Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's A Girl

Leah Brooke
born on Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 12:45pm
5 lbs 6 oz 19 1/2 " long
birth story to follow soon - I promise!
Thanks so much for the well wishes.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ninth Inning.

I may or may not be in early labor. It’s 4:18am and I’ve been up for 2 hours, experiencing cramping/contractions frequently enough to prevent me from sleeping. This is kinda crazy. (4:20 – contraction.)

I’m sorry to have kept those of you who keep checkin’ in on me without an update for so long. I’ve been quite fortunate that the pregnancy has progressed without any problems (knock on wood). Last Thursday my OB told me I was completely effaced and 1cm dilated and could “go at anytime.” I was NOT prepared for that –I had been counting on my 3 day MLK Jr. long weekend to get things in order. So, I negotiated with the baby, asked for one more week and got that. If this is indeed the real thing, I’ll be a week early, but now at least I’m feeling more mentally prepared.

D still isn’t so into the pregnancy. Over Christmas vacation I half-jokingly asked him “Won’t you love the baby?” and he replied “I’m sure I’ll love the baby; I just don’t know that I’ll love being a parent.” Hearing that distinction was a minor epiphany for me – I finally understood somewhat where he is coming from. I’ve known all along that all he can really see is what changes and sacrifices lie ahead for us; what I’m betting is that he is discounting the vast amount of love he’ll feel for the child and what that will bring him in return.

If this isn’t early labor and I’m just unable to sleep, I have one more week of work before I go on maternity leave. (4:29 – contraction.) I’ve arranged to be off completely through Memorial Day, and then return part-time for the summer. I’ve been training my cover for the past 2 weeks and really like her. We could probably use another week, but if it’s not to be than it’s not to be. I don’t know whether or not I will go back to work. I’m quite fortunate that I do not need to financially, and my boss has made it clear that he knows I may decide not to return. I just know that I have no idea what being a mother is going to be like, so I just want to wait and see.

I’ve hired a doula to assist me in the labor. I know I’ve paid her to be on-call, but I’m hoping I don’t have to call her before the sun rises! I haven’t woken D up yet either – figuring one of us with some sleep would be better than none.

Pregnancy is weird. I’ve gained 30lbs. What I didn’t expect was this feeling that appeared around 34 weeks of having (4:39 – contraction) this hard, bone-filled thing sitting at my mid-line. For some reason, I just always imagined it as soft and fleshy. I’ve kept myself in pretty good shape though – attending pre-natal yoga classes 2x per week generally and eating mostly healthfully.

About this labor thing, though. My intention is to try and get through it without drugs. I suppose because it seems to be healthier for the baby, but also because I don’t want to do anything that interferes with or impedes the progress of the labor. I am pretty confident that my body knows what it’s supposed to do; whether or not I’ll be able to withstand the pain without an epidural though is a different question. I’m not willing to close off all my options.

So here I am. Last MKL Jr. weekend I started Lupron for my first IVF cycle. The result of the second try is, g-d willing, about to be born into this world. The thought of it is enough to make me weepy. Granted, since Friday night my emotions seem to be (4:48 – contraction) easily triggered. I got upset and weepy when D moved my birthing ball from the living room; I got upset and weepy when D made a joke about being worth more dead since on Friday he increased his life insurance; and for the last week every time I listen to the song “What Sarah Said” by Death Cab For Cutie I get tears in my eyes.

I know I really should try and sleep, but having these contractions – which mostly feel like REALLY REALLY REALLY BAD menstrual cramps every 10 minutes isn’t conducive to sleep. The way they already feel make me pretty sure that there will be some vomiting and nausea as I go through this process.

I had this grand plan of baking brownies while in early labor to take to the hospital to, you know, bribe the nurses to be nice to me (and as an homage to Dramalish). I suppose 6am seems like the appropriate time to start something like that. My parents are in NH at the moment and (4:57 – contraction) that would mean a 7 hour drive for them to get here instead of the 4 from Boston. How soon do I call them? Can this really be it? It’s not like anything else I’ve felt….

I’m scared. And anxious. And excited. And have no idea what lies ahead. Thanks for tuning in and know that I wish you all happiness.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Been Meaning to Write This Post Forever....

When I went home for Rosh Hashana back in September, I couldn’t help but think of how finally, this year, I was pregnant for the high holidays. For the past three years I sat in shul, always hoping that the next year I’d be holding an infant, or at least have the pregnant belly. Instead, I would flip through the prayer books, looking for Biblical names that I liked – or I’d read the stories of the Jewish matriarchs and ancestors. Last September (2005), I remember feeling quite strongly that every story in the Jewish liturgy is about infertility – Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Hannah all suffer.

Knowing that this affliction has been around since the beginning of Judaism did not make me feel better. What was particularly troubling, was knowing that I had done the same thing year after year. Thalia & Mony wrote about this also – how these yearly rituals which inherently mark the passage of time, are more difficult for us, the infertiles. And while I am so happy and elated to be where I am right now (28 weeks, 4 days), I still remember the ache and fear the pain associated with years of infertility.

In the Rosh Hashana service there’s a line translated that made me cry last year, and when I read it again this year, all the frustration and sadness came rushing back. Hannah’s husband says to her: Why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not worth more to you than ten sons?

To me, that was exactly what my problem was. My heart was sad. And I could never explain to D why I couldn’t be happy with just him.

I so wish for all of you still suffering trying to conceive, that next year your hearts aren’t sad.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Best Birthday Present Ever

Today is the big 3 – 5. The dreaded day when I, according to the medical world, become a woman of “advanced maternal age.” Screw that. This morning I ironed my cute little black maternity skirt and black & white maternity top, pulled on my knee high boots, and even put on eyeliner. I look adorable.

D is stuck working late again tonight, so I’ve made plans to go to dinner with some girlfriends. I was determined to make today a good day.

But a little while ago I got a call from the geneticist at the hospital, and she informed me that my baby’s chromosomes are completely normal. And the little one tested negative for spinal bifida. I heard the news and I cried. My make-up may have ran, and I may not look as cute as I did this morning, but it doesn’t matter anymore. I got the one gift I really, really wanted.

It’s a Happy 35th Birthday, indeed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Two-Week Wait

It looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

This is one long rambling post – please forgive me. But here’s my latest saga for those keeping track at home:

On Tuesday I had my 20-week anatomy scan. The one that everyone says is so much fun because you spend tons of time looking at each little part of your bean – the spine, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, the bladder, stomach, each finger and toe, all get their close-ups. The original plan was for D to accompany me to the appointment, so that he could (in my mind, anyway) actually see the little alien growing inside. I was hoping that the ultrasound pics this far along would help him connect some to the pregnancy.

Alas, work became frantic for him and on Monday D told me he couldn’t go with me. This is the trade-off we make by having him work for big-city-law firm. So, to ease my anxiety I called my Mom in Boston and asked her if she’d come along. I thought it would be a great treat for them (if my Dad came too) to actually see their grandchild in the womb. And, g-d bless them, both my parents drove down from Boston Monday night to be with me at the ultrasound.

And the ultrasound was pretty cool, like everyone says. My sonographer was quite nice and would explain what body part she was looking at, and frequently used the words “perfect” and “beautiful.” Eventually my Dad figured out what was the head and what was an arm. The photo shoot took about 20 –25 minutes, and then the doctor came in. Can you hear the scary music playing now?

First he asked if I was going to have an amnio and I said no. Then, he told us that the scan shows “calcification in the heart” which is a marker for Down’s Syndrome. It doesn’t indicate a strong correlation, but that combined with the fact that I’ll be 35 when I deliver ups the odds of chromosomal abnormalities. In short, I should think about having genetic counseling and the amniocentisis.

This was not what I wanted to hear. But, at that moment, I took the news okay. I had a regular check-up appointment with my OB that afternoon, so I could discuss this with her then. My folks and I went to lunch, then to my regular doctor appointment. And here’s what she said:

  • Because I’ll be 35, the odds of a child with Down Syndrome are increased; but, she’d be more concerned if the marker of the heart was combined with some other soft marker – ie. A cyst on the brain – or a bad NT measurement.
  • Normal odds for a mother my age of having a kid with Down’s is 1 in 270. My quad screen blood work came back as 1 in 310. Not a hell of a lot better – but still considered negative by medical standards.
  • In this country one can only terminate a pregnancy before 24 weeks. It takes 2 weeks to get the results back from the amnio.
  • The amnio tells us with 100% accuracy whether or not there are chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.
There is a slight risk of miscarriage with the amnio. But, at the end of the appointment she stressed that I “shouldn’t be afraid of the amnio” and she wrote me up the referral slip so I could have it done, should I choose to.

So, I was left with the decision – have the amnio, with its slight risk of miscarriage and learn for sure one way or another whether or not this baby has Down Syndrome, or just wait until (s)he’s born.

Sure, my mind was racing with a million scenarios, but I felt fine in the doctor’s office. I felt fine as my parents drove me home. But when we parked the car so they could drop me off and we said goodbye as they left for home, I lost it. I cried and blubbered and didn’t know how to console myself. D got home from work around 11pm only to find me crying in bed.

I felt stupid for not having the amnio weeks ago.
Why did there have to be this stupid marker?
If I’d gotten pregnant when I wanted to I wouldn’t be giving birth at 35 and this would be a non-issue.

If I was this upset now, there was no way I could deal with the worry and the not-knowing for another 20 weeks. I decided to have the amnio.

On Wednesday morning I called to schedule it and was told that the next opening was 9/21 – my 35th Birthday. But there was no way I could wait another week for this test. As I started explaining that to the lady on the phone, I started crying. Again. And that’s pretty much how it went all day. She took pity on me I think and said she had someone else in my position and would work to squeeze me in. Later that afternoon I got an appointment for Thursday morning.

I made it to work on Wednesday, and when my assistant and then later my boss both asked me how the doctor’s appointment went, I started crying again. Crying at work in front of others is the worst.

On the other hand, everyone was quite nice to me – and when they learned that I had scheduled the amnio for Thursday morning and that, once again, D couldn’t come with me everyone offered to go along with me. I took my friend up on the offer and Thursday morning we met at the hospital. She came with me as I met with the genetics counselor and relayed my and D’s family history. And she came with me while the amnio was done.

I have to say, the meeting with the genetic counselor really put me at ease. I wish I had met with her (or someone) back in the beginning. If you’re going to be over 35 when you deliver, I highly recommend it. She came right out and said that if I were 34 we wouldn’t be having the conversation; that the marker may or may not increase the odds of Down Syndrome; that the odds of miscarriage from the amnio are miniscule – particularly at the hospital where I was having it done. And then it was time for the procedure.

For an IVF veteran, having an amnio is no big deal. I firmly believe that once you’ve had a needle puncture you’re vaginal wall to extract eggs from your ovaries – you can handle any physical pain. The amnio needle seemed to be like a plain ole sub-q shot. The doctor swiftly injected it about 2” below my navel – and you can see it all on screen via ultrasound. It looked for a second like the needle was way close to the baby, but really that was only because I couldn’t visualize the depth – I’m sure the needle was way on top and the baby many inches below. I think he filled about 3 vials (I was surprised that they needed so much) and then he withdrew the needle. It feels like I’ve got a nice bruise there now – just like what happens from Repronex – but otherwise I’m fine. IM shots are WAY worse.

So now I wait for results. Everyone yesterday gave a different time frame – something between 8 – 14 days. I find myself, however, assuming that all will be fine. Results will show that my little one has 23 perfectly paired chromosomes. 46 total – no more, no less. And I’ll be able to relax for the rest of this pregnancy.

Yeah right.

    Friday, September 08, 2006


    I’m so sorry for not posting frequently. Something’s happened to my motivation and I’m not sure what it is. Don’t worry though – so far all is well. And here are the answers to what you’ve probably been wondering.

    How far along are you? When are you due again?

    Today I’m officially 19 weeks 4 days into my pregnancy. The estimated day of arrival is January, 29, 2007 – but I’m counting on a February baby.

    How do you feel?

    Knock on wood, I’m doing okay physically. The nausea left as it was supposed to and I think my energy level is fine. For the last 4 weeks I’ve been doing prenatal yoga twice a week, so I overall I feel good.

    Do you look pregnant? How much weight have you gained? In maternity clothes?

    These questions seem to be the favorite of my family – probably because I was pretty petite to start off. But yeah, I’m in maternity clothes and have a belly. Most people meeting me would probably be playing “Pregnant or pudgy?” upon looking at me – if I’m not wearing a maternity top, but for those that knew me it’s pretty obvious. Two weeks ago D said to me as I was getting ready for bed “Your stomach is huge” - and that was just at 18 weeks. I’ve gained about 10 pounds – or 10% of my body weight.

    Do you know the sex?

    Well, the big 20 week-anatomy scan is next week so if I wanted to find out the sex we could on Tuesday. But, I don’t want to. At least, that’s what I’m saying now; I reserve the right to change my mind when I’m actually undergoing the ultrasound.

    What tests have you done?

    Besides the nuchal translucency, I had blood drawn for the quad-screen test at 16 weeks. Fortunately, the results came back negative so I was not advised nor felt the need to do an amnio. Hopefully everything will look perfect at the big ole ultrasound next week.

    Have you felt the baby move?

    Ummm – maybe? Last Saturday night for an instant I swear I felt that “fluttering” that everyone speaks of – but mostly I just feel this constant heaviness in my abdomen. And, I don’t know if this makes me crazy or not, but since just shy of 17 weeks I swear I feel contractions consistently. They don’t hurt – it’s just this tightening of my uterus that lasts for maybe a minute. I made D put his hand on my stomach during one and he could definitely feel the hardness of it. I don’t understand how every woman doesn’t feel these?

    How is D? How are you and D?

    I have to say, lately me and D have been great together. No silly bickering or fighting – just niceness and love. It’s really been splendid. I think subconsciously we must realize that this life together as just a couple is about to end, so we’re trying to make sure we appreciate it while we can.

    D himself is doing much better over all, which obviously has a big effect. His work schedule hasn’t been crazy so that automatically puts him into a better mood. He’s dealing with the Celiac stuff – still kind of a baby about it at times if you ask me, but he’s got a routine down now. And he’s exercising again, which also greatly impacts his mood.

    As far as D and impending fatherhood, well, let’s just say I think half of him is in denial and the other half is scared of it all. I’m pretty sure he’s frightened of my pregnant belly. The idea of an infant throwing up or pooping all over him gives him the heebie jeebies. At this point, he still says he’d prefer not to be in the delivery room. But, while I might prefer he be more involved and invested, I do believe that once the baby is born everything will change.

    How about those Red Sox?

    Oy! My poor boys of summer. All I can say is, I hope the MF Yankees don’t make it past the first round.

    I think of you guys often, even if I can’t get myself to sit down and write. Hoping things are good out there in your corner. And if I didn’t answer what you really want to know, post the question and I’ll add a response.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006


    This is my 100th post. I’m not as prolific as many bloggers out there, so to have written 100 times about me – and to have people respond to these posts that many times, is something worth noting. Not necessarily an achievement – but monumental to me nonetheless.

    And even more monumental is that this week I am officially 14 weeks pregnant – officially in the second trimester. The nausea has subsided somewhat. The breasts and belly have grown. I think some of the fear has dissipated, while the anticipation is heightened. But most thankfully, the happiness continues.

    I shared the news with everyone at work last week, and all were really congratulatory and happy for me. It was even kind of fun to do. I liked walking into people’s offices and saying “I have news” – watching their faces expect me to say that I was quitting, and then being relieved and happy when I’d say that I am pregnant. I did feel the need to tell everyone “this was a long time coming” and if they wanted more details I explained that we did IVF.

    But all in all, since the bleeding scare, things are good. I had a very brief OB appt. last week, had another ultrasound and saw the baby and the beating heart.

    And even better, D has been in a good mood these past few weeks. Not any more excited or involved with the pregnancy, but so much happier overall and therefore fun to be around again. It’s been great.

    I’ve kept a diary in some form or other since I was in 8th grade. A little over a year ago, this blog became my latest version. And whenever I go back and reread my entries (which I love to do), it becomes abundantly clear that I write more when I’m depressed and stressed and disappointed than when I’m happy. So, from now on, if you don’t hear from me for awhile, assume that NBHH. I promise to keep you informed of all the milestones we hit along the way.