Monday, May 30, 2011

Was it worth it?

So many times during our 3+ year journey of TTC, miscarriages, and IF I found myself feeling indifferent to getting pregnant or having a baby. Granted, I knew it was just a facade, a coping mechanism- layered on top of grief too deep to touch. The facade precariously held me together when faced with the inability to make happen the one thing I had always dreamed of- creating and carrying a child inside me and becoming a mom.

As much as I thought that was the one thing I had always wanted, over the years, the doubt started to creep in..-- Maybe, maybe my dream of being pregnant and of having a baby wasn't all it was cracked up to me. Maybe the fact that I COULDN'T achieve this dream had somehow artificially inflated my expectations, expectations that the dream once achieved could never live up to. Maybe it wasn't worth the struggle, the long arduous road of hope. Maybe it wasn't worth it, I feared.

Then when all other options were exhausted we dove into IVF. The very act of doing this forced me to believe that our dream of having a family was worth it. IVF is not for the faint of heart, nor pocketbook for that matter. While the odds, we were told were in our favor, there is no guarantee. And again, the doubt crept in. Is what we are trying to achieve, really worth all of this?

I have no doubt that fully answering that question will take much more time- but the one thing that has humbled me time and time again during these 18, relatively short weeks of pregnancy, is that it is most definitely worth it.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat. To have this. Seeing my belly become round. Watching DH talk to it and giggle with joy when he catches a glimpse of me from the side view. Starting to imagine that a wrinkly, pink, tiny baby will be in my arms, for real.

This is most definitely everything I had dreamed of and so much more.

It has not disappointed.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Maternity clothes shopping: jackpots and pitfalls

Maternity clothes. Who would have thought that they would merit an entire post all to themselves. But given the amount of energy (and money) I have spent on them so far in the few weeks I have been wearing them- I figured it was worth a post.

Here's the deal- I have a love-hate relationship with them.

I love them for their elastic waistbands, and because anything even remotely restrictive around my mid-section is uncomfortable.

But that is about it.

There has been so much (so far) that I have disliked about them (mainly talking pants here).

Some of this utter disdain has been that I am not much of a clothes shopper to begin with. AND being tall and not slender I have a hard time finding clothes that fit. So I've liked routine- I have a couple of stores -some online, some brick & mortar, that I know what sizes I wear, I like their styles, they carry long lengths, and I stick with that. I also don't like spending much money on clothes. And I have little confidence in my fashion sense. Put all that together, and shopping for clothes pre-pregnancy was not my cup of tea.

Insert growing, changing mid-section that is trying to become a belly. Add in that I wanted to hide growing bulge earlier in the pregnancy from co-workers (which turned out to be unnecessary as they were clueless as it turned out). And the shocking fact that the body expands in unsuspecting places where I can guarantee there is no baby growing. And finding the right fit has been hard. frustrating. and many a hair has been pulled out. and a few tears shed. (blame the hormones.)

But this weekend, I feel like I hit the jackpot of maternity clothes-

First the Pitfalls I've found so far:
Cheap clothes- As brand names have never mattered to me, early on, my penny pincher side of me, ordered several pairs of pants from a cheap online department store (that carried pants in long lengths). And I haven't been happy in them- I feel frumpy all the time. They feel awkward on me. And they have not washed well AT all the few times I have washed them. I finally out of desperation ordered more expensive pants AND I stumbled across some more expensive brands at a consignment store (more on this later). And the fit and quality is SO much better. I actually feel like my regular quasi-put together self, rather than the frumpy mess I have felt like so far this pregnancy. So, I've decided that in the case of making this pregnancy lady happy, a few expensive pants are a small price to pay. (Note, by expensive I mean $60-70 a pair. That is what I consider "expensive")

Buying clothes in advance- I was forewarned of this, that buying clothes in advance, prior to when you need them can be problematic as they may not fit the same when you get around to wearing them. And this has been true for me. It is so hard to judge how much "breathing room" to leave when buying clothes and how this will fit several weeks from now. It just feels like the body is reconfiguring itself. (Sigh...) So as much as possible, I am buying as I need it.

Cost- I hadn't anticipated what I would be spending on maternity wardrobe. Even though I think I have been a very good budget shopper and kept to the essentials, it has been a bit surprising the amount spent. (not to mention the amount of TIME spend shopping- online, in the stores, trying on, returning clothes, etc.) Bras, underwear, layering tank tops, dress clothes, casual clothes. It doesn't help the checkbook that I have to dress professionally or quasi-professionally at work 5 days a week and that this pregnancy straddles three seasons. Ouch.

But I've also hit the Jackpot in a few ways:

Ordering a lot at a time online- Given I have only been able to find the length of inseam that I need online, I've resorted to ordering a lot of clothes in many different sizes and styles all at once. Shipping is free, and then I return what I don't like/want to the store or by mail and only usually keep 1-2 items. The small cost of shipping or time spent has been worth it to me- especially given that I can't just walk into a store and buy pants that are long enough.

Consignment stores- As much as I love a good deal, I've never been a huge fan of thrift or consignment stores, only because again, I'm hard to fit. Hard enough in a real store with lots of options in lots of sizes, let alone in a consignment store when you get what you get. But out of desperation I checked out a store this weekend that I heard had maternity. And I lucked out. It is as if a women my size, my height, my build, walked in with her entire wardrobe to be consigned (and I think that actually happened). There was no other long inseams, except in my size. I found pants after pants after pants in exactly my size (and some with breathing room, just in case). Everything was under $10 each. So I came home with capris, jeans, and dress pants in a variety of colors (mostly brand names). And a few cheap pretty much brand new tops. Score!

Transition shirts- While I have worn one or two maternity tops a couple of times, it isn't really because I NEED them yet. More so, I wear them when I want to look prego. Something about the empire waists screams "this women is pregnant." And occasionally I have felt like showing it off. But mostly, I still like a little bit of discreetness. So I have been wearing a handful of tops I have purchased in the last month that I call my "transition tops." They give my more room and typically have more length to them then my regular shirts did, but aren't specially maternity. We'll see how fast I grow, but I bet I will get quite a bit more time out of these shirts.

Again, who knows what will grow and how fast in the coming months, but I think I have enough of the essentials in my wardrobe(except for maybe one more bra) to be done shopping for quite some time. We'll see.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The growing belly (pics)

I've been taking pictures now and then during this pregnancy and just finally got around to uploading them. Major kudos to women who are able to take a photo on the same day every week throughout their pregnancy. I have always loved seeing the progression, but never realized how dedicated and organized you had to be to pull that off. I feel like I've been lucky just to even get the few I've taken.

I put them in a separate page, here and will add to it as I take more. Link is also at the top of the page.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heartbeats and Hats

(I know my blog is all pregnancy, all the time these days, but just to forewarn those who might not be up to reading today, today's post is feels even more heavy with pregnancy and baby talk. I don't want to add to any hurting hearts)

We heard the heartbeat again today.  17weeks 1 day.  The midwife today was all business, so didn't get to hear it for long, but it was extremely easy to find and humming away at 140-150 beats a minute.  The releif to my worried mind was instant and immense.  

I know I shouldn't worry, but it is so hard not too.  It is an interesting time in the pregnancy, in that I am not as preoccupied with morning sickness and first trimester exhaustion and yet I am not feeling the kid move.  So it is just this entirely still, silent, growing stomach.  That calls me to have faith, to trust in that which is can't been seen or felt.  
It is entirely a walk of faith.

Like so much of this journey is.

I also received our first gift for the kid today while I was at work.  It was such a surprise and so unexpected, it was from a dear colleague whom I love, but am really just getting to know.  As I opened it, I barely held back the tears and quivering lip as I thanked her profusely.  She made it.  Planned for it, sharing in our excitement.  Picked out the yarn and the colors and created this-

A baby hat.  For a real baby. Our baby. Growing in that silent bulging belly that calls me to have faith.

I am still in utter awe of how it is that any of this is actually happening.  


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

17 weeks

(Sorry my blog has become almost solely a once a week pregnancy update.  I feel a bit stuck when it comes to putting my thoughts into actual blog posts, but have loved having a weekly check in as a journal of this journey.)

How Far Along? 17 weeks

Maternity Clothes? Pants, yes.  Shirts -still in between maternity and non-maternity.  Among people that know I am pregnant, I am now getting frequent comments about my growing belly, as it is looking more and more prego.

Weight Gain?   Not sure

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep?  Fine.

Best Moment of the Week? Pretty normal week, but I have to say that watching DH gush over this kid and my belly every day, all day, is melting me into a puddle of mush.  I am in awe at his joy and love.

Movement? Nope. :(

Food Cravings? Vegetarian corn dogs.  Go figure.

Gender?  5 months until we know

What I miss?   I am not feeling good once again, not sure why.  Not feeling good is taking a bit of a mental toll on me.

Symptoms: Feel like my stomach and esophagus are shoved up into my throat.  Stuffy, runny nose.  

What I'm looking forward to?   Movement.  Hearing the hb again tomorrow. 

Weekly Wisdom: Brace yourself for the unsolicited advice as the belly becomes more apparent.  The comments and advice have already started to flow....

Milestones:  An (almost) pregnant looking belly; And a ticker gadget added to the top of my page.

Emotions: I have still felt unable to start reading prego/newborn books.  I feel stuck in that way.  In the first trimester I know that fear kept me from reading too much, just in case we miscarried again.  But now I feel like I need to be better prepared of what is to come (especially labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and caring for a newborn).  But I have a complete mental block towards actually delving into any of this information.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy tonight, feeling the fear, grief, helplessness, and exhaustion of dear blogger women who could use some extra virtual hugs right now-  Please stop by and lend them some support.

For Serenity as they have decided to close the chapter on TTC and are seeking to embrace life as a family of three.

For Mrs. Lemon, who shares the same due date as me, who just posted about a scary hemorrhage, ambulance ride to the ER, and indefinite bed rest.  Sending positive thoughts to her and her lil boy.

And for Jennifer, who said goodbye to their perfect little boy Gavin who was born too soon.  No parent should ever have to experience leaving the hospital without their child in their arms.

My heart hurts.  It is all too much.  Wishing I could take even an ounce of their grief or fear away.  Wishing this road wasn't so damn hard.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

16 weeks- a.k.a 4 Months (How did that happen?!)

How Far Along? 16 weeks 

Maternity Clothes? Pants, yes.  Shirts not quite yet, but I bought several long flowy shirts that are buying me some time.  But the bump is definitely there.  I feel like it "popped" over the weekend.  I shock myself when I see me in the mirror.  And I am the proud new owner of a bra in a size I didn't even know they made.  Yikes- how did they grow that much that fast.

Weight Gain? Still at a gain of 13 pounds (gulp)-  but haven't gained for the past three weeks thankfully.

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep?  Better now that my sinuses have cleared up.

Best Moment of the Week? Nothing monumental.  Although, I have had a couple of hour long walks and started a pre-natal yoga class and it feels so good to be feeling stronger again.

Movement? Nope.  Really looking forward to this though.

Food Cravings?  Beer and Sake. No, I am not kidding.  I, of course, am not drinking any, but I've never craved it so much in my life.

Gender?  Friends either love the idea or hate the idea when we tell them we aren't planning to find out the gender before the birth.

What I miss?  Nothing I can think of.  Maybe my bicycle a little, being I haven't been riding at all.

Symptoms: All in all, nothing too menacing.  But for documentation purposes, here is a recap:  I had always heard that pregnancy makes for amazing hair and nails.  Hair is great.   My finger nails though?  I swear they are chipping away like crazy.  Kinda strange. Nausea is pretty much gone, unless I forget to take my zyr.tec, then it gets really really bad again.  Also finding that sitting for long periods of time makes me uncomfortable.

What I'm looking forward to?   Movement.  Seeing the midwife (and hearing the hb) next week.

Weekly Wisdom: This next 5 months is going to fly by (especially compared to how slowly it feels these past three months passed)-  don't take any of this time for granted.

Milestones: Finding it easier to tell people the news.

Emotions: Overall, I just feel like me this week. (Other than a few minor mini-meltdowns and a bit of fear creeping back in, all in all manageable)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Infamous Club

Thoughts on the infamous "The Club"

You know what has been shocking for me?  "The Club," the club i longed to be a part of for so long, the mother-to-be/motherhood club?

It exists.  It is live and well.

I think I had started to convince myself that maybe it didn't REALLY exsist, you know "grass is always greener" type thing.  For years, I felt like an outsider, not a member of the mommy club.  And it hurt so damn much.  Even when I don't think the exclusion was at all intentional.  But I think I started to believe that in my longing, I had made "The Club" to be more powerful, glamorous, more REAL, in my head and heart than it really was.  Turns out it is just as real, and powerful as I imagined.  And being part of "it" has me on a roller coaster of emotions that I have yet to fully unpack. 

The women at the cell phone store, the cashier at the department store, the stranger in the PUB with her dog. All who were 1st trimester pregnant but not quite showing.  All who beamed at the news when my husband shared our news in casual conversation-  and like that, I was part of the club, this connection with utter strangers. They wanted to tell me all their inner most thoughts and talk baby and pregnancy non-stop, and carried on as if we were long lost friends.   Co-workers who rarely connected with me before now go out of their way to ask about the kid, share stories, commiserate. They are sincerely interested in how I am feeling, what plans we have been making, if we have names picked out.  The other wives at the church fellowship potluck wanted to know all the details of getting pregnant-  like was it planned? (insert rolling of the eyes, oh if they only knew) how did I break the news to DH?, where will I deliver?  And the list goes on.

I don't know how to deal with being now part of this "club."  I am an infertile at heart.  And as the "club" seeks to draw me into its membership I find myself diggin in my heals and wanting to scream at the top of my lungs "you don't know how many watchful eyes right now are experiencing heartbreak right now, watching as they get left behind, and left out once again, and I am being welcomed in."  I want to stand in front of the jury and make my case for why I am NOT really worthy to be part of the club, why I am an impostor.

....and yet.....and yet I am also completely humbled by compassion of fellow humanity, friend and stranger alike, and this celebration that happens when new life is expected.  What gets me the most, is the sincerity of the other "club" members.   The strangers in the retail stores, my previously aloof co-workers, Dh's manly man friends, are all in awe of the life that being formed within me. 

And it is a good reminder to my infertile self-  that there is no doubt that is a miracle to be celebrated.  One in which I am experiencing, I am living out, each day-  and I don't want to take a second of it, or their compassion, for granted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

15 weeks

How Far Along? 15 weeks 

Maternity Clothes? Yep. But still wear one pair of non-maternity jeans.  I am also desperate for new bras but haven't had the time/energy to go buy some.  I just might burn the sports bra I have been living in.

Weight Gain? Far more than I had planned.  And it baffles me.  But since feeling better I'm have really been focusing on good nutrition and more activity.

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? Still waking up once a night to pee, but I am getting used to it.  I never thought I was a back sleeper, but now I am realizing how frequently I end up on my back.  Trying to break that habit.

Best Moment of the Week?  Seeing the husband gush with joy every single day;  he is just bursting at the seams.

Movement? No; But I am trying really really hard to pay attention and watch for it.

Food Cravings?  I still crave random things at random times, but am starting again to eat closer to what is normal for me.

Gender?  Will know in 25 more weeks (give or take), if all goes as planned

What I miss?  This week I can honestly say I miss nothing.

Symptoms:  In desperation, I started taking zyr.tec for my allergies/sinus stuff which I think was exacerbating my nausea.  As it turns out, I've since learned that antihistamines are often used as anti-nausea medicine as well.  All I can say is it has been heaven!  I have felt great, perfect, wonderful since the day I started taking it.  Less sinus discomfort and NO nausea.  Granted, I'm in the 2nd trimester so that is probably some of the reason for feeling better as well. But I am SO grateful to be feeling better.   Beyond grateful.

What I'm looking forward to?   Walking more and more.  I've started adding this into my daily routine for a bit of exercise.  I am so out of shape (!) but taking it slowly.

Weekly Wisdom:  I think so often of what life was like during the 1st trimester, and I just wish I could go back in time and give me, the "1st trimester me", a huge  hug, and let me know that I was going to be okay.  And to remind "me" to not be so hard on myself for how I thought I thought I should be feeling. I felt so much guilt for not feeling connected to this kid, and I second guessed my self so many times through that really long waiting period. 

Milestones: 15 weeks is a number I never even thought about.  I had so many "milestones" etched in my head-  all revolving around and within the first trimester.  I never envisioned 15!  And it feels great to be here. It boggles my mind that next week I will be 4 months.

Emotions: Joy and Gratitude, over and over again.  Simple as that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog worthy news

I have not been nauseous in 4 full days!

Monday, May 2, 2011

14 weeks- The Storm begins to Calm

How Far Along? 14 weeks 

Maternity Clothes? Yep. Have one pair of non-maternity jeans, but probably the last week I can wear them.  Shirts I am still in between.

Weight Gain? Not sure

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? Still waking up once a night to pee, but I am getting used to it.

Best Moment of the Week?  Not having fear or anxiety at all this week about this pregnancy.

Movement? No

Food Cravings? I'm still grumpy about my nausea and food aversions so this question will go unanswered.

Gender? My chiropractor says he can tell from signs my body gives during my appointment as to the gender of the kid.  He has written his guess in my chart to be revealed after baby is born to see if he is right.  He says he has been accurate over 75% of the time.

What I miss? Not much this week. 

Symptoms:  Nausea, oh how I dislike thee, it was really really bad again this week.  I finally started taking a daily allergy medicine (after consulting with my doctor) to try to get my sinus yuck under control and I think it is helping.  Which means my sinuses are feeling better and with less post nasal drip my stomach is not getting so nauseous.  Hopefully this trend continues.

What I'm looking forward to?  My thick midsection starting to look more round and pregnant.  Relief from my sinus yuck.  Spring weather.

Weekly Wisdom:  This too will pass.  Always a good thing to remind myself that all of the tough stuff in life is temporary. 

Milestones: End of first trimester according to some books.  (I personally celebrated last week as the end.)

Emotions:  Feeling like my love for this kid is starting to overflow after a long season of holding back.  Other than that, feeling oddly calm (never thought I would say that. Ever!)