Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Testing the Water

I was reading through old blog posts earlier...do you guys do that? Read your old posts? How narcissistic a past-time. The neatest part was reading my entries from the cycle I got pregnant. The theme of that cycle seemed to be "I don't care" which, I guess, worked well in the end.

Anyhow, another thing I noticed was that I had been trying to post entries on what I was eating (WW style) each Wednesday. I think I only managed it about 3 times total. But looking at that made me so sad about the way I've been eating lately. Food is so lack luster, unexciting, and completely unhealthy. Then, I read Sarah's post about her own eating habits since getting pregnant, and that just sealed the deal for me.

And what miraculous conclusion did I come to? Well, I'm still sick. But not AS sick. I've only puked twice in the last four days (an improvement). The exhaustion still reigns supreme, but the constant nausea has turned into intermittent nausea throughout the day (another improvement). So, I thought, goddamnit, it's time to kick myself in the pants and rejoin life. Stop eating soulless food and being miserable.

So I got off the couch and cooked dinner. I had a few meltdowns when I couldn't cut the steak or an entire cupboard of tupperwares came tumbling down into my lap (can someone please invent a good way to store tupperware?) But, eventually, I presented myself and my husband with a true, steak-and-potatoes, homecooked meal. Healthy in a nutritious, real-food way (although, sadly for my husband, not a low-cal way).

 photo dinner2.jpg

What do you think? Are you impressed? Goddamnit, I am. Here's to me, tipping a toe back into real life??

p.s. I think the whole point of this home-cooked meal was to find an excuse to eat some sour cream.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Where's My Bump?

One of the unexpected things about being pregnant is that I have become completely obsessed with "showing." When I went to a Baby Shower this past weekend, no one could believe I am pregnant and when I said, "No, yes, I really am," they'd respond with, "But just barely....right?"

Well, I guess that depends on how you define "just barely." To me, the first trimester has been quite a hurdle, so it doesn't feel like "barely" anything. But to women farther along, I'm sure 13 weeks is no big thing. Regardless, I am READY for a baby bump. It's a badge of honor and I want to wear it, damnnit.

It's always struck me as odd that during the first few months, when you are struggling so much and feeling so terrible and really going through the most dramatic changes, you look exactly the same as normal. (Well, unless you check out my cleavage). I guess it's a good thing that we don't start showing earlier, because then it wouldn't be a choice to keep the news a secret. But on the other hand, you feel like there is no visible reason for how you are feeling. Later on, people gush over you, over you seats, inquire how you are feeling. But now? When I'm terribly ill? I get "Oh you must have JUST found out you're pregnant, right?"

Anyhow, in honor of my 2nd Trimester Posting Trilogy (weird, I didn't plan it this way), I've decided to post a "bump" pic. Ha. Actually it just looks a picture of my stomach and hips. Not too exciting. But, here you go.

The first picture is 6 (maybe 7?) weeks. You can tell I am a lot slimmer in general with definitely a smaller butt. It's funny, there almost looks to be more of a cute "bump" in that picture, but it was definitely the initial bloating. The second picture is this weekend, at 13 weeks. I wish I had gotten a better picture. The lighting is bad and it's a different shot than the first so it's hard to compare. But you can see I just look...wider. Not like there is a cute bump, just like I've grown. But I haven't gained any weight. Maybe it's all camera angle? *Sigh* Anyhow, that's me. Still feeling sick (but haven't thrown up in 5 days!!) and still looking like non-pregnant me.

P.S. About five minutes after I posted this, I had a rather dramatic puking episode. So much for my 5-day-stretch.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

First Trimester Review: Part 2

Ok, so this post is going to need a bit of a disclaimer. I am aware before I even start writing it that it is going to sound a bit depressing. A bit...down on pregnancy, if you will. And I'm not going to lie, the first three months of this pregnancy have not been a happy, glowing, walk in the park. Pregnancy books try to prepare you for this with statements like, "Hey Momma, you may not be feeling your best lately, but that's ok, just think about your precious little baby growing inside!" Blah. Whatever. I know that the first trimester is a different experience for every woman, but I want to share mine with you with no-holds-barred. That being said, I don't want you to get the wrong impression. On ultrasound days and especially at our NT scan, this is all 100% totally worth it. It's just hard to form a coherent thought sometimes to think about it in any profoundly intellectual manner.

That being said, this post is a follow-up post to my previous review of my symptoms in the first trimester. In this post, I want to talk more about the actual emotional and psychological impact of going through such "amazing physical changes." Not to mention, the impact on your relationships with those around you.

While you read, keep in mind some comforting words from my oh-so-wise husband, "You are building a human out of nothing. That is a lot of work. It's bound to take a lot out of you."

Apathy. I've already spoken about the relentless nausea and exhaustion that physically attacked my body. Emotionally that left me in a state of constant apathy. I went from a person who cares too much about everything and everyone, to something who, frankly, didn't give a shit. I wrote a post about this early on, but then became too apathetic to write anymore. But basically, I found that I didn't care as much about engaging in conversations, caring for the people in my life, household chores, or trivial things such as paying bills. I didn't get excited about anything. At all. It wasn't that I was depressed. I just, didn't really care. What was I going to wear today? Who cares. My poor husband is being neglected. Oh well. What did that person just say to me. "....." Yeah, so basically I was checked out of life. This was hard. Hard on people around me. Hard on me to see my personality changing so drastically. And just plain sad. I missed having color, texture, and excitement in life. I mean, I'm sure I did some fun and enjoyable things in the past weeks. I must have. But mostly I remember coming home from work, crawling in bed, and staring off into space. Ugh, this is depressing even to write.

Mood Swings. I don't think I've really had mood swings yet (again, check with my husband for actual statistics here). That is not to say I have been a perfect angel to be around but it's just that I've been too apathetic to get very angry or tearful or have strong emotions in any way. On the flip side, I also haven't cared enough to use courtesy in day-to-day interactions. I would hear myself saying things to my husband that sounded a bit rude or callous, but just couldn't bring myself to word it different. Things like, "I'm sorry I'm just to tired to listen to you right now." Hmmm, looking back, not sure if I even added the "I'm sorry" part. So yeah, while I wasn't an emotional roller coaster, I also wasn't Ms. Manners.

Working I am working full time. I work 40 hours in four days. On my weekday off, Thursdays, I take my dog to get chemotherapy (every Thursday) and try to catch up on paperwork (aka try not to throw up all day). On the weekends...well, I don't know what I did on the weekends. Hibernate, probably. But somehow, I've managed to make it through the first trimester without a single sick day. Looking back, I should have taken one or two, but it's kind of pointless when you know you will be just as sick the following day. Also, the way my job works, if you take off one day, you are automatically behind the next day. Which brings me to my next problem with working. I am completely behind on my paperwork. It was all I could do to see my clients. In between clients, I was completely useless and would play games on my iPhone to distract from sickness or just fall asleep on my desk. And lastly, my clients? I'm pretty sure I used up every little bit of caring and empathy I could muster to continue to be a decent therapist. It's not their fault I decided to grow a human while treating their psychological trauma. So, I'm pretty sure I managed to still help people. Unfortunately, that left me with limited to NO reserve of empathy for the rest of the world. "Oh, you had a hard day? Too bad, my 8-year-old client was molested and I am PREGNANT!" Yep. Wow.

Anxiety I used to go through life with a pretty bad case of Sunday-Night-Anxiety. Induced by worry about the week ahead and fear of the unknown. But, I've mostly gotten that under control. Or so I thought. My lay-around-and-do-nothing attitude promptly invited a return of the Sunday-Night-Anxiety, because I knew that not only had I gotten nothing done around the house over the weekend, but was also facing a desk overflowing with undone paperwork at the office. Yuck.

Relationships. This may be the hardest section to write, because it's the most complex. First of all, friendships. I let a lot of these slide. Especially with people that I'm not as close to...you know, those people that require constant effort to keep the friendship going because the relationship hasn't moved into the old and dependable stage? Not to mention, these are the people you don't tell you are pregnant and you really have nothing else to talk about except being pregnant and also how else are you going to explain being so sick and not drinking any wine?? And then there was the fight with one of my oldest friends (who knew I was pregnant). She was trying to understand how I was feeling, but one day when she called to invite me shopping and I told her I wasn't feeling well, she responded with, "I feel like you don't care about me anymore and never want to see my anymore and you know that I am moving away in 4 months but you really don't seem to care." To which I responded in a flatly un-emotional voice, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Because I was, sorry she felt that way, but I wasn't going to go shopping with her for all the money in the world and couldn't be bothered to explain further. *Sigh* (For future reference, I did drag myself to her house later that day to explain why I'd acted that way.

Which brings me to my husband. There are literally chapters in books and maybe even entire books dedicated to this topic. So I don't know how to summarize it easily for you. I think there is a lot of pressure to have magical moments where you stare into each others' eyes and dream about your baby. Or, he rubs cocoa butter on your still-flat stomach and tells you what a wonderful mother you will be. And sure, we had those moments. At times. But mostly, I didn't see my husband a lot in the past two months, despite living in the same house with him. Poor man waited on me a lot, bringing me food and glasses of water, to which I would respond, "Oh no, I didn't want ICE in this water." I felt bad about neglecting him and I could see how much he depends on me for things like, motivating him to engage in life and get excited about things. We are an US, and when I removed myself from the equation, he retreated to a world of video games and isolation. Poor baby. Toward the end, it got a bit rocky. He began to struggle with my lack of sugary sweet statements and my constant needs. I began to despair that he would get sick of me and toddle off to find someone better (couldn't be too hard at this point, right?). When I tried to express my fears in what I thought was a logical manner, he ended up hurt and angry since his entire life had been dedicated to keeping me happy for the course of these last 6.5 weeks (that's how long HE says it was bad for). I cried myself to sleep that night and wondered passively how to fix it, but wasn't sure I cared enough to do much about it. And then? The next morning, a miracle happened. I woke up feeling better!! We had wonderful, sweet morning sex (that I could actually feel), we held each other and talked about what we had been through. We laughed about our fight and talked it out and he validated what I'd been going through (oh what a saint). And then we proceeded to spend the weekend together running errands and catching up on life and just, "having fun." All weekend he kept saying "Ohhhh I missed you so much" and "I am SO happy to have my wife back." So yeah, I guess there is no way of saying what a pregnancy will do to your marriage. My guess it that it is a complicated regression equation which is affected by the severity of your pregnancy symptoms, your own personality, your significant other's personality, the problems you had PRIOR to pregnancy, and the strength of your overall relationship. All I can say is, I hope it gets better from here. In fact, I'm pretty positive it will get better from here.

By the way, when you google First Trimester on Google Images, you get images like this:

But you really should get more images like this:

So that's that. After writing all of this, I really feel like I should circle back to my original disclaimer. There have been great moments too (I've tried to capture most of them on this blog) and this is only my own specific experience. I don't know if I'm just a total wimp or if more women just don't talk openly about what it was like for them. I do think there were some factors that contributed to making this harder for me. Namely, the results of my bloodwork consistently showing a very strong level of hormones in my body. And also, my job sapping whatever emotional empathy and strength that I had left. But I think, in the long run, you know why you are going through this, and you have that unconsciously at the back of your mind and that just carries you through. Basically, you are willing to shut systems down in order to allow your body to just do its job of making a baby. At least, that's what I did.

I'd love to hear from other women. What was it like for YOU? Am I just a complete baby or did you have similar moments? And, if you haven't gone through this yet, I just hope that reading this will prepare you for the reality of what could be.

p.s. I went to a Baby Shower today. It was filled with other pregnant women and new mothers. All of them gave me similar comments...."Oh no, I NEVER felt sick at all!"..."Oh yeah, I think I threw up one time."...."Wait, you actually vomited?"....and...."Are you really pregnant? How far along? Like one month? You don't look pregnant at all!" Thanks ladies.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Trimester Review: Part 1

So, as of today I have officially hit the 2nd Trimester according to most measurements. Some say 12 weeks, some say 14, I'm just going with 13. Although, truthfully, I really felt I had hit this milestone at 12 weeks, the day of my NT ultrasound, when the doctor intoned that I was "not going to have a miscarriage." Still gives me shivers. Anyhow, here I am, and I've decided to mark the occasion with a summary of symptoms I experienced in the first three months. This is just based off of my own experiences and I know it is different for everyone, but I would say I think this pregnancy has hit me really hard and I felt validated by my blood test results that said I am having a very "strong" pregnancy.

Also, I am not going to go through and give you a timeline for each symptom, but I will say that generally my symptoms started around 6.5 weeks. Prior to that, I was a bit tired, had sensitive boobs (but not terrible yet) and was really thirsty (only in the first few weeks...odd).

Let's Start with My Breasts. Well, I already devoted an entire post to these new luscious curves. So obviously you know that they have increased 4 (4!) cup sizes. Crazy. But I should also mention that I had the classic symptoms of tender, heavy, sore, painful, tight, and hot (as in heat) breasts. For the first while I couldn't bear to have my husband anywhere near them. But yet, it was comforting to hold them myself and often walked around at home holding them in my hands. Awww. Now, they're pretty much back to normal in terms of sensitivity, except my nipples. Those are still off-limits.

Cramping. I had pretty bad cramps in the beginning. Maybe around 6-7 weeks? It was so bad at night that it would actually wake me up from sleeping. Now, I don't have much to compare to because I've never really had menstrual cramps (I know, I know, hate me now) except minor cramping the day before my period. This was worse than that. But, I never had any spotting, and everything said it was normal, so I just tolerated it. Drinking a lot of water seemed to help. That went away entirely until just recently I've noticed really mild stretching feelings that I think are because I'm just "barely" starting to show.

Nausea. I don't really know what to call this. Nausea, or morning sickness, doesn't really describe it well. I mean, yes, I felt nauseous, but it was more than that. It wasn't just, I felt nauseous, went and puked, and then felt better. It was an all-encompassing, ever-present sense of malaise in my entire body. For awhile I was describing it to people as being hungover. Your equilibrium is off, you feel weak, you feel like every sensation is either painful or may make you throw up. Basically, you just feel like shit. Then, I saw someone else describe it as motion sickness. This is a great description. The feeling you get after a carnival ride or driving on a mountain road. You feel like you can't escape the awful, off-balance, sick feeling. I really, really hated this part of pregnancy. It kicked my ass. It shut me down. It made me curl up in a ball in surrender. I think it was just the cumulative effect of day after day sickness with no relenting. Yeah, that's all I have to say about that. Currently, it comes and goes for short periods at a time. I can totally handle that.

Joys of Vomiting. Most people, when they think of pregnancy, thinking about women getting sick and throwing up. This evokes a lot of sympathy. I know for me, it definitely made my husband feel bad for me every time I puked. But really? Throwing up was not so bad compared to the previously-discussed constant sickness. Of course, I didn't have it that badly compared to some women. Some days I didn't throw up at all. Others I threw up 3 times in a day. I would say I averaged 1-2 times a day, usually morning and nighttime. I also tended to puke the most in my car. Yes, IN my car. I got really good at pulling over and puking into a bag. (I only puked on myself ONE time!)

Exhaustion. This is sometimes called "Pregnancy Fatigue." But to me, fatigue sounds too gentle, as in something a lady would experience after a day playing Croquet in the hot sun. "Oh darling, I am feeling a bit fatigued." No, I would describe it as sheer and utter exhaustion. When I got home from work I would literally come in the door and crawl straight into bed. My husband would find me there and fearfully inquire as to whether I thought "maybe" I should eat dinner? At work, I would sit at my desk and stare at the wall. Or, lock my door and sleep on the floor. Yes, on the floor. The last day of pure exhaustion was last Friday. I remember sitting at work and looking at my piles of paperwork to catch up on and just crying. I told my sister I had forgotten what it felt like to feel normal. Then, miraculously, the next day I felt better! Hallelujah.

Appetite. So, another thing you hear about with pregnancy is "What Pregnant Women Eat." Cravings/Aversions/Crazy Stories. Well, let me tell you, I am someone who loves food. I love cooking and I love restaurants and I love good, healthy ingredients. Once I got pregnant, I stopped caring entirely. I hated going to the grocery store. I hated thinking about food. I stopped even being able to taste food. I survived on bland things like buttered noodles, crackers, macaroni & cheese, all types of pasta, and water. That's about it. Eating was a chore. But it was also medicine. You really do need to eat constantly to feel "as good as possible." Slowly, my appetite has come back. There have been a few things I've eaten lately -hot fudge sundae, strawberry milkshake, baked potato w/sour cream - that have almost made me orgasm in delight. I'm waiting for everything to taste good again. Oh, and although I didn't have any aversions to certain foods or smells, I wasn't interested in ANYTHING sweet at all - no chocolate, no candy, no juices, not even fruit.

Sex. Along the lines of no appetite for food, I also had no appetite for sex at all. I almost felt as if my whole body was numb. No taste buds, no libido, no interest... We did manage to have sex about once a week (check with my husband for exact statistics), but that was just because I felt I owed it to my husband for taking such good care of me. And honestly? I didn't care enough to care one way or another. Oh, you want sex? Ok, but I don't have to participate, do I?

Headaches These haven't been so bad, really. I hear horror stories of pregnancy migraines and there is really nothing you can take to get rid of them. Awful. But I do wake up most mornings with headaches. A weird, pressurized, headache that makes me feel like my head is full of heavy-duty construction insulation. Usually a Tylenol really will do the trick. That and drinking lots of water. Sometimes I need to take a second Tylenol later in the day if I'm having a stressful day. Wow, I wish all of my symptoms were so easily managed.

Random Symptoms. These little things were less interesting or pronounced, so they don't get their own section. I did find myself peeing a lot more in the beginning, but that seemed to go away, and now at 12 weeks, it came back in full force. Also, burping. I have never been someone who burps very much. But now, I let out these amazing belches all of the time. You should have heard the one that echoed through the parking garage the other day... Oh, and "pregnancy" rhinitis" definitely seems to be a real thing. Especially in the morning, I woke up stuffed up and clogged up. Lots of nose blowing and sneezing. Let me tell you, puking 1-3 times a day with a nose clogged up with snot is NOT fun.

And that's it for now. Halfway through this post I decided it was way too long and so I am going to write a second post dealing with the emotional and relational side to the 1st Trimester. You can already get the flavor of what it will entail by reading this post, I'm sure. Exhaustion and sickness play a major role. Thank god I can tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Update: After I wrote this post in a cocky, smug tone implying that I was "through with the worst of it," I got sick again last night and feel like shit again this morning. Ugh. Karma. Cross your fingers that it will just be a temporary resurgence.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


This is post is a bit of an Ode to my Breasts. Just letting you know ahead of time. If you're uncomfortable reading about breasts, or thinking about my breasts, maybe you should stop reading right about.....here.

Ok, now that the prudes have moved on....Here we go. So, you hear that with pregnancy your breasts will get larger. Right? We all know this. As a thinner person who vacillates between an A or a B cup bra size, I've always been intrigued about this side effect of pregnancy. Of course, you read things like, "Well your boobs will look like enormous, veiny, disgusting globules of fat." So I didn't get too excited. After I found out I was pregnant one of the first symptoms I got was the painful, tender breasts. As I went on in my first trimester, I knew they were getting bigger, rounder, more firm....basically they were turning into the marvelous boobs I have never had.

But did I appreciate it? Did I let my husband appreciate them? Uh...no. I was too busy being a miserable, puking, bitchy mess. So, with little attention paid to them, they just continued to grow. And I continued to shove them into my little bras and call it good. Not paying too much attention to the gouges in my shoulders at the end of the day from my bra straps or the fact that my nipples were literally popping out of my bras. I mean, I was dressed, so I figured it was good enough.

In the last week or so I've finally been able to start to appreciate these pretty things growing out of my chest. I mean, they literally look like the breasts women here in LA pay thousands to buy. They are a great size, perfect handful (or as my husband said, "more than a handful") and seem to defy gravity. And guess what? They don't hurt anymore! So yeah, I'll admit to wearing low-cut shirts to the very few social functions I've been able to attend in the last few weeks. This resulted in my husband not being able to participate in dinner conversation with me because he was too distracted. And female friends who stopped in the middle of sentences to ask if they could "touch." Really. Oh, and I may have distracted myself a few times in the lenses of my husband's sun glasses.

Sooo this weekend when I woke up finally feeling somewhat better (more on this later, it deserves its own entire post), I decided maybe it was time to go get some bras that actually could restrain these mountains of womanhood. So I went to Victoria's Secret. I thought I would get a couple of bras just to "get by" because, what if I have to buy bigger bras later? I figured I'd grab one white and one black just to supplement my current bra-wardrobe.

Well, first thing that happened is I walk back to the fitting room, where a cute little VS employee asks if she can help me. "Yes..." I say, launching into my story, "You see, I'm PREGNANT and I don't know what size bra to buy and I just need to get a few basics and I'm hoping you can measure me and then recommend a few to help me get by and..." She cut me off. "Um yeah, sure. Can I finish helping this lady first?"

Ooops. I realized she was standing by an open fitting room, bras in hand, to help another customer. Well, then why did she invite me into a conversation to make a fool of myself? Oooops.

Anyhow, she comes over eventually and starts wrapping her little pink measuring tape around my busting cleavage. "Ok," she says, "Looks like you're between a 32 and a 34, but since you'll probably keep growing, I'll just grab the 34."

Sounds reasonable. "Ok," I say, "But what cup size?"

"Oh," she looks nonplussed. "You're a 34D."

"Um...excuse me, did you say 34B?"

"No, D." And she wanders off and then proceeds to hand me these enormous bras that have these gigantic straps and more fabric than four of my bras put together. What??? I looked at her in disbelief until she started to get weirded out and so I went into the fitting room to try them on, all the while thinking they would fall off my B-cup breasts. There must be some mistake.

But, no, no mistake. I put on the first bra (a weird, soft, flesh-colored thing that covers most of my chest) and it fits. And more importantly, it fits really, really well. And it's soft. And it's comfortable. And it's holding up my girls in a gentle, maternal way. Holy shit. Who IS this person??

So I try on a few more and realize that all she has brought me are huge, full-coverage, no-padding bras. Now, I don't know anything about being well-endowed but I do know that since this is the first time I've ever belonged to that group, I'm not sure I want to spend my time here living in non-sexy, nondescript, Grandma bras. So, blushing, I poke my head out and say, "Um, I know I don't need much padding, but could you bring me a few that are slightly padded and a little bit more low cut?"

She blinked at me and I instantly felt like a slut. But then she brought me more options. And those fit too. And I loved my body. (By the way, I realized an added benefit of boob jobs...your waist and hips instantly look smaller!) I ended up buying three bras. One white, no-padding, Grandma bra. One slightly lacy, slightly-padded, but still purely functional black bra. And one ultra-cute, slightly padded, polka-dot bra.

So yeah. Here I am. For the time being, I belong to a group of women that I spent most of high school envying. I mean, don't get me wrong. I like my little breasts. They're pretty. They fit my body. My husband likes them. And, with the help of Victoria's Secret, I can get some great cleavage going on when I need to. But still. I have always wondered what it feels like to belong to this group. The best I could describe it to my husband, "Imagine if your penis suddenly grew 4 inches overnight."

And the best part about my breasts? They are huge (literally huge) symbols of womanhood and fertility that I am proudly wearing about. I mean, vanity aside, these boobs are going to serve an extremely amazing purpose. My body is getting ready to be a woman very basic sense. I feel so....goddess-like and maternal, all in one.

And that's that. Next week, when I hit the second trimester, I plan on writing a summary of first trimester symptoms that I experienced. But, somehow, I thought my newly found friends deserved a post all of their own.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Putting it Out There

Bear with me on this post. I am extremely exhausted and emotional today (maybe a leftover from my extreme excitement and emotions yesterday) and I am currently sitting at work, curled up with a pillow in my lap, crying in a melodramatic way a la a Victorian lady.

But that aside, I've decide to write a post that I've started writing a few times before and then scrapped because I am afraid I will offend someone or come across naively clueless or will just...not get my point across correctly. But, here goes....

Yesterday when I posted my post of exuberant happiness about how healthy my baby is and how happy we are, it was bookended by some blog posts in my blogroll that seriously broke my heart. After reading these other posts, I almost considered deleting my own post because it just felt so absurdly insensitive. Who am I to blurt out my good fortune when others are losing their hopes or losing their babies? How awful.

You see, when I started this blog, I wanted to document my experiences getting pregnant, being pregnant, and having a baby. Mostly because I didn't want to overwhelm my friends with my obsessive nature, so I needed an outlet. And then, in an effort to find other people to read my blog, I stumbled across other people who were trying to get pregnant. Seemed like a good fit....until I started learning about the heartbreaking world of infertility and realized that most people who blog about trying to get pregnant are actually veterans at this art. Through this, I learned about the strength, the dedication, the hope and the inspiration that comes from people going through this struggle. Simultaneously, I happened to have a friend at work who started to go through IVF.

That was the first point I considered making a post about my guilt and about my not (as far as I knew) having infertility problems. But then I decided against it. It seemed too self-centered to call attention to it by apologizing somehow. So then I got pregnant. Again, I considered making a post. I even wrote it out. But I didn't. I felt like, this isn't my "right" to imagine what others might be feeling while reading about my pregnancy. I'll just let people make their own decisions about continuing to read my blog and respect their decisions either way. So, on I went.

But yesterday, when I saw the wonderful comments left for me by so many people, some of which I know are struggling with finding a path to their own baby, and I re-read the blog posts written that week that are filled with heartbreak and strength, I just felt...shocked by the contrast.

And thus, this post. I'm not sure what the purpose of the post is. But I guess I just want to put it out there. I want to let my readers know that I am not taking my good luck for granted. Seeing how hard women are struggling just makes me feel so...blessed (yes, I said blessed, and I'm not even religious) to be lucky enough to get the news I got yesterday. I wish there was a way to share this "luck" with the rest of you, but instead, just know that I don't take it for granted. And if you are going through months, years, a lifetime of chasing your dream of a baby, please know I am so impressed by you and your strength.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flying Colors: Our NT Scan

Ok, so last week, at our ultrasound I said I was on "Cloud Nine" after seeing the baby move. Today? I am....on another planet? I don't know how to describe this to you all. But I'm going to try...

So we went today for our NT scan. I am exactly 12w0ds. I wasn't feeling very nervous, just nervous that we might be too early to get a guess on the gender. We showed up at the specialist's office. I'm not sure if this is how it's always done, but my doctor sent me to a perinatologist to have the scan done. We did my blood testing the week prior, so I knew he would be able to give me all of the results today. First of all, his office was beeeeautiful. Exactly what I'd hoped my OB's office would be. Padded leather chairs in the waiting room, fresh flowers everywhere, sculptures, artistic pictures of cute little baby feet...Oh well, as my husband said, "We like our doctor. Her office is irrelevant." Ok. Yeah.

This doctor was quintessential LA. Tanned, bright-eyed, attractive, and looked like he might offer me a boob job or botox while we were at it. He started by scaring us a little with the statistics about Down Syndrome (1 in 200) and other abnormalities. I could feel my husband realizing the seriousness of this appointment. Then he assured us everything would "probably be fine," and covered my tummy in gel.

First of all, I should say, no one warned me about how HARD they push on your stomach! Ouch. I guess they have to manipulate the baby and put it where they want it. Whoa. Annnnyhow, after literally only about 30 seconds of pushing on my stomach he said, "So do you guys want to know the gender?"

We were like, "What? Already? You know already??"

And he said, "Yep. I definitely know. Do you want to know?"

Um, YES!!!!!!!

Guys, we are having a GIRL!!!!!! Oh my god, I said I was ok "either way" but I really, really, really wanted a girl. A little girl. My eyes got filled with tears and I was torn between looking at my husband and squealing and "having a moment" and sudden increase in panic that what if something was wrong with my little girl? So i stared back at the screen while he pushed her around like a bumper car in my belly.

Long story short, I won't bore you with the odds here, but basically everything was amazing. All of the numbers were great and at the end of the scan he brought us back into his office and was just beaming and squirming with excitement. After combining the measurements with my blood work, he said, "I have to tell you guys, this is the best scan I have seen in a year." Oh my god!! I was beaming with pride, relief, and shock. I mean, no one told me this was a test you could pass with Flying Colors??

Oh and the best part? During the ultrasound, after looking at the measurements and hearing the heartbeat (160bpm), he looked at me and said, "You are NOT going to have a miscarriage." What?? Can he say that?? Well, he just did. Holy shit.

So yeah. I am literally bouncing off of this earth. Gravity has no meaning for me today. Who cares that I threw up at the gas station?? She is so totally worth it. I am going to have a daughter.

 photo NT.jpg  photo NT2.jpg

Sorry the pictures are blurry. They are a photo of a photo. He said next time we can bring in a flash drive and he will give us all of the pictures and videos from this scan and the next one. Also, we didn't get a pic of the gender shot, but it was so clear, even to us. Three little lines. The doctor actually called it the "classic hamburger." Yes, really. My husband loved that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More Random Ramblings

Ok, here's some randoms from this weekend:

First of all, in ironic conjunction with yesterday's post, I think my poor husband has reached his limit with sick-needy-me. I mean, the poor guy has been making me food, bringing me glasses of water, and putting up with my new "pregnant attitude." He has started to give me "looks" as in, "Ok, when does this end?" And I am torn between "Hey I'm not THAT bad!" and thinking, "Damn I think I owe that poor boy some sex."

On a positive note, I managed to finally get some stuff done this weekend. I took a great nap (yes, this is important), hung out with some friends, reorganized my dresser drawers, ordered some clothes to get me through this weird stage of pregnancy-body, organized my jewelry and cleaned all of my silver jewelry (sounds so Downton Abbey) AND now I'm writing a second blog post in one weekend. Things must be getting better.

Still sick. Threw up in an alley (me and that homeless guy...), had a really unfortunate run-in with some Velveeta Mac & Cheese (that stuff is disgusting going in or going out), and am feeling pretty gross while I write this. Ready to say goodbye to all of this.

Oh, and a milestone! I went and got my first brazilian wax since getting pregnant. I go to an amazing waxing salon and love my esthetician. She told me I need to come in every 5 weeks now (I'm usually more of an every 2-3 months kinda girl) because everything grows more quickly during pregnancy. I had heard it was more painful during pregnancy. But let me tell you girls, I am a WIMP about waxing and it did hurt more (think waxing pre-period) than usual, but it was tolerable. My waxing lady did a good job of quickly putting pressure or rubbing in oil to ease the pain. After a particularly bad pull, she said, "Sorry guys....ha...I can say that now because there are two of you!" She told me that a lot of her clients are pregnant and that plenty of women come in on their due date to "prep" for the delivery room. Part of me thinks that is crazy, but part of me kinda gets it. Just to be totally honest here.

Oh, and a cute story. When we went to my friends' house this weekend for "Game Night," we told them we were pregnant and their little six-year-old daughter who was sitting there with feathers in her hair eating dinner, suddenly stood up on her chair and said, "YOU HAVE A BABY???" And I was all flustered and said, "Well no, not yet..." And she says, "Yes you do...you're PREGNANT!!" Love it.

So that's it. Some random updates. I'll leave you with another picture of the happily recovering chemo patient.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I Love Us

I met my husband when I was fifteen-years-old. Granted, I was dating one of his best friends at the time, but I have to admit I kind of wished I was dating him. He was dating a big-breasted blonde girl who I thought wasn't his intellectual equal (ha). We didn't go to the same high school, so I only saw him occasionally, but I always remember thinking he was so....bright. As in, shining and hard to look away from. So cute, funny, smart, and just his own person. Then, a few years later, at the end of my junior year my by-then-ex-boyfriend-who-was-hoping-to-hook-back-up-with-me (figure that one out), brought my husband along to a party I was having (yes, housesitting is awesome when you're in high school). Needless to say, I didn't hook back up with my ex, and my current-husband and I became inseparable. Actually, inseparable to a bit of a freakish level. We dropped most of our friends other than each other and I actually transferred to his high school for my senior year. I mean, I made a good case for transferring for the AP courses, etc, but who was I fooling?

Then we went away to separate colleges, a physical separation (but we stayed together in the relationship) which lasted exactly two years, until he ended up moving in to live with me my junior year. We got married after my first year of graduate school. We were 23. At the time, I felt like we had been together forever (which we kinda had), so I didn't really feel like it was that young to get married. Looking back I cannot believe we got married so young.

Less than a year later we almost split up. I'm not sure how much I want to share about it here, but I'll just say that my husband made some really, really terrible decisions. But I played my part in that. For the first two years of graduate school I walked around in a fog, not even realizing how depressed I was, and gave all that I had to give to my graduate program. There was literally nothing left to give to my new husband. We just lived in the same house. That's about it. After we got back together (again, spent a year physically separated in two different states, but stayed together), our relationship is now one of the strongest relationships I know. We still are so attracted to each other for the same reasons we got married - best friends, funny, smart, same interests, love to be together, etc, etc, etc - but we are also equipped with amazing tools to get through hard times and listen and SEE each other. I am 100% proud of my relationship. I think the work it took to get through what we got through was just as hard as finally getting my Ph.D.

Annnnnyhow, fast forward to today. My first trimester of pregnancy. Uh oh. Am I back in graduate school? I am in a fog again. I have nothing to give. Interesting conversations? Yeah right? Companionship? Sure, lie next to me on this bed and listen to me moan. Sex? Hahahahahah.

It brought up fears for me. I tried not to turn into a clingy person, as in "It's ok, you still love me right?" But to my surprise, it just hasn't been the same. We didn't go back to that sad, sad place. Instead, we're different people. We have a different view of our relationship. And this goal, rather than my PhD-goal, is something we both want and are willing to sacrifice for. (God, I love him.)

So the other night, for the first time in a very long time, we did something we used to do on a weekly basis. We went out to a wonderful dinner and ate amazing food and had REAL conversation. He surprised me with reservations at Gjelina , where I've been wanting to go for a long time but we've never gotten around to it. I have to admit, I was doubtful. I wasn't sure if I could stay awake, if I could eat the food, or if I could even taste the food. But it was great. I made it all the way to dessert before starting falling asleep into my Butterscotch Pot de Creme. The best part was when he looked at me and said, "I feel like I have my wife back!" Oh, and remember my laughter about shortage of sex? Well, let's just say it ended up being a good night.

Among other things, we talked about what having a baby will do to our relationship. It's scary really. Because I really, really love US. The two of us. So much so that I have trouble keeping close relationships with my female friends because he is just so much my best friend. And so, inviting another person into our dyad is scary. We talked about commitments to making time for the two of us, for taking trips just the two of us and not feeling guilty about leaving the kids with their grandparents, and we talked about still being interesting individuals that are attractive to the other person and not just being parents.

We talked about our parents as role models (or actually, the opposite of role models) for this. His parents had kids at 18-years-old and dedicated everything to their kids. But never really had time to figure out who they wanted to be. My parents were amazing at being united and loving being parents together. We were an amazing family, with fun trips, great family meals, lots of dreams and laughter. But then, my parents got a divorce when I was 18. They just never built enough time into being a couple.

And so? The conclusion? No fucking idea. But I feel like we can handle it. We've been through hell and back in the last 14 years and we came out with a lot of skills and understanding. In the end, I told my husband, "Well, look at what's happening with our dog. He is a lot of work. He is a 120-lb dog in Los Angeles, who has chronic health issues, who makes it hard for us to go on vacations, and who can be whiny and needy. But we are still happily spending thousands of dollars to treat his (newest) health problem, because we can't imagine our family without him. Take that feeling and multiple it by one million." I guess that means I feel okay about adding another person into our dyad.

I'm just planning on going into it armed with our hard-earned toolkit.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Really and Truly

Well today we had our third ultrasound. I have to tell you guys, I am literally on cloud 9 right now!! Remember, at first I was only cautious about my positive test, and then cautiously optimistic, and then terrified after my first ultrasound, followed by cautiously optimistic after the second and then followed by a whole lot of sick-sick-sick with pretty much no emotion. But today? Now? I am REALLY AND TRULY EXCITED!!!

Why, you might ask?

Well, this helped.

Seriously, the appointment was amazing. The baby was just RIGHT THERE, dancing around, kicking, punching and just being alive and doing things! At one point I think I said, "It's a little life."Which, retrospectively, sounds entirely cheesy, but now it's not just a little blob, it's a little, moving baby. MY baby. Our baby. Holy shit. I am officially excited.

Oh, and the doctor had been measuring the baby five days behind my estimated due date based on ovulation. Today, she said "Ok, ok, I'll give it to you. You're right..." And she moved my due date back to my original estimate of Halloween. My husband said, "Do you feel validated now?" Yep, honey, I do.

The rest of the appointment went well. She offered me some Zofran for the nausea, which I refused. I think I'd rather just deal with it naturally and don't need extra side effects of any medication right now. I also told her about getting so sick after the horse races. I told her as a joke. But she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Um, how about you don't do anything like that any more? that is WAY too much! Just stay close to home." Thank you doctor, for validating my extreme fatigue and laziness.

I'm going to call and schedule our NT scan for sometime between 12-14 weeks. The scan will be 3D - is this typical?? - and they will give us a prediction on gender! Woo! So excited!

Anyways, that's where I'm at right now, super excited, feeling that "high" that I expected to get when I first got the pregnancy test, and just oh-so-happy. I'm going to enjoy this feeling.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Quick Update: On Dogs and Vomit

So I know I left everyone hanging after my last post about Monte (I'm sure you were all on pins and needles, right?) but we've been through a lot since then. Since it's last Sunday night and I'm in a bit of a Sunday-night-funk, you're just going to get the quick and short update. So, last I updated you, our poor boy had lost his sight over the weekend. Then, miraculously, his vision came back on Monday! We were shocked. Unfortunately, we found out on Wednesday that the cause of his vision loss is cancer - Lymphoma to be exact. So, on Thursday we found ourselves at the City of Angels Canine Oncology Clinic. What a weird place. A lot of emotional people in the waiting room with their cats and dogs exchanging diagnoses, prognoses, and treatment plans. A bit like a cancer support group.

The clinic was amazing and the treatment we received was great. I fell in love with our vet. A cute, little-girl-like woman who curled up like a cat on the floor next to Monte and stroked his head through the whole exam. By this point, Monte had lost a ton of weight, had no energy, and was pretty unresponsive. We thought we were going there to get a timeframe on his life expectancy.

Instead, this little girl in a dress vet told us his cancer is the most common and most treatable form of canine cancer and that he had a good chance of putting the cancer into remission for at least a year, maybe more. We were shocked. We were also shocked by the cost of the chemotherapy. But, what could we do? We agreed to pay it and started the chemo that day.

Now, I should tell you that chemotherapy in dogs is nothing like chemo for people. There are none of the side effects (at least for the majority of dogs) and the impact is dramatic and rapid. Because of this, Monte began getting better the very day that he got his first treatment. That night, he played with his toys and ate a full dinner. Now? He's back to being alert, playful and happy. It's absolutely amazing.

The cost? Six months of treatment and a shitload of money. But it's so totally worth it.

Monte on a hike a few years back

Monte, just a tiny bit smaller!

I also wanted to give you a quick update on me. I've started to have a bit more energy lately. Enough so that I feel like I can actually participate in life again somewhat. I've been able to get more work done at work, which is good. And I don't immediately crawl into bed when I get home at night. On Saturday, we went to the races to see the Santa Anita Derby. A long and fun day and there is NO way I could have done that a week ago.

But I'm still sick. And I am so sick of being sick. I will write a post later describing this more in detail, but for those of you who haven't been through it yet, I will say that when you hear that you get "nauseous" in the first trimester, it is so much more than that. It is just an all-encompassing feeling of being sick. And it really wears you down emotionally.

Saturday, the day we went to the horse races, and the day I was so proud of being able to participate in, was bookended with two spectacular episodes of sickness. Starting with vomiting all over myself in the car on the way to the races and ending with the most horrific, disgusting (I will spare you the details) episode of vomiting I have ever had. **Note to self: Stick to bread and pasta. Do NOT eat nachos and cheeseburgers.

Anyhow, that's my update on me and Monte. Now it's Sunday night and I'm left wrestling with the fact that I didn't manage to do anything productive all day today and now the week is starting over. Oh well!