Wednesday, May 27, 2015

17 weeks!

Actually 17 weeks was yesterday.  With the holiday weekend, I lost track.  On Monday, we went kayaking, and it was lots of fun.  And only took a few hours.  And was totally free, since our friends have relatives who live nearby and have a canoe and an inflatable kayak.  So we packed the kids in, bought some life vests (ok, not totally free), packed a lunch, and set off.  Aside from some slight sun burns on my and hubby, a great time was had by all.

I had another midwife appointment today, and it went well.  Gecko was apparently being quite active and she had a hard time getting his heartbeat on the doppler.  I also got a slip to get another blood test, and the ultrasound office should be calling me to schedule an appointment for our 20-week ultrasound, which I may have to do during week 19.  Which is coming up really quickly.

Otherwise, things are good.  I'm tired most of the time, and my stomach is upset a lot.  I've been eating a lot of crap, so I'm trying to motivate myself to change that.  I'm also gradually preparing for Gecko's arrival, mostly by trying to get the kids' rooms a bit more organized and getting rid of clutter.  I also went to a friend's last week and took home a bunch of 0-12 month clothes that she was getting rid of.  Now I need to organize all of that.

And that's about it.  I'm still swimming, still going to prenatal yoga, and would love to start biking a bit, but it's been so windy that I haven't wanted to go out on the bike.  We've also been taking the kids rock climbing a bit, and while our plans for our first backpacking trip last weekend got cancelled because of thunderstorms in the mountains, we're considering trying it again pretty soon.  And that's life!  It's pretty good at the moment.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Infertility and prenatal yoga

I am taking a prenatal yoga class that I happened upon basically by accident.  I attended a New Parent Network meeting at our food co-op, which I don't even qualify for anymore because of the age of my kids, but they were doing a special presentation on biking with kids, and since we're about to add another kid to our bike-friendly family in this bike-friendly town, I felt it would be really useful to go and find out my options, in addition to supplying my own information about what has worked for my family.  While there, they had a bunch of fliers out for other services, and one of them was this prenatal yoga class.  I had just read in my babycenter email about doing prenatal yoga to stay in shape, and considering that running had been tough since I got pregnant, and I still can't seem to find time for a good bike ride, yoga seemed like a nice option.  Plus it's something you can keep doing after the baby is born, with the mama and baby yoga classes.

Anyway, I would like to say that I just LOVE this class.  I'm sure they are not all created equal, but firstly I was surprised upon arriving to realize that I recognized the teacher.  She regularly gives my friend massages, and my friend arranged for me to get a massage with her the day after my marathon last December.  She is just awesome.  Each class is an hour and fifteen minutes, which includes a quick check-in with everyone on how their pregnancies are going, some meditation, plenty of yoga that includes both stretching and strength, discussion of some particular thing for the day to help with labor and birth and also post-partum care, and a short relaxation period at the end.  I find it to be very spiritual (without being religious at all), relaxing, empowering, and calming, and it's helping to assuage my fears about VBACs, labor intervention, and all the high-risk crap I dealt with in my last pregnancy.  I feel so at peace when I leave.  I mean, I've only been twice, but I already love it.

Yesterday, the teacher said that sometimes she asks her students to send their thoughts, prayers, etc. to someone she knows who needs it, and she was asking us to think of one of her clients who was undergoing an embryo transfer in 15 minutes.  She said it was her last shot at a baby, that she had a positive feeling about it, and wanted everyone she knew to send positive energy to the woman, if there was any chance it could help her.  She briefly talked about the stress of infertility and treatment, and I swear I almost cried there in class.  It was a moving moment for me, I felt like things had sort of come full circle.  I'm on the other side now but I have so much more compassion after my journey.

Anyway, I am just writing a quick update because that class yesterday was so wonderful in so many ways.

Also ... I've been feeling little Gecko moving lately - just like little bubbles in my stomach, but it's pretty cool.  I'm looking forward to Turtle and Tadpole being able to feel it too.

And tonight it their first violin concert.  I'm pretty excited ... I think they'll do great!

Monday, May 18, 2015

16 weeks tomorrow

I'll be 16 weeks tomorrow, and I have nursing on my mind a lot.  I'm nervous about it.  While many of the challenges I faced last time have been mitigated (house under construction, no real help to speak of, first-time mom with twins), many of them haven't (no real support from husband, strongly anti-nursing mother).  And I have a few new challenges as well, including 5-year-old twins who will have just started kindergarten.  In addition to the overall nervousness, I'm also doubly nervous about managing the nights, since my insomnia doesn't seem to have improved.  I'm hoping just one baby being up multiple times per night will still be easier than 2, but I'm not sure it will make that much difference.

Still, as I stated before, I'm doing my best to prepare.  I know it's going to be hard.  I know to have as much support as possible lined up, and as many resources as possible at my fingertips, including all the equipment I think I may need as well as phone numbers for lactation consultants and information for support groups and meet-ups.  I'm really hoping forewarned is forearmed.

I'm nervous about my mom being a huge problem.  I've been trying to cut back on our visits, and she's reacting as one might expect, fighting tooth and nail to keep me under her thumb and as much under her control as possible.  The constant guilt trips, the complaining and manipulation are getting to me.  I know I'm not going about it very well, either - I'm using the fact that I am tired of driving to her house as an excuse, and it's true anyway, since it's a 1.5-hour round trip drive and I'm just tired of it.  But I don't want to encourage her to come here, either, I just need a bit more space.  So I'm stressed about it, which isn't great.  And I am nervous about her vehement anti-nursing stance when I want to badly to be able to establish nursing strongly from the beginning.

Anyway, those were my thoughts this evening.  I am actually in a pretty good mood.  I finally got my maternity clothes back from the friend I lent them to, which took a little while since they had to travel through several people and stops to get here.  Just in time, since I'm showing pretty obviously these days.  I spent a little while today sorting the clothes and packing away my regular clothes that don't fit anymore.  I also organized some of the baby stuff in the garage, and packed away the girl clothes I have in case my sister or friend have a little girl and want any of it.  I still have a lot of cleaning and organizing to do, but it's nice to get a jump start on it.

And now I'm exhausted, so I'm going to bed shortly.  Oh, one more thing!  I think this baby's nickname might be Gecko.  Still thinking about it, though.  Cheers!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

15 weeks

One of the things that strikes me as different about this pregnancy is that it is so ... normal.  It's pretty awesome.  I am now well aware of what I missed out on last time, since I was working, had a high risk twin pregnancy, and just had no clue in general about what would be useful, helpful, or necessary.  This time around, I know for sure it's my last, and I'm taking advantage of everything I can.

Today I attended my first prenatal yoga class, and it was pretty awesome.  I'm going to sign up for a series and if it goes well, I may continue with the mommy and me classes after the baby comes.  I'm also still swimming, and just purchased a maternity suit that I'm hoping will work well for real lap swimming.

For my last pregnancy, and when the twins were little, I really scrimped and was a bit of a scrooge (my husband won't agree, I'm sure, but it's true).  Since I didn't know if I'd have another pregnancy, I bought the bare minimum of maternity clothes.  I didn't buy a maternity swimsuit, even though I love swimming, and instead wore boy shorts and a sports bra top in the pool.  I only felt comfortable swimming like that at home, so I quit masters swimming very early.  This time around, I know I won't be having another pregnancy, but I don't want to completely deprive myself.  I know I can pass on the things I buy to others, the way that others are now passing things on to me.  I know I need to enjoy this time, because it is so fleeting, and so crucial to helping me become the mamma I want to be for my older kids and this new baby.  I feel like I am being reborn as a mother, and I really want to take care of myself and surround myself with support and positive feelings.

A good example of this is nursing.  During my last experience, I felt that one of the advantages of nursing was that it was free and natural, and therefore I shouldn't have to spend any money on it.  I basically set myself up for failure.  I didn't understand that while nursing itself is natural, it is not easy, and because society is not set up to support nursing mothers, mothers need to create an environment to support being able to nurse.  This time around, I've gotten:

  • two nursing pillows (second hand, so free or inexpensive); 
  • a nursing bra (and will buy more as the time gets closer, for now I'm just using this one as a maternity bra since I needed a bigger bra anyway);
  • a nursing top (just ordered it, and if it's nice, I might order a few more, it's a simple long-sleeved crossover top);
  • A mini cosleeper that attaches to the bed, a cosleeper that keeps the baby in bed with you (in a sort of little bassinet-type thing), and a full-size co-sleeper that we had for the twins, all to help with nursing at night - these were either things we already had, free from friends, or extremely cheap second-hand;
  • a nursing cover, and I may make one or two more simple ones.
I also plan to get the following, to set myself up for SUCCESS!
  • A pump - I believe my insurance will cover it, and I will either rent or buy depending on what is best.
  • Bags for storing milk and bottles for having hubby or others help with feeding.
  • More nursing tops and bras as necessary - if I want this to be a long-term success, I need to dress for it and be comfortable.
  • Self-care things - creams, nursing pads, etc.
  • Pajamas that are comfy and good for nursing - the top I just ordered might actually work well for that, plus a comfy nursing bra for sleeping.
Last, I want to be prepared with the following resources:
  • The phone number of at least one lactation consultant, preferably someone who will come to my house if I need it.
  • The local La Leche League info; I plan to attend at least one, if not more, meetings before the baby comes.
  • Online help from forums and groups.
In addition to all of that (obviously breastfeeding is a big thing for me this time around), I want to be more prepared for late pregnancy, labor, delivery, and having a new baby.  This includes:
  • Group prenatal visits to meet other moms and start off on the right foot with a close group of women who will be a natural support group ... a village!
  • New mother's support group (this was the only thing I did last time, what a huge help!).
  • Taking advantage of programs at the hospital, such as a tour of the birthing center, and "meet the doulas" and "meet the midwives" evenings (although I just realized that "Meet the doulas" is tonight and I invited friends for dinner - hopefully i can make it next time!).
  • Obtaining things that will make having a new baby easier - a bouncy chair, simple beautiful wood toys that I'm working on organizing now, swaddle blankets, etc.  
  • Prenatal yoga, to help stay in shape; and now that I've attended a class, I know that she will be giving us a lot of information about tools to use during labor and delivery as well.
  • Purchasing a jogging stroller that can be used as an all-around stroller with a snap-in carseat; I got this second-hand, but it is all in excellent condition and will not expire anytime soon.  I was SO cheap with my last kiddos, and ended up spending money on junk.  Should have just gotten a nice double jogger to start with.
  • I'm making plans for help with the older kids and the new baby; I really hope to find someone who can speak Italian.  I'm not sure if I will be able to bring my new kindergarteners to school and pick them up with the new baby; what if he'll be napping during one of those times?  I also need to think of what other chores or help I'll need.  So my options seem to be:
    • Get an au pair - the only problem is, they're supposed to speak English at all times, so I shouldn't be asking them to speak Italian with the kids; also, not sure I really want an extra person in the house for such a long time;
    • Look for a mother's helper from the University, either through the Italian language program (a grad student?) or the various international programs to see if an Italian researcher or professor has a spouse or older kid who wants to earn extra money
    • Look for some help within my personal network - there is a little Italian boy at my kids' preschool who has an older sister in high school here, and she babysits.  I know she CAN speak Italian, but I don't know how much she really wants to.  But the high school is next to the elementary school, so she may be able to bike at least one way with my kids, plus could babysit or help me out with chores around the house.  Or if any of my husband's Italian employees has a girlfriend or spouse who would like to earn money, that would work well, too.
Anyway, there's a lot to think about.  I also have to work on talking to the kids and trying to get them to come up with the idea of having Baby #3 (hmmmmm he needs a nickname) sleep in Tadpole's room at the beginning, with the understanding that rooms will get reorganized a bit later.

And now, I need to get to work prepping dinner, getting ready for the kids' violin lesson (first concert next week!!!!), and cleaning/organizing the house a bit.  Cheers!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Infertility AND baby-related post

News about current pregnancy below!

I can't remember if I wrote about both my sister and my friend having problems with infertility.  My sister has been trying for over a year, my friend has been struggling with secondary infertility for over 3 years.  Both have had big news recently regarding their own struggles.

My sister went through two surgeries in the last 6 months to remove fibroids from her uterus.  After the second surgery, she requested an AMH test, since her last two showed declining numbers and she was concerned.  Her doctor went ahead and did the test, and discovered that she had low ovarian reserve and recommended egg or embryo donors.  She was crushed for a while.  At the time, I was newly pregnant and realized that I would not be able to donate eggs to her for over a year, assuming I am successful at breastfeeding this time around, so I felt pretty bad about the whole situation.  She finally made an appointment for a consultation at the clinic where I went to conceive my twins, and they told her that even though she may have diminished egg quantity, her egg quality should still be that of a normal 36-year-old (that is to say, not fantastic but not bad), and that she should be able to do IVF (if not just IUI) with her own eggs.  They're doing a clo.mid cycle just to learn how she'll react to the meds and gather information for future cycles.  So that's a relief, and I'm hopeful that they'll be on their way to having a baby within the next 6 months.

My friend has been through secondary infertility for at least 3 years.  She currently has a 5-year-old son and first told us about their problems a year and a half ago.  Until now, they had no diagnosis, and they've been doing medicated cycles at (but not IUIs, except maybe the last one).  They finally decided to see fertility specialists, and in preparation for IVF, yesterday she had a hysteroscopy.  Her husband met us for dinner last night while she was at home resting and told us that the hysteroscopy found that she had extensive scarring in her uterus from the way the placenta detached after her first birth, and there was no way she could get pregnant or carry a pregnancy without surgery.  Apparently she'd even mentioned the difficulty she'd had delivering the placenta to several of the doctors she'd seen at, and she was blown off each time.  Needless to say, they're both angry at the wasted time and money, and all the treatments they've already done that never had any chance of working.  I'm heartbroken for what they've gone through, but hopeful that a relatively simple fix at this point will solve the problem.

And now, on to me.  I'm 14 weeks pregnant with a ... BOY!  I can't tell you how excited I am.  The whole family seems pretty on board now, and I'm just thrilled for the holiday season this year.  In fact, we have a ton of stuff going on from now until New Years really - my kids' first violin concert, music festivals, preschool graduation, a visit to my brother's family up in Washington, another potential trip to visit family in Italy, my kids' fifth birthday (!!!!), several camping trips in the works, starting kindergarten at our neighborhood school, fall (I LOVE fall!), Halloween, our new little one coming, then Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of five.  I'm just so excited to have so much to look forward to right now.

My midwife suggested that instead of getting the gender results on the phone, I ask the nurse who calls to write it down and leave an envelope for me, so I went ahead and did that.  The problem was, my kids were home and playing nicely and I didn't want to interrupt them to drag them on a 10-minute trip to the doctor.  These are the times when I wish we had a "village" - maybe another neighbor at home who could run over for 10 minutes while I made a quick trip to the doctor, for example.  Alas, I don't have that, so I eventually promised them a smoothie or milkshake to get them into the car, then rushed to pick up the results.  Thankfully the envelope was sealed, so I wasn't tempted to open it before my husband got home.  I took the kids to their swimming lesson, then home to wait, and when my husband got home we all went and sat on a bench in the sunshine in our backyard, made our predictions, and opened the envelope.

Tadpole was immediately upset, mostly because in the previous few days she had decided she wanted to name our new baby girl "Stella" and now that name wouldn't be appropriate.  But she took the disappointment in stride and spent the next few days talking about "our new little boy".  Since the kids still lack any real concept of time, I kept explaining that the new baby wouldn't be born until around Halloween, which of course immediately made them demand certain Halloween costumes (which change every time we bring it up).  So Tadpole spent the next few days alternating between being panicked that we weren't ready for our new little boy (Oh NO!  We don't have any toys for him!  We don't have clothes for him!), to asking every day if he was born yet.  After about a week or so of that, she seems to have lost interest.

My plan right now is for the new little one to sleep in Tadpole's room, since her bed is currently in Turtle's room, and we have a futon in her room.  We can move the desk into the garage and set up the crib where Tadpole's crib used to be, and along with the futon and our beloved IKEA Poang chair, we'll have a pretty nice little nursery.  Longer term, Tadpole will move back into her room, the baby will move in with Turtle, and we'll bunk their beds, which will make plenty of room for their toys and other things.  Even longer term (or shorter term, if it comes to that), we'll combine our office and guest room and give one of those rooms to one of the kids.  A 5-year age difference might make room sharing hard, although I do have a friend whose daughters do it.

We could actually even bunk the beds sooner while Tadpole's still in there, just to make more space.  I'm just not sure how much of Tadpole's stuff to move out of her room, since she'll probably be keeping that room in the long term, but I do need to make some space for baby stuff.  I'm hoping to have a discussion with the kids in which we would all make the "decision" together to let the baby use Tadpole's room while he's little, and then Tadpole will get it back when he's older, but I am a bit nervous about being able to steer that conversation where I need it to go without causing any revolts or tears.

A friend told me about a resale group on in our town and I've already used it to buy almost everything we're going to need, all in excellent condition, at really good prices.  Between that, a few preschool sales, and friend donations, I've got a bouncer, a mini-cosleeper, a pea-pod sleeper (great for camping!), a carseat and matching jogging stroller, some great wooden toys, sleep sacks, hooded towels, an in-the-bed cosleeper, nursing cover, two nursing pillows, and probably a few other things I've forgotten.  I've still saved a high chair, crib with mattress and sheets, tricycle, some clothes (but not nearly enough), some toys and books, cloth diapers (which I think my friend has right now, I need to get them back), and the bicycle trailer.  I will definitely need a baby bathtub, a diaper bin, and more clothes, especially since this kid will be born in the fall and my twins were born in early summer, but I have a friend who has a little boy who will be two right around when my son will be born and is promising me some of his old clothes.  So that helps a lot.  I'm trying not to have to purchase almost anything new this time around.

I'm also already thinking about things like preschool, since I don't want to end up in a situation like we're in now, where I don't really like our school but my kids have made friends and I didn't ever want to upset the situation.  I think they're happy there, but I don't want to go back with our next kid  Now I know the importance of researching and enrolling early, and I have multiple ideas of where to look.

Well, this has gone on and on and ON, so I'll end it now and put you out of your misery.  I am trying to keep things in perspective and recognize that things are going to be HARD with two kindergarteners and a brand new baby, and in a few more years I'll be back to figuring out what I want to do with my life and my career, etc., but for the moment, I'm just overwhelmingly happy and joyous, and I really want to enjoy it while I can.