Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baby Boy

To my few stragglers, I write for 2 reasons …

1. I feel the need to round out this blog with the birth story of my son, Ian.

2. Also, in re-reading my posts on this blog, I realize that it is an incredible log of my journey through IF. Like childbirth, the pain is easy to forget not to mention the order of events; and though I don't want to memorialize the suffering, I do find value in having recorded the experience.

I am finding the experiences of being a new Mom daunting; and for some of the same reasons I started my IF blog, I'd really like to record the fleeting moments of new and developing motherhood as well as record the growth and development of my little boy (So weird, MY little boy. It is still not real to me that I have a son) for friends and relatives who live far and wide.

So I am probably going to start another blog - if my little one will allow me the time (a la Lesley). Whosoever would like to read along, just message me in the comments below and I will send you a link. My one regret is that I won't have the freedom to be grumpy, graphic, and foul with the same lack of reservation I enjoyed through this anonymous blog. You, my IF friends, will know to "read between the lines."


Ian's birth.

May 20th was a hot day. Too hot for May; even in the South. But I couldn't have cared less about the heat because it was my last day at work before taking a 2-week hiatus before my son was due. AND I had another OB appointment, so 1/3 of my last day was going to be whittled away in the waiting room. Glory!

I was due in the ultrasound office first to check my fluid levels which were low but still normal. They had been low/normal for 3 weeks and we were keeping a close eye on the old ute to make sure the fluid situation didn't get critical. Hubby was prepping for a last fishing trip with his old junior high buddy, so I headed to the doctor alone.

My US tech was one of my favorites. She was always offering additional information about the baby who we could no longer really see clearly except for snippets of nose and chin or feet. We chatted about weekend plans and due dates a little as she looked around as per usual and then she interjected, "I don't think your husband is going fishing this weekend."

I knew in that moment that I was going to induced that day and that I was going to meet my little boy in the next few hours. Ready or not. And no, I was not ready. I had A BUNCH of grand plans for those last 2 weeks out of work to organize and clean my house that, literally just 2 days before, had been in the midst of minor renovation. No such luck.

I called hubby and broke the news to him that a third fishing trip was going to have to be cancelled (which was mentioned far too often in the labor and delivery room as a "joke") and I called my parents to tell them that their trip to Houston wasn't going to happen either. Then they basically wheeled me to the admission desk at the hospital, checked me in, and started me on pit.ocin. All in the space of about an hour and a half.

The next day and a half went completely awry and, though it was puzzlingly against my nature, I was so glad that I did not get all OCD on my birth plan. I think the possible scenarios for how the birth would progress were too varied and that that, paired with my complete lack of reference for what childbirth would be like and how I would personally handle it, meant that I found the creation of a birth plan completely impossible to wrap my head around. There were too many factors to consider. So I didn't think much about it; I just knew that I would probably (definitely) have an epidural at some point. I didn't need the "natural birth" gold star, thank you very much. Do I get a tooth extracted "naturally.? Ummmm- no. So why a baby, pray tell? Just sayin'.

So pit starts and I'm feeling fine and apparently having contractions that I can't even feel. I feel smug and all supermom-ish. Like, "what contractions? I don't feel a thing. No sweat."

Then the doctor comes in with his torture stick to break my water (which is supposed to jump start dilation 'cause I am not dilated one ittty bitty bit. We are starting from zero here, folks). Apparently, my cervix was sitting way way way posterior, so they had to reach what felt like THROUGH my fucking back to get to the opening of the cervix and nick the sac. Sooooo painful. First time … failure. So we waited a while, hoping the contractions would begin to dilate the cervix and move it to a more accessible location . Second attempt … failure. Wait some more. Third time, gritting my teeth and moaning in pain … Doc finally nicked the bag and I experienced severe PTSD, continuing to cry and shake with hopped up nerves and pain even after the procedure was finished.

I prayed for my fluid to gush because I didn't think I could handle another probing by the doctor with his torture stick. And it did finally, about a half hour later all over the floor after I'd gone to the bathroom. It's funny to think about now, but I didn't know what to do. I just stood in my small puddle of amniotic fluid and called the nurse in to tell her "it broke." She thought I meant that I broke the IV machine that I was standing next to ... until she saw me standing in my own mess.

After that, we fully expected the dilation to start in earnest and for the show to get on the road. My body had other plans.

Around 2:30 in the morning and at only three centimeters, I called "uncle" and asked for the epidural. I wouldn't have changed how I did things, but I definitely think that the epidural interrupted the dilation process. My contractions immediately got weaker and my progress slowed. I chalk it up to the disconnect between brain and body cause by the epidural; there was definitely a feedback loop between the pain experienced by my brain and the labor process of my body that was interrupted by the epidural. By the next morning around 9:00 am when the doctor came back in to visit me, I was only at 5 centimeters.

It was at this point that the term "C-Section" started to be bandied about; and after laboring for almost 24 hours (not hard labor the whole time, but I still get to claim it!), I was long overdue for a meltdown. In all the scenarios that went through my head, C-section was the furthest from the realm of possibility. Why would I have been "blessed" with sturdy birthing hips? Why would my baby have sat fully engaged for weeks before his birth - so low down that absolutely everyone, without exception, who stuck their hand up my junk would exclaim how low he was - if not to give birth vaginally? How was I going to hold him after he was born?

My meltdown was sufficient enough that both doctor and nurse wanted to give me every opportunity to give birth vaginally. As long as I was progressing every couple of hours, we would hang in there. In the meantime, the nurse turned me every half hour from one side to my other, hopefully encouraging the baby's head to change position such that it would better dilate the cervix. By about noon I was still 5 cm. And by that point, after 2 hours of tears, 24 hours of labor (and starvation), exhaustion, and time to consider - I was ready to meet my baby no matter how it happened.

The rest is par for the course and my little man was born at 1:04 pm on May 21st, 2011. 6 lbs, 10 oz and 18 3/4in long.

He is now 5 weeks old and giving me a run for my money. He's not an inconsolable baby, but he sure does need a lot of consoling. We also had some initial challenges in the breast feeding department (does that ever go smoothly for anyone?), but those have ironed themselves out after an effortful three weeks. And the little man ended up in the hospital for three nights due to a high fever. It turned out to be a regular old virus, but they had to keep him in hospital while they ruled out other more nefarious bugs.

So here I am, a mother. A tired, bleary-eyed, aching-bodied, raw-nippled mother. In the beginning, I found myself asking the universe what the hell I'd gotten myself into! Nowadays, I ask Ian what the hell he wants from me! I am encouraged by others who tell me it gets easier and that I will eventually feel less resentfully-shackled and more emotinally-bonded. If you have similar encouragement, feel free to pass it along!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Hi friends,

It has been a very very long time; part of my process, I suppose. I am going to spare you all any efforts at literary suspense to say that baby and I are fine. He is 25 weeks yesterday - and yes, it's a He and he has all his chromosomes in the right number and configuration.

As you all know, the CVS procedure we planned at 11 weeks had to be cancelled, so Jason and I were left in excruciating limbo - we had to wait 4 weeks till the amniocentesis procedure and then a remaining 4 days to receive the FISH results (a test that targets a few key chromosomal defects rather than the full gamut analysis which takes 2 weeks). The wait was going to be difficult, but we were relieved that we were going to find out either way before we left to visit Jason's family in Georgia over Christmas. While there, we were either going to 1) reveal our good news or 2) desperately force our grief deep deep deep down under a sea of mind-numbing substances till we could get back home and properly lose it.

Have you guessed what comes next? If you are a seasoned IFer, you probably guessed that - whatever came next - it went every which way except the way we planned.

The amnio procedure was actually fine - no fluid leaking, no fever, not even cramps. I was terrified to laugh or sneeze for fear that the sac would burst like a water balloon; but all in all, not a bad experience. I remember being pretty functional during the 4 day wait for the FISH results; but I slid down the slippery slope of hysteria soon enough.

My reserves crumbled on day 4 when, that morning, I was practically hyperventilating in the parking lot at work as I left a message with Maternal Fetal Medicine to get the results ,or remind them that my results should be in, or generally beg them to throw me a bone because I was barely holding my panic at bay. When the doctor called me back, I was not at all pleased. Doctors only call when it's bad news. Which it was.

The bad news was that the sample they collected for the FISH processing did not grow properly … so no results for me. Instead … another 2-week-wait for the full chromosomal analysis.

WTF?! As if I had't had more than fucking enough of those.

None of which I said to the doctor. I just sucked up my dismay while he explained that they had attempted the FISH twice, after which they didn't want to compromise the rest of my fluid sample which was needed for the full chromosomal analysis.

This really really fucked up the big Christmas Miracle announcement we were hoping to deliver in Georgia. Not to mention the fact that we just couldn't believe how fucking unfair this was. Yet another hard lesson hammered home once again; the "F" in IF does not stand for "fair."

So here we were, being asked to wait ANOTHER 2 weeks for results we were hoping to have a full month and a half ago. It was truly truly unfathomable, ladies. I couldn't wrap my head around the cruelty of it all. Time was becoming crucial since, given chromosomal unviability, we would have considered terminating the pregnancy. And since we'd had a baby with chromosomal anomalies once before, it was no long stretch of the imagination to consider that we may have to grapple with some excruciating choices. My biggest fear was that I would begin to feel the baby and that … well. You know. Suffice it to say, the farther in I was, the more ruined I would be - at least that's how I figured it at the time.


We did tell Jason's family over Christmas - not indicating that we were still waiting to see if the baby was healthy and viable. We just announced it like, as per tradition, he was going to come into this world for sure. We soaked up all the joyful tears and congratulations with our fingers crossed behind our backs.

It was on the drive back home that I got the call from the nurse informing us that everything was all right and that the baby was a boy. Holy shit. A real boy. Not only was I stunned with the news that everything was OK, but I was strangely panicked by the fact that I had no idea what the hell to do with a boy. Though honestly, I probably would have had the same thought if it was a girl.

Since then, it has been a whirlwind of coming to terms with the fact that this might actually happen. My anxiety has shifted somewhat from concern about his health and well-being inside me, to his health and well-being on - impossibly - the outside. As you all know, it would have been reckless and irresponsible to think about the baby actually being born. Baby steps - no pun intended - are what's called for. Literally one day and one fetal heartbeat at a time as you inch toward 5 weeks, then 10, then out of the first trimester, etc etc. Finally, when it looks more likely than not that things might progress normally, you can finally attend to the Things You Couldn't Think About Before … like maternity leave, daycare, living arrangements, career, newborn care, baby clothes (the attraction to which I have never understood until my baby became a reality to me … now I get it.) All the things which, under normal circumstances, I would have begun thinking about the minute I took the pee test. But having lost four-five months to squelching hope, I am feeling very behind-the-ball. I do it happily and excitedly, but I am utterly overwhelmed by the impending seismic shift in my identity. It is strange and scary, but so exciting.


As I type, he is kicking against my basketball belly. I felt my first honest-to-god kick at 19 weeks, and he is a reliable little mover and shaker. He's had 2 great anatomy checks and tests in the normal range on all things. As for me, besides heartburn and wicked lower back pain if I over-extend myself, I seem to be weathering pregnancy with blissfully few side-effects.

I am not sure what I should do at this point with respect to this blog. I'm not ready to take it down altogether because … what if I need it again? God help us. But I don't anticipate I'l be blogging much; hopefully some updates here and there but I don't want to misuse this space to prattle on about my day-to-day worries which now revolve around the fact that I will most likely quit my job and try and find part-time work after he is 3 months old. (After visiting the day cares, discovering how much of my salary will go to his care by a stranger, and reading my newborn books, I feel more comfortable sacrificing my career and my salary (such as it is) for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch my baby grow up, at least in his first year. It is a HUGE leap of faith because my anxiety around money is EPIC.) For those of you who continue to post after becoming, and remaining, pregnant, please don't think that I am criticizing your blogs; I actually love reading about your pregnancies as they progress. It's just that the kind of support I personally need and the kind of support I can personally provide seem to belong less and less in the IF domain … personally.

I want to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my blog and offer your support. You all were instrumental in anchoring me in a reality that was utterly unfair, but sadly common. The very fact of our shared experience and suffering in the face of something so inexplicably unfair helped to ground me in functional coping mechanisms. By acknowledging the universality of harsh and unfair reality, I could deal with the inevitable pain of being alive rather much better than if I had given in fully to despair, hopelessness, self-flagellation, and anger.

Perhaps it is easy to say this from the comfortable distance of 25 weeks; in fact, I know it is.

But I have learned a lot about resilience, humor, and honesty in the face of adversity from reading your blogs. THANK YOU.