Updates Oh My

Amber_Eli_HangingOut

So many things to add this week. First of all Eli is crawling and sitting up. He actually started crawling a few weeks ago (more like the army crawl) but now he’s starting to fly along. His six month appointment went off without a hitch. He’s growing like a weed (19 lbs 1 oz) and has discovered how much he really loves his feet. At the beginning of the month his sleeping took a turn for the worse, but is slowly coming back to normal again. We finally moved him into his own room. The first night was harder for me than it was for him. He slept better than usual, so the transition is going to stick. I go back to work on Monday, so it’s time to make the change. Going back to work is bittersweet. I love my job and love my kid. I mean can I really love this guy anymore than I do. He’s my warm gummy bear.

Eli_Cristian_Laughing

Monday is the day I drop him off at day care. I would rant incessantly about the daycare situation in San Diego but I’m truly tired of talking about it. Basically, more than a year waiting list for decent places and expect to pay not just an arm and a leg but a gallon of blood and plasma. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. But I finally found a place with an opening that I feel comfortable about leaving him in their care. There needs to be a whole post about daycare in San Diego.

Amber_Eli_RedFlowers

Mama has been getting fit. I literally couldn’t wear anything in my closet but maternity clothes. I finally broke down and bought pants in a size I’d rather not type. This motivated me to join Weight Watchers. I really thought it was going to be like a cult but it really is so cool and inspirational. My first day I enrolled with a woman who came with her mom. The mom had lost 75 pounds and was no longer diabetic. From that day every time I ran I thought of her. I also completed a 8 week fitness challenge on Fitness Blender and then started a 13 week Jillian Michaels Challenge. Since December I’m down 20 pounds. But this is a drop in the bucket compared to how much I gained trying to get pregnant and then being pregnant. I remember days of salads drenched in ranch dressing and chocolate for breakfast. Well the 60 pounds later I popped out my little guy. Okay, he was cut out of me. But that sounds terrible doesn’t it. Anyway, I had a whole lotta love after he came out. Breastfeeding did not melt the pounds. I think it added more. Anytime, you give me a reason to eat, I’m there. So diet and exercise are the only way to go for me. I still have 15 pounds to my goal weight. But I’ve had to work so hard. I literally exercised every day for 3 months and watched every morsel to pass through my succulent lips. Yes, my lips are succulent.

Amber_Eli_Painting

Back to the kid. I’m so enthralled with watching him grow. Every day he learns something new. And he learns so quick. I became worried a few months ago that he wasn’t turning over because all my friends kids seem to be. I know, ridiculous, right. Every kid is different, blah, blah, blah. So I watched youtube videos on how to teach him to roll over. We practiced for a week and suddenly he was doing flips. Then we practiced crawling and he started crawling. Now this could be coincidental but I swear it’s because Eli is brilliant. Now, I’m worried he might start walking soon. I know this is ridiculous but I don’t know if I can take it just yet. I want to keep him small and squishy. My mom told me that I didn’t walk until I was 18 months, so I thought Eli would follow in my footsteps but today he tried to pull himself up.

Eli_Grandma

Grandma Vennie came to visit and took all of these great photos in this update. She’s a great photographer and always captures everyone at their best. She also watched Eli for two days while the hubby and I got away for a weekend. The first night I couldn’t sleep (yes, that’s my luck) and the second I slept for 7 hours straight. The first since Eli was born. So we love Grandma!

Okay, those are my condensed updates. My fingers were flying as I was typing. Please excuse any typos!

Nap Diaries Part 2

Eli_ThanksgivingSweaterIt seemed by the end of the first week of nap training that things were looking up. His crying was less and he was sleeping longer consistently. But then he learned to roll over.

He was rolling over from back to front and front to back when he was on the floor. Although, he was having a harder time rolling from front to back, even though this is supposed to be easier for them. But in his crib he would roll over on his stomach and become stuck. So for the next few days I would go in and roll him back over, only to have him do it again, as soon as I left. Basically, all the sleep training I had done was wasted. The rolling became like the pacifier, and I constantly flipped him.

I was also worried that once he was on his stomach he would suffocate. All the SIDS warnings peeled loudly as I watched the monitor. But then after talking to other moms, the help of Mr. Google and my pediatrician, I slowly came around to the idea that he’s not going to suffocate himself. Now that he’s physically able to flip over this won’t happen.

So I began sleep training all over again with the same guidelines as before. Except this time I stopped turning him over. The naps became shorter again and he would wake up after 15 minutes and start screaming. He had to learn to sleep on his stomach again. Thankfully, his nighttime sleep wasn’t affected by flipping over problem.

I have to tell you, starting sleep training again for the third time about killed my heart and soul. But I persevered. It took about 2 weeks for the first 2 naps to fall into place and now I can place him in his crib, give him a little kiss, sing a song a leave. There are still some tears but rarely over a minute. Most of the time he would either go right to sleep or roll around for a 5-10 minutes then fall on his own. I learned that the first nap needed to be at least 45 minutes to 1 hour and the second one 1.5 – 2 hours, otherwise he would become grumpy.

The third nap, however, made me want to pull my hair out . . . again. The ever shifting nap schedule for a baby makes me crazy. I don’t know if you’ve guessed this yet, but I’m not one of those free spirited moms in terms of daily planning. I’m a teacher, and I value consistency and schedules. I know my students do. And Eli does too. When he doesn’t sleep he’s grumpy all day and doesn’t sleep well at night.  But despite my best efforts the third nap proved to be difficult. He wouldn’t go to sleep, no matter how tired he was. All the books said that if your baby resists the third nap consistently they’re in the process of letting it go. Weissbluth’s book states that only 16% of infants past 6 months keep that last nap. I’ve also read that this statistic is only based off of one pool of infants and doesn’t reflect the reality. But in either case, Eli’s second nap would end by 1:30 or 2:00 and there was no way he could make it to a 7 pm bedtime without another nap. Not even a 6 pm bedtime.

So, I ended up doing what everyone says not to . . . I stroll(ed) him. Yep, I put him in the car seat, snapped him into the stroller and off we went. I decided to make it part of my exercise routine. The first day I had to stroll for 1.5 hours (he slept 30 minutes) but then I learned to time it better and now, he can be asleep within 10-15 minutes. My husband is against it but I figure that it’s the last nap AND the one he’ll drop next. That 30 minutes he gets is enough to get him to bedtime without a nuclear meltdown.

I know sleep training is controversial and isn’t possible for some families. I often think of families with twins or more than one child and how sleep training might be nearly impossible but for me and my family it was a necessity. However, it was an emotional roller coaster.

It still is some days. And I know it will be an ongoing process as Eli grows and goes through momentous changes. Some days I think about my little guy and how he has to learn how to crawl, to eat, to talk, and yes to sleep. There’s so much going on for him and for us. Some days I’m filled with so much love for him that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear him cry. But then I remember, crying is not the enemy. Not sleeping is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nap Training Diaries Part 1

Eli_asleep_jumperI had no idea before I had a baby that ‘sleep’ would be the most important subject of my life postpartum. But I’m sure that it comes to no surprise to most moms and dads. And from the other blogs I follow a very common topic. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

I first wanted to title this entry as sleep training because I have been working on day and night sleep for awhile now, but when I was going through a particular bad month of torturous naps, I couldn’t find a lot of information on the web about this area. The one blog that I did find from a mom in the battlefield on nap training really helped me, so this is what I’ll focus on here, in hopes that I can provide a beacon of hope for a sleep-deprived mom or dad.

I had no idea that I would ever be nap training. From about 6 to 13 weeks, Eli was sleeping pretty easily, anywhere, and would take long naps without much soothing from me. I would wrap, plop the pacifier in, and place him. I didn’t worry about light, sound, or the  room. I even took him on a 3 week road trip around the southwest without too many issues. And he was only waking up once a night.

But all that changed. 

Suddenly, he was waking up every 5 minutes fighting the wrap or wanting his pacifier put back in. So I began to unwrap him, but he would startle himself awake instead. Then began the patting and singing to him after I wrapped him so he’d fall asleep and not fight the wrap. This sometimes took as long as the nap itself. And if woke up after going to sleep and the pacifier had fallen out, he’d scream for his pacifier. I would run in and plop it back in his searching mouth. His eyes would be closed, his face a bright tomato with his sucking lips clamoring for the nipple.

I then researched pacifiers that didn’t fall out so easily. I purchased a few. They all fell out. After this came the Merlin suit that claimed to ease the transition from being wrapped to using a blanket. I attended a sleep seminar on how to create healthy soothing habits in babies. I ordered numerous books and devoured them. In a nutshell, most books recommend the following.

1.Place sleepy but awake
2. Invest in blackout curtains
3. Buy a sound machine
4. Create a sleep ritual, even for naps
5. Soothe only as much as needed, nothing more
6. Optimal room temperature at 68-72
7. Put on a nap schedule based on wake up time
8. Keep a nap log
9. Nap in the same place
10. Be consistent

The list goes on and on. Place sleepy but awake always got me. What was that exactly? Some books stated that if the kid is yawning or showing fussiness you’ve missed the magical window. Others relied more on watching the clock and putting down during the sleep window for the babies age. In fact, the awake window varied so much between books that I felt like I needed to be a mathematician to calculate the correct amount of sleep my child needed and how long they could comfortably be awake. To be honest I had no idea this kind of information existed. But I would try. I’d watch Eli and the clock. As soon as I saw what I viewed as a sleepy signal I’d move towards the bedroom. I slowly learned his signals but even when all of them were in place this did not guarantee a long nap or even at the same time every day. The heck with a schedule!  I had no idea how these well-respected pediatricians and sleep experts expected this to just fall in place. Don’t give up, I would read. Give it time. So I did. We suffered.

And then his night sleep began to follow the naps. He would wake up every 1-2 hours to have his pacifier put back in, fight the wrap or wake-up because he wasn’t wrapped. I was exhausted. I was alone in this reality and was at a loss as what to do. I asked all my mommy friends for advice and what consistently came up was that most of the moms I knew whose babies slept healthily used Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. I had heard of this book but hadn’t read it and was tired of reading about sleep. So I ignored the advice for the moment.

I then began what I think of as the dark month of agony and sleeplessness. I intuitively knew that I had to take away his pacifier and teach him how to self-soothe but I was scared. I didn’t want to take his pacifier at 4.5 months because he was so little and what if he really needed this support. I also never let him cry more than absolutely necessary. Yes, that’s right, he hardly ever cried. Sure, if he was hungry or in the car, but it wasn’t for very long, if I could help it. If he began a whimper I was there with a pat, a song, a love, anything to make him happy. I think I even viewed the ability to keep him happy as one of my best mommy qualities.

I was one of those mommies who did not believe in letting their baby cry it out. 

I was one of those mommies not sleeping. 

I was one of those mommies with a grumpy baby. 

So, I decided to try timed checks. I knew it would involve some crying but would also allow me to train slowly. Basically, for those who don’t know, is that you put your baby down to sleep with the above 10 in place and then decide that if your baby cries you check back in timed intervals. For example, after 2 minutes of crying, you check on your baby, soothe and leave. If he/she begins to cry again, you wait 5 minutes before going back in. Then 10 minutes, etc., until your baby falls asleep. On day 2 you start with 5 minutes rather than 2. OR you can repeat the same times for 3 days before increasing them.  But whatever ‘times’ you choose the goal is for your baby to fall asleep without you there and without having to have his/her normal soothing elements. In my case, a pacifier. If the pacifier fell out then I wouldn’t put it back in until I did a check, if needed, at a specific time. Don’t worry, if you’re tired or confused by reading this. It’s exhausting.

The first day was the worst. Eli cried for 40 minutes. I cried for 40 minutes. The second day wasn’t any better. But according to the all the books I read, you shouldn’t give up. But by the end of the week, I knew it wasn’t going to work. The timed checks only helped Eli to know that if he cried long enough I would eventually come. And there was still the problem of the pacifier. It wasn’t the method for us.

Another mom friend recommended Weisbluth’s book. Her son was now seven and she told me it saved her life. She reassured me that her son is a normal, active seven-year-old who loves his mommy. She hadn’t ruined him by teaching him how to sleep. 

The book arrived. At first I resisted reading it. It weighed five pounds and the typing seemed small. I couldn’t dive into another book about babies and sleep when I was too tired to actually read. So, I read it while pumping. And only the pages I needed. He has different methods in the book but the one I knew was the best method for my son after failing at everything else was the extinction method. Basically, the Ferber CIO. In the past, I was so sure that this wasn’t an option for my son. He’s a crier, I used to tell people. He’ll cry for hours. I can’t torture him like that. I had also read articles on how crying creates serotonin in babies and other articles discussed how crying kills brain cells. I was horrified. There is also the judgment from other mothers who practice attachment parenting or who just don’t believe in crying of any kind. It really is amazing how people assert that you should be able raise your child anyway you want but judge and give advice constantly about how you should really do it.

It wasn’t until one day, after a week of constant day and night wake ups, that I was driving back from Target with Eli and had a breakthrough. He’d been crying for what seemed like hours but was in fact only about a mile when he stopped. Just like that. I realized that when I couldn’t soothe him (I’m trapped behind a wheel in heavy traffic) that he will actually stop crying on his own. Yep, with all his brain cells. Now, I know hearing your child cry is hard. Hearing any baby cry can be annoying, aggravating, melancholy, and downright nails on a chalkboard but your own baby that you nurture and love with everything you have is a whole other enchilada.

But it was time. Time to teach Eli to self-soothe more.

So I got everything in order. I needed to feel 100% confident in this endeavor. My previous failure fueled me and the certainty that I was doing the right thing. I ordered a baby monitoring system and put it in place. We didn’t have one – long story. I then spoke to my pediatrician about taking away the pacifier and how long she thought it was okay to let Eli cry. I then came up with a nap system based on Weissbluth’s book and advice. AND based on my baby.

The Modified Extinction System

  1. Make sure all the right elements are in place. Baby is tired, fed, and dry. The room is dark, the sound system is on, and he’s dressed appropriately. Now, all of these are for the baby but also for me.  I need to know that if and when he cries it’s not because of any of these things. This will give me strength.
  2. Once all of these elements are close to perfect, I sing a lullaby and put him in his crib. I leave.
  3. I keep a sleep tracking log. This helps my poor memory and gives me a sense of control. I also have a timer ready, to time the cries. 1 minute of your baby crying can feel like 1o, so it helps give me perspective and accuracy for the log.
  4. Once he’s in the crib, I let him cry until he goes asleep.
  5. If he goes to sleep but wakes up before 30 minutes, I let him cry himself back to sleep.
  6. If he sleeps over 30 minutes but under 45 I will try to quickly soothe him back to sleep. If this doesn’t work, I will get him up and try for a longer nap next time.
  7. If he sleeps longer than 45 minutes, I will get him up.
  8. I never let him cry more than 40 minutes. This is my threshold. Weissbluth recommends up to 60 minutes.
  9. No pacifier. For my baby, this was necessary because it was the heart of the wake-ups.
  10. I make sure I have support in place – a friend to call or text.Or better yet, have them with you.Or have your partner do the training.

I also made  a promise to be consistent and not give up. Since I had tried everything else and failed, this was my last resort, so I needed it to work. Also, what else really resonated with me was that in Weissbluth’s book he mentions that children are going to cry. That’s what they do. When they don’t like something or want something. They’ll cry when you try to brush their teeth or force them to eat carrots or any of the myriad things that mothers and fathers ask their child to do help them grow healthy and strong. So if your kid cries, are you going to let them not brush their teeth? No, you’re not. Crying is part of the journey.

Yes, right now Eli is little but I’m here to guide him and this means guiding him to good sleep. There’s so much evidence that shows that children who sleep well are more successful in school, experience life with more joy, and that parents who sleep more are better parents.

The Sleep Training Began

The first day I took away the pacifier for the first nap and began the extinction method.

During the days of desperately trying to find information on nap training, I came across a blog that used the Extinction Method and posted her sleep log. This really gave me comfort and an idea of what I was in for.  So, I have mine below.

Sleep Log for Day 1 – (Eli was about 5 Months)

Nap 1- 8:09 am
Cried-5 minutes (light crying then he did his sleepy sounds)
Woke at 9:00
Sleep Total: 46 minutes

Nap 2- 10:57 am
Cried-2 minutes
Woke at 11:10
Cried 11 minutes
Woke at 12:54
Sleep Total: 1 hour 44 minutes

Nap 3 – 2:56 pm
Cried 17 minutes
Woke at 4:00 pm
Sleep Total: 47 minutes

Bed – 6:45 am
No crying. He went right to sleep
Woke at 2:45 am – Fed 5 oz
Woke at 5:45 am – he soothed himself & went back to sleep
Official wake up at 6:30 am

How did I feel? Well, to be honest I knew I’d done the right thing by taking away the pacifier. First of all, it would sometimes take me 45 minutes to get him to sleep, almost as long as the nap, only to have him wake up because of the missing pacifier. Also, at night he was waking up 6-8 times. I have my logs from those nights as proof. Now, he was back down to 1. However, hearing him cry at all was awful. It would take days before I learned to accept that it would always be that way for me.

Day 2 

Nap 1 – 8:30 am
Cried 2 minutes
Woke at 9:20 am
Sleep Total: 48 minutes

Nap 2 – 11:22 am
Cried for 5 minutes
Woke at 11:32
Cried for 10 minutes
Woke at 12:19
Cried for 6 minutes – Decided to scrap the nap
Sleep Total: 37 minutes

Nap 3 – 1:00 pm (really grumpy & tired)
Cried for 15 minutes
Woke at 2:11
Sleep Total: 56 minutes

Nap 4 -4:21 pm
Cried for 40 minutes
Decided to scrap the nap

Bed at 6:30 pm (pushed an earlier bedtime)
No crying. Fell right to sleep
Woke at 3:00 (fed 5 oz)
Official wake up at 6:45 am

How did I feel? Well, the napping had gone terrible, especially that last nap. I would soon discover that this last nap would prove to be really difficult. This nap is the one that gets dropped between 6-9 months. But the night sleep was excellent. I’ve always read that the day sleep affects the night sleep and vice a versa but in this case it didn’t. The crying was still a wound on my soul but I knew that it had to be done.

Day 3

Nap 1 – 8:53 am
Cried 5 minutes
Woke at 10:21
Sleep Total: 1 hour 23 minutes

Nap 2 – 12:23 pm
Cried 1 minute
Woke at 1:19
Sleep Total: 54 minutes

Nap 3 – 3:18
Cried 3 minutes
Woke at 4:11
Sleep Total: 5o minutes

Bed – 6:45 pm
Woke at 2:00 (fed 5 oz)
Woke at 5:00 but self-soothed/fell asleep
Official wake up at 6:30 am

How did I feel? Much better after day 2. His cries were becoming less and even the sound of them were more grumbling than deep crying like he had done before when I did the timed checks. It did occur to me that my previous attempt at training might have really helped this second effort. But removing the pacifier as a sleep crutch seemed to help a lot.

But then day 4 happened and that is a whole other blog. . .

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Motherhood

Eli_Dressed UpMama Looks NiceEli_So Cute Face

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. My only excuse is that I had a baby and suddenly there was a new boss in town. Elijah George Troncoso was born on September 1st after 26 hours of labor, followed by a cesarean. Needless to say the physical recovery took longer than expected, coupled with the reality of taking care of a newborn. I spent my entire high-risk pregnancy being worried every day that something would take this little guy from me that I never planned for how I would take actually care of him. I don’t come from a big family with lots of children, nor had I ever been around any longer than a few hours, so my skills in this area were pretty comical. I’m also have an obsessive and perfectionist personality and as most people know this does not mix well with a brand new little human.

The learning curve the first few months was huge. I think I must have cried almost every day. Of course the raging hormones didn’t help and the huge struggle I had with breast feeding fed the fire and not to mention the not sleeping part – I was a hot mess. I remember the first day I was going to be completely alone with him was the scariest day of my life. I practically begged my husband not to leave me. I seriously did not know how the population continued to increase after the stark realization of being a mom became clear to me. Sure, I adored the little guy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And yes, as many have reminded me, it’s worth it (a phrase I’ve learned to loathe) and yes, after many years of trying I should not complain, and I’m not; I’m only pointing out that being a mom is emotionally hard. I really had no idea! 

But my husband did go to work and there we were – just the two of us. By the end of the day, I thought, well, that wasn’t so bad. Perhaps, I could do this. That one day was followed by two then three, and then I realized that I needed to leave the house to buy food. Leaving the house seemed like a daunting task. We live on the second floor and the stairs alone intimidated me. How was I supposed to carry the car seat with a baby and a diaper bag stuffed with every possible thing you might need (I was a new mom, okay!) all the way to my car through the courtyard and then around to my garage. I did manage to do this. I got to the store and realized that the stroller would have to be the cart. Eli has never liked carriers, so I could only buy what could actually fit in the space below the stroller. Surprisingly, you can fit quite a lot.

Once home I had to carry the groceries, along with Eli in the car seat, and stuffed bag at the same time. I did this in stages, taking long pauses along the way. By the time I did get everything back home the kid was screaming for hunger and for a poopy diaper. Baby screams, especially when they’re your kid are unbearable. I always became frantic. Now, I’m better at tolerating his cries but as a new mother it was literally the worst sound of my life.

But we survived! 

I suppose that is the point of the phrase, ‘It’s worth it, right?’ The reminder that despite the tears and fears, this little human is yours. And you’re his. Rubbing the baby soft skin and kissing those wet lips make it all worth it. So it’s true, it’s worth it.

But this Facebook, idealized version of motherhood that’s propagated on posting the cutest baby pictures everywhere (have you seen the ones I just posted of Eli. Egads, he’s cute) and making every non-mother believe that new motherhood is this land of baby bliss is false.  And by saying this, doesn’t make me a bad mother. It makes me a real one.

 

I’m still here

I was inspired today to write a post after months of absence. I still read all the pregnancy blogs I subscribe to daily, but writing has been elusive and to be honest I’m not sure why. Perhaps, it was about the fear of sharing too much or not enough or the wrong things at the wrong time but I’m still here. I’m still here at almost 35 weeks and this is blissful. 

Reaching 35 weeks and knowing that my baby will be here by Labor Day amazes me. Not that reaching this point has not had its high and low points. First, I had two cases of initial unexplained bleeding.  Both later diagnosed as benign cervical polyps. Then during my 19 week ultrasound the doctor discovered what he viewed as a velamentous cord insertion. This bumped me from my planned natural birth to a high-risk hospital pregnancy. I then had to find a doctor as quickly as possible and committ to regular ultrasounds to monitor growth. But at my 30 week ultrasound I was downgraded or upgraded (depending on how you looked at it) from a velamentous cord insertion to a marginal insertion with no indications of placenta previa or abruptia. Little ELi was growing fine and even measuring ahead at times. The relief was palatable. 

I will have to go in twice a week for antenatal stress tests and ultrasounds starting in my 36th week to monitor the heartbeat, growth, and anmiotic fluid. I’m worried that something will go wrong but the worry is always there, regardless of what is on the horizon. I’ve yet to meet a mother-to-be that doesn’t. 

As far as pregnancy symptons go, I’ve had it pretty good based on what I’ve read on other blogs. My feet and ankles did swell up to resemble Italy, and I do have occassional heartburn  but really carrying a bowling ball around hasn’t been that bad. Sure, I can’t see my feet and picking up a dropped fork is difficult, but I think this is something all pregnant women have problems with. And if they don’t, well, they probably have realized that it’s best to keep quiet about it. 

The highlight of the week was first installing our new red car seat and next washing and prepping diapers. I’m sure I will look fondly back at my excitement over diapers and roll my little eyes at my old self, but as I folded and stacked I marveled at how I never imagined that I’d being doing this after so many years of trying to just get pregnant. That was the goal and everything else was an unpainted landscape. When my good friends were planning my baby shower they get asking me what colors I wanted, games, and other stuff and each time I kept saying, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. One responded with, but you’ve wanted a baby for so long you must have some idea. You see that’s the thing, the center of the watermelon, I never was able to see past the goal of becoming and staying pregnant, so now that I’m here, all of it is a surprise. 

See ya later scaremester!

I’m officially 12 weeks and 2 days. I just told the last really important person in my life the news. This feels like a huge milestone to me, and I thought I would write a post to commemorate the occasion. I’m still having some slight spotting, but I’ve been told this is from the uterine polyp removed last week. Still the spotting is really psychologically disturbing, as you can imagine, so I really wish that it would go away. My midwife explained that about 20% of all pregnancies have some unexplained spotting/bleeding. I really am always in that low percentile. If there is a chance of something, I seem to experience it. But the baby on the 12 week ultrasound was doing a boogie woogie and the heartbeat was right on target, so I have to just let go of my fears. Naively I really had no idea how much fear and worry there is associated with pregnancy. I thought just becoming pregnant was the milestone.

I really love reading all the blogs I’m following. Some of you have recently become pregnant and this is so heartwarming. Others are still getting there and this is heart wrenching. It’s hard writing about my journey when so many others are still struggling. But today I wanted to write because it truly does feel like I’ve reached a new doorway into this journey and the feeling of hope and love is amazingly strong. I’m sending these vibes out and hope that you’re catching them.

10 Week Thoughts

It has been a while since I’ve written. Mostly because I’ve been having a hard time relaxing into this pregnancy. I’ve had a few emotional break downs and one trip to the emergency room. Even at ten weeks and a few days, I find it hard to rejoice in this gift I’ve been given, mostly because I’m so afraid that it will be taken away. But at this point the chance is very small. I’ve seen the heartbeat and my baby almost weekly since conception and each time a sense of relief floods my synapsis and for a little bit I relax. But then a few days later I start to worry again and the fear threatens to take over. I fight this pesky emotion with yoga, acupuncture, visualizations, and writing. I even allow myself to plan a little. This week I took on the task of deciding where to have my baby. I really want to have a natural birth at a birth center with a few close people and a doula. So, I toured UCSD Medical Center’s Birth Center and Best Start, a freestanding center close to two major hospitals, including UCSD.

After the tours, I decided on Best Start because it really was like giving birth at grandma’s house, as one recommender yelped. They also practice a method of prenatal care called Centering and this really interests me. The whole place gave off the essence of love and compassion. The birth center at UCSD wasn’t what I was expecting. I knew that it was in a hospital but I expected the birth center to be more of an oasis in the middle of a big city. But I never got that impression. They do have great statistics and the midwives at the tour were really professional and nice. Not to mention all the technology and specialists are seconds away. Still Best Start seemed to be a better fit for me. But then at dinner I started to bleed. It was a medium flow that seemed to come all at once and then start to stop. I immediately went to the emergency room at UCSD because it is literally two blocks from my house. I wasn’t having any cramping, which really helped to ease my fears.

The ER was buzzing with people and eventually, after a blood test, two doctor’s visits, and two nurses asking me the same questions, I was wheeled down to radiology for an ultrasound. The radiologist told me that the doctor would give me the results. I asked him to please let me know if the baby had a heart beat. He said of course. In seconds my little fig was on the screen. I could see the flashing light. The heartbeat. The sense of relief was absolutely keen, almost surreal. The baby even waved. I swear. It looked like a wave. She (I prefer to think of her, as a her, but a boy would be just find too) just kept moving around. It was absolutely beautiful.

After the most thorough ultrasound I have ever had, I was wheeled back to my room to wait to hear from the doctor. The radiologist did tell me that he saw a very small subchorionic rupture but that the doctor wouldn’t mention it because it was so small. At the time I had no idea what that was, but later I educated myself via google (the most dangerous thing in my life) and basically it’s blood that builds up in the layers of the developing placenta. It can become serious and eventually pull the placenta away from the uterus. The doctor told me that there was no known cause for my bleeding. A lot of women have unexplained bleeding during pregnancy and are fine. I was the fourth pregnant women that day to come to the ER. I asked him if there was a subchorionic rupture and he said no. So who knows. I have been having some brown discharge since then but no cramping and no red blood. I’ve had morning sickness and other oh so reassuring pregnancy symptoms in abundance, so I’m just going to have to say . . . it is what it is.

But it has made me revaluate my decision to give birth at Best Start. At UCSD I have immediate access if something goes wrong and a strong chance of giving birth naturally. The problem with birth centers at hospitals is that even though they really do believe in natural birth and want to make sure your birth plan is followed, they are also beholden to hospital regulations. This means if my birth doesn’t go exactly as they hospital sees a low-risk birth, I will be shipped off to labor and delivery where my choices might be made by other people. So I guess I need some advice on this. Where is everyone delivering? Hospital? Birth Center? Natural?

Staying Positive

I found that after the shock wore off, I became giddy, then fearful. Since I know what it is like to be filled with so much excitement and hope over the coming birth of a child, only to have that taken away, it can be a little hard not to worry just a little bit. Last time, I even started to pick out car seats and baby daycare at 8 weeks. Now, I’m reticent. I have told some close friends and family members, but only because they knew I was going through the IVF process. I’m still yet to blast it from the rooftops. I have to remind myself that this time I’m different, everything is different. There is a difference in how I view my body and how I view being pregnant. I have to remember to trust my body. I have to remember that I beat the odds and this wasn’t by accident. It was because I believed I could and through changing my diet and daily habits. I must remember to keep my faith and know that this child is meant to be born now.

So on the first day of the New Year in 2015 I want to usher in the day with love and positive affirmations.

Simply Positive

I’m really at a loss as what to write. For months, I had this post planned in my head. But today, I really am just thankful and in awe. Yesterday, my beta came back at 525. My husband took the call because I just couldn’t, and when he told me I screamed a little bit. I think I paced for awhile before I finally sat down to the realization that I am actually pregnant.

After the shock wore off, I took a pee test of my own. I needed to see the words written in a clear blue before I actually believed them. There were some promising signs that led up to this moment; some that could just be coincidence but I thought I would share them anyway. During the dreaded TTW I kept dreaming about the number 25. The morning of the beta I googled the number and the first sight I came to stated the 25 meant an intelligent child would be born. The number 25 is also my lucky number. It has been since I was 16 when I worked at Denny’s. It was my server number. The beta results also have the number 25 in them. The next coincidence was that the date of the beta test – the 27th of December – was the due date for the child I miscarried. So I found out I am pregnant again on the due date my first child would have been born.

Perhaps, none of these things mean anything. But for some reason I keep thinking about them. I do have some other physical signs (sore boobs, tiredness, and insomnia) but for the most part I wasn’t sure what the results would bring. I’m so thankful and happy. For those waiting for good news, my heart is still with you.

Hope Stands

Talks to watch when every conceivable thing goes wrong

Today, as I was preparing a course using TED Talks, I stumbled across a playlist of talks to watch when every conceivable bad thing has happened to you. The first one I watched was by Stacey Kramer who talks about the biggest gift she ever received. I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what that gift was, you’ll just have to watch, but I will say that it is connected to wat what most people who get off the infertility train say – I learned so much and wouldn’t change a thing.

So, here’s to the gift of this journey. May it arrive earlier than expected.