Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Oh yeah, the other thing I wanted to jot down today:

Today was the first day I've felt him hiccup. Exactly 30 weeks. I had been wondering whether I just didn't know what it felt like and was missing it, but at my 28 week appointment he had the hiccups while we were listening to his heartbeat. The nurse said she couldn't feel them either, but we could definitely hear them on the doppler. She didn't seem to think it was weird, so that reassured me. But today I'm pretty sure I felt them for the first time. Go kid!

Musings at 30 weeks

Today marks 30 weeks, and I have a hard time believing it. The kid is so fun these days, moving around in all different ways. Some of them are uncomfortable as he gets stronger, and the hip pain when he hits the wrong spot is definitely the least pleasant part. But it’s pretty miraculous, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of feeling him move.

We toured the maternity ward of the hospital this weekend, and although I was kind of overwhelmed, it all seems good and I definitely feel reassured that almost all of their policies are ideal for what we want. I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s realistic to have my mom there when I give birth, and also whether there’s a way to make that happen without hurting my mother-in-law’s feelings. We still need to find a pediatrician and get a will written, but I’m feeling on top of those projects.

The baby shower is rolling along, and will be in a few weeks. I’m nervous for that – I’ve never had a shower before, and I’ve only been to one bridal shower in my whole life. Never a baby shower. But I’m trying to ignore the fear and just be happy about getting to celebrate with our family and friends. If anyone has been to a baby shower and has an idea about a good favor, that part is totally up in the air right now. Ideas would be much appreciated!

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned the apple thing here before, but the kid seems to have a definite reaction whenever I eat apples. He goes crazy moving every which way. I’ve never been able to figure out whether that means he loves apples or hates apples. But it’s clearly a strong reaction. It only recently occurred to me that at some point he’ll start eating solid food and we can test out what he thinks of apples. I’m really looking forward to that! And it’s hilarious, because for Passover I made some charoset (which mostly consists of chopped up apples). I don’t think of it as “apple” because it’s all mixed up with other flavors, but half an hour after I ate a whole bunch of it the kid went nuts and it took me a little while to figure out why he was SO energetic : ) It’s one of the few things about his “personality” that we’ve already gotten to see, and I love it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy birthday to me (and only me)

Just a quick note to commemorate this day, my 29th birthday. I will, in the future, have complex feelings about this age and all the things that are going to happen this year. I'm willing to bet that it will be amazing. One for the record books. But this year is going to start right were I am today: pregnant, with my thesis due today, and a bad night's sleep punctuated by a very detailed dream about being in premature labor because the baby doesn't get that it's my birthday and not his.

Luckily that's not the case, and his only problem today is that my blood pressure is unnaturally high due to anxiety. But the quickest fix for that is the best fix for everything else: finish writing my thesis and send it to the printer. So that's the plan, and I think it's going to be great. A PhD is a really nice thing to get myself for my birthday. And then I have the rest of the year to think about all the other components to my world. Including the squirmy baby who had to survive this last week with me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I hate that I am obsessing about this

Prepare yourself for the lamest, first-world, fertile “problem” ever. I want to buy a $1000 chair. The bottom line on it is that although I could buy a used Dutailier glider for basically nothing, I hate how they look and haven’t found one that’s particularly comfortable. Nothing I could imagine choosing over my couch when it comes time to breastfeed my kid(s). I only like the look of the fully upholstered ones, but the swivel bases make me seasick. So the top of the line Dutailier upholstered recliner ones (which are insanely, absurdly comfy) are basically the only thing that’s appealing.

But in general, spending $1000 on a chair is not in line with my financial values. So I have spent ages on Craigslist and ebay trying to find what I want at a reduced price ($1000 is the super sale price for a new one). It just doesn’t exist. These particular chairs haven’t been out for very long, and no one who has one sells it to a stranger. So it’s basically between getting a super cheap used glider that is totally functional, but not as comfortable and not really what I want, to use just until the kid (or the last one assuming we have more) is a little older, or getting the ridiculously spiffy one and keeping it forever as a recliner once it moves out of the baby’s room. Potentially relevant to the time frame is the fact that we plan to have more kids, and that my husband loves the spiffy chair and would totally use it as a reading chair for the rest of our lives.

It is essential to mention here that we don’t really buy furniture, and we certainly don’t buy nice furniture. We don’t own a home, and may not be in this area long term, so having to move nice furniture is just silly for us, and since it’s hard to imagine what we will need in the future it never feels like a good investment to me. However, those arguments don’t really apply to this chair, so it’s not like I couldn’t make an exception to my self-imposed cheap/free furniture rule. Everything in our house at the moment is a hand-me-down (good stuff) or from the lower end of Ikea, with the exception of our mattress. I have never thought twice about spending $1200 on our mattress because it brings us so much joy. I know this approach to furniture is slightly bizarre, but it works for us on the whole.

I had been intending to buy a new (high quality) twin mattress for the baby’s room that I could sleep on when he’s really little and needs a lot during the night, and then it would become a guest bed when we move into a bigger place. I had expected to spend around $750 on this, or maybe a little bit more. This is instead of buying a bassinet for our room, which won’t necessarily fit, and will allow us instead to have one person sleep through the night and the other be up with the baby. But I figured that if it was hard to find a used glider I want but easy to find a good used mattress, maybe that was the better way to go. Yesterday we picked up a totally fine mattress from a woman on freecycle (no bedbugs – don’t worry). And on Friday we’re hoping to get another one and a box spring and frame. So we can choose the better of the two mattresses, and then we’ll be all set for that major piece of “nursery” furniture.

So on the whole we’re really not spending much on baby stuff (again, depending on your perspective). We’re incredibly lucky to have lots of family who want to give us the things we need, and we just don’t need that much. So far the plan is Ikea crib, ikea or craigslist dresser, and a chicco carseat. We won a stroller in an online contest, so although I anticipate that we may eventually need to buy a cheap, light one to complete our stroller needs, we should be covered for as long as we want to be.

All of this is to justify that most of the bigger purchases aren’t going to cost us a lot of money. Enter the emotional component of this story, which is why it’s an obsession at all.

We saw the glider and wanted it, but couldn’t really feel like we could justify spending that much money on a chair rather than on the nanny or a college fund or retirement, etc. For the record, my husband is willing to go either way on this, and I’m sure would be happy with either choice. I was leaning towards the “cheap short-term used” route when I went to visit my parents a few weeks ago. I mentioned the conundrum, and they were definitely shocked that I would consider spending that much money on a chair. I’m usually the cheap one, and they had never even heard of these kinds of gliders and couldn’t believe anyone would spend money like that on baby furniture. But last weekend my mom came to visit and we took her baby shopping to get her advice on a bunch of other stuff. While there, we had her check out the chair, and she was immediately convinced that the chair was worth it. She talked me into buying it by pointing out how much we were economizing on everything else, and even helped us pick a color and stuff. Since my parents had offered to buy us a stroller before we won the contest one, she said they would chip in for this instead, and my father-in-law had already given us $200 for a stroller that we could put toward this too. We didn’t buy the chair on the spot because I’m cautious like that, but it made me feel much more comfortable doing what I wanted to.

I’ve been feeling really good for a couple of days about this decision and got to work finding the mattress on craigslist to make myself feel even better about the choice. But this morning my mom called to tell me that my cousin has a glider I can have for free (but have to transport from New York), and that my aunt thinks it’s stupid to buy a new one when we’re only going to use it for a few months. I see that perspective (I’ve HAD that perspective), but it threw me that suddenly the roles were reversed and now I was talking my mom into the idea that I should buy it. It’s worth mentioning here that for the last 4-5 days I’ve been crazy hormonal (like, clomid bad!) so anything approaching other people disapproving of me has the ability to send me into a tailspin. I just can’t handle the idea that my mom, or my aunt, or my cousin would think I’m doing the wrong thing about this “big” decision. I know that sounds absurd, but I’m a lot better at standing my ground when the decision actually matters than in stupid stuff like this. My aunt is pretty judgmental, and definitely has no compunctions about saying what’s on her mind, so in my current hormonal state I just can’t handle a conversation about how she thinks I’m doing the wrong thing. Hopefully it won’t come up, but I’m just overwhelmed thinking about how I can possibly defend my decision to spend so much money just because I want to. So at the moment the emotional parts of my brain are at war with each other over a very childish “but I really want it” and a similarly childish “but I don’t want anyone to yell at me.” Neither of which should really be the basis for the decision.

Ok, rant over. What do you think I should do? On the one hand, splurging on something that’s going to make me happy seems like a reasonable thing to do in the context of good overall financial decisions. On the other hand, I can’t tell if this is just too much of a splurge and goes beyond the bounds of a reasonable financial decision.

To my favorite mover and shaker

Hey kid,

You are so much fun right now. Moving all over the place, and poking out various appendages in dramatic and amusing ways. It’s kind of distracting, since you’ve been so active in the last few days and all I want to do is sit and marvel. But we have also accomplished a lot, so that’s good too.

Hip pain, heartburn and exhaustion are all fun tokens of this time, but luckily the hip pain hasn’t continued to increase. That was a scary night when I couldn’t roll over or walk! We do a lot better when you stay higher up and out of my pelvis, so please try to keep it up.

We bought you a bunch of stuff this weekend at a rummage sale. You have quite the pile going now! A bunch of clothes (to add to the ones your grandfather and step-grandmother got you) and a play mat and a crib set. Added to the hats and rattle and blanket and other things they bought you for “Christmas” you have a ton of loot now. It’s pretty cool. Although we’re going to hold off on buying the crib until you’re close to full term, to avoid the worst of the superstitious fear. But we’re making pretty good progress for non-shoppers.

I’m sorry about the baby shower drama, although my guess is that you’re responsible for the hormones that made me cry so much this weekend. I think the plan we’ve got going now where your grandmothers and aunt are going to host it and it will be at our house is a good one. It certainly satisfies the control freak part of me and especially the “not putting anyone out” part. Should be a fun time, although we still have to work out the guest list. So many people already love you : )

And we REALLY love you. It’s miraculous and marvelous and amazing all at the same time. Your dad’s Fatherhood 101 class said he needed to work at bonding with you, but I think he’s pretty much a goner already. He hasn’t gotten to bond with you over baseball yet, but the day will come soon enough. And you’re going to get to attend your first Red Sox game before you’re even born when we go on my birthday. I’ll still be holding a grudge that that’s what we’re doing for MY birthday by your 3rd one : )

We can’t wait to meet you! But please take seriously the pep talks we’ve been giving you and hold out until you’re full term and 8ish pounds, ok?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Just some notes so I can remember this period in my life:

Trying to be productive but not psycho so that the baby can have a PhD-wielding mommy but limited intrauterine adrenaline. It's looking like my thesis defense will be a videoconference!

Headed to the Pacific Northwest for 2 weeks (work and vacation). Nervous about comfort while traveling, but hoping it's a good time.

We got life insurance, which makes me insanely happy, but I'm still worried about the guardianship decision.

Had dinner with the couple we'll be sharing a nanny with. Nervous, but kind of psyched too.

Totally overwhelmed by the registry process, but feeling like I have a better handle on it. Just keep reminding myself that we can buy anything we need later. There's nothing that we will ever need that we can't afford to buy the kid ourselves.

Trying to figure out whether I can handle paying $1000 for a glider. Our mattress is the only piece of furniture we've ever spent that much on (or even close to that much) and I was pretty sure I was going to use the mattress forever. On the one hand it's pretty, comfy, and everyone says it's something worth spending money on. On the other hand, I can't figure out if it's in line with my values to spend $1000 on a chair when I could use that money to pay for college or travel. Or retirement.

Still can't handle vegetables at all. This is by far the most painful GI situation I've ever had.

Have been having trouble sleeping well for the first time since my husband started using breathe right strips. I may need to add a third pillow to my system.

The kid has been kicking a lot in the last few days. He never kicks hard when my husband is trying to feel him, but it's really fun being reminded that I have a companion in everything I do. Especially when I'm up at 4am.

I'm worried about being out of shape, since I've been feeling mediocre, the weather has been very cold, I've had terrible round ligament pain, and I feel like I'm supposed to be working all the time. Sometimes when I lie on my side my heart feels funny - like it's beating too hard. I worry about blood pressure, but it's usually in a fine range when I go to the doctor. Trying to figure out whether it's worth the money to join the gym for the pool just until our apartment's pool opens in May. I'm leaning towards yes. Walking sucks right now because of the round ligament pain, and I can't stand feeling so fragile.

Overall I'm pretty happy. We are so, so blessed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's (going to be) a boy!

Isn't he cute?

Also, he's awesome because he refused (like the contrary kid I know he is) to get in the right position for them to do one of the heart flow measurements. No need to be worried about it, but for completeness they want to do that when we go back next. So we get another ultrasound! Yay! Go kid!

Naming ideas have begun in earnest now, and we have a short list, but I wonder how we'll choose among the top 3-4.

I can't wait to meet him. But I really need him to stay inside for another 18 weeks so that he can be healthy and strong, and so I can get all my work done before he arrives!

My kid can kick

Several things:

He's getting stronger and stronger, which is really fun. Although it makes his kicking more distracting (like when I'm sleeping). I can't wait until my husband can feel it too.

We got life insurance! Yay! Now we can be confident that the guardians we chose will be able to take our kid in the unlikely event that something happens to us. This makes me much less anxious that our kid will somehow (through an absurd worst-case scenario) end up going to my sister-in-law and the evil guy she married.

I am extremely relieved that my husband and I are on the same page about keeping said evil relative away from our kid. The plan so far is that the kid spends no time with them away from us, and that although we won't avoid group family events, if the evil guy tries to spend time with our son one of us will always chaperone at all times. And we'll see if that can be avoided completely, because even if I'm there, there are certain things you can't will your child to unhear.

Work is going well, but I'm super time crunched. Trying to remain stress-free and focus on the fact that the baby needs me to be sane and won't care if my PhD got finished 6 months before his birth or 6 weeks before his birth. Trying to split the difference now.

I've been feeling mostly good, but round ligament pain seems to be really bad in the last few weeks. If I walk too fast or too much it becomes almost unbearable.

We need to register, which I hate. It was my least favorite thing about planning my wedding. But we've gotten some great advice from friends, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to just get it done and not worry too much. Hopefully lots of gift cards so we can buy the rest of what we need once we figure out what he likes and what would be handy.

Wow. I sound really happy. Which is awesome because I've been so overwhelmed with work this week as to be incapacitated. I can't imagine how it's all going to get done, so I just don't. But if I spend the next hour working, I'll feel a thousand times better, so here goes : )

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I've been feeling not-great about my appearance recently, since I think the 15-18 week period has been right in the "pregnant or fat?" grey area for me. I was already on the heavy side when I got pregnant thanks to the clomid and the misery of previous cycles, but gaining weight on top of that has been a little rough since I know in the early stages it's me and not the kid who's filling out. So I've been feeling a little down recently. Nothing bad, but I can't wait until the kid grows a little more so I can pass the grey area and be obviously pregnant. I'm going to be so cute with a serious bump!

Today I was sitting writing and I went to scratch my belly button. And lo and behold, it's not as deep as it used to be! I can't explain why that seems like such a great sign, but there's just something about it that clearly means "not fat." Hopefully the smile it induces will last me through the next few weeks until I really pop. I'm so excited for this baby that I'm really looking forward to anyone who looks at me being able to tell. Obviously I also dread the unsolicited touching that will go along with it, but I'm still really looking forward to that stage.

While I'm confessing to body image issues, it's worth pointing out that I haven't taken a belly pic yet. This is my public inducement to do so, since the "after" will be so much more dramatic if I take the "before" shot before the 20 week mark. I shudder to think about how I'll feel looking at it now, but the point is that someday I'll be glad I have a record of this period. So yell at me, ok? If I'm going to do it, I should really start now.

Other worst response

I know I've been absent and I'm sorry. I'm desperately trying to write my PhD thesis in the next two weeks while also taking care of myself and not pushing through it when the baby sucks all of my energy out of me, so blogging seems like something I needed to temporarily cut out of my life. But I'm procrastinating at the instant, so I thought I would share the most hilarious response I got to my announcement that I'm pregnant.

I've mentioned before that I became something of a workaholic as a way to deal with the emotional pain of infertility. Although all of my coworkers also put in long hours, some of my past experiments (in 2009 when we were still trying unsuccessfully on our own) were especially notable, with me staying in the lab for over 20 hours straight and getting 3 hours of sleep before coming back to continue. So now you know what a psycho I am : ) It's worth pointing out that it was fueled solely by my own motivation, without coffee or any other caffeine. That period only lasted for a month, and I always took the weekends off to recover. Anyway....

Telling my coworkers became something of a spectacle, because almost everyone was around for it, and I have no experience with telling groups of more than 2. And it turned out that the secret hadn't leaked at all, which I had not expected based on my boss's gossipy ways and the fact that 4 other people in the lab knew as well. I had just assumed that word had gotten out. That was clearly foolish of me, so instead, when I brought out the ultrasound photos to show a coworker who already knew, the girl who sits behind me said, "who's pregnant?" When I said, "I am," the chain of "wait, who's pregnant?" spread quickly through all 10 members of the lab. This brought over a girl who I'm not as close to, late in the chain, and the first thing she said was, "I don't know how you had time for that when you're never home in the evenings." Really. That was her response to the good news. Who says that?? "I can't imagine when you have time to have sex." Really? I've decided not to judge her for the comment, since she was clearly taken by surprise, and I don't know what else goes through her mind when she hears this kind of announcement (she's in her mid thirties and isn't married).

The benefit of the comment was that it gave me the opportunity to mention the assisted reproduction aspect ("well actually, this baby was conceived in a doctor's office, so that wasn't really a problem"). I didn't go into all the details, because I assume that a group of people doesn't necessarily want to listen to my medical story, but I did get them laughing with the line about how a perky blond female doctor knocked me up, and I don't even remember her name. So it went well overall, but it was definitely an awkward moment.

So there's your long story for the day. Hopefully this rounds out my collection of bad responses.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fear of Being Fertile

Obviously not in the literal sense, but I am feeling bad about something that happened today that made me feel like one of those fertiles. You know, the bitchy insensitive ones.... In general, I've tried to be really open about our difficulties in conceiving, because I know how isolated I have felt through this whole thing, and how big a difference the one person I know who talked publicly about going to an RE made in my life. But I've also stopped telling every single person the details of the IUI because it seems almost self-indulgent to say it people when they may not want the conversation to last that long. All of which is unnecessary lead-up to what happened today in a meeting I had.

I was meeting with a lovely woman I work with, with whom I get along really well. We don't know each other well, but I think we like each other as people as well as coworkers. I see her very infrequently because she works off site. Towards the end of the meeting, it seemed appropriate to tell her that I'm pregnant, partly because I see her rarely and I thought she might be offended if she heard through the grapevine. She has two beautiful kids, and I have assumed since I met her (with no actual evidence) that she was done having children. But I've known her for a few years, so it didn't seem unwarranted. Fie on all my assumptions! When I told her, we had been discussing an upcoming conference. She then told me that she had been pregnant until two months ago. She got incredibly unlucky, and was one of the few who miscarries because of amnio. She was due in April. I must have looked completely stricken, but I hope I recovered well enough that I didn't make it too much worse. She seemed fine, so I feel like a total jerk for being more upset than she was in that moment. I don't want to make it worse, or make her feel like she needs to worry about my feelings, or the reaction of the next person she tells. I should know better!! I just feel terrible for not responding better, and for forcing her to think about it then when she wasn't expecting it. Obviously, I did not try to make up for it by explaining that my reproductive life hasn't been easy either, because honestly, I don't feel like any amount of unsuccessful trying holds a candle to loss. And I'm not that much of a jerk to make it about me at that moment. Instead, I gave her a hug, and she explained that she hadn't been planning to attend this conference since it's right before her due date, but now she's trying to see the new possibilities in the next couple of months. The conference would definitely be very distracting, so I hope she gets to go. I'm also hoping that some good may come of her telling me, even though my initial reaction wasn't so good, because this way she'll have someone to talk to at the conference if she needs it. Through the whole thing she seemed really good, but I'm still feeling like a jerk. I have resolved to do better in the future, because I should be continually striving for sensitivity.

But I just don't think there's a worse scenario than saying to someone, "I'm pregnant," and having them say, "I used to be pregnant." Worst case for everyone involved.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Sorry for being absent. I started my postdoc last week, and have been overwhelmed with trying to handle all my old projects and the new ones as well. I'm getting the balancing act readjusted so that I can do a good job of hydrating and eating well in a new lab situation. (Since I can't eat or drink in the lab, it takes effort to plan out how and where I can eat when I need to.)

We had an ultrasound on Friday, which was super fun. I was really nervous beforehand, even though we had heard the heartbeat a week earlier. Mostly I was nervous for the nuchal translucency test. Not because there's any elevated risk (I'm 28), but because I don't believe in taking tests when you haven't thought about what to do with that information, and I was so heartsick at the idea that we would choose to end the pregnancy if trisomy 18 were diagnosed. Waiting for almost an hour in the waiting room was particularly anxiety-provoking, because you have to have a full bladder, and that feeling definitely exacerbates the normal nervousness. But once we got in there, I was overwhelmed with joy looking at the kid. He or she looks so much more like a person! I mean, still like a space alien, but so much more like a baby : ) I'm in love. The most amazing part was as the ultrasound tech poked to try to get him/her to move into the right position for the NTT measurement, and we could watch him/her move. Completely breathtaking. My baby can move! Originally he/she had been in a typical fetal position, but as the poking went on, he/she moved the arms above the head like he/she was trying to fend off the pokes. We never managed to get the kid to straighten its neck and get the perfect measurement, but they sent us home with assurances that the "almost right" measurements they got showed no cause for concern. In the end, I was glad the kid was so contrary, because it meant we got to keep watching for what felt like hours : ) And it's definitely our kid - refused to cooperate for picture-taking (my husband to a T), and extremely contrary (totally me). Lying on my left side, emptying my bladder, none of it had any effect on getting the kid to get in the right position even for a moment. I could watch all day. It's amazing how much closer the kid feels when we can see it. The still photos don't do it justice, but are still kind of fun.

Yesterday a friend and I went shopping for maternity clothes. I was so happy that she was willing to go with me. I have to remind myself that people are all different, because I hate shopping, and doing this with me would be my idea of torture. But luckily she likes shopping and was totally into it. It made it way more fun for me to, although I wouldn't say I loved it or anything. I've been feeling pretty insecure, since all the weight I've gained during our struggle to get pregnant makes me embarrassed. I hate how I look in recent photos (pre-pregnancy). Since I got pregnant, I've actually lost a couple of pounds, but it has also redistributed. Nothing else seems smaller to me, but my belly is definitely bigger. I'm just not confident enough yet about it since I know it's almost all me, and not the kid. But at one of the stores we went to, they had a belly pillow in the dressing room, so I tried it on to see how the tops would look in several months. I'm kind of in love with that image, too. I've never been particularly belly-obsessed. My infertility nightmares were all about the fact of pregnancy that is behind the belly, but not the belly itself. So I am surprised and delighted that I'm so excited and not insecure about a big belly. I want it as soon as possible, so I can stop taking offense that I look pregnant when all the weight is my own. The 3.5 inch kid is not contributing that much, so I can't wait until he or she is. I really want to look pregnant. Even though my rational part knows it's better for my career if I look less pregnant for longer.

In all, it's been a great week. I have to work all day today, so I need to get my butt in gear and get it done. But I just wanted to share that I'm feeling happy and content. And now I have some more clothes to wear that fit, so that makes the prospect of the coming week more appealing. This shopping stuff may not be so bad after all : )