Monday, December 31, 2012

Why me... why not me?

We have dealt with our fair share of challenges this past year; our continuing struggle with infertility, months of IVF, which happily ended in pregnancy, then, just as we past the three month hurdle and settled into a safe pregnancy, hubby was diagnosed with the Big C, but we dealt with it all and moved forward and for the past few months everything has been running smoothly. And not once during this year did I ever really say to myself, why me?

There may have been a fleeting thought of the why mes but it wasn't until I was on that examining table this week and was told the baby had turned breech that I felt a deep down, overwhelming feeling of the why mes? Why another challenge? I thought we were past all this!

But, again, I did not let the news cripple me. I spent the twenty-four hours between being told the baby is most likely breech to going in for the ultrasound to confirm her position, doing everything I could to spin her back into the optimal head down position.

And I am thrilled to say, she is no longer breech! The midwife may have been wrong about her position to begin with but I had been saying to my husband for two days before we went in for our check-up that the baby's position felt different but I thought I was just being paranoid. And maybe I was. But who cares! The ultrasound has now confirmed she's no longer breech.

And we got to see our little one on the ultrasound again, which we hadn't done since she was twenty weeks. It was exciting to see her taking practice breaths, yawning, and sticking out her tongue.

But I still think about that moment of the why mes. It was only for a moment but it hit hard. And yet, I did not let it take me down (okay, I only had 24-hours of thinking the baby was breech and maybe if she had stayed breech I would not be so unfaltering).

In the long run, a breech baby is something that would soon be forgotten once she was out in the world in my arms, healthy and happy. Would it really matter how she got here? Maybe. I do believe natural birth has countless benefits for mother and child but I have to believe that however she gets here, the joy will override any disappointment from not having my optimal birth plan. I may mourn the loss of my plan, as many mother's do, but it would hopefully be eclipsed by the beauty of bringing life into this world.

Or, at least this is what I say now that I know that we are back on track. Ask me again once I've gone through childbirth.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A breech of trust

We had quite a shock on Friday when we were at our prenatal visit. As the midwife was feeling the position of the baby she informed us that our little one had turned into a breech position. I immediately burst into tears because it was quite a large wrench to throw into our plan for a homebirth.

Our little girl is in what is called a "frank" breech position, which is the optimal breech position and contrary to popular belief in America, you can safely deliver breech babies naturally. Luckily, we are working with one of the doctors in LA that specializes in vaginal breech delivery (Dr. Stuart Fischbein). 

BUT, I am not sure what we're going to do if she stays breech. We only have three weeks until the due date!

I was not anticipating this turn of events and I have not done a lot of research into breech births, so I will have to hit the books. I know I have three options if she stays breech: 1) natural homebirth (if baby stays in a Frank Breech position), 2) vaginal hospital birth with epidural, 3) C-Section. 

But first I'm taking action steps to turn the baby and hopefully I will not have to make one of those decisions. As much as I want a homebirth and I do believe babies can safely be born in a breech position, I'm not 100% convinced, and a woman in labor needs to feel safe above all else. 

We are going in for an ultrasound tomorrow to confirm the baby's position and I will save my reading on breech births until after that appointment. For now, I am doing everything I can to turn the baby. I am all about action!

There is a wonderful site called Spinning Babies which I was referred to in my birthing class and these past twenty-four hours it has become my bible. I am now doing multiple exercises and inversions to spin this baby!

Example of
forward-leaning inversion
I won't go through all of them but most of them consist of me getting myself into an ass up, head down position, so that the heaviest part of the baby, her booty, moves towards my chest and her head moves into my pelvis.

Breech Tilt
My favorite position (because it is the most extreme and comical but also the most effective), is the breech tilt

I lie on an inclined, twin mattress, with my feet up and my head down. I place a warm compress on my pelvis and a bag of cold peas on the top of my belly, to encourage my baby girl to move her head to the warmth. I also place large head phones in my crotch and play Beethoven. No, these were not my awesomely creative ideas, this is what you're meant to do. 

I do this for twenty minutes, four times a day. Sometimes hubby comes in to keep me company and he'll playfully talk to my crotch to encourage baby to move towards his voice. 

Between that and several other inversions I do through out the day, I feel like I'm training for a race again. If these positions don't work, there are many other things I can do to spin the baby but sometimes the baby just doesn't want to turn and I will have to trust my body and hers, if this is what she wants. 

Until then, I will continue my spinning Olympics and start researching my options. Who knows, I could go into the doctor's office tomorrow and find that it was all for nothing, and she is not breech. 

For now, baby and I are going to get our Beethoven breech tilt on as hubby speaks sweet nothings down my pants.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hand on my belly

Questions, questions, questions...

I get asked a lot of questions. I don't mind them. I was very curious about pregnancy before I became pregnant and more so after.

One question I am asked a lot is, "why do pregnant women put their hands on their belly?"  There are different reasons and I'll break it down by trimester.

1st Trimester:

a) To indicate that my bulging belly is in fact, a baby, not a food baby.

b) My tummy hurts and my hands make it feel better

c) To have a little mommy and me time

Baby bump, not food baby!

2nd Trimester:
a) Again, to show that this is a baby, not last  night's spaghetti!

b) Something is moving inside me and I want to feel it (was that gas or baby? Not yet sure)
Baby resides here

3rd Trimester:

a) The damn baby is pushing my diaphragm into my ribs and it effen hurts, so I'm pressing down to make the pain go away. (oops...I mean, I love you!)

b) A big belly makes a nice shelf to rest my hands on. And my coffee cup. And my iPad. And...

c) To feel her little feet and bottom poking out as she moves around in her tiny home (this is way cool)
Oh la la... nice shelf!

But the most precious moment is when my hubby touches my belly. I didn't know I'd feel all mushy about it, but I do! I know, I know... I'm such a sap. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hubby still knows how to party

We had our CPR class tonight. Or, at least, I did.

Two hours before the class started, my husband called to tell me he was drunk. It was definitely not a call I was expecting on a Monday afternoon. Though this is not typical behavior (I swear!), it wasn't the first time I'd received such a call from him. To be clear, my hubby is not a lush, but, especially in the days when we lived in NYC, he'd sometimes attend lunch meetings, which turned into night drinking with colleagues or clients.

This time it was a holiday lunch that became more liquids than solids, not that surprising for this time of year. When he called it was clear that he was too drunk to drive to the class. He offered to take a cab, but I thought learning how to give infants life saving chest compressions while three sheets to the winter wind was not the way to approach infant safety. (Not that he would have been handling real babies! Only baby Annies- anyone remember those from health class??)

But I was not mad. In fact, I was amused. After the year we've had, I was happy to see him let loose. These days we do not sweat the small stuff.

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fat Face

Everyday I receive lovely compliments from strangers, friends and family... "I can't believe you're giving birth in a month!" "Your bump is so small." "I can't even tell you're pregnant from behind."

So why do I feel like a fat arse? Oh, wait! I know exactly why.

It all started at my baby shower when a good friend of the family said to me (and I paraphrase), "You and your sister were always so skinny growing up. I'm so glad I finally get to see you with a fat face."

And now I have a complex. A fat face complex. I am pulling my hair back from my face as much as possible because I seem to think this will make my face look thinner. And I'm keeping my chin down and shoulders back in every picture. And sucking my cheeks in like a fish.

Why is it that I can hear a hundred compliments but ONE negative one asphyxiates me?

Help... I can't breath... my fat face is suffocating me...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Homebirth is where the heart is

After going through IVF, I assumed I'd have a typical hospital birth with pain meds coursing through my veins. But once I became pregnant every instinct in my body said to go the natural route (btw, natural does not mean vaginal with drugs. It means vaginal without drugs. Too many people think that if you don't have a C-section it is a "natural" childbirth. Er, no. Natural means, just that. No drugs.)

Over the past few years I had read and seen things that made me question if a hospital birth was right for me.  Yes, I'd seen The Business of Being Born,which is a great overview of how labor and delivery has become big business in America but by no means was I going to make my choice off of one documentary  So I began doing my research. I read a ton of books, looked at the how the rest of the Western world viewed birth (and pregnancy), read the stats, and talked to friends from around the globe, before finally coming to the decision to have a homebirth.

We found an amazing birthing center in LA (The Sanctuary) and have had an amazing experience. What my husband loves most about this process is the time they spend with us at every visit and that they see this as a continuing process; before, during, and after labor. We had friends living in Holland, which we visited and discovered that most births are done at home with a midwife and the midwife stays with the mother and child for days and weeks after the birth to continue their care (btw, the Netherlands has one of the lowest neonatal death rates, the US has one of the highest). Ever since then, my hubby always loved the idea of all around, natural care.

His only complaint about our birthing center- there's a whole lot of hugging that happens at each visit. But he deals with it.

What I love about the practice is that their goal is not for me to have a homebirth but to have the safest, natural, and most relaxed birth experience I can. I am monitored very closely, and as long as I stay low-risk, we will move forward with the homebirth. But if there is any indication that assistance will be needed, then they'll come with me for a supported hospital birth, along with a doctor who will respect my wishes to stay drug-free, with as little intervention as possible. At this point, everything is running smoothly, and with only a few weeks left, homebirth is most likely. Woot!

At our birth, we will have a midwife and one or two assistants. We will also have a Doctor hanging out on our couch, sleeping and eating our food, unless he is needed. He's our warm and snuggly security blanket.

And to answer the question that most people ask, no I will not be using any pain medication and no there will not even be an option for pain medication. Please, pick your mouths up off the floor. We are using many other natural techniques, the main one being hypnobirthing. Pregnant women are warriors, not wimps.

Don't freak out! There's a lot of fear and misinformation about homebirths but it is not my job to educate or convince anyone. I am in love with my decision and that's what matters.

And as I say to all moms-to-be, I don't care what you do. Just do what feels right for you and your baby. There are gonna be a ton of decisions to make in the future about your child and there will always be lovers and haters along the way, but stick to your guns and feel free to tell the haters to shut it.

As I like to say when someone opens their mouth to give me their point-of-view of my life:
Your opinion of me is none of my business.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guilty pleasure: pregnancy after IVF

After I spent years trying to conceive, going through every fertility option under the sun, and finally succeeding after the long and stressful process of IVF- because that's how bad I wanted a baby- pregnancy has become a guilty pleasure.

The pleasures are typical and beautiful: the sound of the heartbeat, my growing belly, the first flutters of movement inside me, the ultrasound photos, the maternity clothes (at least, for the first few months, before I became a swollen hippo), the extra calories (in cookies and cakes), and so on.

But what I didn't expect was the guilt over the displeasures of pregnancy.

Every book says it's normal to have anxieties when pregnant, which vary from worrying about losing my old life, being a good mother, never having fun again, losing my figure forever, losing my freedom, etc...

But I went through IVF. I wanted this baby really, really, really bad! And I better be grateful at every moment.

Ha! Inner B* has one thing to say about that, Pregnant mommas who have struggled (and those who haven't) YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE ANXIETIES, TO HAVE DOUBTS, TO FEAR WHAT'S AHEAD!

Yes, I struggle with anxieties and there are days I want this pregnancy to disappear, and I want my body back, and I want to go to a bar and get plastered with my girlfriends, and take a spontaneous trip around the world and do bad things.

But what keeps me hanging on is that deep down I know this baby will be the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. And I will love her with a fierceness I have never known. And it will all be worth it.

And just because I went through so much to get here, doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be a human being, and have my OMFG! moments about impending motherhood. All it means is I am experiencing exactly what every other pregnant woman has ever felt, whether she got knocked up on the first try or the hundredth try while laying on a doctor's table, watching her baby being placed gently into her uterus.

So there!


*Inner B is my subconscious- she's not shy to say how it is, good or bad, right or wrong.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Would you like a side of dis-ease with your pregnancy?

About three months after I learned I was pregnant my husband and I began spending a lot of time in hospitals. Not for me but for him. 

Though I am an open book when it comes to my own struggles forgive me if I am vague when discussing my husband's recent diagnosis. It is out of respect for his own privacy and journey. He doesn't mind talking about it but he's a man and Australian, which means he's more private when it comes to his own life.

That being said, I will share my own experiences of being pregnant and dealing with a husband who is 'sick'.  I put that word in quotations because through all of this he has never felt sick or looked sick (except after certain treatments). And we do not like to think of him as being sick, only that life has given us a wake-up call to live each moment to it's fullest and to make some changes so that we will both live a long, healthy life. 

As I re-read that last paragraph, Inner B* is rolling her eyes, thinking how sickeningly optimistic I sound but for once I need to bitch-slap her because this is truly how we both have approached this time in our lives. 

We've learned that the only way to live with genuine positivity is to stay in the moment and take it one step at a time. If we ever stop and think, "what if..." we are doomed. The "what ifs" will kill you before any disease.

And so, at three months pregnant, I sat in the family waiting room during my hubby's procedure that would confirm what we already feared. 

The saddest part about being in that waiting room was seeing the families. Because many of the families are waiting to hear news on their young child. I'm sitting there, my stomach just beginning to show signs of the life growing inside me, and I am surrounded by mothers and fathers living out their worst nightmare. And I was thankful. Thankful that it was my husband and not my child who was in the other room. Having this situation thrust upon my hubby and me is bad enough, but I know (without knowing) that a sick child is the scariest moment of a mother's life. And every subsequent moment that I have spent in that waiting room I have felt the same way.  

After the procedure we had to wait several long days before the results. 

The worst moment is the one you see depicted again and again in movies, books, and TV shows. It's the moment you sit in the little room and hear the diagnosis. It is surreal. And you never know how you'll react (I cried, hubby began to sweat profusely) but it wasn't the worst diagnosis it could have been and there were lots of relatively painless options to stop it in its tracks. The worst part is being told the "what ifs...". We listened and then put those damned "what ifs" in our subconscious, and stayed focused on the good news. It is treatable.

Several weeks later, I stood next to my hubby as he received a round of treatment. I was repeating to him like a mantra "breath... relax... wiggle your toes... breath... relax... wiggle your toes..." and we began laughing, because we knew the tables would turn in a few months, and he'll be the one standing by my head saying these same words. And I hope I remember how helpless I felt next to him, watching his face squish in pain but knowing there was nothing I could do but be there for him. 

God help him if I don't remember! But I have a feeling he'll be happy to remind me.

*Inner B is my subconscious- she's not shy to say how it is, good or bad, right or wrong.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I have become that girl

I always said I would be that dainty pregnant woman, wearing cute clothes, eating healthy salads, and keeping my legs where they are meant to be-inches apart instead of spread as wide as the grand canyon.

After a week of holiday binging (er... make that two weeks), I found myself sitting at the classy Miller Lite Victory Lane bar at the C gates in Atlanta's Hartsfeild Airport my legs spread from here to LA, a pregnancy book in one hand, greasy wings smothered in blue cheese in the other, and my belly protruding proudly.

Sometimes you just gotta say f*ck it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baby showers & booze

This weekend I had my baby shower, filled with lots of friends, lots of fun, and yes, lots of presents.
A friend of mine asked me if I served alcohol at the shower. I did. I served champagne and mimosas. I guess there are some girls who won’t serve booze because if they can’t have some, then no one can.
Wow. That shocks me. I mean, if it was against my religion or something, I can understand it. But to deny your guests just because you’re not drinking? That’s just not copacetic.
party favor 
Baby showers aren’t fun for everyone. I know. Not too long ago a baby shower meant heartbreak for me. And baby showers aren’t just hard on fertility-challenged women but some single gals, too.  It’s not all about me. No, not even my own baby shower. And I will not deny my guests just because I’m not drinking.
If you don’t have kids (and even if you do), it’s only fun for so long to listen to conversations about nipple pads, dirty diapers, and all things motherhood.
In fact, I was originally going to incorporate a drinking baby shower game (baby bottles filled with beer- whoever chugs the fastest wins!) but in the end I went with baby bingo. And a nursery rhyme game. And a game of old wives tales. And… oh, wow, those sound so lame as I write them down… maybe I should of done the drinking game!  
All in all, the shower was wonderful (thanks momma!!) and I was surrounded by my loving friends and family and that’s what matters. But I have not forgotten where I was only seven months ago. Struggling to conceive. 
I have not forgotten you ladies, those who are still trying. Those who feel heartbroken and lost and frustrated, not knowing if it will ever be you.
And I will always be there for you with a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and a bottle of champagne to pop your misery into. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

That Depends

A ninety-year-old lady has taken over my body!

I waddle when I walk.

My back aches.

I wake up and pee all through the night.

I groan when I stand-up.

I cart a back pillow around where ever I go. 

And the other day, I sneezed and peed myself a little. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sex and sugar

The number one question I’m asked by women regarding pregnancy is: What food do I crave?

And the answer is sugar!  Or at least it was before I found the cure for my sugar cravings.

Before pregnancy I’d honed my eating habits so that I craved mainly healthy foods. I did not deprive myself of the sugary good stuff but my only true cravings for it were when I was bored, PMSing, or pumpkin pie came within my sight line.

I was not happy about my new cravings because I did not want to become a big, fat heifer and form a new habit that would be near impossible to break once a baby came into the picture, so I consulted my doctor, midwife, and acupuncturist and they all said the same thing, my body needs energy and it needs it now!

My body isn’t stupid. It wants instant gratification and sugar gives me energy, fast!

The cure: protein.

I added protein into most meals and the sugar cravings disappeared (b/c the energy in protein will sustain me longer and I'll no longer need a quick energy boost). Woohoo! That doesn’t mean I never, ever crave sugar! So don’t crucify me if you see my scarfing down a triple fudge brownie sundae. I’m still a pregnant woman with hormones running through every pore of my body.

A peek behind the curtain
The number one question men ask me about pregnancy: how often do hubby and I have sex?

Yes, men are very curious to know about pregnant women and sex. I should mention the men that ask this question are not parents.  So let’s talk about sex.

Yes, we have sex. No, not as often as we did before pregnancy.

The first trimester was a bit dry because of the fertility medicine I was on (progesterone). That stuff is nasty. I won’t go into details but let’s just say no woman would want her man traveling below the border when on this stuff. But that doesn’t mean the well was dry. There were other ways to satisfy.

During the second trimester, most books say pregnant women become sex machines. They just can't get enough. I experienced an increase but nothing too crazy. My sex drive was pretty damn good before pregnancy so I'm not complaining. It basically stayed the same.

But I ain’t gonna lie. The growing belly gets in the way and doesn't exactly scream sexy. The whole feeling like a mother while trying to be a sex kitten can be a buzz kill. That's when a copy of The Joy of Pregnant Sex comes in handy (yes, this book does exist). 

I have no idea how my husband really feels about my changing body (except the boobs. He loves that the girls are blowing up!) but he’s a man, so I feel secure in saying that he’s just happy to get some.

The most interesting question I had put forth to me regarding sex was from one of my husband’s good friends, who asked, “I hear pregnant women are really horny and want to jump all their husband’s friends. Is that true?”

To which I answered, “Only the ones I wanted to jump before I was pregnant.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Being pregnant: divine

Having a stranger approach me on the street to congratulate me: wonderful

The expression on their face when I ask, “what the hell are you talking about?”: priceless

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Does having a baby = divorce?

My dear friend (who is happily married with two kids) sent me this sage advice:

To: Me

Do NOT file for divorce during the baby's first year, even if you want to badly. It will pass. I'm actually serious about this.


And shortly after that email I received this from another friend:

Eek! Should I schedule my appearance now for Ricki Lake's "Becoming a baby mamma ruined my marriage!"?


Monday, September 10, 2012

The secret to a fast and easy labor

I was told not once, not twice, but three times to drink raspberry leaf tea while pregnant. Since pregnant women aren't meant to drink most teas I assumed this was only suggested as an alternative.

No sir! I found out drinking raspberry leaf tea strengthens and tones my uterus (work it girl!) for a fast and easy labor. What??? Say it again... a fast and easy labor.

Since I will be going au naturale during childbirth, I'll take whatever I can to make it speedy! And since I can't OD on the stuff (I checked) I'm sucking it down like the fat kid gulped down the chocolate river in Willy Wonka.



Monday, August 27, 2012

Will I keep my single friends?

"Girl, keep that man,
get knocked up, and become
a supermom like me!"
Um...I don't think so.
The article below spoke volumes to the OMFG! fears I am facing by becoming a mom. I am gripping tightly to my old life, terrified to let go but knowing I will have no choice. Life has already changed drastically- my old sexiness has made a run for the door, my belly has become a separate entity from the rest of me, no more late night parties (well, perhaps one or two but I just end up face down on a couch... from sheer exhaustion), and other not-so-pretty changes.

And I do worry. I worry what will happen to my single gal pals, especially since I am one of the first to venture down the mommy road and most of my friends are nowhere near taking the leap. I want to be "pregnant in heels" and strut my stuff, and lunch with the girls, and be a hip mom who can do-it-all, but I have to face it. That ain't gonna happen.

How to Be a (Childless) Friend to a New Mom 

Reposted from CluthMagOnline

One of the most significant shifts in the dynamics of a close female friendship can be one party’s decision to marry or have a child while the other remains single. Gone are the days when you can just call your girl and paint the town red on a moment’s notice. Gone are the 2am phone calls, the showing up unannounced with a half-gallon of ice cream to mark the end of a bad relationship, and the weekend getaways or the seven-day cruises. As the good friend of a new wife or mother, it can be difficult not to feel like a third wheel or an odd woman out, when the girl you’re used to seeing rock four-inch Manolos with a cocktail in her hand is now languishing in a suburb wearing milk-soiled sweats and tube socks.
Even when she seems unrecognizable, the woman you knew better than anyone else is still in there, somewhere. Her life may be changing in ways to which you can’t readily relate, but it doesn’t mean she’s kicking you to the curb in favor of her drooling, smushy little person. What’s more likely is that she’s struggling just as much as you are to recalibrate her life so that it once again resembles–however slightly–the one you both remember.
Here are a few ways to keep your friendship intact, even as your priorities start to diverge:
1. Don’t be quick to back off.
There’s something about the announcement of an engagement or pregnancy that makes a single friend a bit too quick to the draw. Some of us immediately start bracing ourselves for the loss of a friend and subsequently allow communication to fall off before even exploring the possibility of preserving closeness. In Erica Kennedy’s Feminista, her protagonist, Sydney, was described as having lost enough friends to family-starting that she trained herself to see marriage as terminal illness and pregnancy as death. Once her friends started families, she never bothered trying to talk to them again; it was easier to pretend they were no longer among the living. A drastic measure, to be sure. But many women see things similarly.

Since every friendship, every family, and every marriage is different, it’s impossible to know for sure that you’re losing a friend, rather than gaining extended family. Don’t back off before the kid’s even born. Just wait it out. Maybe your girlfriend will take to motherhood so quickly, she’ll be back in the girls night rotation before you know it.
2. With kids, fake it till you make it.
It’s a common stereotype that childless women don’t “like kids” and some genuinely don’t. Before I had one of my own, I never had much occasion to be around children and never knew quite how to behave with them. Even so, when friends and relatives to whom I was close decided to have babies, I knew that if I cared about and wanted to remain close to those people, I had to get in there and pick up, twirl around, and play pretend with their kids, regardless of how awkward I felt. Investing in your friends’ kids is a way to show your support for their decisions and a way to remain close to them (which is not to say that you should use the kid to stay close to the mom. Rather, genuine connection to and investment in someone’s child should result in a healthy and inclusive connection to the parent).

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
If at any point, you feel like you’re losing your best friend, tell her. Don’t hold it in and then wonder why she doesn’t notice that you aren’t calling as much or inviting her out. Even if before the birth of her child, your friend seemed to have ESP and could anticipate your every discomfort or need without it being spoken, things are a bit different now. She’s otherwise occupied. For new moms, it’s important to be very clear about how your hopes and expectations for getting together or talking on the phone or retaining your closeness. She probably wants the same things, but has less and less time to devote to making it happen. If you let her know that you’re willing to pick up some of the slack in planning, finding a sitter, or otherwise helping to alleviate some of her stress or distraction, it’s likely she’ll reciprocate by being more attentive and allaying your worries about falling out of touch.

4. Give and take cues.
Sometimes, new families really do need space. If you’re coming on too strong or she’s actively screening your calls, take note. While it’s probably just temporary, it’s important to pay attention to the signs on both sides. When your friend is rushing off the phone or loudly yelling at her toddler or having some cyclical conversation with her first grader while you’re trying to tell her about the coworker who’s scheming on stealing your promotion, there’s a hint being dropped and it’s best to take it. When she calls back, be sure to tell her that you were disappointed with her inattentiveness to what was going on in your life. She’ll want to know that and it’s probable she’ll recognize and correct herself when she’s doing the same in the future.

5. Be willing to let go.
Everyone wants to believe their once-inseparable friendship will never end. But on occasion, these endings can’t be prevented, no matter how patience and space-giving and communicative you are. Maybe your friend has decided that she only wants mom friends or married friends with whom she can have long, engrossing discussions about Bjorns and potty training and keeping the spice in the relationship. It may seem unfair and unacceptable, but the quicker you process that loss, the quicker you can move on to mingling with people whose interests and values still reflect your own. The split can even be amicable or temporary, but it’s best to recognize and accept its necessity as soon as possible. Trying to hang out to a dying friendship is always more painful than a clean, clear break.

6. Venture parenting advice carefully.
Understand that the boundaries of your friendship may change when a kid comes into play. Where you used to be able to voice any opinion without concern for misunderstanding, you might now find yourself on shaky ground, once you’ve made too many “You’re doing it wrong” assertions about your friend’s mothering. A good rule of thumb is: only speak up when you feel like something your friend is doing may harm her child. Otherwise, give her the time and space to find her footing without a running commentary.

Would you add or amend any of these suggestions? Have you ever lost a friend or adjusted your expectations of a friendship after your friend became a mom?
by from CluthMagOnline

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's a...


We are thrilled (happy dance!) but finding out that news was not as easy as I'd thought it would be. geez... can't a girl get a break.

When we went to find out the sex, it was still a little early (only 16 weeks) but our doctor, Dr. B, was confident he would be able to tell.
These days I get to lay on the table fully dressed as the doc uses the external ultrasound to see the baby but our little girl wasn't cooperating so after pressing down on my belly from every angle, Dr. B decided it was time to use the vaginal ultrasound, which is basically a long stick (see picture).

He suspected it was a girl but there were two problems that made confirming the sex a challenge: One, she had her legs crossed and wouldn't move them (she's not the type of gal who spreads her legs for just any man even if he has a big stick) and two, the umbilical cord was between the baby's legs.

So, Dr. B began jamming the ultrasound stick into my uterus again and again and again (not a pleasant experience), so the baby would move but she was a very stubborn girl (which my hubby said made him sure it was a girl b/c she was being so difficult) but eventually Dr. B was able to find an angle where he could see three bright lines parallel to each other.

What are these lines? The doc explained that the outer two are the labia and the middle one is the clitoris. And so it was concluded that our baby is a girl.

My hubby said he was "quite impressed."  When asked why he answered, "because Dr. B found the clitoris at 16 weeks and he's been searching for mine for the past ten years."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pregnancy: The truth and nothing but the truth (part 1)

We have been led to believe that pregnant women are magical beings who walk around in a state of euphoria from the joy of their impending motherhood. But the day-to-day experience is a much different story.

Here are just a few pros and the newly discovered cons from my first four months:

Pro- I get to eat more!
Con- That doesn't mean I get to eat double. That whole "eating for two" is a myth! Okay, my grade school science should have figured that out, seeing as I weigh 120 lbs. and my baby weighs (or will weigh) only a few pounds but all you ever hear about is how much you get to eat when you're preggers. But if I suddenly began eating for two ,literally, guess what... my baby only takes a small percentage of it, the rest is plain old fat that goes to my thighs and butt. What the...? I thought I was allowed to eat Crispy Creams and Papa Johns for dinner! The truth, you're only meant to eat 300-400 calories more a day (that's equivalent to a bowl of cereal... yawn). So unless I want to spend an extra six months in the gym, while trying to take care of an infant (I don't think so!), then I can only eat for 1.15. I guess I'll stick with my green smoothies and fish and veges (with an occasional side of ice cream).

Pro- I finally have boobs!
Con- They are eclipsed by my protruding belly.

Con (no pro to go with this one, sadly): GAS. Yep ladies, you're babies cooking with gas, lots of it. (It's caused by the hormone progesterone that we pregnant women produce lots of, which slows down food digestion, and creates gas.)
I've basically gotten to the point where I just don't care and slip-ups have begun to happen (especially at home). Either my husband's going deaf or he's politely ignoring these slip-ups and I'm not gonna ask him in case it's the former (or the latter!)
If this made you squimish, suck it up, because I'm the one living it! And it only gets better, er... or worse.
(more to come...)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Please don't take offense if I don't burst with excitement

I had three months to get used to the idea of being pregnant before I made the big announcement, and during that time, I shed tears of joy many times. But now I am blissfully settled into my pregnancy.

I forget that there are a lot of people who have been rooting for my hubby and me during our trials and tribulations through IVF (thank you thank you thank you!) and so when I announce to someone that we are pregnant a lot of people become overjoyed and jump up and down and cry. And cry and cry. And suddenly I feel like I am letting them down if I don't jump up and down and cry, cry, cry (the first time someone reacted like this, Inner B was all, OMG!  They're crying, like, really hard. I have to cry too.  Come on tears. Come on! PLEASE! CRY!!!). But I've done my leaping and crying and at this point I'm just too tired to have that kind of enthusiasm. I mean, it's there, it's just not so raw any more.

So I ask that you do not take offense or over-analyze me, if you feel my reaction to your reaction of my pregnancy is less then ecstatic. I want to be there with you! I was there, it just happened three months ago. And two months ago. And a month ago.

Now I'm settled into a peaceful place and trying to meander through the other part of being pregnant. You know, the part where my body is taken over by an alien being (but a damn cute alien!) and suddenly everything is flipped upside down.

But I am happy. So very happy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is that a baby in your belly, or are you just fat?

No I did not just eat a large plate
of spaghetti. I'm pregnant!
Most the time when I slip into workout clothes (or any form-fitting outfit) my natural reflex is to suck my tummy in and make it as flat as possible, but when I went to my first prenatal yoga class at five weeks I felt subconscious because my belly was so flat. It was the first time in my life I stuck my belly out! I was surrounded by big bellied women and I was jealous! I felt like I was in that old Twilight Zone episode where all the normal people have pig faces, and the average looking humans are the freaks.

Now I'm at 13 weeks and still all it looks like is I had one too many cream puffs. But I know I must suck it up (or out!) and embrace this body, right?

Will you just grow baby?! Grow, so mommy doesn't look like a fat arse. Thanks.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Yes sir, that's my baby... no sir, I don't mean maybe

Drumroll please...
After three grueling months of holding in the news, I am very pleased to say we ARE preggers with one little baby!

Wait, did I say three months?  Yep. I delayed posting my dealings in IVF until the end of the cycle, because I knew if the doctor called with the good news we would wait a couple months before announcing. After everything we went through we were not gonna jinx it!

These three months have been a stressful, joyful, and whimsical time. For starters, when the doctor called to tell me I was pregnant, it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows. In one breath, she told me I was pregnant and then came the nasty three letter word, but...

Hearing that horrible little word, Inner B started screaming, BUT?? What is this but. Did she just say BUT?? And the doctor continued,  "'re hCG levels are low, so you need to come back in a few days to do another test." And then we scheduled the appointment and that was it. That was how I got my news. I got to revel in it for five seconds before the worrying began (my doctor knowingly told me that the worrying never stops. Not when I hit three months, not when I have the baby, never. It is a mother's perogative to worry about her child. True dat.).

Okay, so now what? I got this amazing news but my stomach's on the ground, freaking out (and I better pick it back up b/c there's a baby in there!). I'm a little bit pregnant? wtf? I wasn't told about this part. I thought it was, you're pregnant!- And that was it. Then I'd wait the obligatory three months and then announce it and everyone hugs me and my belly becomes the most fascinating part of me for the next six months.

But that is not how it goes for IVF patients. I was in and out of the fertility clinic about twice a week for the first two months, making sure I was "still pregnant". I did every meditation, ate every health food, did everything Dr. Oz told me to do. I was not gonna let this kid go!

Luckily, for the next two weeks, the hCG blood tests were very good, until... we got to four and a half weeks.  At five weeks you can see the heartbeat, and once the heart starts beating your chances of miscarriage goes way down. But the week before we went in to see the heartbeat, we got the news that my hCG levels were not increasing at the same speed as before and we'd have to come in after the weekend to see if there was a heartbeat. But the problem was, it was Memorial Day weekend! So we had to wait a whole extra, grueling day to find out what the hell was going on. It was not happiness in the household that weekend.

I did a lot of meditating, relaxation excercises, and nude moon dancing on the beach, praying that the little embryo would stay in the warm home it was making inside me. And when I finally slid into those stir-ups and the doctor put that ultrasound inside me, I was on the verge of a breakdown but as soon as we saw the heartbeat, all fear went away and we were just in awe of the fact that there was really something growing inside me and it wasn't an alien, it was a baby.

And it still IS a baby. A healthy, 12 week old fetus.

But the story doesn't end there...

Friday, July 6, 2012

"A Baby Story" obsession

I have rediscovered TLC's A Baby Story. I was first introduced to this show back in my college days (no I have not been pining for a baby since then, I just have a morbid curiosity with women in labor). When I tune in, I only half-watch until they get into the labor room and then I am riveted. I can not look away. Those screaming, sweaty women are my Desperate Housewives.

From this...
If any of them end up going in for a C-section (which a lot seem to do and the stats in the US are actually quite shocking, but, I digress), I fast-forward. There's nothing magical about a doped up woman seeing her bloody baby for the first time. She barely realizes what's happened and the baby is whisked away. Actually that seems to happen in all of them (except the home births). this.
But the best moments are the women who have gone through a grueling labor and suddenly this baby pops out (well, not quite "pops", more like shoved, pushed, and man-handled out) and the woman is so relieved. Watching that rush of joy is addictive. Wait! I just had an ah-ha moment (be proud Oprah)! This is the moment I'm addicted to! When the mother holds her baby for the first time, her look of euphoria is mesmerizing. But it takes the struggle of labor to make it worth it.

At least, that's what I saw now, as I sit on my comfy couch and watch these women scream and curse at their husbands before the miracle. I have a feeling it will be a very different experience when I'm the one strapped down to the table shoving the kid out!

But I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Meet-cute or the story of how a boy and girl met in NYC (and neither of them turned out to be a bunny boiler)

I thought I'd share our meet-cute story during this waiting period. Enjoy the kismet.

A Boy and a Girl are out on the town (separately) in NYC. As the clock strikes three, the Girl gets into a cab with her girlfriend, calling it a night. When the Girl arrives at her apartment, the friend realizes she's left her purse in the cab. The Girl calls her friend's phone for ten minutes but the driver never picks up.

Across town, a Boy walks out of a bar and into a cab. As he climbs in, the floor of the cab begins to ring. He reaches down and picks up a purse, pulling out the phone. He answers it.

The Girl is relieved to finally hear a voice on the other end of the line and her interest is peaked by his yummy Australian accent. The Girl asks to meet to get the phone back but as it is 3:30am he tells them to come by his place in SoHo in the morning to pick up the purse and phone.

The Boy hangs up, liking the sound of the young Girl's voice down the line. He may even wake up a few minutes early to shower before she arrives in the morning.

The next day, the Girl and her friend make their way to his apartment and the girl has one question on her mind, will his face and bod be as hot as his voice??? Not taking any chances, the Girl puts a little more effort into her appearance. When she arrives, the Boy opens his door and it is love (er... make that lust) at first sight. He asks her out that very night and the rest is history.

The date was January 26, 2003 (coincidentally, Australia Day, which means hubby never forgets the anniversary!).

Friday, June 22, 2012

The waiting game

The embryos are in but the big question is, will they take??

After the transfer comes the dreaded two week wait. Two frustrating, hair pulling, second-guessing-everything-your body-is-doing weeks! 

After the transfer, I was instructed to be on bed rest for 48 hours. I ain't gonna lie, it was awesome! I  got to lay in bed, guilt-free, watching bad reality TV (is there good reality TV?), reading girlie books, having my hubby bring me all meals in bed (woot!), and of course, surfing the net (do people still say that or is there a newbie phrase for internet time-suckage?).

But then the waiting began. In total there will be fourteen days of waiting until the first pregnancy test. And with the waiting comes the paranoia. OMG, I feel dehydrated, I must be pregnant! OMG, I feel a cramp, I’m not pregnant! OMG, I have to pee all the time- preggers! And so on, day after day.
Some women say they just ‘knew’ the moment they conceived and I must say I do not trust such women.  It’s easy to say you knew after you have a positive test in your hand. But how many women say the ‘knew’ only to find out they were wrong? We’ll never know b/c they would never tell. Well, I am not that woman. I HAVE NO IDEA!

So far, I have had every sign and no signs that I may be pregnant. It’s very frustrating and during my time of need I turn to my favorite therapist, Google Search. As with any good therapist, she turns my questions and inquiries back on me, and I am always back where I started- unsure and driving myself crazy! Only time will tell.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Womb for two

The shots are done (woot woot!), which means time for egg retrieval!

On the day of the retrieval, I checked into the office, changed into a backless hospital gown (easy access!), slipper socks, and snuggled into the hospital bed. Then the anesthesiologist pumped me full of sleepy drugs and I was wheeled into the procedure room. The doc came in and mid-sentence I was out (the story they ask you to tell is how you met your husband/partner. Isn't that sweet? What a nice thing to be thinking about as they retrieve your eggs for baby. Of course, I only got to the part where the phone was left in the cab before I zonked out. When they put the embryos in three days later, the doc asked for the rest of the story).

When I woke up I was out of the procedure room, sans a half dozen eggs. The doctor suctioned those babies right outta me. It was painless. I felt a little bit of cramping afterwards but nothing worse than mild period pains.
Next, they whisked those plump eggs off and into the little lab and magic happened. My hubby’s spermies were united with my eggs and they became embryos. I would have liked to have played them some Marvin Gaye but alas, I was not allowed in the room.
"Babies 1st picture"
I am not delusion. I realize this picture is
only exciting for hubby, me, and grandma.  

Three days later I was back in a little room, the lights were dimmed, candles lit, and soft music played (no joke) as the doc placed two little embryos in me (they gave me the "babies" first picture at that time too). I watched on the ultrasound as they dropped them into my womb. Then the doctor left my husband, babies, and me alone for an hour as they made a cozy home for themselves.
It was serene and peaceful until the forty-five minute mark hit and I had to pee, bad. Very bad. You are asked to come in with a full bladder- because it will press down on your uterus, making it easier for the embryo transfer- but then you need to lay flat for an hour. I was desperate for a Depends and trying to tell myself that I could hold it for just fifteen more minutes. These babies need it! I held that pee in and when the nurse finally relieved me, I raced to the toilet and relieved myself.

And so I made my first sacrifice as a mother. Okay, I think I've made a LOT of sacrifices for baby but I don't care. Fingers crossed, it was effen worth it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A shot in the dark

When I began IVF I made a decision to cut back on my drinking. To be clear, my doctor said it was fine to drink (in moderation) but I didn't want to risk having to go through this whole process again. So I refrained, except on a couple special occasions.
On one particular evening (a day spent wine tasting, which turned into night), I put a little reminder up so I would not forget my shots (the tipsy mind is not the most reliable!):

The reminder was a success but I did make my husband stand next to me to check I was mixing and injecting everything correctly. Safety first!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is that a dozen needles in you or are you just happy to see me?

I had never even considered acupuncture until I started going through fertility treatments. I had no idea what to expect when I went in to my visit except there are scary needles involved that supposedly don't hurt.

Here's what really goes on during a typical visit:

First of all, acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) have been around for thousands of years, so they've had lots of time to perfect their methods and the doctors and practitioners deal with you as a person and not just you as a problem to solve.

During a typical visit, I am asked about my mood, stress, sleep, exercise, and diet. But they also ask for the most basic signs that my body may be telling me something is not right. They ask about my bowel movements (this was quite surprising when they first asked and I was like, "... er, fine. Beautiful. Would you like to see?") But now I just describe "it" to them. I always keep a straight face as I go into poetic detail about my poopy but Inner B is giggling behind me like a ten-year-old.

Then they ask to see my tongue and they check my pulse. If my pulse is sluggish, for example, it means my circulation is poor and they will do treatment to increase my blood circulation. The science behind it is much more complex but this is what I can tell you in layman's terms.

Now some women say they went to acupuncture JUST ONCE and OMG they got pregnant! And, yes, that does happen, but more likely your body will need time. It's like exercise, you can go once and it may make you feel good, but it takes times for your body to respond and improve.

What does it do for pregnant women (besides improve their overall health)? It can increase your hormones, improves your egg quality, and FSH levels, among other things.

But I know what your real question is: DOES IT HURT? 

The answer is no. Okay, sometimes you feel a tiny pinch when the needle goes in but if you have a Doctor who has been doing it for years, you'll hardly feel anything.

As you lay on the table you're meant to relax, sleep, or meditate but I often find my mind wandering to darker thoughts... about an earthquake happening in the middle of the treatment and me having to run out with all these needles sticking out of me or what if I fall of the table and onto all those needles?!! Of course, that never happens. But what if??

The other part of acupuncture treatment are the herbs. If you really want the treatment to work, you need to take herbs. How do you take them? As a tea. You can either take them as a powder that dissolves into hot water or boil raw herbs into a tea. I do the later b/c it is more effective (though it tastes like dirt with cinnamon on top. But the benefit is so great, I don't mind. Or at least, I put up with it.)

So that's your 101 on acupuncture. I hope you have enjoyed this honest look into the world of Eastern medicine. I will be quizzing you next week.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The first time

D-day has arrived and gone. I have given myself the first round of injections  (and more). I ain't gonna lie, I was terrified. But for anyone who has to do this it is not as bad as you fear it will be. But I'll get to that in a minute.

The night I had to jab myself, I laid out all the paraphernalia (needles, viles, syringes, alcohol swaps, and the big red "hazardous material" carton). I made my husband stand by my side for moral support (actually, he was by my side almost every time I've given myself the injections). I decided to do the scariest looking needle first (Menopur). I mixed the viles (instruction pamphlet and nurses notes nearby). I pinched a handful of my skin just under my belly button as instructed, took the needle in hand, and stood posed and ready to go... for an hour (okay, it was more like twenty minutes but it felt like a bloody hour!). I'd bring it close to my skin, then pull it away. I'd even tease myself, letting the needle poke at my belly but I wouldn't push it in. To rev myself up, I'd bite my lip really hard and tell myself that biting my lip hurts worse then these shots will.

My mantra switched between:  "I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this!" to "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this."

Finally I did do it. I stuck those needles in. And you know what, it wasn't that bad. What freaked me out most wasn't pushing the needle in (okay, that was freaky too) but pushing the drugs from the needle into my belly.

(For anyone that may have to do this, I will let you know that the Menopur shot stings a teeny tiny bit as it goes in. Nothing to really worry about, but you do feel a slight discomfort as it goes in- or at least I did. But truly nothing bad. The Gonal-F shot was a breeze. The needle is easy and painless (almost) and you can't feel the medicine.)

I've gone through the ritual for several nights now and it became less and less scary. Once I realized that the needles will just slide right in, no resistance, the fear soon evaporated.

Except for this one time...

...but that's another story.

If you are curious what this looks like, here is a video I watched on Youtube that helped me prep for my shots. (this is NOT me).

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Labor pains

When I first saw the Gonal-F needle presented to me at the doctor's office, I thought this won't be so bad. It's only a small needle. But when you bring that needle home and cradle it in your hands it is a completely different story.

It's only what??
When I mused about the fear of turning my tummy into a brothel for needles (up to three pricks a night!) my husband's response was: "It's only pain."

After I resisted the urge to hit my darling husband, I told him I was going to ask my doctor for ploceba shots so he can experience this little "it's only pain" journey for himself.

And if this is the kind of comforting advice he's gonna give me as I try to squeeze a watermelon out of a lemon hole, hand me the gun now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

IVF cocktail

 Yes, I'm doing this willingly.

Strap me down. I'm ready to go!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The truth and nothing but the truth

I’ve had to fill out many New Patient Forms over the past few years and I just completed yet another one for our new fertility specialist.

There’s the version you tell your doctor and then there’s the other version:


                Marital Status: (circle one) M   S   W   D   SEP

                Smoking: ___N/A______ (how many) packs per day for __N/A____ years
(Okay there were those months as a student in London but I had to! If I was gonna be sucking down second hand smoke every day, I might as well enjoy the whole damn cigarette)

                Alcohol: __8-10__ (number) drinks per week

(errr… make that 16 drinks a week . What can I say, we’ve got numerous social engagements; birthday parties, work functions, sporting events, dinner dates, oh my. It adds up! But before you call me an alcoholic I can refrain! I went cold turkey for three months during the IUI/Chlomid cycles… and I looked damn good.)

                Recreational  Drug Use:  __No___
 (One word: college)

                Special Diet: __Vegetarian____
(except when I eat meat)

                Exercise Routine: ___Run 2-4x/wk, cardio at gym 2x/wk, yoga, hike, bike __ (No need to lie here. I’m damn proud that I get my ass up and work it girl!)

MENSTRUAL HISTORY                  

                Age at first period ___12______ (Maybe if I started trying then, I’d be preggers by now) 

                Age at menopause __n/a_____

                Period interval is __24-27______ days   (I better know this- I’ve been tracking it for three years!)

Duration is approximately ___4-5______days

                Do you have pain or cramps with your period?  ___no__ (YES! My heart is torn out of my chest every time it comes!)

                Do you bleed or spot after intercourse? ___No____ (except from the handcuffs. Does that count?)         


Present method of contraceptive ____n/a____

Previous methods:

Method                                               Duration                                             

The Pill                                                  16 years
(before you start your calculations- I originally got on it to regulate my periods. I swear.)

                                Pull Out
(to all you kiddies out there- this is NOT a viable method! But when you’re in a jam, you pretend it is.)                                        


Do you have pain in your pelvis or female organs?  ___No___ (except when I get waxed- that fuckin kills my female organ)
                If yes, Explain: _________________________________________________________
                How often do you have intercourse: __Approx 2-3x/wk____
(Does oral count? Can I change my answer to 4-5x/wk? My husband is satisfied!)

Sexual history:
                Satisfactory __Yes___
(Are we talking my overall sexual history? Well, there was that bartender in Cabo… he would have made my sexual history exemplary. Oh, well… I’ll have to stick with satisfactory.)                   

                Wish to discuss __No___
(that’s what my girlfriends and a bottle of wine are for)

                Do you have a history of infertility? __Yes____

                If yes, explain: __grab a drink- this is gonna take a while___________