitor me very closely to ensure I wasn’t ever carrying a baby that wasn’t going to live and said that we could discuss it more when the time came.
I know that a doctor can’t change everything and make all my problems disappear, but it is an incredible feeling to have a new doctor who I trust and like. It makes me excited to go back!
Have you ever had a less than stellar experience with a doctor? Did you change immediately or put it off like I did?

Before and After

6 Jul
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
BEFORE
On our honeymoon in Mexico in May 2009
About three days minutes after returning from our honeymoon two years ago, I started planning for and obsessing about having babies. I was ready, but I had this idea in my head that we should give our marriage a year before we added pregnancy hormones and diapers to the mix. Also, my husband wanted more time. He has always loved kids and was  so great with them (I have a little brother who was only 4 when we started dating and he was amazing with him), but he wasn’t quite ready to have some of his own. So, we waited a year and I added baby blogs to my reader.

One of the biggest influences on my beliefs about pregnancy and birth at that time was That Wife: a blog by Jenna, a Mormon and photographer who was planning a natural home birth (she now blogs about life with her baby and husband). I also remember visiting one of my friends and her new baby and being amazed that she had her baby naturally with no drugs. The more I read, and not just blogs, I did some ‘real’ research as well, the more I believed that natural childbirth was the best for both mom and baby.
Another thing I was dead set on: I wanted a girl first. I love all things girly: ballet, doll houses, frilly dresses, and lots of pink. My husband, like most men, wanted a boy first. I remember saying that no matter what we ended up with, one of us would be disappointed. People always say that they’re just happy with a healthy baby, but I was sure I would be disappointed if I found out we were having a boy.
AFTER
At a movie premiere last weekend
After we starting trying and continued trying for a year, I have come to realize one very important thing: I have no control. I have no control over when I’ll get pregnant, I have no control over whether I’ll have a boy or girl (or both… twins are very possible with fertility drugs), and I have no control over the type of birth I’ll have. Sure, I can make a plan and go to the classes and prepare my mind and body (and husband) as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean everything will happen the way I want it to.
And that’s ok. After trying to get pregnant for a whole year, all I care about is carrying a pregnancy to term and having a healthy baby. I don’t care if my birth plan goes out the window the second I enter the hospital. I don’t care if I have a girl, boy, or both, all I want is to grow our family.
As for an update on the TTC front, Clomid is going well this cycle and we’re hopeful that this will be the one for us. You’ll know when I know!
What about you? Have your opinions about babies and birth changed since you became pregnant or started trying?

I want my mommy

29 Jun
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
This cycle wasn’t the one, but the good news is my doctor has already prescribed me Clomid for the next one so I don’t have to worry about my insurance changing over. I’ll start taking it on Friday and about a week later the terrible side effects will ensue while I try to feel sexy enough to do the baby dance.
Mommy and baby birds on our front porch

However, today has made me think about what having a baby is really going to be like. At about 2am, I woke up tossing and turning and with a terrible sore throat. I wasn’t feeling great yesterday, but I thought it was just my period making me feel gross. Nope. I was wrong.
From about 2:30am to about 10am, I threw up ever hour. I had the worst head and body aches and my throat was killing me. As I was moaning in misery, I kept thinking about how I would be able to handle being sick while caring for a baby. Sure, I’ll have my husband to help, but how will I be able to be the mommy when all I want is for my mommy to take care of me?
What about those times when the whole family is sick? What happens when the kids are puking and wanting you to comfort them, but you’re too sick to sit up?
I’ve taken care of my little brother when he has been sick and I can handle it if I’m healthy (my mom used to have to run the vacuum in the other room while I threw up in the bathroom when I was little because she had such a terrible gag reflex, even when she was healthy), but if I’m also sick, I don’t know how I would be able to handle it.
What about you? How do you handle being a parent when all you want is someone to parent you?

My doctor is the next Oprah

22 Jun
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
I called my doctor when I got the visit from Aunt Flo that Wednesday morning and he told me to come in that afternoon for a blood test. The next day, he called me to tell me the results were kind of weird (not a good thing to say to a hormonal woman) and he wanted me to come in for another one two days later at the same time of day. When I went in that Friday, he said that the “weird” thing was that my hCg level when I came in on Wednesday was at a 3.2. If the hormone measures over 5, a woman is definitely pregnant. Under 2 means definitely not pregnant. I was in this grey area.

On the way to Huntington Beach to celebrate Jackson’s birthday with his brother Marlowe!
He said that this strange level could be one of two things: either I was pregnant and was in the process of losing the pregnancy on Wednesday when I came in for the blood test (duh) or the lab techs made a mistake. I already knew what had happened; I wouldn’t have gotten 8 positive home pregnancy tests over the course of 5 days if I wasn’t pregnant. Also, Aunt Flo had definitely stopped in for a visit that Wednesday morning, no doubt about it. This was not spotting due to implantation, trust.
During the meeting with my doctor, we discussed what would come next. He wanted me to wait a month to do Clomid again to ensure that my body fully recovered from the pregnancy and early miscarriage. I asked if we should try on our own without Clomid for the next cycle and he gave me an unenthusiastic “sure.” He didn’t seem confident that we would be able to conceive without the help of a fertility drug as my body had responded so well to it the month before (not sure if I shared, but when you’re on Clomid you get a blood test on cycle day 23ish to see how the medication worked – my levels were spot on perfect with just the lowest dose, so we knew it did it’s job). He said I would take this month off and resume Clomid the following month.
Jackson and Marlowe celebrating their first birthday!
My next big question came out along with a flood of tears, “what if this keeps happening?” My doctor is not super warm and fuzzy. He’s funny and likes to tell jokes to lighten the mood instead of coddle the crying hormonal mess of a woman sitting in front of him. He fully admits this and even made a joke about how he’s not like Oprah, though he is taking over her show (it was the same week it went off the air). He told me not to worry about all the what ifs and to just hope for the best. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I knew a few women who had taken progesterone during their pregnancies to help prevent a miscarriage. I wanted him to tell me that we would do that next time and everything would be fine.
If I was a pushy person, I would have demanded progesterone therapy if I got pregnant again, but I have a really hard time asserting myself to people who I feel have more authority than I do – doctors, lawyers, financial advisers, etc. Plus, I knew that my insurance would be changing soon (new job) and I would be switching doctors, so I tried not to worry about it.
My husband and I decided that we would do the exact same thing we had done the month before. We followed the same schedule (if you know what I mean) and hoped that maybe we could make a baby without the help of fertility drugs. I read up on ways to thicken my lining to help said baby stick and started taking 1500 milligrams of vitamin C every night with my prenatal vitamin. I also tried to eat as many sweet potatoes as I could.
*Note: I am not a doctor and you need to do your own research before taking any vitamin supplements*
You know I’m a scheduler, right? I love to plan and time everything just right. If we got pregnant this cycle, it would be PERFECT timing with my teaching schedule. I would be able to take the last 12 weeks of school off and have the whole summer off giving me about 5 months home with the baby before going back to work. However, I’ve learned that some things just can’t be planned perfectly and I have to surrender and let it all happen when it’s supposed to happen.
Laura, me, and Roxanne all dressed up for a friend’s birthday dinner.
I’m right at the end of my cycle now (these posts have caught up with real life!) and so far, I’m testing negative, but no Aunt Flo. With my insurance changing July 1st, if AF doesn’t get here soon and I’m not pregnant, I might not be able to do Clomid again next month, which would be very disappointing. I’m really hoping that I’m either pregnant (obvious first choice) or that AF comes very soon so I can get my prescription for Clomid before my insurance changes over.
One more thing: I have gotten so many comments and emails from women who have been reading that say how much they identify with my story. I want all those women to know that you’re not alone. Infertility is such a taboo topic and it makes women feel so alone because nobody talks about it. I’m hoping that my posts over here help those women realize that there are tons of others out there just like them and that it’s ok to talk about these issues. If pregnant women can complain about how hard it is to be pregnant, we can certainly vent about our struggles trying to get pregnant, right?

Fun while it lasted…

15 Jun
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
Was I mean to end my last post like that? I’m sorry.
I got the BFP and then I went to work. Working is funny when you’ve just learned you’re pregnant. I was pretty much thinking only about pregnancy and babies the whole entire day. It’s a good thing my students were testing because I wouldn’t have been able to teach them anything valuable that day. I called my doctor and the receptionist said to come in that afternoon before 4:30pm to take a urine test and set up my first prenatal appointment. I was so excited that I left work early – the students were dismissed at 2pm, but the teachers were supposed to stay until 3pm (don’t worry, I got permission to go) – and headed over. I peed in the cup and waited for my results and then they called me in. It was negative. I was confused. I told the nurse that I had taken a digital test that morning and it was positive and she said that it was probably just too early for the tests they have in the office to detect the hormone. She told me to wait a week and come back if I was still testing positive at home.

I was freaked out, but I had to get ready for my friend’s rehearsal dinner, so I went home, changed, and headed out. I met a couple of the other bridesmaids at a friend’s house and she had a non-digital test and made me take it. It was positive. I took another digital test the next day: positive.
From left: Roxanne, me, Laura, the beautiful bride, and Michelle
Since I was pretty sure I was pregnant, I didn’t drink at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. It was great to be able to think about being pregnant without feeling like I was imagining it.
The next night, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary (we celebrated one night early) and went out for a really fancy dinner.
I will never forget that night. We were so excited and happy.
On Tuesday, I left work and had a little bit of time before I had to be at my new school for a meeting, so I stopped by Babies R Us to just walk around and look. It was fun to think about registering and having a baby shower and decorating a nursery and I enjoyed every minute of it.
However, the high didn’t last long. On Wednesday, I woke up to pretty bad cramps. I remember laying in bed thinking that I was probably about to get my period. I tried to visualize the embryo sticking as I laid there and I waited a long time to get out of bed because I just knew what was coming.
During those five short days that we thought we were pregnant, my husband and I had discussed that if we lost the baby due to a miscarriage, we would still be happy (ish) because we would know that we can make a baby. Plus, there are things that can help with the sticking part and when we got pregnant again, we would do whatever we could to help it stick.
So, when I did get my period that morning, I was sad, but no more sad than I had been before we ever got pregnant. My husband and I both stayed home from work that day and I cried for maybe an hour. We went out to breakfast and played with our dogs outside and comforted each other.
Oh, and we sent texts to all the people we had told too early. Oopsie. Our bad. Not that I mind over-sharing. I mean, who am I kidding? I write about my period on my blog. But I think the problem with telling people too early is that they feel awkward when you tell them you’ve miscarried. I don’t have a problem with it, but maybe other people do, so I’ll try my best to keep the secret next time.