3 Years Old

My three year old continues to keep me on my toes. That’s right – she just turned three!

We started potty training back in November. Things went really well, overall, though getting her to go #2 on the toilet was a challenge. But, we persisted, and she eventually got it, and was what I would consider fully day trained within a few months. However…. About a month ago she started having accidents again, wetting her pants several times a day, shortly after having gone in the toilet. We explored all the reasons we could think of, including having her checked for a bowel blockage and UTI, both negative. It seems the problem is behavioral, though I still can’t pinpoint what exactly is going on. Nothing has changed in our lives; there’s no clear reason why she would suddenly be having accidents. The only thing I can think of is that she’s simply being lazy and not emptying her bladder completely when she does go, or she’s just too distracted to even realize that she needs to go. It really is mysterious, which makes it hard to fix. We’re working on approaching it with positivity and not letting her see our frustration, but it’s hard, especially since we know she can do it.

On a more positive note, she’s actually sleeping through the night most nights! I can’t tell you how or why – it just happened. After years of struggling, she just started sleeping. Naps are now a thing of the past (except for once or twice a week at daycare), which, oddly enough, does not have an effect on how well she sleeps. Not napping usually means an earlier bedtime, but I honestly can’t attribute the not napping to the sleeping through the night.

Imaginative play is really starting to take off. She loves to take care of her babies: comforting them, feeding them, putting them to bed. She adores Peppa Pig, and has quite the collection of figures and accessories, with which she creates all kinds of stories and scenarios.

She’s taking an interest in learning to write letters and numbers. Thankfully, there’s an app for that (probably quite a few apps, actually, but we really love LetterSchool), and she’s getting quite good at it. She can’t quite write her name yet, but she can spell it and type it.

One of the things I love the most is that we can now have real conversations. I can ask her what she did that day at daycare, how she felt about it, and what she would like to do in the future, and she will have answers for almost all of it. When we read books, she likes to talk about the stories when we’re done.

C has been going to gymnastics/tumbling once a week since May, and has recently graduated to the next level, which means she won’t have my help anymore. She will need to pay attention to the coaches on her own. Her first class is tonight, and I’m a little nervous about how she’ll do.

Current obsessions:

  • Peppa Pig
  • Llama Llama books
  • the color green
  • her iPad

Long story short: C is a super awesome kid! She’s growing and changing every day. It doesn’t make me sad, though. I love seeing her change and grow, learn and gain independence. My parenting dream has always been about raising a good human, and though there was lots I loved about the baby stage, most of that was about survival. Now, it’s all about showing her how the world works and helping her find her place in it.

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Money Can’t Buy Happiness….

…. But it CAN lessen one’s burden, and less stress leaves more room for happiness.

This weekend was weird. My sister got a call from our aunt, the sister of our estranged father who passed away years ago. His father (our grandfather, obviously) passed away a few months ago, and since our father was also deceased, my sisters and I were to be the recipients of my father’s portion of the estate.

Our family is not wealthy, so I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe a couple hundred dollars or so. But, my aunt insisted on giving us our checks in person, rather than sending them through the mail, so we agreed to meet her. Seeing anyone from my father’s side of the family is always stressful. There’s just not a lot of love there, rather lots of resentment, and you can feel it. It was a stressful encounter, but afterwards we shopped then ate sushi, so that made up for it.

Anyway, my sisters and I were shocked when we saw the figures on our checks. It’s not a life-changing windfall, but it’s enough to pay for our FET cycle, plus medications. We had put most of it on a credit card, which we can now pay off in full, with funds to spare for our savings account.

It’s a huge weight off of our shoulders. We were managing just fine, but I was beginning to get really stressed out thinking about my maternity leave and how much of it will likely be unpaid, followed immediately by a doubling of our daycare bill. (In fact, we’ll likely have to start paying for a spot long before we actually need it, just to ensure we will have a spot at all.) Being able to clear out our credit card debt (we still have plenty of other debt, like student loans, car payment, and a mortgage) is a huge relief.

Feeling incredibly grateful.

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Celebrating Baby

One pregnancy milestone I’ve been both dreading and eagerly awaiting has been the Baby Shower. Even before my miscarriage, I’ve hated them. For some strange reason, women are the ones who traditionally organize and attend the baby shower. The father – and all men – are usually left out completely (until it’s time to assemble everything). During the many-hours-long event, the mother is “showered” with gifts for the baby, and guests are expected to ooh and aah as she opens each one. Everyone participates in mind-numbing games (like Guess What Candy Bar Was Melted Into This Diaper to Make it Look Like Poop), while enjoying themed snacks and refreshments. Women tell war stories about birth and projectile diarrhea, at the same time crooning about how the whole baby thing is a beautiful miracle. So, yeah…. traditional baby showers are not my cup of tea.

At the same time, I wanted – NEEDED – to celebrate our baby with friends and family. We’ve been through so much to get to this point, and our family and friends have been wonderfully supportive.

And that’s exactly why I insisted that our “shower” part ways with tradition. I wanted my husband to be there, and for it to be a true family and friends event, with men, women, and children. No stupid games. Just a simple celebration with the people we care about. The only traditional thing about it was gifts for the baby. I felt a little weird about it, but honestly, babies are expensive (especially after IVF), and we could really use the help. But, we didn’t force everyone to watch as we opened them.

Overall, it was a fun and emotional afternoon. Cousins who I hadn’t seen in years were there, which made me cry. I was positively overwhelmed by how many people came to celebrate with us, and spent most of the party on the verge of happy tears. I did have one panicky moment where I couldn’t help but think What will we do with all of this stuff if something bad happens to the baby? What if something bad is happening right now? How horribly ironic would that be? The thoughts quickly dissipated, and I was quite relieved later when the baby wouldn’t stop kicking and dancing (even though she kept me up all night).

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35 Weeks Update

How far along: 35w4d (due August 28)

Total weight gain/loss: +15 pounds (?) over pre-pregnancy weight (I can’t be sure, because I haven’t weighed myself in a while and didn’t pay attention to it the last time I saw the OB)

Symptoms: 

  • Carpal tunnel – hands fall asleep during the night, keeping me awake most of the night. Left hand is almost always numb during the day.
  • Sore joints, especially my hands and knees.
  • Restless leg syndrome – actually, it’s my entire body that gets restless and a creepy crawly feeling all over just as I try to relax or go to sleep.
  • Swollen feet and hands – in this heat, it never goes away, no matter how much water I drink or how much I elevate.
  • Nausea has made a comeback.
  • Braxton Hicks
  • Wicked acid reflux

Maternity clothes: Goes without saying.

Sleep: What sleep?

Best moment: Surprisingly, the baby shower!

Movement: She loves to dance and kick the most when I’m trying to fall asleep at night.

Food cravings: Still none.

Sex of the baby: Female.

Labor signs: No real ones. Lots of Braxton Hicks.

Belly button: Still very much an innie.

What I miss: Wine. Sleep.

What I look forward to: Giving birth and finally meeting our little girl!

Baby buys: Swing and bouncer (on clearance), sheets for the bassinet, nursing supplies, dresser.

Milestones: Baby shower, painting the nursery, finalizing (sort of) our birth plan.

Friday Randomness

I’ve been searching my brain for a week trying to think of a good topic for this post. Spoiler alert: I didn’t find one, so this is going to be random rambling for a few paragraphs.

Pregnancy update   First, everything is still going well with my pregnancy. I’m 13 weeks 1 day today, which by some charts puts me into the second trimester (others say not until the start of 14 weeks). 13 or 14 doesn’t matter much to me; I still feel a little insecure, even though there’s no logical reason. The only reason I’m not wholly insecure is my precious at-home fetal Doppler. Not only does it make me breathe a little easier, but it makes me feel more connected to my little one to actually hear her heart beating.

Crazy dreams   Have you heard that pregnant women often have strange dreams? As a person who has had bizarre vivid dreams nearly every night since childhood, I rolled my eyes at that little fact. I used to roll my eyes at that. I honestly thought my dreams couldn’t get any more weird, but somehow they have. I won’t bore you with the details, but as an example, a few nights ago I dreamed I was nursing a kitten – from my breast (in case you needed that clarification). Now, I’ve had plenty breastfeeding dreams over the years, but never an animal. Of course, in the dream it was perfectly natural.

Trading up   M and I recently started down the path to homeownership! It will be at least a year before we have enough saved to start seriously looking for a house, but it’s such a relief to know that we’re on our way. I’ve been hounding M for years, but I guess it took a viable pregnancy for him to finally get serious about it. We met with the mortgage company at our credit union to see what we could afford and what kind of down payment we would need. It’s not nearly as bad as I expected. We have more options than I anticipated. We just need to save like crazy for a year.

Having fun   Before we decided to save every penny, M and I bought tickets to see Mike Birbiglia tonight. (Out of town, of course. The big names never come to our town.) It’s a long overdue date night. (If you’ve never heard of him, check out Sleepwalk with Me on Netflix. It’s sort of an autobiographical movie. He has a couple of stand up shows on Netflix, too.)

Doulas & Baby Showers

At 11w4d, it’s probably too early to plan for either, but that’s just who I am. Plus, I figure after all I’ve been through, I deserve to start thinking like an ordinary pregnant woman, not a doom-and-gloom infertile who can’t quite believe this is real or that it will last. So, I’m throwing caution to the wind and putting the cart before the horse.

I can’t remember when and how I first heard about doulas, but it was just in the last 3 years or so. (If you don’t know what one is, click on over to this website. Basically, a doula provides labor support, but it’s so much more than that.) When I first started searching for doulas in my area, I was greatly disappointed. I found a few, but the closest one was hundreds of miles away. I started asking my Facebook groups for advice, and it turns out, one of them is a recently trained doula! She advised me to email DONA International about doulas-in-training in my area, which turned up 3 solid leads, one of whom informed me that she knows of 7 more who recently received certification. Ten may not seem like a lot, but it’s a treasure trove compared to the zero I started out with.

So far, I haven’t met with anyone, but I made my first appointment to visit with a doula who also has midwife training. My biggest fear is whether my hospital will welcome a doula. I know it’s my choice, but the medical staff can make things difficult for us if they see her as an obstacle. I can’t very well change hospitals. There are only two in my city; the other is religious, which is not cool with me. And I’m not comfortable giving birth in my apartment (besides, there aren’t any practicing midwives here who would deliver at home). So, in addition to interviewing doulas, I need to have a conversation with my OB and probably with someone from labor and delivery (?) to make sure they are aware of the situation and to gauge their receptivity.

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As for baby showers (yes, the plural was intentional), it’s not so much me who is jumping the gun, but my sisters and in-laws. Okay, I’m guilty to a degree, but only insofar as batting around general ideas. Like how I would like it to be coed, without all the cheesy games and 3 hour present opening session. I floated the idea by my sisters, who think it’s a great idea (they are already making more detailed plans). I’m not sure everyone will think it’s so great, as people are accustomed to the traditional women-only shower, where you ooh and aah over every last gift and discuss baby vomit and diarrhea. I want something less showery and more … I don’t know, just less showery. And I want presents. I’m not going to lie. I’ve paid into the baby shower pool many, many times, and I firmly believe its my turn for a nice return on my investment. That may sound greedy, but I don’t care. We spent all our money making this baby.

Giving Thanks

Last year, I didn’t write a proper thankful post for the holidays. It wasn’t that I had nothing to be thankful for, but I think I was in too bad of a place to embrace all the positive things in my life at the time. I’ve come a long way in a year. In fact, I decided to start my thankful post early and keep adding to it before publishing it around Thanksgiving. Not that I couldn’t express my gratitude at any time, but ’tis the season!

(These are in no particular order.)

  • I often lament the fact that we can afford only one IVF cycle, but I am incredibly thankful that we have enough insurance coverage to afford even one cycle. I know that many couples have to save for years or take out loans or a second mortgage in order to finance IVF. Many more don’t have the resources to try IVF even once. So, as much as I whine about our one and only chance, I am grateful that we have this chance.
  • I am so very thankful for the online infertility community. As I mentioned in my recent Blogiversary post, I could not get through this journey without it – without you! I often find myself emotionally exhausted keeping up with Twitter and the blogs I follow, with all the ups and downs that we all experience, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Not only have I learned more about infertility and IVF than I ever thought I would need or want to know, I’ve received such tremendous support.
  • I am, of course, thankful for my husband. He has never wavered in his commitment to our journey to have a baby. (He did flat out refuse to give me injections, but I can hardly blame him for that!) He doesn’t complain or flinch when he turns over his gig money to me to pay for our IVF. Also, together we are so going to rock parenthood! I just know it.
  • I am thankful for my understanding and supportive family. When we first started fertility treatments, my mom generously offered to help us out financially. She is not a wealthy woman, yet she is willing to hand over whatever she can to help us achieve our dream of having a baby. She’s also taking time off work to come to the transfer, so that M doesn’t have to take more time off from work. No one in my family has ever given us a hard time for avoiding family gatherings or skipping out on baby showers. They don’t pry with constant questions, but they don’t avoid the topic, either, and they don’t judge our choices.
  • I am thankful for my best friend, who always knows the right thing to say and who never makes me feel like my infertility woes are annoying. In fact, she calls me to specifically talk about the latest tests, treatment, or just to see how I’m feeling about it.
  • I am thankful for my supportive and flexible boss. When I learned my coworker had done a total of 16 IUI cycles in order to get pregnant with her two sons, I knew my boss would not have a problem with my taking time off for fertility treatments. Indeed, when I told him we would be doing IVF and I would need to take some time off during the busiest time of the year for our organization, he said “Do what you need to do. I wish you the best of luck!”
  • I am thankful that our clinic isn’t farther away. I complain a lot about having to drive 3 hours one way for our RE visits, including 10 minute monitoring scans, but I know it could be worse.
  • I’m thankful for my therapist. She is an infertility veteran, so she truly gets it. She also runs the local Resolve support group.
  • I’m thankful for our kittens. Part of me thought that adopting pets would somehow mean that we had given up the hope of having a baby, but it’s only strengthened my resolve, mostly because I see how awesome both M and I are at caring for living creatures. Even though I know pets are not children and in no way could they ever replace kids, they have allowed us to unleash some of our pent-up parental energy. Plus, it’s hard to be stressed out or sad with them around.

    Yes, that's a kitten sleeping in a glass bowl.

    Yes, that’s a kitten sleeping in a glass bowl previously dedicated to fresh fruit.

  • I am thankful for my health. Aside from infertility and endometriosis, I have very few health issues. The ones I do have – an intolerance for gluten (thankfully not an allergy), IBS, and chronic knee pain – are (so far) manageable and don’t keep me from doing the things I love.

Atheist Godmother

When my nephew C was born nearly 5 years ago, my sister told me I would be his godmother.

Me: You know I’m an atheist, right? 

Sis: We don’t care. It’s just a symbolic thing.

Me: So, no church ceremony?

Sis: No, we’re having him baptized in a church. But it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. 

Me: Really? Are you sure you don’t want someone who believes in all that stuff? I’d be okay with that. 

Sis: Nope.

Me: You realize that I’ll have to lie to the pastor during the baptism, right? You’re okay with that?

Sis: All you have to do is say “yes” and “I will” to a few questions.

Me: But I’ll still be lying… to a pastor… in a church.

Sis: So, will you do it?

Me: As long as I don’t have to wear a dress.

Nothing came of it at the time. My sister and brother-in-law are not religious people. Believers, yes, but not church-goers or the type to put their kids through religion classes. So, I guess it wasn’t much of a priority. I thought I had dodged a bullet all these years, but on the eve of my nephew’s fifth birthday, my sister announced that she plans to have C baptized soon. And I’m still on deck for godmother duty. Once again, I gave her an out to pick someone who wouldn’t have to tell big bad lies in a place of worship, but she wouldn’t hear it.

I’m a terrible liar, so I hope the pastor doesn’t ask me anything other than yes/no questions, or want to hear my credentials. I do have some: I was baptized Catholic and I participated in a few other sacraments (part of the tradition in my family), but I’m pretty sure those were nullified almost immediately since I didn’t actually believe in any of it. I have not stepped foot in a church – save for a handful of funerals – in 16 years. And then there’s the whole atheist thing. I’m pretty sure he would overlook church absences, but certainly he would frown upon the fact that I don’t believe one iota in god or all things related.

So, we’ll see how it goes. My sister wants me to be the godmother, and she knows the score, so I’m willing to go along with it. I don’t know exactly when this is supposed to happen. Maybe I’ll get lucky again and they’ll procrastinate again.