Monday, December 28, 2015

34.5...The rubber is hitting the road!


BJ and I worked, tried and cried for years for this pregnancy, so to say I feel pressured to be pretty stoic is an understatement. I have been blessed with a truly easy pregnancy.

I never had morning sickness.  My indigestion is totally survivable. I never needed anything beyond Maalox or Tums. I've been beyond blessed and probably gotten better than I deserve.

That being said this past week has definitely been the most uncomfortable, and I guess it's about time.  Nothing major, I just couldn't find a comfortable position that I could both breath and sleep in so I felt like I did neither more nights/days than most. What is funny is I came to visit my parents' house for Christmas, left to work for a couple of nights and came back, and my mom was like, "You've droppsed."  I think I have... I could breathe again, and I started getting that round ligament stretching pain again around the inside of my hips.  So anyway, the whole not breathing/sleeping thing went away in a few days. I can eat a little more, too! I would not have thought that the baby's position would have made that big of difference, especially since I don't have the longest torso in the world to begin with.

The only weird thing in addition to the dropping was some random nerve pain along the inside of my right hip bone. I guess baby was laying on a nerve, but anytime I twisted to the right or bent over, I couldn't stand back up...at least not right away...it hurt so bad all I could do was laugh and walk around like someone's back who went out until it eased up in 5-10 minutes.  It seems to have eased up, so maybe that was just part of the "dropping" phase.

Regardless, I think I'm finally starting to feel "really pregnant".  As uncomfortable as it can be, I'm just so thankful to be here, to be healthy, and to be carrying my healthy miracle baby.  I could not be more blessed.

Next week I start classes again, but they are much more interesting, so that helps a lot.  I enjoyed one of my textbooks so much I actually read 20 extra pages (NERD ALERT...who does that?)  BJ has his follow-up this week, but has been doing amazing.  He's really been a trooper.  I have my "36" week appointment with Dr. Bullen early next week, and then move to weekly appointments...YIKES!!! We are really that close!



Christmas has been wonderful. I got tons of stuff for Pico and myself post-partum.  I'm torn, though.  I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to carry this baby, but I'm also super-excited about meeting zym on the outside.  I still don't think about the actual delivery too much.  I just kind of figure it will happen one way or the other...I just hope later rather than sooner.  I'll be super happy to make it to Wednesday after next when I can deliver with Dr. Bullen, though, and be completely out of the needing to be near a NICU category!

So at 34.5 weeks I am...

...unsure about my weight because I have been out of town so much...and I'm fine with that!
...feeling sleepy, sore, and having several contractions during the day, but wouldn't change a thing!
...craving carbohydrates.  I try to eat some vegetables and proteins, but if I am honest, all I want is crackers...and maybe some cheese...
...averse to insomnia, unfortunately, it's not so averse to me...
...in love with watching my belly move around as Pico moves.  Ze is getting so strong, and I am so proud and in love with this little creature that goes bump in the night!

Peace, Love, and Counting Blessings,

Mary Katherine Roberts



Monday, December 21, 2015

33.5...In-Law Christmas and Yes, MK this pregnancy is real...

For the last 5 Christmases, I have been growing ever more curmudgeonly.  I figured I would be full-out grinch this year.  Celebrating an immaculate conception is trying to say the least to an infertile.  While I love and still do love seeing all my friends torture their kids by putting them on a stranger's lap, it gets hard after a while because you just don't know if you will ever get the chance to photographically memorialize your child's innermost fears.  It's been absolutely heart-breaking at the thought of never hearing the pitter-patter of little feet fluttering down the stairs to see what happened Christmas Eve night.



Instead, I'm just so full of amazement and wonderment at this whole pregnancy thing.  I mean, there is literally a child, who knows nothing of Christmas or Santa or anything else (Ok...except Chanticleer, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mannheim Steamroller and the Vienna Boys Choir) rolling away in my belly.  My belly is so full of Christmas Joy.  I can't wait for next Christmas just to see zyr's little face light up at lights and shiny things (it is MY child after all).

It still amazes me that we are already this far along.  I'll be 34 weeks in 2 days! That is crazy.  I seriously thought this would feel like the longest pregnancy in the history of the world since I got a bonus month of hormones to prep for the cycle.  I mean, we've known every single step of the way of this pregnancy.  The hundred and some shots, the tons of pills, doesn't seem like all that long ago, but here I am all low-risk, healthy, and so extrememly blessed.

It occurred to me today, that we were probably supposed to have pre-registered at the hospital by now.  Perhaps finishing the nursery might be a good idea, and all the pregnancy apps tell me I need to pack a bag for the hospital, and I'm just like, 'but I just got pregnant!' I even meant to ask about that at my doctor's appointment, but I forgot, because...I'm just on pregnancy cruise control.

It' been a busy week or so. BJ had his surgery last week and has really been a trooper.  We heard all these horror stories about adult tonsillectomies, and while he's not been totally comfortable, he's not complained one bit.  Even with a crappy, long hospital stay at Wal-mart Memorial Hospital where they don't let common sense get in the way of their patient care...*sigh*...Anyway, he's been so good!!!! He has set the bar pretty high for me when it comes to laboring.  I'm gonna have to go all Scientologist to compete with him...

We had a wonderful time at our In-Law Christmas.  There was lots of laughter and love.  Emma Grace only growled once at her Uncle Cody for trying to play with one of her new Christmas toys...sigh... I got some cute stuff for me for after the baby that I'm pretty excited about.  BJ trooped through and seems to be enjoying his new toys and even participated in the Christmas meal.  

I had an appointment and a "for better pictures" ultrasound today.  I'm measuring "perfectly", and the heart rate was 136.  Dr. Bullen performed the US and Pico is still gender neutral, and we have yet to see Pico's face.  Pico 16-Mommy and Daddy 0.  Our camera shy child has his or her face completely buried in the placenta.  Dr. B tried to do the 4D photo thing, but with both our heads tilted, we couldn't even decide what we were really looking at...So I didn't get any print outs from this one.  There was barely any fluid between Pico's face, and the placenta. We saw Pico chewing and moving (and the tone was good, adequate fluid, and practice breathing...not that I was doing a biophysical profile or anything...I'm seriously a nightmare patient in my head...).

We did talk a little about how late, because I'm convinced I'm going to go late, he'd let me go before inducing.  It sounds like nobody is going to get too prickly if I go post-dates, and I am totally expecting to because...this took 5.5 years...of course it will be FOREVER!  I could totally be wrong, but I doubt it...

Anyway, at 33.5 weeks I am...

...holding @ +4 lbs.  There is just no room in the inn...for anything, especially not for air or food.
...craving...a salty, lime and tequila-infused concoction with a salt-rim.  Instead, I'll have a little bit of sprite and cranberry juice in a martini glass and call it a "pregnant cosmo".
...averse to eating if I've eaten in the last 6-8 hours.  There isn't any room!!!
...in love with these big rolls, kicks and punches.  It's just so much fun to have this little being go all crazy inside my belly.  Pico is a very busy tiny human...very busy...I'm still worried about the lack of sleep going on... In fact, the other night I was sleeping with my hip propped up on my body pillow and I got kicked so hard my whole body rocked.  I had no clue how strong a fetus could be!!!

Peace, love, and Mystery Babies (With No Pictures to Share)

Mary Katherine Roberts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

32 Weeks and Plugging away!!!



Pico and I have made it to 32 weeks today!!! That's craziness... It's like I'm really going to have a baby on the outside!! (How many times have I said that?)  Meanwhile, Pico has sure been busy on the inside the past couple of weeks. Ze moves and rolls and practice walks/crawls and stretches, and overall I'm not exactly sure what Pico has going on in there. But ze seems very busy, regardless, and I  LOVE it.

This week's successes include finishing up my first quarter of graduate school...and...no, yeah, that's pretty much it... I did have a prenatal massage today, and it was amazing...so much so, that I fell asleep during it, which isn't fair...because for all I know she quit and left me there, but I have no proof.  So I either had an amazing massage or an expensive nap...I'll never know...

My 32 week appointment went without a hitch.  I'm measuring a wee bit short of 31 weeks, but that's totally fine with me... at 5'1" a wee baby would work out just fine for us.  I think I have an ultrasound at 36 weeks to check growth, so we shall see how big, or not, little Pico has gotten.  Pico's heart rate is perfectly beating away in the 130s to 140s.  I also got my TDAP shot because what is one more shot?  I think I'm done with them at this point, though.  I can't think of any other shots I could take aside from my remaining RhoGham dose after delivery...I think BD Syringes and Needles should sponsor this pregnancy...

We have much ahead of us in the coming week.  BJ's getting his big ass tonsils removed and his nasal septum straightened, so he's in for a bit of a haul.  Somehow, this is my fault because I made him go to a doctor...you know how that goes... I'm excited for him to be more comfortable and breathe better, but I hate that this is such a nasty surgery for adults.  Hopefully, he'll be a good patient and not get too uncomfortable.  I'm looking forward to 2 or 3 weeks after the surgery...

Well, sorry for yet another boring blog post... but at 32 weeks, I am...

...down 2 lbs..for a net of +4 lbs. ...I dont' think I lost weight so much as I peed after my last doctor's appointment.  I was pretty bloated from sitting around and eating salty foods the entire weekend while judging a gymnastics meet.
...Feeling slow, but great.  I mean, it's more of a process to extract myself from my body pillow to go pee in the middle of the night.  It's also much harder to breathe if I'm not sitting up or lying straight. I feel like Pico is pretty excited about reaching my diaphragm.  Who am I kidding?  I love it, too!  But still nothing to complain about.  Everything is easily managed with either Tums or position changes. I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions a little more regularly and more intensely, but they are not painful at all. Just feels like flexing any other muscle!
...Craving...nothing exciting...sometimes somebody brings something up, and I'm like, 'ooh, that sounds good.'  I'm just not a creative craver...
...Averse to swelling...my compression hose and sleeves are my best friends right now. It's just my legs, and my BP is still subnormal, so it's nothing to worry about, but it does recreate my compartment syndrome and give me dropfoot if I let it go...which is the last thing you need to have when you are a natural-born klutz.
...In love with my family and friends.  BJ and I have just been so blessed with love and support from so many people.  The genuine excitement people have shown for us just melts my heart.  Pico, you are already so loved by so many people who can't wait to see your little face.



Peace, Love, and Busy Babies

Mary Katherine

Monday, November 30, 2015

30.5...Thankful doesn't even start...


So I'm sitting in a room working on thank you notes surrounded by my husband and fur-babies while listening to my first load of baby laundry and all the snaps clicking in the dryer.  I love it.

I'm sure this is probably becoming one of the most boring blogs on blogger.com, but honestly, I'm relishing it.  It's just nice to know things are winding down.  All I have to do is grow a baby and enjoy life right now, and it's so much easier to do without the black cloud of infertility hanging over my head.  Infertility is so consuming and fills so much of your plate, that it's hard to hold it together when you try to balance it with even the little things.

I feel quite peaceful.  I mean stupid life stuff happens all the time.  For instance, my insurance rejected my RhoGHAM shot, because they think it might be cheaper to treat an infant with hemolytic anemia down the road?  Or that while I was flossing, my tooth broke. so I'm in the 'my dentist office talking to my OB's office purgatory'.  It just all seems like small potatoes.  Even now as I have final presentations and assignments looming, I'm not stressing like I probably should be, because they aren't the most important things in my life at the moment.


Pico seems to be getting so strong.  My fundus may not quite be to my ribs, but my little lamb can sure stretch out and reach under them.  I still LOVE feeling this baby move, squirm, stretch, and kick. It's seriously some of the best moments I have had in my life.

I had a wonderful shower this past weekend and was just overwhelmed with the generosity.  My in-laws also hung the chair rail in Pico's nursery.  It's all starting to come together. I think I'm waiting on one more piece of furniture, changing out the outlets, and hanging a few things on the wall to finish the nursery.  I think I have enough supplies to get through the first couple of days at home with a newborn.  It won't be totally finished until we find out if Pico is a he or a she.  I can't believe we'll be finding out around 10 weeks from now!!!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is enjoying all the Holiday festivities looming over our heads.  I am looking forward to spending more time with my family while they still acknowledge my presence...I'm sure I'm going to go to the bottom of the priority list when Pico joins us on the outside, and I am just fine with that.  My whole family has waited so long!  In the meantime there is always trying to keep Lucifer from killing himself on Christmas ribbons and bows, Emma from opening packages, and Gaius out of the tree.  Christmas is a blast here at the Robert's!

Anywhoslebees, at 30.5 I am...

...refraining from weighing myself after 2 Thanksgiving meals and a baby shower...It feels like I've gained about 30 lbs since last week, lol
...craving, we need to ask BJ...He tells me what I'm craving, like Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes (that was never really a thing for my brother and I...we're  Swiss Cake Roll kind of kids), and I am like 'I am?' and then suddently we have Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes in our shopping cart...very strange...
...averse to cooking.  I despise it more than usual.  Not that it makes me sick, but I have a million other things that are way more important than cooking, and cereal has plenty of vitamins in it and milk has protein, so there.  Cereal for life!!!
...In love with Pico moving around when BJ talks to him/her.  It's so much fun to experience.  Ze kicked so much and so hard that BJ started calling Pico "Pele".  I'm just so in love with this little life and enjoying being able to incubate Pico for a couple more months!



Peace, Love, and Boring is the new pink,

Mary Katherine




  

Monday, November 23, 2015

29.6...It's MY turn!


This week has been full of wonderment at the whole pregnancy situation.  I love watching little Pico squirm around inside my belly.  All the apps and pregnancy books told me the movement would be "less violent" from this point forward.  I'm not sure what violent was, because it's the last word I would use to describe a baby moving in my tummy. I love it! If anything it's getting stronger and going on for longer periods of time.  I also still grin like an idiot and giggle.

We had our breastfeeding class last Monday, and it was good.  I feel like I had the only "Newborn" sized hard plastic doll and everyone else had a premie sized doll.  So I learned that I'm not tall enough or long waisted enough to feed a baby with rigor mortis...I mean...who doesn't need to know that? We did get a lot of useful tips.  It was a 3 hour class and about an hour into it I had this sudden realization that I was learning this for me and my baby, and boy did the tears start to well up in my eyes.  Being a nurse in women's health, I often read, listen to lectures, or take classes on how to care for other women, and I guess that was my original mindset when I first went into the class. So when it hit me that I was doing this for ME, I got a little overwhelmed with bliss.

I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the class that cried...but if the other women only had a clue...I mean, honestly, unless you've fought this battle with infertility, it is so easy to take things like getting to attend a breastfeeding class for granted.  I'm seriously just so thrilled with everything that's happening...

As things get slightly achier and it does get more difficult to move, I hope I continue to relish this experience that was so far from being guaranteed for me.  I'm just so blessed that this little embryo has turned into this viable almost 30 week fetus.


So other than being slightly more emotional maybe...and feeling like my tummy is growing inches overnight, I'm doing swell.

At our not quite 30 week appointment yesterday, Pico and I checked out just fine.  I met with the nurse practitioner/lactation consultant.  She answered some questions and will be a great resource to have since she was a floor nurse while breastfeeding like I will be.  We also ordered my pump through my insurance, so that feels pretty legit!

Pico is doing well. Squirming ALL of the time.  Seriously, I thought babies were supposed to sleep a lot.  I've already warned Pico, that there better be more sleeping when ze magically apparates to the outside world.

I can't believe how fast time is flying.  The due date is down to 73 days away, which I'm sure is going to come and go well before Pico.  I'm hoping to have this child on the outside before Valentine's Day, but I have NO belief that I will deliver on or before my due date. To the point, I'm pretty sure I signed up to work the night before, lol.  That's just crazy talk....We've waited 5.5 years at this point... a few days more is pretty much guaranteed...


At 29.6 weeks I am...

...Up to +6 lbs...somehow I managed to gain 4 lbs in 10 days.  My scale at home is up 1.5 lbs but I weighed myself after sleeping and peeing off and on for 6 hours...so I'm hoping some of that was water weight and clothing and the doctor's office.  I've had my mini-shit fit already, and now I'm over it...kinda...
...Feeling pretty good.  The round ligament pain is back, and if I straighten up too fast from a curled up position I'm pretty sure I sprain my uterus, but overall I have very little to complain about. I'm sleeping more...so I guess I'm more tired. But it's also winter and I tend to hibernate until the sun comes back out in late March...
...Averse to Panera Bread Company...You know what you did.
...Craving...mmm, nothing I have to have...I want watermelon, because this is the perfect season for it and all, right?!
...In love with the idea that this will be the least miserable set of holidays I've had in a very long time.  I was not thankful at all last year.  Not one bit.  I was very sad, bitter, and not apologetic for it.  I remember that feeling very well, and I hope I never lose what that anguish feels like, because it is making this year ever so much more rewarding. I hope those of you that read my blog that are still struggling understand how much I appreciate every bit of this pregnancy.  I continually pray that this is your month, your turn, your admittance into bliss.

Peace, Love, and Feeling Very Grateful,

Mary Katherine


Friday, November 13, 2015

28.2...Holy Third Trimester, Batman!

We made it!!!

I feel a little bit more confident in things right now.  I love, love, love feeling Pico dance around, and watch my tummy change shapes.  It's hard to deny that this is actually happening anymore.  BJ and I will be having a child...that's coming out of my uterus...that grew there...It still blows my mind.  I am just so thankful to live in a time that this is possible.  I may still grow up to be a crazy cat/dog lady, but at least I'll have a husband and child/ren to damper the stereotype.


I'm actually "enjoying" pregnancy right now.  With all the movement, I'm not living in constant fear that Pico is in trouble.  It's been a huge burden that I don't think I even noticed until it was gone.  Of course I'm already reading things about full-term stillbirths, because, as I've always said, I am first and foremost a crazy REI patient.  But everytime I get a little worried, Pico kicks me as if to say, "Chill out, I got this"... Clearly this is a strong little tyke...because Lord knows I have had very little to do with any of this except be a hospitable host.

Pico and I had our 28 week appointment, and things went well.  It was our first OB appointment that didn't include an ultrasound.  Seriously... we've had 14 ultrasounds so far with this pregnancy. It was nice to kinda be "normal"...not that we've not been in a normal category since I graduated to Dr. Bullen's office, but there was just something nice to finally have that pop-in, pop-out kind of appointment that you get when you are "normal".  But holy crap, we're to the point I have to go every 2 weeks already?!  Anyway, Pico measured "perfectly" and the heart rate was probably in the 130s if I had to guess.  I also got my Rhogham shot since I'm Rh negative and we don't know what Pico is.

Honestly, since hiring a doula and thinking about birthing, I've even been a little sad about not being pregnant.  [My mother just spilled her coffee on her computer reading that].  I mean, things are weird. I get short of breath after I eat...because I have to make a decision between having something in my stomach or room to fill my lungs.  I'm a little tired.  Oh, and my boobs are acting up again...I would like to thank the inventor of sports bras, without which this pregnancy would have been a nightmare. I did buy some nursing bras (they're stretchy) and one has 3 hooks.  This is a major accomplishment for females in my family...

I'm also constantly being reminded that I am pregnant in East Tennessee.  I grew up in Appalachia and my one stereotype that I live up to (that I acknowledge, anyway) is my hatred of wearing shoes at home.  Really, I think it's a gymnastics thing...I like to feel the ground I'm walking on...So basically I'm Agador from the Birdcage...Anyway, BJ finally has his barefoot and pregnant wife, just so happens she's not in the kitchen unless she's "making" a bowl of cereal.  Even better, when I'm out and about, people say and do the damndest things...

Exhibit A:
"Honey, I don't mean to offend you, but are you pregnant or are you fat?  I didn't want to make you mad."

Exhibit B:
Location: grocery store produce aisle
Action:  Random, strange woman puts hand on my belly
Response:  Blink at her as I try to find the happy place my cats go to when I hold them against their will.

Exhibit C:
"Are you pregnant?"
ME - Yes
"I bet your boss is mad at you."
ME - I didn't ask her permission, thanks.

Exhibit D:
"Hey, are you pregnant?"
Me- Yes
"Do you know what you're having?"
Me - No, we did not find out.
Pregnant Pause...."Is that cuz you're gonna give it [the baby] up?"
Me - Develop hernia trying not to laugh. "Um, no."

Hopefully, I'll have more of these to add, but I find it hilarious...well, not the touching.

BJ and I have a breast feeding class this Monday, and I'm excited and terrified at the same time.  It blows my mind that I'll have to feed something that doesn't have fur and a tail...at least a tail didn't show up on the US...but we'll love Pico even if ze does.  Anyway, hopefully it will be good, and I won't be clueless about it when Pico comes to the outside world.

So at 28.2 weeks I am...
...up 2 lbs...I don't know how, but I think I am learning that maybe I need to care less about what I eat when I'm not pregnant because I don't seem to be doing too bad of a job when I'm not micromanaging everything.
...craving...Boost...not really craving it, but as it gets a bit more uncomfortable to have food in my belly, I think I'm gonna invest in some of these so Pico doesn't have to live off Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, and Mini-Wheats...
...averse to nothing in particular...
...feeling Braxton Hicks Contractions like a champ when I'm up and moving and probably not drinking enough...They aren't painful at all, so I don't get all that uptight about it...I just sit when I can, and I'm going to try to do better about drinking more. I also notice them when I have to pee.
...in love with this whole process.  I did not really enjoy my first trimester because it just felt like a 13 week anxiety attack, to no fault of the pregnancy itself. It was all in my head.  But right now, I'm able to enjoy and appreciate this process.  I'm such a huge advocate for egg donation which honestly felt like admitting to my failure as a woman when it was first mentioned.  I couldn't imagine doing this any other way now.  I am honestly just thrilled to get the chance to experience pregnancy, and control for some of things I was most scared of losing control over.  I love talking, reading, and playing music for this baby in my belly. I absolutely adore the way Pico wakes up and kicks for BJ's voice, too. It makes me swoon a little bit. :)



Peace, Love, and Probably Keeping It,

Mary Katherine




Sunday, November 8, 2015

27.4...Such Blessings (except, not Panera)

It has been a wonderful week full of new aches and pains, and I feel so blessed to have them!

I am trying to be better about putting my feet up when possible, because I definintely have some swelling stuff going on...still mostly in my left leg.  I get cramps in my left calf almost nightly. The other night, my calf would cramp, I'd try to pull my toes back, and then my shin muscle would cramp, so I'd point my toe, but then my calf would cramp again, and on and on.... It hurt so bad, but was so ridiculous at the same time, all I could do was laugh.  It went on for longer than I appreciated, so I had to get up and walk around which did resolve it. It was a doozy enough of a cramp that my leg is sore 2 days later, though.

With the swelling, my compartment syndrome comes back and causes me to have drop foot. (I can't pull my toes up when I walk...but it's fine, I used to try to vault like that!) I even get it on the elliptical...so add that to being a natural-born klutz, and I think I've stumbled around more than I've walked this week, but I have remained upright thanks to my ever-graceful, gymnastics/ninja skills.

My belly seems to be growing by leaps and bounds...I can feel kicks almost at my rib cage level.  It still makes me grin like an idiot.  I feel all that stretching in my hips and abs, too.  It was funny, at Target today in the checkout, there were 3 magazines touting flatter abs or "Get Your Best Abs Now", I've never loved my abdomen as much as I do right now, so pfft, you can have your flat ones...I've got Pico abs!

I'm really enjoying yoga...I may sleep for parts of the class, but the instructor never says anything. Pico loves the big position changes and just squirms away.  Pico also really likes Savasana, which is supposed to be calm time, but I keep getting the giggles because my belly is dancing without me.  It's hard to do a good semi-reclining corpse pose while your belly bounces from side to side without your control.

We were also blessed to have our first baby shower.  It was just a few close friends.  BJ played and played with our hosts' 1 and 4 year-old daughters. Pico, you are so lucky.  It still melts my heart to see BJ with children.  It was really hard to watch when we weren't sure if children were ever going to be in our future, because I felt like I was taking someone who would make an amazing father out the line-up.


Meanwhile, I was all like, 'What?! You don't want your 1 year-old to eat half of my cupcake?!'

As you can tell, I'm a little behind the curve ball...and actually, I've not got a lot of baby experience in general. The only diaper I changed in recent history was my god son's diaper...the rest of my diaper changing repertoire has been on hospitalized octogenarians.  I've put the first diaper on brand new babies, but that's pretty easy.  It's a surprise attack, and they don't know what's happening.  It's hitting me that after about the first 2 hours, I'm not sure what happens to babies. Do elves come?  Do they start talking just to you, so you can figure out what they need? Do they purr and then bite you when you've stayed in bed too long and they are hungry?  BJ and I are both the babies of our family so he's not got any experience either.  He's never changed a diaper, but I figure if he can diaper our cat Lucifer, he should be set.  Oh Lufie...Here sweet kitty!!!

Anyway, we had a glorious time and got some cute things for Pico and/or Emma.  My parents got Pico the little gym thing that you put babies on and you can have toys dangle over them, or just let them rest on the padded surface.  I'm realizing pretty quickly, that Emma Grace may have needed more boundaries because it sorta could pass as a dog bed...but we were so hopelessly infertile when we adopted Emma.  Pico got his/her first stuffed animal, and Emma is pretty sure it's hers.  I mean, she's the only one with stuffed animals in the house, so why wouldn't it be?  She enjoys smelling all the new things, and sticks her nose on my belly a lot, but that doesn't mean she doesn't think all of this stuff is for her.  We watched Lucifer jump in the crib and start playing with the mobile...so that may not last very long, but if you've grown up sharing a house with cats and dogs, you learn pretty quickly that nice things are just not in your cards.  I mean, I played with headless chewed up Barbie's, and I survived to be reasonably well-rounded...

As we round the corner to the third trimester, I realized this baby is going to come out of my body someway, somehow.  I've read a couple of books on breastfeeding and birthing, but we haven't signed up for childbirth classes because of our crazy schedules. And the more I read, the more I'm like, I can't just go in and let things happen to me.  So I've talked to a couple of doulas, and I'm pretty intent on hiring one.  BJ's birth plan is for the baby to be on the outside one day ideally not requiring him to look, see, hear, or touch anything that might be seen on a National Geographic documentary or a 90s health class video.  My mom and I mutually agree that she will not be in the birth room, so that leaves me...and I decided I need a support person, hence the doula.  

I'm still not sure I want to write anything down as far as a birth plan.  I have the nurse-curse to consider, lol.  (Where if anything can go wrong, it especially will, because you are in the medical profession and statistics don't apply to you.) So I'm afraid if I write something down, it will be signing my fate to a stat cesarean delivery.  Honestly, if that's what it takes to get Pico here safely, then I'm all for it. I just know from my profession, that it's a damned if you do thing with birth plans, but also can be damned if you don't.

We still have so much to look forward to between now and February.  I see Dr. Bullen this week for my 28 week appointment.  We have the holidays to look forward, too. I'm still enjoying my life as a night shift nurse so much more than I did on day shift.  I've got to finish up my first quarter of graduate school take #4. BJ is having minor surgery on his nose and throat because he loves me and doesn't want to be the reason I end up on the TV show, Snapped! for murdering him for snoring. Oh, and one last Christmas where Santa will come for ME!

So anywhoselbees, at 27.4 weeks I am...

...never weighing myself again, because ignorance is bliss...and I'm chicken shit.
...craving...ok, I still would like to have French Onion Soup from Panera.  It has faded and come back, but definitely would like to have some.  I make a date to go there, and we miss it because we are running late.  I attempt to go again this evening, and apparently, Sunday is the one day of the week they don't have French Onion Soup...so, I just need to not want things ever again...
...averse to Panera Bread and your hostile soup schedule...honestly, I feel like Adele in her new single...you've so let me down...We used to have a working relationship, and now I'm all like "Hello?!"
...Feeling achy, stretchy, crampy, and blessed to have such an awesome reason to feel that way.  Pico, I'll ache, cramp and swell for you, any time.  You just keep dancing, baby!!!

Peace, Love, and Prayers for the Panera French Onion Soup Nazis,
Mary Katherine




Monday, November 2, 2015

26.5 and Grooving



So Pico started kicking and moving like a crazy baby when BJ started talking to zym this week.  I cried.  It's seriously the most beautiful thing.  As much as I can't wait (but I will, Pico, so don't get too excited) to hold this baby in my arms, I can't wait to see BJ holding our baby.

Men don't get a lot of credit for dealing with infertility.  They soldier on, pretend for your sake that another failed cycle is no big deal, and are expected to remain stoic.  We get frustrated because of their "lack of caring", but I promise, it's just the opposite.  BJ's had some true moments of heartbreak and sacrifices enough of himself to only have those moments when he knew I was doing okay.  BJ has been just as devastated as I have been, but for the sake of us, he's had to put his brave face on much faster because I couldn't.



So when little Pico gets placed in BJ's arms...that will be such a beautiful moment.  I expect there to be Real Man tears.  I know I'm going to be a hot mess, but I bet BJ will be, too. Hopefully they don't call DCS because the child has 2 loons for parents.  I expect that if I don't breastfeed, I may not get to hold our baby again!  He's going to be such an awesome father.  This child is so very blessed.

This week has been a lot of work, sleep, write, repeat, but hopefully things will calm down for a bit. Our dresser for our nursery came, and I put the first couple of outfits in it. I even bought Dreft, but I don't quite have enough to start a load yet.  It's sad when you are excited about laundry, but I'm pretty damn excited. We still have quite a bit to do... Chair rail, outlet covers, couple more pieces of furniture...but it's coming together, and it's for OUR BABY!!!

I think I can feel individual parts of Pico move now, like I can feel each foot kick me.  I LOVE IT! When I'm trying to settle in for a nap and Pico gets all excited, I can't help but just smile like a goober.  My cat, Gaius, bee-lines for my belly, and Pico loves to try to kick him off.  The first time, Gaius hissed at me, but now he seems to be in a battle of will.  Gaius, you better remember this the first time your tail gets yanked!  But all this moving has definitely ended my obession with needing to hear heart tones...Not that I don't still listen, but it's more out of fun than anything.

Despite working more, I've felt a little better...no clue...maybe I really was trying to fight off a cold.  I also started sleeping a little better after working all night.  Hours will have passed instead of 45 minutes, so that's probably been the best thing.

Middle of next week will be the start of the third trimester for Pico and me!!!  THIS IS JUST CRAZY! How did this happen???  We need to get on the childbirth class thing... All I learned from Ina May Gaskin's book was that, indeed, no woman has ever been split in half while giving birth...so that's good to know...other than that, I know it's probably not going to feel the best.

I know I'm not going to write down a birth plan...that's just asking for everything to go wrong. The plan is to have a breathing mother with a breathing baby in her arms.  The rest is kinda open to discussion, and I have time to think about it...

So at 26 plus weeks, I'm...

...not weighing myself this week...ignorance is bliss.
...craving nothing in particular...
...averse to a lot of food on my plate at once... I'm dreading Thanksgiving...
...feeling fabulous.  Enjoying the dance recitals going on in my belly!
...in love with oversized, loose cotton PJs...they are my jam.

Peace, Love, and Happy Daddies,

Mary Katherine





  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

25.6



Er-mah-gerd!!!  There is a baby dancing in my belly which is getting huge...of course I thought this at 20 weeks, and I'm sure I'll laugh at myself in 10 more weeks, too.  Just in the last 2 weeks I've grown out of all my "junior fit" scrub tops...I don't mind at all.

People aren't at all scared to ask me when my due date is.  Fortunately, I haven't been told I'm about to pop or any hostility like that, so that's nice.  I catch myself doing this waddle thing, if I'm too relaxed or tired. I'm also really starting to struggle if I lean back too far or lay down...seriously...the struggle is real...

I managed to make it two weeks without listening for heart tones.  It's easier when I can feel Pico move.  I do get a little worried when things seem quiet, but like any human, we have hectic days and lazy days, and so does Pico.  So one day ze will be dancing all day and night, and then the next I'm like, 'what happened?'.  Usually just as I settle, ze squirms. But they were 142 last night...Still love that sound!

I have been amazed at how easy it is to just love this child as my very own.  I hemmed and hawed at the thought of egg donation even more so than BJ ever did 3 years ago.  I wondered if I would bond with a baby from egg donation, I wondered if I'd feel maternal to a baby I knew "wasn't mine".  I wondered if I could love a baby that wasn't from my egg.  It seems ridiculous now.  I was scared to love Pico when I saw the picture of zym as a blastocyst, because I was scared ze would not stick around for long.  But from the moment BJ and I heard "you're pregnant" I couldn't imagine loving Pico any less.  I hope one day, Pico, you can understand how many people rooted for you, and love you, and how truly wanted you've always been.  You are our miracle, and we love you very, very much.

The only thing I think about as far as the egg donor thing is what Pico will look like.  From what little we've seen, Pico is as cute as a button, but it is odd thinking I have nothing to do with his or her appearance.  It will be exciting, although I doubt in the first few moments after birth I'll be into anything but enjoying having Pico on the outside.
Some things are worth the wait, and you, Pico, have been worth every second, every tear, every anxiety attack, ever fear, and every moment of heartache up until your conception.  And yes, that process may have gone differently for you, but it was out of so much love, and so special for us.  We would not change a thing!

So, at 25.6 weeks, I am...

0 lbs heavier than the day of my transfer...
Feeling pretty good overall.  Some achiness is creeping in, but it could be the colder weather just as much as pregnancy.  
Craving Panera...specifically French Onion Soup...I think...I mean, I've wanted it for a week now, but I haven't had any yet...and I've survived, so does that count?
Averse to people with colds...stay away from me...so far I'm doing well, in that department, but I've woken up with a sore throat and throbbing ears, but it goes away relatively quickly. 
In love with listening to music with Pico...who apparently likes Jason Mraz and the Beatles...Or really hates Jason Mraz and the Beatles...I'm not sure how to translate the kicking...

Peace, Love, and Miracles Any Way Can Get Them,

Mary Katherine




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

24.5


It seems poignant that Pico has reached viability during the same week we celebrate the beautiful little spirits of those babies who could not stay.  We've come such a long way.  Pico has come such a long way...


This is when we knew we had a chance...and trust me I compared you to every other blastocyst I could find on the internet, but to think this is what you looked like before our dear embryologist and Dr. Donesky gave you back to me, and now I feel your little feet kicking me in the belly...How can anyone not believe in miracles? So much has had to go just right for BJ and I to get where we are today, so how can I not be thankful?



We sorta-kinda got to see our baby's face.  My placenta and Pico's hands wouldn't let us see the whole thing, but what we did see was beautiful.  I'm not saying that your blastocyst picture isn't cute, Pico, it will always be precious to me.  However, your plump lips and cheeks make my heart melt. In three attemtps or so, we finally have a complete anatomy scan that is "normal"!  We saw a stomach bubble and that the face was intact.  We watched Pico stretch out his or her little legs.  We still have no idea what the sex is even though we never looked away...For the record, neither does our sonographer...

I also passed my 1 hour glucose tolerance test with flying colors. So BJ and I immediately went to Waffle House, as is our tradition from our weekly ultrasounds before we graduated and had a celebratory waffle...mine with extra syrup, dammit.

I'm actually starting to get excited to meet Pico not through an ultrasound screen, as if a birth is in our imminent future.  Perhaps this is me finally believing this is going to happen.  I've started to have Braxton-Hicks contractions, but not everyday.  I do have them when I strain to lift something heavy or pull an 84 lb golden doodle on a leash, which makes me think, huh...I may need to start accepting help when offered.  I did purchase a belly support band for work as I start to get a bigger belly.

I also had my first venture with swelling.  I sat all day Saturday while judging a gymnastics meet, and I did not even think about propping my feet up...but lo, by the time I got ready to go home, my Ugg boot was tight around my left shin.  My right foot was a little puffy but it didn't have anything on my left leg.  I wrapped an Ace bandage on my left leg, and it had completely resolved by the time I woke up (in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom).  The next day was shorter, but I wore compression sleeves and put my feet on a chair in front of me, and it wasn't a problem.  It was a bit unsettling to me because really I've not had many symptoms of pregnancy with Pico, so my sense of immunity from these things was dampered a little bit.

So anyway, at 24.5 weeks, I am...

Up to a 14 lb weight gain for a -1, net...I gain and lose this pound every couple of days so far.
Feeling fabulous, Maybe a little tired, but so long as I'm moving and grooving I don't swell, and I'm good to go...compression stockings and sleeves in tow.
Averse to golden-doodles who get in the shower with me.  (I'm baby-sitting my "little brother" that is 1 part doodle and 3 parts Muppet.)
In love with my interactive little Pico who dances to music (or tries to run away...)

Peace, Love, and Cheers to Being Viable, Pico!

Mary Katherine

Friday, October 9, 2015

23.2...and this IS special.

I shared an article on Facebook not long ago about how emotional it is to be a pregnant infertile. For years I idealized what it would be like to finally get that positive pregnancy test.  The relief and joy it would bring. How BJ and I would finally feel complete.  So the first time I had a positive pregnancy test and lost that baby as soon as I knew I had it was devastating.  That chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage stole the innocence of a positive pregnancy test from me.  So while it was an accomplishment to have that positive test after years of waiting, I couldn't really trust it.  Me being pregnant is still an enigma to my brain.

I thought seeing the baby and hearing the heartbeat would allow me to really accept it, but it didn't. I thought feeling the baby kick, having the anatomy scan, and now BJ seeing and feeling the baby kick would make this more real, but it's still very surreal.

I still don't tell acquaintances I am pregnant when they ask me how I'm doing. It's still a very foreign concept that I am having a baby, that this is working, and that I'll be Pico's mother in a few more months.  But I'm both happily and hesitantly getting to that point that my belly is betraying me.

I will never know what it's like to "just get pregnant." I'll never know what it's like to not have known struggle, sadness, and despair around wanting to be a parent, and that makes me and my fellow sisters in infertility a little different.  Not that it's better...I wouldn't wish infertility on my enemy...but it is different.  I know I am going to be a different parent than I would have been if I had just gotten pregnant 5 years ago.  This kid gets a break.  Five years ago, I would have been disappointed with anything less than a mathematical genius or gifted athlete.  I just want Pico to breathe, eat, open his or her eyes.  I just want Pico to be mine.  I long to be the one that soothes his or her cries in the middle of the night.  Even the nights where nothing else works, I want to be the one that suffers along with Pico as we try to figure it all out together.

I think BJ and I will be much better at not sweating the small stuff than we would have been 5 years ago.  We both have grown into our professional lives a little more while waiting for this miracle to occur, and we have new dreams and goals separate from being parents to Pico. But I think this, too will make us better and more balanced parents.

More than anything else, I just want to be this child's mother, whoever and however Pico turns out to be.  So while my body does all these strange things and my mind is still full of trepidation, I am still able to relish all these new experiences.  Everything from the kicks and squiggles in my belly, to the weird aches and pains, to the inability to digest food in a timely manner...It's a miracle for us, and I hope I am deserving.

So at 23.2 weeks, I am...

Up 9 lbs for a net of negative 6... WHOA
Feeling all the wiggles, kicks and punches and excited about feeling hiccups soon!
Craving...BJ will kill me if I don't say I craved a donut last week.  I wanted Krispy Kreme, so BJ took me to Dunkin' Donuts, where I was like 'Some old-fashioned glazed cake munchkins would be amazing'...But DD didn't have those...so I just had a mixture of mediocre Munchkins and then indigestion.  So now I am...
Averse to whatever I am "craving"...It just doesn't end well, and isn't worth it...
In love with that moment I'm drifting off to sleep and the little creature in my belly starts dancing the night away.

Peace, Love, and Belly Dances,

Mary Katherine



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Superheroes

If you know my husband, you know he's short, and while much more athletic than he gives himself credit for, is not known for his feats of physical strength.

Yet, BJ, is hands down the strongest man I know. Our marriage has not been paved with the smoothest of roads when it has come to life obstacles. We've honestly had more than our fair share of heartache between unemployment, having to live apart, surgeries, miscarriage, infertility and multiple failed infertility treatments, and a bat-shit crazy spouse (that was me, in case you were wondering). Yet, here we are, very happily married. I can't imagine life where BJ isn't my other (better) half.


I could write a bunch of corny things about how BJ completes me, is my lobster, the missing piece of my heart, and every single one is an absolute truth. BJ and I have been put through the ringer, and each time, BJ makes his way through it while remaining patient and guiding me back through some of the worst moments of my life.

We've seen people we love fall out of love. We've seen couples break under the duress of life's unfairness. Yet, for some reason that I cannot begin to comprehend, BJ and I have made it through each and every challenge put in front of us, thanks mostly to his strength and incredible patience.

When BJ looks at me, from the time we started dating, to seeing his eyes as I walked down the aisle, to looking up at him through tears after devastating news, to now as he looks at me as he rests his hand on my expanding belly, I feel absolutely cherished in a way I know I can never feel with anyone else. He loves me because he loves me, and even I, with all my self-doubt, cannot deny that. He is the one that soothes my soul. He is the one my heart chose.


More times than any human should, he's had to wipe my tears, remind me I'm lovable, held my hand through one procedure or another, taken care of me after yet another surgery, squeeze my hand as we receive bad news, and patiently wait for me as I navigate all the horrible emotions that come with infertility.  All of this while suffering from infertility, himself.  Superman has nothing on BJ.

And it's not just the big stuff...He puts up with all my quirks with the patience of a saint, such as helping me find my phone that I had in my hand 2 minutes ago, and now have no clue where in the house I left it. To my uncanny ability to create complete and inexplicable clusters, like locking my keys in my smart car that you are never supposed to be able to lock your keys in and various other mind-boggling conundrums. BJ laughs at me, figures it out, still loves me, and makes me feel like I walk on water.


BJ, you are truly the love of my life.  You are my wonderwall, the one that keeps me far from feeling stranded, my knight in shining armor from a long time ago...  BJ, you are my superhero, and I hope you know what an awesome father you are going to be.



Peace, Love and Happy Birthday, BJ,

Mary Katherine



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

21 Weeks and the Anatomy Scan

I have waited, dreaded and been so excited for this appointment for 5 long weeks. If it weren't for having access to fetal dopplers at work, I don't know how I mentally would have made it without seeing or hearing Pico for 5 weeks, but we did make it.

Pico is apparently advanced.  Like right now, in what is supposed to be the point in my pregnancy that the baby is lifted off my bladder...Pico is head down using my bladder as a pillow, and likes it there very much...you can't get zym to wiggle or roll away from it, so we have yet to see our baby's full face...ever...We also didn't see a stomach bubble, but that just means I get to have another ultrasound at my next appointment. Oh, the disappointment...

On the flip side, Pico has a "normal" spine, "normal" feet and legs, "normal" hands, "normal" bladder, "normal" kidneys, "normal" diaphragm, "normal' heart, "normal" brain, "normal" cord,  I just loved watching Pico take practice breaths, and wiggle.  Even though I can feel those wiggles, it's still so surreal seeing a baby...my baby...doing all those things inside my belly.  It's still so hard to believe all those things are happening for us. The heart rate was 132, and the estimated weight was 14 oz, which is 2oz ahead of schedule...Pico!!! I ordered a small baby!!!! I may have to start smoking...(I'm kidding...I think...)

We also didn't see gender, ever...which makes my boy theory a little more questionable...BJ and I didn't look away from the ultrasound, and our sonographer didn't purposely look for gender, so we just thought if we saw, we saw, but it would be unconfirmed.  Well, it's unconfirmed for everyone involved...Pico will remain gender neutral for the duration...

I am just so thrilled.  I'm not too worried about the stomach bubble...just means the baby has not swallowed any fluid at that time. Oh, and fluid, placenta and cord insertion were all normal, too, so go me.  Apparently it's only the conception part that's a struggle for me, and I'm very, very thankful.

Other than a little indigestion, everything seems to be going well for me, as well.  BP is good, even after not sleeping for 18 hours (I worked night shift before my appointment), so that's good.  I'm pretty much rocking maternity threads everyday except for my scrubs...

I'm just happy.  Like blissfully happy...about everything...like a moron.  I'm enjoying the little projects around the house to get ready for Pico.  Next up is having the house ready for the flooring installers, then the chair rail in the nursery, and then we can start moving baby furniture into our "spare" room...which everyday seems closer and closer to being a nursery...which is still crazy in my brain. I swear I look at BJ, and I honestly got to the point that I thought this would never be us. I'm pretty sure he is sick of me asking "did you think we would ever get here?" I'm proof that even a pessimist can get pregnant with fertility treatments.  And God knows I am so very thankful. It makes me tear up when I have a moment to accept it. I'm really pregnant...

So at 21.4 I am...
...netting negative 7lbs for a gain of eight.
...feeling pretty great. Occasional bouts of indigestion, but easily resolved with just Tums.
...Craving...nothing
...Averse to nothing new
In love with feeling my baby move inside me. So much fun...and a little strange having this independent human moving around inside me. I find myself wondering what he or she is thinking/dreaming about all the time. I hope ze knows I dream about zym all the time, and already love all precious 14 ounces of Pico!

Peace, Love, and Grateful,
Mary Katherine

Sunday, September 20, 2015

20.4

WHAT?!?!

Pico and I have made it past the half-way mark.  And, BJ has chosen to tolerate us and let us keep living with him.  So Win-Win.

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster if for no other reason than I am pregnant. We had a rough patch at work that involved a lot of sad outcomes and there is nothing like taking the tiny little body of a baby to a mom for one last time so she can say goodbye to kick you in the feels. Whether you have children, don't have children, pregnant or not, it's seriously the most humbling thing in the world.  As "just a nurse," I am honored to be there for those moms in these devastating moments.  It certainly has reminded me how thankful for every moment I have had during this pregnancy and every moment I will have.


I've been cleaning out the upstairs because we are getting ready to have our carpet replaced with hardwood, and I found a note attached to a can of soup that had rolled way under the bed and buried by Emma's toys that said "Eat this, and breathe."  It was my goal for myself in the days after my second IVF cycle that ended in a chemical pregnancy.  I distinctly remember the devastation, hopelessness, emotional exhaustion, self-disgust and loathing I felt. Breathing and eating were serious accomplishments for me while I was at rock bottom. Yet today, I stand in front of a closet-full of my friend's maternity clothes still in shock that I get to use them...that I NEED them!  So as dark as the days can be, there is more, much, much more...

On the up-hill side, while it's a tad early, my mother and I painted the nursery.  Again, flooring is being installed, so we chose to paint over the old carpet instead of waiting and having to be extra protective of the new wood floors.  People either think this is neat, or make a face like I'm raising a goth baby when they see the nursery decor thus far...but when you hate the colors brown,  pastel green and yellow, and are not finding out the gender of your baby, there is just so much gender neutral options left to you. We will accent with colors later, but here is our unfinished project...


Imagine white chair rail, and white nursery furniture, etc... The point is, I like it (I love black and white home decor), Pico can actually focus on it, and while I enjoyed Beetlejuice and Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton is not the inspiration...although...wouldn't be the worst thing.

I've also felt the first movements that I couldn't blame on anyone else, but Pico.  I had felt them earlier, but I wasn't sure if it wasn't just my guts, but now I am confident it's my little Pico.  I've officially crossed over into the world of maternity clothes. It's so bizaare to have a belly.  Like if I rest my hand on my hipbone, my belly extends past it, because BABY!  I had my first 2 Braxton-Hicks contractions, which were kinda neat. My belly just got really hard, and then relaxed.  We are still reading Grimm's Fairy Tales, and I'm not sure we are learning many valuable life lessons, but if it was good enough for children in 19th century, I'm sure they are fine for Pico...or ze may actually grow up to be his or her generation's Tim Burton. I'm fine with that.

We have our big anatomy scan this week.  I'm still scared poopless.  I know Pico's heart is in good shape, or at least all the parts ze let us see thus far, but there are just so many things and parts and organs that need to be just so. My quad screen was normal, so that does help, but I can't help but worry.  And I worry that I've cursed myself by painting the nursery so early... I'm still an infertile after all...

At 20.4 weeks I am...

at -8 lbs...I've gained 7, and I'm pretty sure it's all in my boobs which still are acting like I'm going through puberty.
feeling pretty darn good.  I sometimes feel like I need a hernia belt at work, but I think it's just my belly stretching. Sciatica seems to have backed off. And I enjoy every growing pain in my belly.
craving...nothing
averse to...nothing new...
in love with my belly and everything that is going on inside of it. But if a stranger touches it, in the words of composer/modern-day philosopher Fergie, "I'ma start some drama. You don't want no drama."

Peace, Love, and Growing Pains,

Mary Katherine




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

18.6


Okay, so I'm kinda starting to believe something is happening.  I have this bulge in my lower abdomen, that doesn't go away.  I don't know that I've felt Pico move yet, but I think maybe I have??? I'm seriously in that chub-chub stage...Like right now my elbow is resting on my hip bone, but there is more abdominal tissue touching my forearm....that's weird.  I also can't tell if I'm walking or falling forward because it does feel like I've got some extra weight up front.

I'm also down to 4 outfits.  I did have five, but being a southerner I'm going to have to hang up my white shorts until spring break.  I can't blame the Pico bulge as much as my boobs at this point...although Pico and I have outgrown my waistbands.  Seriously, I have all these super cute shirt dresses that I can't button...nor have I been able to.  I've never thought about accommodating my boobs before...this is totally a foreign concept to me.

I did buy a few tops for this fall, one of which was a maternity top, but I'm struggling with late summer wardrobe. The Belly Band thing is a joke...I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable walking around with my pants unbuttoned, and as soon as I lean over or move the thing comes flying in one direction or the other.

Today was also the first day where everything I did made me have to pee.  I bend at the waist, I have to pee. I take a drink...have to pee.  Pick something up...Have to pee...Basically, I've had to pee all day.  I don't mind, but it is funny.  I just hope I don't pee on myself...that I'm not going to appreciate too much.

I have gone over a week without listening for hearttones.  It's the first thing on my agenda, tomorrow, but still, I haven't freaked out about Pico.  I've been doing a lot of reading to Pico because ze (I went to the University of Tennessee) has been able to hear.  We are working our way through Grimm's Fairy Tales...the real ones.  So far, we have learned it's not okay to beat your wife, that manipulation will get you far in life, and that if you want to grow big and strong, you need a giant.  Pico may be disappointed when ze is born.  But it's so much fun to read to zer...Gaius doesn't like it as much, he prefers to sit on what I'm trying to read...


I can't wait to read to Pico on the outside one day...but, oh do we have so much to accomplish between now and February. Perhaps it is time to prepare!

So at 18.6...

I'm netting -10 lbs. I don't know how...I feel like my uterus weighs 20 lbs...
Feeling like my boobs have forgotten we're not in the first trimester, anymore. They are acting up a lot...very much like first trimester.
Craving random things, and then I don't want them when I have them...what sounds good doesn't taste good, and what tastes good is the stuff I've been eating the whole time...
Averse to Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup...
In love with this little bulge...my bulge...I feel like I can finally look at BJ and say, "We did it!"

Peace, love, and bulging,

Mary Katherine 

Monday, August 31, 2015

17.5...Baby, Maybe?!!!

So other than a little bit of normal aches and pains, Pico and I are just hanging out. I check for fetal heart tones randomly, if I have time at work, and he or she is staying strong in the 140 zone.  I LOVE that sound.  Truly music to my ears.

I have had a better week and half compared to the last.  Sciatica stuff is better, still there, but not a problem when I'm moving. I am very blessed to have this easy of a pregnancy considering how hard and long it took to get here.

As far as the bump watch, literally 3 nights ago, I was super achy in my lower abdomen and couldn't get comfortable on my side at all. I rolled over to my back, and there it was...a little bump.  It's like my normally soft belly hardened all of the sudden.  I love the idea of it being a baby, but I'm not so keen on the idea of just looking pudgier than normal.

My mom fussed at me because I don't like it when people tell pregnant women they "look pregnant." I just hear an insult.  Like the other day, everyone was commenting on my co-worker who is about 12 weeks ahead of me looking "really pregnant", "puffy", "swollen"....So tell me how that's a compliment?  I feel like you might as well say, "you look big and miserable..." I know I'm pregnant, cognitively, I'm not sure I've totally accepted it, but I don't need to hear that I "look pregnant" because I don't want to be told I'm puffy, swollen, bloated or fat...just sayin'... My mother says I'm being too hard on people.


It's a love/hate thing with the showing.  I can hide behind a computer and tell people I'm pregnant, but I feel like telling people I'm pregnant in person is damning the pregnancy.  Like the odds of something bad happening increase with everyone that knows.  It's just infertility patient ridiculousness, but it seems real to me.  I'm still very anxious, worried, scared, and concerned that each day is the day the shoe drops, and I lose Pico.

So anyway at 17.5 I am...

up 3 lbs for a net gain of -12...so maybe it's not a baby bump...*sigh*
craving...nothing I don't have access, too.  So it's not much fun...I still haven't had to make a food run for something I just HAD to have...but I'm enjoying raw cucumber, when it's available...
averse to sleeping on my side apparently... I end up either flat on my back or face-down with one knee hitched up by my side so I'm not totally compressing my belly, but even with a body pillow, I'm struggling with the side sleeping.
in love with the idea that this could be really happening!!!

Peace, Love, and Bumps,

Mary Katherine

Thursday, August 20, 2015

16.1


I am 16 weeks pregnant...I don't believe it. I seriously feel like I'm faking my own pregnancy with no belly, feeling movement, or symptoms. But then I hear that sweet, sweet heartbeat, and I'm satisfied that everything is going okay.  And then hours later, I have no clue.

I had a 16 week appointment, another ultrasound, and a quad screen drawn. We entered the age of my egg donor and alerted the lab this was a baby conceived from egg donation.  I really had almost talked myself out of even having it done, but things change.  My confidence has been rocked in the last couple of weeks. Not because of anything happening to me, so much, but I have a sister in infertility who showed up for her anatomy scan expecting to see her beautiful baby boy and to finally see her baby's face only to hear the words "multiple anomalies" thrown at her.  I just can't...I can't even imagine the horror she is being put through.  It's a horrible, awful experience to go through infertility and miscarriage, but to have to deal with possible serious birth defects after finally getting your miracle...it just seems all too cruel.  She, however, is a pillar of strength, and I hope she knows how much I admire her.  So if you have a spare moment of prayer, I'm sure she, her husband and her beautiful baby would appreciate it.

If you'd like to follow her story, her blog can be found here.

So pretty much, you go along feeling like everything is wonderful, but there is always that negative whisper saying "the shoe is about to drop at any time..."  So it's one thing to talk about genetic screening and a whole other thing to actually hold your arm out, feeling in even less control because this really isn't your genetics. I've pretty much felt sick all day. I should get my results next week, but I'm not sure I even want to know.

On the other side, my appointment went great.  Pico had an "excellent" heart rate. I'm pretty confident it was in the 140s, but they don't tell me these things, anymore.  I'm having to learn to be a "patient"...not an antepartum nurse, or a psycho infertility patient....*SIGH*

Dr. Bullen's medical assistant asked me when I was going to show, and I'm like 'you tell me!'  Dr. Bullen offers a gender scan to you at 16 weeks and then has the sonographer do some measurements on the baby's heart as well.  So we elected to skip the gender reveal.  We've had so little "good" surprises along this journey that BJ and I agree that this is something we can enjoy finding out the old school way when our doctor hands us our miracle.  So we saw a little more of Pico's face and he/she waved several times.  There were still only 5 fingers on that hand Pico showed us several times.  Pico cooperated a little bit better, but our sonographer was only able to check 3 out of 4 (I believe) views/checks of his/her heart.  All 3 were normal.  Pico got a little crazy at the end with the squirms.  Our sonographer reassured us she would check them again at our anatomy scan.  Which, by the way is not for 5 weeks.  I said f-i-v-e weeks...I'm seriously counting down the hours...I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it that long without having a mental breakdown.  I mean, let's be completely honest, I am, at the bottom of it all, a super-intense, 5-year infertility veteran, miscarriage survivor who is finally pregnant...first you take away my drugs, then my weekly appointments,...we don't do "5 weeks".  So anyway...I go back in 5 weeks...

I can't say the last week and half or so has been fun and giggles.  I've had a couple of infections including a GI bug that wiped me out over the weekend, and when I finally started feeling better, I sat down to email my mother and couldn't stand back up because of hip pain.  I am guessing it's sciatica, only because my foot goes numb when I drive.  But it feels like I've pulled the majority of the muscles that surround my hip.  I've had sciatic nerve stuff off and on since my last few years doing gymnastics, so I have no clue if it's even pregnancy-related, but it's never been this all-consuming.  I can't stretch it out, work it out, ice or heat it away, so it's almost more frustrating than it is painful. However, I'll take this any day, all day so long as my "normal-hearted" Pico stays healthy.

So at 16.1 weeks I am...

feeling hip pain, cramping more frequently and increased anxiety.
down -15 lbs on my scale still -13 on my doctor's scale, but considering I couldn't eat for over 48 hours a few days ago, I'm doing ok.
craving...nothing in particular, I'm happy with just eating, thanks!
averse to GI bugs...very, very averse...
in love with sleep...Sleep is being mean to me again...3:30-4:00 seems to be my witching hour and I'm up and at 'em and exhausted by 11:00 am. Such is life, and I have so very much to be thankful for!

Peace, Love, and Normal-hearted,

Mary Katherine




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Graduated...Like it's normal or something...

As someone who works in women's health, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility patients don't have the best reputation when it comes to mental stability.  While this is earnestly earned because you're an outlier in the population if you need help becoming pregnant. People assume you are crazy until you are proven right, and then you're just allowed to be crazy because you are right.  As both an insider and patient, I feel I can support this theory as I am crazy.

So last Thursday, I had my blood drawn by Dr. Donesky and was given a sweet statuette.  He told me again to stop by when I had a "good belly".  I said I would see him next week...lol.  My bloodwork came back where it was supposed to be, so I've not been invited back :( .  I've managed to stay away so far, but I knew I had an appointment where I would at least get to officially hear the heartbeat in less than a week. Next week may prove more difficult...



I had my 2nd prenatal appointment with Dr. Bullen today.  I had no clue what to expect, except maybe they would use the doppler to hear the heartbeat.  So when the ultrasound tech came out and said, "Mary" I looked to see who also had my first name...Nobody did!  It was like my name got called on the Price is Right!!!  I got another ultrasound!!!!

So as I got ready, I realized I was husbandless and pretty confident Pico was dead.  Tears started forming in my eyes.  Refer back to first paragraph.  Am I cramping? No... Am I bleeding? No...On the other hand, am I showing? No,..Do I have any symptoms...No...so clearly, baby must be dead because zero symptoms means missed miscarriage...because I read that somewhere, on something that I'm sure is the scientific equivalent of my baby's size being compared to a peach, lemon, fist, or nectarine this week.  So with my eyes squinted  and breath held I waited for something to show up on the screen. Lo and behold, squirmy little Pico was doing his or her squirm thing.  The heart rate was 142, and Pico measured at 14.1 weeks.  I thought I was getting pretty good at interpreting ultrasound photos, but Pico has once again earned the nick name.  I saw an arm the opposite hand, a torso, and the back of his head...

Basically this, but from the back...photo from therubberboy.com
But I was too captivated by the little heartbeat to really pay much attention to the 3D happenings.  I was completely focused on that little flicker.  I mean, it's been a solid 11 days since I've seen it.  I am thrilled.

I met with Dr. Bullen which he looked over the ultrasound and said everything looked great. He then asked me if I had any questions, and I couldn't think of anything except 'when can I come back?' because I was all like "my baby is alive!" I did ask if he would order a progesterone level. He asked me if I really needed it, and I told him he could say no, 'but yes I need it.' He said, "No. [Stands up and walks away from computer.] We don't even know what it's supposed to be at this point, anyway." I'm sure I looked like I'd been hit by a brick, but he shook my hand and escorted me to the lab.  BJ really likes Dr. Bullen.  I do, too, in that he won't put up with my crazy. So that was that, and a few milliliters of blood later l was out the door. I'll find out if my vaccines have managed to work and my HIV status for like the 3rd time in a year (they're routine labs for us "crazy" REI patients, too).   Oh, I passed my drug test...I've become so jaded, apparently I find my own results thrilling.  NEGATIVE, YEAH!!!

Anyway, at 14.1 weeks, I am

Down another 2 lbs for a net gain of -13...Any other time of my life, and I would have gained 35 lbs by yesterday, lol
Feeling perfectly normal.  I mean I have migraines from all these weather fronts coming in, and I have an abscessed tooth again...so for me...normal...only I'm pregnant, so I can't do anything but takeTylenol and antibiotics, which are little to no use for a migraine.
Craving...NOTHING...I'm going to start making stuff up for BJ to get...
Averse to...I'm not sure I'll ever eat Progresso soup again n my life.
In Love With...paddleboarding with the pup-pup.  She's been my partner in crime the last couple of weeks, and I can't stand leaving her for work.  Perhaps she can be the floor's part-time therapy dog...Emma Grace, I lub-a-dub you!!!

Peace, Love, and Just Say 'No' to Crazy...apparently,
Mary Katherine

Monday, July 27, 2015

Graduating???!!!

We had our last weekly appointment with Dr. Donesky.  You read that correctly. LAST.

Pico was sleepy today.  It's a different time of day than we usually go, and I could see the heart flickering, but it was very unsettling.  However, someone made me laugh and Pico went crazy.  He or she was also very shy.  We've had at least 6 opportunities to see our child's face, and we still have yet to see it.  One day...maybe...

Pico had his or her back completely turned.  I have a great picture of the back of my baby's head, neck shoulders and the rest of his or her back.  Pico measured a day ahead at 12.6 using crown to rump measurements, but measured 12.4 on a femur measurement... That averages to 12.5 so perfect. ;)  Heart rate was a beautiful 157 beats per minute.

So off we go. I'm to stop all my medications just like that.  Seriously, all of them.  I know what it must be to be addicted to drugs.  I'm bargaining with myself...'Just one last progesterone pill...it'll be okay.'  'Maybe just a half mL of progesterone in oil tonight'...and on and on...I go back to the fertility clinic on Thursday for a blood draw to check my hormone levels again.  I know we need to see what my body can or can't do, but wow, are the stakes high.  And I have all these pills and syringes...I might be the first person admitted to drug rehab for progesterone.  I'd be totally cool with that as long as I got to go to Malibu Promises...

I don't think Donesky is a bit worried. He told me I could have stopped last week. So I think the chances of something happening are low, but then again ovarian failure is a less than 1% possibility, and I managed to be on the wrong side of that.  I'm just a little freaked out.  The office wants me to come back when I "have a belly" and I'm all like 'how will I know if I can get that far because you're kicking me out?!'  I need a Van Wilder month!!!

I'm also starting to notice how uncomfortable I am when people talk about infertility.  It's like I got de-sisterized from my sorority of 5 years.  Even when I hear storylines on TV, it just makes me cringe.  I've really just noticed it in the last couple of weeks, which I guess is when the reality of this pregnancy started sinking in. So did the "survivor's guilt." I know that so far, I have this pregnancy, but 3 months ago, as I tearfully laid in bed awaiting bad news, I also remember how vivid the devastation of another negative pregnancy test could be.  I remember sobbing as the lab tech drew my blood and having to take a healthy moment to get myself back together before returning to my patients because as ready and braced as I thought I was, the pain of possible devastation is just overwhelming.  It's too close and easy to remember that pain, but I can't let it go because somehow I need to still be part of that infertile group that I identify with.  Yet I also have to give them space because I'm not the same anymore, either.

I didn't imagine myself feeling guilty until I actually had a breathing child in my arms, but I didn't know how attached you could be to something you don't even feel.  And in my case, something I'm not even related to, technically. But golly, do I love every single thing about my introverted little bean that's growing inside of me!  Would I be utterly devastated if something were to happen? You betcha! It's just still strange being "one of them" instead of infertile. Everything is different now. People offer you a level of respect because you're going to be a parent.  I've recently had a rash of "do you have kids?" to which I usually respond, 'not yet.'  But I caught myself telling a random patient who asked that I had one on the way.  So then she told me how having a baby was going to change my life forever. "It will never, ever be the same." 'What?  I can't just lay in bed all day and drink margaritas anymore?  Why didn't you tell me this 5 years and THOUSANDS of dollars ago?' I guess the bad advice and unnecessary wisdoms will never go away no matter the family building journey.

People talk to you differently.  And I've gone from being asked by random strangers what position I assume after sex to "what names are you thinking about?  Are you going to breastfeed? Do you want an epidural? Where are you going to register?'  I can appreciate it more and the questions are a lot happier than "have you tried elevating your hips?" but the pessimist inside me is still saying, let's just wait to see if you are still pregnant tomorrow...

I am very blessed to have what anyone else would call "an easy pregnancy".  I'm not nauseous, I'm not craving anything, I'm not really having aversions accept for maybe being sick of Progresso soup. I'm not showing either. So it is physically easy to deny that this is happening...except my breasts don't lie.  But on the other hand, it sure leaves a lot of doubt.  Like what if this isn't happening? What if my baby doesn't wake up one day? What if I'm not sick because the baby isn't doing well.  And the thought that my next ultrasound, the next time I see my baby, won't be for 6-8 weeks as the anatomy scan...You've got to be kidding me. That actually does make me nauseous.



So...@ 12.5 weeks I am

...off the drugs*  Clarification-hormones
...down 2 lbs for a net gain of -11...and I eat everything...It's like I have a metabolism, or something.
...Craving...Not a darn thing.  I want to crave something...I guess my diet is just that healthy. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway...
...Averse to graduating from my fertility clinic.
...in love with my Pico

Peace, Love, and Fertility Clinic Graduations,

Mary Katherine



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yes, Virginia, There is a Pregnancy

This is going to sound really dumb so forgive me now.  I was up half the night scared stupid that somehow I actually wasn't pregnant. That somehow I was going to show up to my first prenatal exam and there would be no baby.  Somehow, what I had been seeing on the ultrasounds at Dr. Donesky's office would just not be there at my OB's office.

As I checked in, I asked about the "Established GYN visit".  I was going to be hugely embarassed if I just brought my husband in for my yearly exam.  The receptionist told me that she couldn't change it because I don't have a "confirmed pregnancy."

O-M-G, I knew it!  OK that's not really what I thought, but I was afraid that I forced my hubby to take a half day to end up watching me have my blood drawn.  That would be hugely embarassing. Once again, I texted my friend in conceiving after infertility and she was like "Don't stress over the wording." Well, she nailed it.  Everything was fine.

They started out with an US and Pico was just doing his or her squirm thing.  Our sonographer tried and tried...and tried to get Pico to give us some face time, but Pico would not participate. She would push on my belly and Pico would squirm into an even worse position.  I'm pretty sure this is the right child for us.

The differences between the offices were interesting. I'm so used to Dr. Donesky telling me everything as he sees it and hears it, and I couldn't even get the sonographer to tell me an exact heart rate.  I knew it was in the high 150s or low 160s because when you do it everyday for a living, you can pace it with the sound.  She did tell me the baby measured 12.2 days, so once again, a day ahead (EEK!)

So then we saw Dr. Bullen, who asked us some genetic screening questions, and I asnwered from what I remember of my donor who was pretty similar to mine. I did tell him this was a donor egg, and he told me I'll be his first donor egg patient. Everything I've read suggests not doing prenatal screenings with egg donor babies because it's comparing my child's maternal genetics to my genetics, and it's just not as accurate. Basically, comparing apples to oranges.  Dr. B said he'd call a local MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine) and see what he suggests, so that's nice, and also nice that I work with that particular MFM.  So I haven't had prenatal labs drawn yet, but I'm glad we're getting advice.

Dr. Bullen said he'd see me in a couple of weeks instead of 4 because I'm pretty sure I will stroke out trying to make it a month without seeing, hearing, or feeling my child move.  Nevermind that it won't really be a month, because I see Dr. Donesky again next week.  I'm really trying to avoid getting a doppler for home use.  The first time the baby shifted to a new position and I didn't get it in the "normal spot" I'm pretty sure I'd end up at our local mental health institution over nothing.

So everyone seemed genuinely happy for us to be there for a prenatal appointment.  My doc's medical assistant Jerri hugged me and told me she was so excited for us.  Dr. Bullen congratulated us at least 8 times.  It made this whole thing seem slightly more real.

There is still a nagging fear that I could wake up and all of this come to a tragic end, but as my friend said tonight, I know I can do this now.  I'll always have Pico to thank for that.

Peace, Love, and Holy Shit, I'm Actually Pregnant!
Mary Katherine Roberts