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I can be a bit of a Negative Nelly. Readers have emailed me who don’t know me in real life and have said they love my positivity, which always catches me off guard. Is that how I portray myself online? If it is, I’m glad, because I don’t really think I’m like that away from the computer.
Yesterday, we had a doctor’s appointment. I was excited to go so that we could make sure everything was going well, but I was also really nervous in case it wasn’t. While I don’t feel like I’m always panicked about this pregnancy, I do have a constant dull fear that something bad is going to happen.
First, the doctor tried to listen to the heartbeat with a doppler (that’s what it’s called, right?). I knew he would try this first and I knew that it was possible that he wouldn’t be able to find it, but that didn’t mean anything was wrong and he would do an ultra sound to make sure. Of course, he couldn’t find it and while I didn’t panic, there was that dull fear present.
That ultrasound was the most amazing moment of my entire life. Right when the baby appeared on the screen, it started waving! Last time it looked like a sea monkey. This time, it looked like a real baby. We could see it’s profile and arms and legs and everything. My husband almost didn’t make this appointment, but we were really glad he did.
After the baby show, my doctor asked me how I was feeling and when I said I was always nervous that something bad was going to happen, he said he could tell and that made me sad. I don’t want to come across as negative, but it’s hard for me to put on a happy face all the time and pretend like I’m worry-free.
That comment from the doctor did make me want to change, though. I’m going to make a conscious effort to think and act more positively about this pregnancy. We have wanted this so bad for so long and it would be a shame to waste all the joy with worry.
For those moms and pregnant ladies out there: how did/do you handle the fears and worries? To those those future moms: do you think you’ll be a worrier like me or will you be worry-free?
Thank you all so much for your kind words on my last post. It’s funny how blogging/facebooking/tweeting about it makes the pregnancy feel so much more real!
I wrote this on July 29, 2011 during my fourth week of pregnancy.
My period was due Monday, so I took a pregnancy test on Tuesday morning. It was positive. I had been feeling some tenderness in my breasts and some light cramping for a few days, but didn’t put much stock in it because those can also be symptoms of PMS. Once I got the positive on the digital test, I called the doctor and made an appointment for the following day. I took another test the next morning, which was positive again, but this time it showed up really quickly. I continued having cramping and after some googling knew (even though I already knew this it helped to confirm it again) that it was a completely normal and a sign that implantation was occuring and that my uterus was preparing for pregnancy.
The doctor confirmed everything and calmed any fears I had. He reminded me that the chance of a miscarriage is about one out of every five pregnancies, regardless of previous history. We discussed progesterone suppositories and decided against it, together. He said he didn’t see any reason that I needed them and I was a bit reluctant to use them due to the cost and hassle.
He gave me orders for two blood tests, one for that day and one for the next Monday, to see how everything was progressing. We also made an appointment for an ultra sound in two weeks. Something about having that appointment in the books made me feel so much better. It was something real and tangible to look forward to. I left feeling relieved and a bit excited, but still guarded. I’m not sure I will ever really let my guard down until I’m holding a healthy baby in my arms and even then I’m sure I’ll have plenty of worries.
I continued feeling cramps for the next couple of days and each trip to the bathroom was a bit terrifying. However, I knew that the more symptoms I felt at this point, the better. Last time, I didn’t really feel any symptoms. I definitely didn’t have cramping like I did this time and I wasn’t as emotional. Since Sunday, I have cried a million times over the tiniest stupidest things.
I wrote this on August 22, 2011 during my eighth week of pregnancy.
Last week, after my first day of school, we got to see the heartbeat. It was incredible and I cried. A lot. The baby is measuring a few days behind schedule, which probably just means I ovulated a few days late. My husband likes to joke that the baby takes after his side because his family is pretty short.
I have been having a little bit of sickness, not really in the morning, but mostly in the afternoon and evening. I haven’t thrown up and the nausea is nothing terrible. I’m thankful, but I get nervous when I don’t feel sick because I think that something could be wrong. I try to stay positive, but I have a lot of worries/thoughts that something bad will happen. It is hard to be care free after more than a year of trying and an early miscarriage.
I already had to buy bigger bras! Granted, mine were a little tight to begin with, but they were becoming unbearable. I was busting out! I’m not used to that as I’ve always been pretty flat-chested. My husband is happy 😉
I also already have a little bump. It is probably just bloat and all the extra food I’ve been eating (I’m always hungry and not usually for the healthiest foods), but it is making it hard to find things to wear. Pants are way too uncomfortable, so I’ve been wearing dresses only and am starting to run out! I like to go two weeks at work without repeating an outfit, so I may need to go shopping again soon.
I wrote this on September 3, 2011 at the end of my ninth week of pregnancy.
I’ve fallen into a habit of worrying on the days I don’t feel nauseous. Two days ago, I didn’t feel sick all day and I was really concerned that something was wrong. Then, yesterday I felt sick all day long. It didn’t really let up until I went to bed.
The nausea doesn’t stop me from eating a ton of food and lots of stuff that isn’t so great for me. I know I need to be careful because I’ve already gained weight and it’s still so early. I need to save some pounds for the second and third trimester!
I have to wait three more weeks until my next doctor’s appointment and I’m not sure if I can do it. I might call tomorrow and try to get an appointment a week early. **I did call and got it pushed up a week! I get to go on Monday!!**
My husband is way more paranoid about things I’m not supposed to eat or do than I am. I’ve been loving cold cut sandwiches lately and he gets mad at me for eating them (not mad, more of a teasing disappointed). I don’t eat them frequently, so I’m not worried about it. My doctor hasn’t said one word about avoiding any foods, so I figure I’m ok.
As each week passes, I feel less scared of losing the pregnancy and more excited for the future. I am so thankful for this blessing and am savoring each and every moment. It is already flying by too quickly!
Ok, I know some of you have been waiting for this announcement and I’m sorry for all the hints (on my blog) lately. It’s so hard for me to keep such a big secret, but I’m glad to finally be writing about it!
We’re pregnant! I’m nine weeks along and everything is going very well so far. We got to see the heartbeat two weeks ago, which also happened to be my first day of school. It was incredible and I cannot wait for my next appointment. I’m not sure if I can make it three more weeks, though!
I have had a bit of sickness (not typically in the morning), but nothing crazy. I haven’t thrown up at all and usually I can make it go away by simply eating. I feel lucky that I don’t constantly have my head over the toilet and that I can eat more than saltines. However, some days I don’t feel sick at all, and that worries me because I know that symptoms mean things are moving in the right direction. I try to stay positive, but it is really hard with the year I’ve had.
Want to know how it all went down? Well, I took clomid for the second time and we took a little trip to Big Sur and San Francisco. I’m pretty sure we conceived while camping (tmi?), which I think is pretty cool. I didn’t test until the day after my missed period because I know how crazy early testing can make me. I called my doctor that day when I got a positive digital and they made an appointment for me to come in two days later. I was nervous that I wouldn’t get a positive there and that I’d have another chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage.
Remember what I wrote about my new doctor? He’s great. The nurse said they didn’t even need to do a urine test because the doctor would do an exam and would be able to tell by the size and shape of my uterus if I was indeed pregnant. I was, and then we discussed progesterone suppositories. I told him that my (our actually, my husband felt the same way) inclination was to go without them. My doctor didn’t think they were necessary at all, so that was that. I left with paperwork for some blood tests to ensure that my hCG levels were increasing at the correct rate and was cautiously optimistic.
Every blood test came back with great results and we got to go in for an early ultrasound at just 5 weeks. All we saw was a blob, no heartbeat as is was too early, and we scheduled another one for about a week and a half later. Yay! A heartbeat! And a more shapely blob! I said it looked like a sour patch kid. Maybe that was a craving talking?
I know how lucky we are. Many couples struggle for several years and go through much more invasive treatments before finally being blessed with a child. It only took about 14 months and two rounds of clomid for us. Thank goodness, because I’m not sure I could handle or afford much more.
I have a couple of posts that I wrote over the last five weeks to share with you guys and I’m going to start taking bump pics this week. I’m excited to share this journey with you all!!
My husband is back for part 2 of his exciting adventure getting his “swimmers” checked out! You don’t want to miss this one!!
In case you missed last week’s post I had gone into the doctor’s office to get my sperm checked and was anally violated and was given a cup to take home and give a sperm sample. So I left the Doc’s office with my trusty specimen cup in its nondescript brown lunch bag and all I could think about was the pressure of getting it back to the lab within 20 minutes. The doctor was very specific about having to get it back within 20 minutes or I would have to do it all over again. I assumed he meant just the sperm sample and not the probing but I wasn’t about to take a chance. I decided that I would go down to the lab that was in the same over-sized one stop shop medical building to see what time they opened so I wouldn’t have to wait in line. I also wanted to make sure I knew how to get there so I wouldn’t have to wander around the place with my little brown bag that every nurse, doctor, and janitor in the place must know is not a lunch but in fact a bag full of baby batter. The lab opened at 9:00am. I planned out the next morning carefully as if I was going into battle. If I only had 20 minutes to get to the lab I would have to get everything ready before I got down to business. I had all my clothes and everything I needed for the day laid out with surgical precision so I wouldn’t have to search for car keys, wallets, etc. I then laid out everything I needed to get down to my business and took a shower. This pregame shower isn’t a normal routine or anything; the doctor said to be as clean as possible to not contaminate the sample. I got out of the shower and it was time for the games to begin. The only problem it was no fun. It was the least fun I have had masturbating in my life. It felt like homework or something. All I could think about was the science of it all and my imagination lacked all its normal pizzazz. I did my deed and once I was finished I went immediately into overdrive. I washed up, threw on my clothes and ran out the door all while making sure my cup was perfectly vertical. It had a lid on it but I didn’t want it shaking around and compromising the results. I sped back the 10 blocks or so to the lad and I was 10 minutes early. I rushed down the hall to the lab only to find five incredibly old people already waiting there. They didn’t have any bags so I was hoping the line would be a breeze. When it comes to old people nothing is a breeze. Despite the 3 signs on your way to the counter not one of them had their insurance card and ID out. I was freaking out. Didn’t these people know I had a ticking time bomb of sperm with only minutes left?! I finally got to the front of the line and I was already 5 minutes over the golden 20 minute rule. I practically threw my insurance card and ID at the lady and was about to do the same with my bag when the nurse saw the bag and her eyes lit up with half surprise and half disgust. “Sir, I don’t want that! There is a specimen drop on the other side of the room. Just leave it on the counter over there please.” I did as I was told and later the next day I received an email with the results. My boys downstairs are working overtime to produce. Thank goodness! The Doctor called me later to let me know that although I all of my numbers were in the average range I was on the higher range of “slow sperm.” He told me not to be concerned and to call him for more tests if we still haven’t conceived in a year. But I know he really just wants a second chance to get a piece of the best feeling prostate he has ever felt! …gross
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My dear husband has written a very personal (and hilarious, in my opinion) post for you all today! Isn’t it great to hear the husband’s perspective? Give him some love in the comments!
When we had been trying to get pregnant for about a year to no avail, I started to get nervous and thought that maybe it was me. It was the first time in my life that I had questioned my manhood and thought that maybe I wasn’t functioning properly. I should mention that I wasn’t the healthiest kid growing up. I had a good time in High School and College and got all of my partying out of my system pretty early, so who knows, maybe all that partying before I even had hair on my chest ruined me downstairs. So I swallowed my pride, manned up and made an appointment to go get my boys checked out; make sure my swimmers are swimming so to speak.
All I knew about going to the doctor to go give a sperm sample is what I’d seen in movies. The uncomfortable exchange between nurse and patient as she hands you a plastic jar and leads you to a room full of magazines and videos – everything covered in thick plastic of course. And then the even more horrifying exchange when you have to give her the jar back full of your “sample.” I also wasn’t thrilled about a strange man examining my package.
So I went into the office and the nurse lead me straight to the exam room. I was trying to look in the other rooms as nonchalantly as possible as I was being led to the exam room but I couldn’t find the porno room. I was left alone in the exam room to stew in my own nerves.
The doctor came in and was nice and very easy going. He asked the questions and I was expecting and I answered them with complete ease and was getting more and more confident as I breezed through them. How long have you been trying? Do you have any history with impotence? Have you have any experiences where you were hit in the groin where you had to go to the hospital? Does either family have a history of trouble getting pregnant?” Everything was going great but then came those inevitable words I was waiting for. “Okay now please stand up and drop your pants.” I did as I was told and promptly had my member inspected from base to tip. Inspected is a gentle word. It was pinched, rolled over, stretched, and the tip spread, all a couple inches away from the Doctor’s face. Oddly enough it was kind of amusing. I don’t know what he was looking for but he had a very serious look on his face. I guess that’s better than him having a big grin now that I think about it!
“Everything looks normal,” he said as he stood up and I started to pull up my pants when I was interrupted by him saying, “I wish this was the end to but I still need to check your prostate. Please turn around, bend over and grab the bench.” I stood there frozen in fear. I tried to reason with him. “I don’t have a problem with my prostate. What about the sperm check? Can’t we wait until the sperm results come back before we do this?” I was seriously sweating at this point. In case you don’t know the way they check your prostate is by stinking a finger up your butt and feeling around. I have heard and can now testify that is not a fun experience; in fact if it hadn’t been in a doctor’s office I’m pretty sure I would have pressed charges. I bent over and I swear to God I thought he was reaching for my tonsils! He went deep. Very deep. I was trying to crawl away from him but no luck. And wouldn’t you know it, it was all over in just a few short hours! (probably seconds but it felt like hours). The doctor then broke the good news and told me that the nurse would give me the cup for the take home sperm test and to make sure that I get it back to the lab at the hospital no longer than 20 minutes after “collecting the sample.” That is a whole other story in itself.
Now don’t laugh men. Even if you don’t have to get a prostate exam now, at some point you will and it is every bit as horrifying as you can imagine. I just hope your doctor has smaller hands than mine did…
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Our dogs are our babies. They have always slept on our bed and used to be allowed on the couch, until our room makeover. We spoil them rotten and aren’t ashamed to admit it.
Ruby is a puggle, which is part pug and part beagle, and Jackson is a labradoodle, which is part lab and part poodle. We didn’t intend to own only fancy hybrid dogs, but that’s what happened. It’s embarrassing when people ask what they are when we meet at the dog park or on a walk.
We’ve known since we starting TTC that we would have to make some changes with how we treat the dogs before adding a baby to the mix. It took us over a year, but when we got back from our trip up to San Francisco last month, we finally kicked them off the bed.
Here they are on night number two of no-dogs-on-the-bed. They took some time getting used to it, but now they’re doing great! I have to admit, sometimes they jump up on the bed uninvited and sometimes I let them stay up there when I’m taking a nap alone, but for the most part, we’ve broken them of their, I mean, OUR bad habit.
So, what else should dog owners do to prepare for a baby? Here are some things I’ve read and heard about on the matter (I can’t remember my sources, so don’t call the MLA police, please):
1. Ignore the dogs in the months leading up to delivery.
I’m not talking about neglect here, but it is important to pay less and less attention to the dogs as it gets closer to baby time. This is most important for the mom, as she will be the primary caregiver for the baby, at least at first. This way, the dogs don’t blame the baby for the lack of attention they’re receiving because it started before the baby got there.
2. Get a crying baby doll and hold it while it makes noise.
This will help get the dogs used to the sound of a crying baby and used to you having something cradled in your arms. Keep the baby in a safe place and never let the dogs play with it.
3. Arrange for someone to take care of the dogs during labor, delivery, and recovery.
You can have someone on stand-by to pick up the dogs for a few days or have someone come by your house to feed, walk, and play with the dogs when you’re gone. Be sure to prepare instructions ahead of time so you’re not worrying about relaying information over the phone while laboring.
4. Bring baby clothes home from the hospital/birth center/etc.
After the baby is born, have someone bring home something that the baby has worn. Let the dogs smell it, but don’t let them play with it. No tug-of-war with the baby’s shirt, ok? Tell them to be gentle as they smell so they know that they are to be on their best behavior.
5. Don’t keep the baby room door closed all the time.
If you decide that you never want the dogs in the baby’s room, put up a baby gate to keep them out, but that allows them to see what is going on inside. If you decide to let them go in and out of the room, give them their own spot to lay down and teach them to respect the baby’s things. This can begin before the baby arrives so you don’t have to worry about training the dogs while you have a screaming baby in your arms.
Overall, remember that this will be a huge adjustment, not just for you, but for all the members of your family, human or not. Have patience, but be firm as you introduce a new member to the pack.
Did I miss anything? What has worked for you when introducing a real baby to your fur babies?
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Before we started TTC, I used to love going to baby showers. The games, the cute gifts, the decor… they were fun and I used to imagine what my own would be like. However, once we started having trouble getting pregnant, baby showers seemed more torturous than dental appointments.
Over the past year, I’ve been invited to a couple of baby showers, but have declined. I just couldn’t bring myself to put on a happy face an coo over baby clothes. If one of my really close friends had invited me to a shower, I would have definitely sucked it up and gone, but it would have been tough.
On Saturday, I went to my first baby shower in over a year. Luckily, it was a shower for my husband’s friends and wasn’t just for women. Also, I got to bring my little brother so I had plenty to keep me distracted. Major plus: they didn’t open gifts! They saved that for when they got home.
They called it a baby fiesta and held it at a park! They had beer, tacos, and really delicious cupcakes.
While the adults mingled, the kids had fun feeding the ducks and playing on the jungle gym.
Apparently ducks don’t like corn tortillas. Bummer…
I loved the colorful banners. I think they would look really cute in a nursery, don’t you?
I actually had a great time and didn’t feel awkward at all. I’m glad I went and that it was a coed shower so I could ease into it. I think I can safely say I’m over my baby shower strike!
Have you declined an invitation just because you couldn’t bring yourself to celebrate?
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The other day, I was reading a friend’s blog who recently suffered a miscarriage. Her posts express her deep sadness and she writes about how it is taking her weeks to get back to her normal self.
Peonies at Fiori in San Francisco
As I read her story, I start questioning my own feelings about my miscarriage. I cried for about an hour, took one day off of work, was a little introspective for about a week, and then I was basically back to normal. I was on to the next cycle and ready to try again. I don’t think about it like I lost a baby, I think about it as another bump on our road to parenthood.
Golden Gate Bridge
Maybe I’ve become desensitized to the pain and disappointment. Maybe after more than a year of negative home pregnancy tests and blood tests and crying in the doctor’s office, it just doesn’t come as a shock when something doesn’t work out in the baby making department.
Leaving the city on the ferry.
I know that I wasn’t very far along when I lost my pregnancy – most women who have a miscarriage that early never even knew they were pregnant. But shouldn’t I feel more like she does? Does that mean I didn’t love my unborn baby as much as she did? Will I ever let myself go when I get pregnant again, or will I always remain guarded?
What do you think? Do you protect yourself from disappointment like me or do you allow yourself to get excited and feel deeply?
Read all of my posts here.
With the explosion of social networking sites (dude, what am I supposed to do with Google+ ?), our lives are constantly on display. I know what my friends ate for dinner last night and they live in another state. It is easy to paint a rosy picture of your life through your mobile uploads and status updates, but sometimes what you share effects others more than you know.
The view from our tent on our camping trip last week.
I have come to learn that I can’t control what others say and do, I can only control what I say and do. When I become pregnant, I know I won’t complain about it on facebook or twitter. I won’t pretend that everything is always wonderful, either, but I don’t need to update my status with every little ache and pain that I’m going through. On my blog, I might share some of my gripes, but people can easily avoid that if they want to. It is hard not to read someone’s facebook status if you’re friends with them.
Camping flower arrangement.
On the same note, what hurts more than the complaints is the really over the top lovey dovey stuff: women posting that feeling their baby kick is like kisses from heaven or how seeing the heartbeat on the ultrasound sent them into fits of giggles. Those are the things that really sting and while I don’t expect people not to share their joy on various social networking sites, I do expect their support and sensitivity when dealing with me directly (like in a email or personal conversation).
For example, if someone knows I’ve been struggling to conceive for over a year, I’d hope they’d know not to talk to me about every detail of their pregnancy. I hope they’d understand that I’m there for them, but don’t need the play by play because while it may be wonderful for them, it is terribly difficult for me.
A walk through the wildflowers.
On the other hand, I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around me, either. I felt really bad earlier this year when one of my friends told me she was pregnant, but that she was so nervous about telling me because she knew how hard it would be for me. However, it was nice to know that she thought about my feelings.
I’ve learned that people are going to say what they’re going to say – be it on facebook, twitter, blogs, emails, or in real life and the only thing I can control is how I react and what I choose to say. I can’t expect people to be sensitive, but I can work on the best way to react, which is usually to just not.
What do you think? Do you have any social media pet peeves?
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I knew my insurance was changing on July 1st and I purposely chose a new doctor when I signed up for my new insurance because I wasn’t too happy with my current medical group. My previous OBGYN wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t great.
The first thing that bothered me about him was that he had a really thick accent. Sometimes I couldn’t understand what he was saying, especially over the phone. He would have to repeat things over and over and I think he thought I was stupid. He was really a nice guy and very funny, which helped relax me, but he wasn’t easy to talk to and I found myself just shutting up and saying, “ok” instead of pressing for more information.
The second thing that bothered me was that he wouldn’t explain things as completely as I would have liked. For example, after my miscarriage a couple of months ago, I told him I was worried that it would keep happening to me and asked if I would be able to use progesterone therapy. Without any hesitation or explanation, he told me it wasn’t necessary. Well, I know that many women use progesterone in many different ways when pregnant. One of my friends got shots every week of her pregnancy to help prevent a miscarriage and I also knew women could use suppositories to help a baby stick. Instead of explaining t reasons why he wouldn’t recommend it, he just said no and since I don’t feel comfortable with him, I didn’t press the issue.
This is Stella, miracle baby to our friends Marcus and Caren.
The last thing was the office. When I began my previous job, they assigned me to a medical group and I never changed it. I should have, but the office was on the way home from work and easy enough as everything was in one building. If I had to get blood work, I would just go downstairs and take care of it right there. While it was convenient, it wasn’t a nice place to visit. The waiting rooms were huge and dirty and the receptionists weren’t always helpful.
I picked my new doctor based on reviews online and proximity to my house and new job. I was nervous that he wouldn’t be that great and I wouldn’t be happier than I was, but I was pleasantly surprised.
My new doctor is Ah-mazing. The office is the nicest doctor’s office I’ve ever seen. It has a fountain and is decorated like a spa. The receptionist and nurses were very nice and friendly. Most importantly, the doctor is easy to understand and he explains things thoroughly and completely. He is very kind and I can tell he is already looking out for my best interest. When I left, I felt SO relieved and happy and couldn’t wait to tell my husband all about it.
In the sunshine outside the Staples Center.
He explained that progesterone therapy is risky because it can trick you body and delay an inevitable miscarriage, so you’re living your life thinking your pregnant while your baby is dead or dying. He also said that the suppositories, which is the treatment I would use for early pregnancy, can be very messy and expensive. Apparently they’re made by hand in the pharmacy, so they can charge whatever they want. He assured me that if I did decide to use progesterone he would monitor me very closely to ensure I wasn’t ever carrying a baby that wasn’t going to live and said that we could discuss it more when the time came.
I know that a doctor can’t change everything and make all my problems disappear, but it is an incredible feeling to have a new doctor who I trust and like. It makes me excited to go back!
Have you ever had a less than stellar experience with a doctor? Did you change immediately or put it off like I did?
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On our honeymoon in Mexico in May 2009
About three days minutes after returning from our honeymoon two years ago, I started planning for and obsessing about having babies. I was ready, but I had this idea in my head that we should give our marriage a year before we added pregnancy hormones and diapers to the mix. Also, my husband wanted more time. He has always loved kids and was so great with them (I have a little brother who was only 4 when we started dating and he was amazing with him), but he wasn’t quite ready to have some of his own. So, we waited a year and I added baby blogs to my reader.
One of the biggest influences on my beliefs about pregnancy and birth at that time was That Wife: a blog by Jenna, a Mormon and photographer who was planning a natural home birth (she now blogs about life with her baby and husband). I also remember visiting one of my friends and her new baby and being amazed that she had her baby naturally with no drugs. The more I read, and not just blogs, I did some ‘real’ research as well, the more I believed that natural childbirth was the best for both mom and baby.
Another thing I was dead set on: I wanted a girl first. I love all things girly: ballet, doll houses, frilly dresses, and lots of pink. My husband, like most men, wanted a boy first. I remember saying that no matter what we ended up with, one of us would be disappointed. People always say that they’re just happy with a healthy baby, but I was sure I would be disappointed if I found out we were having a boy.
At a movie premiere last weekend
After we starting trying and continued trying for a year, I have come to realize one very important thing: I have no control. I have no control over when I’ll get pregnant, I have no control over whether I’ll have a boy or girl (or both… twins are very possible with fertility drugs), and I have no control over the type of birth I’ll have. Sure, I can make a plan and go to the classes and prepare my mind and body (and husband) as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean everything will happen the way I want it to.
And that’s ok. After trying to get pregnant for a whole year, all I care about is carrying a pregnancy to term and having a healthy baby. I don’t care if my birth plan goes out the window the second I enter the hospital. I don’t care if I have a girl, boy, or both, all I want is to grow our family.
As for an update on the TTC front, Clomid is going well this cycle and we’re hopeful that this will be the one for us. You’ll know when I know!
What about you? Have your opinions about babies and birth changed since you became pregnant or started trying?
Missed something? Catch up here.
This cycle wasn’t the one, but the good news is my doctor has already prescribed me Clomid for the next one so I don’t have to worry about my insurance changing over. I’ll start taking it on Friday and about a week later the terrible side effects will ensue while I try to feel sexy enough to do the baby dance.
Mommy and baby birds on our front porch
However, today has made me think about what having a baby is really going to be like. At about 2am, I woke up tossing and turning and with a terrible sore throat. I wasn’t feeling great yesterday, but I thought it was just my period making me feel gross. Nope. I was wrong.
From about 2:30am to about 10am, I threw up ever hour. I had the worst head and body aches and my throat was killing me. As I was moaning in misery, I kept thinking about how I would be able to handle being sick while caring for a baby. Sure, I’ll have my husband to help, but how will I be able to be the mommy when all I want is for my mommy to take care of me?
What about those times when the whole family is sick? What happens when the kids are puking and wanting you to comfort them, but you’re too sick to sit up?
I’ve taken care of my little brother when he has been sick and I can handle it if I’m healthy (my mom used to have to run the vacuum in the other room while I threw up in the bathroom when I was little because she had such a terrible gag reflex, even when she was healthy), but if I’m also sick, I don’t know how I would be able to handle it.
What about you? How do you handle being a parent when all you want is someone to parent you?
Missed something? Catch up here.
I called my doctor when I got the visit from Aunt Flo that Wednesday morning and he told me to come in that afternoon for a blood test. The next day, he called me to tell me the results were kind of weird (not a good thing to say to a hormonal woman) and he wanted me to come in for another one two days later at the same time of day. When I went in that Friday, he said that the “weird” thing was that my hCg level when I came in on Wednesday was at a 3.2. If the hormone measures over 5, a woman is definitely pregnant. Under 2 means definitely not pregnant. I was in this grey area.
On the way to Huntington Beach to celebrate Jackson’s birthday with his brother Marlowe!
He said that this strange level could be one of two things: either I was pregnant and was in the process of losing the pregnancy on Wednesday when I came in for the blood test (duh) or the lab techs made a mistake. I already knew what had happened; I wouldn’t have gotten 8 positive home pregnancy tests over the course of 5 days if I wasn’t pregnant. Also, Aunt Flo had definitely stopped in for a visit that Wednesday morning, no doubt about it. This was not spotting due to implantation, trust.
During the meeting with my doctor, we discussed what would come next. He wanted me to wait a month to do Clomid again to ensure that my body fully recovered from the pregnancy and early miscarriage. I asked if we should try on our own without Clomid for the next cycle and he gave me an unenthusiastic “sure.” He didn’t seem confident that we would be able to conceive without the help of a fertility drug as my body had responded so well to it the month before (not sure if I shared, but when you’re on Clomid you get a blood test on cycle day 23ish to see how the medication worked – my levels were spot on perfect with just the lowest dose, so we knew it did it’s job). He said I would take this month off and resume Clomid the following month.
Jackson and Marlowe celebrating their first birthday!
My next big question came out along with a flood of tears, “what if this keeps happening?” My doctor is not super warm and fuzzy. He’s funny and likes to tell jokes to lighten the mood instead of coddle the crying hormonal mess of a woman sitting in front of him. He fully admits this and even made a joke about how he’s not like Oprah, though he is taking over her show (it was the same week it went off the air). He told me not to worry about all the what ifs and to just hope for the best. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I knew a few women who had taken progesterone during their pregnancies to help prevent a miscarriage. I wanted him to tell me that we would do that next time and everything would be fine.
If I was a pushy person, I would have demanded progesterone therapy if I got pregnant again, but I have a really hard time asserting myself to people who I feel have more authority than I do – doctors, lawyers, financial advisers, etc. Plus, I knew that my insurance would be changing soon (new job) and I would be switching doctors, so I tried not to worry about it.
My husband and I decided that we would do the exact same thing we had done the month before. We followed the same schedule (if you know what I mean) and hoped that maybe we could make a baby without the help of fertility drugs. I read up on ways to thicken my lining to help said baby stick and started taking 1500 milligrams of vitamin C every night with my prenatal vitamin. I also tried to eat as many sweet potatoes as I could.
*Note: I am not a doctor and you need to do your own research before taking any vitamin supplements*
You know I’m a scheduler, right? I love to plan and time everything just right. If we got pregnant this cycle, it would be PERFECT timing with my teaching schedule. I would be able to take the last 12 weeks of school off and have the whole summer off giving me about 5 months home with the baby before going back to work. However, I’ve learned that some things just can’t be planned perfectly and I have to surrender and let it all happen when it’s supposed to happen.
Laura, me, and Roxanne all dressed up for a friend’s birthday dinner.
I’m right at the end of my cycle now (these posts have caught up with real life!) and so far, I’m testing negative, but no Aunt Flo. With my insurance changing July 1st, if AF doesn’t get here soon and I’m not pregnant, I might not be able to do Clomid again next month, which would be very disappointing. I’m really hoping that I’m either pregnant (obvious first choice) or that AF comes very soon so I can get my prescription for Clomid before my insurance changes over.
One more thing: I have gotten so many comments and emails from women who have been reading that say how much they identify with my story. I want all those women to know that you’re not alone. Infertility is such a taboo topic and it makes women feel so alone because nobody talks about it. I’m hoping that my posts over here help those women realize that there are tons of others out there just like them and that it’s ok to talk about these issues. If pregnant women can complain about how hard it is to be pregnant, we can certainly vent about our struggles trying to get pregnant, right?
Up next week: how infertility changed my opinions about pregnancy, birth, and raising babies.
Missed something? Catch up here.
Was I mean to end my last post like that? I’m sorry.
I got the BFP and then I went to work. Working is funny when you’ve just learned you’re pregnant. I was pretty much thinking only about pregnancy and babies the whole entire day. It’s a good thing my students were testing because I wouldn’t have been able to teach them anything valuable that day. I called my doctor and the receptionist said to come in that afternoon before 4:30pm to take a urine test and set up my first prenatal appointment. I was so excited that I left work early – the students were dismissed at 2pm, but the teachers were supposed to stay until 3pm (don’t worry, I got permission to go) – and headed over. I peed in the cup and waited for my results and then they called me in. It was negative. I was confused. I told the nurse that I had taken a digital test that morning and it was positive and she said that it was probably just too early for the tests they have in the office to detect the hormone. She told me to wait a week and come back if I was still testing positive at home.
I was freaked out, but I had to get ready for my friend’s rehearsal dinner, so I went home, changed, and headed out. I met a couple of the other bridesmaids at a friend’s house and she had a non-digital test and made me take it. It was positive. I took another digital test the next day: positive.
From left: Roxanne, me, Laura, the beautiful bride, and Michelle
Since I was pretty sure I was pregnant, I didn’t drink at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. It was great to be able to think about being pregnant without feeling like I was imagining it.
The next night, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary (we celebrated one night early) and went out for a really fancy dinner.
I will never forget that night. We were so excited and happy.
On Tuesday, I left work and had a little bit of time before I had to be at my new school for a meeting, so I stopped by Babies R Us to just walk around and look. It was fun to think about registering and having a baby shower and decorating a nursery and I enjoyed every minute of it.
However, the high didn’t last long. On Wednesday, I woke up to pretty bad cramps. I remember laying in bed thinking that I was probably about to get my period. I tried to visualize the embryo sticking as I laid there and I waited a long time to get out of bed because I just knew what was coming.
During those five short days that we thought we were pregnant, my husband and I had discussed that if we lost the baby due to a miscarriage, we would still be happy (ish) because we would know that we can make a baby. Plus, there are things that can help with the sticking part and when we got pregnant again, we would do whatever we could to help it stick.
So, when I did get my period that morning, I was sad, but no more sad than I had been before we ever got pregnant. My husband and I both stayed home from work that day and I cried for maybe an hour. We went out to breakfast and played with our dogs outside and comforted each other.
Oh, and we sent texts to all the people we had told too early. Oopsie. Our bad. Not that I mind over-sharing. I mean, who am I kidding? I write about my period on my blog. But I think the problem with telling people too early is that they feel awkward when you tell them you’ve miscarried. I don’t have a problem with it, but maybe other people do, so I’ll try my best to keep the secret next time.
Next week: awkward doctor visits and the next cycle.
Missed something? Catch up here.
In my last post, I made it through my first cycle of Clomid, all while interviewing for jobs and working extra hours (I taught Saturday school and after school intervention classes to make extra money just in case I didn’t get a paycheck in the summer). It was a lot to handle all at once, but it was SO worth it.
I was due for a visit from Aunt Flo on a Wednesday. According to the box of early result home pregnancy tests I had purchased the previous week, I could start testing 4 days before my missed period, but I decided to wait until Tuesday to take my first test. Now I have taken many MANY pregnancy tests over the last year that we have been TTC. I know what a negative result looks like and this one was slightly different.
Sidebar: Every time I use the word slightly, I think of my grandmother who used to order her bagels slightly toasted at our local bagel cafe. My mom and I used to roll our eyes when she did this in front of us, but now it makes me smile because it was so HER.
Anyway, this test that I took just before I was due for my period had a verrrrrry faint line where I had never seen any sort of line before. It was SO faint, in fact, that my husband couldn’t even see it.
Sidebar numero dos: Someone commented on one of my previous posts over here asking about how my husband is handling all of this and I wanted to address that. He is AMAZING. He is so incredibly supportive and tolerant and it seems like every time we are making a decision about something – whether or not to start Clomid while I’m interviewing, for example – we are always on the same exact wavelength. We are a team and he does a great job being my partner in all this.
Sorry about that. I bet you’re wondering about that faint line, huh? Well I was, too, but I tried to put it out of my mind. I didn’t want to build up hope only to have it knocked down when I got my period a few days later. Actually, I was so hopeLESS that right after my friend told me she was pregnant that same exact day I wrote this post.
Then, a couple of days later, I got an email from the school that was my number one choice offering me a job! I was ecstatic!! This school is amazing and so close to home. I have always wanted to teach there and soon I will. It was such a relief to know that I had a job for next year and would be paid through the summer.
On Friday morning (remember, Aunt Flo due Wednesday), I decided to take a digital pregnancy test because I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding that weekend and I wanted to be sure I wasn’t pregnant before I got tipsy at the rehearsal dinner and reception.
Well, guess what people??
Yep. That’s a BFP – BIG FAT POSITIVE!!!!
This is me, curling my hair, right after I saw the result. I was screaming in the bathroom and yelled at my husband to come in there. He later told me he was really annoyed because he thought I wanted him to kill a spider or something and he just wanted a few more minutes of snooze action. When he realized why I was losing it, he gave me the biggest hug of my life. Then I cried.
This was the dogs’ reaction after we asked them if they wanted a little brother or sister.
It happened to be one of the best weeks of my life.
But don’t congratulate me yet…
Next week: So THIS is why you don’t tell people you’re pregnant right away!
Missed something? Catch up here.
When I left off last week, I started looking for a new job and we decided to start Clomid. The timing was pretty ridiculous and I kind of felt like I was in a blender for a few weeks. Let me break it down…
Me being silly while wine tasting for my 28th birthday in March.
I didn’t get a visit from Aunt Flo when I was supposed to in April, but that was nothing new for me. My doctor wanted to get me in for a blood pregnancy test before he prescribed Provera to start my period and then Clomid to stimulate ovulation. I’ll never forget sitting in the office waiting for my blood work order from the doctor and a young couple came in for a urine pregnancy test, which was positive. They didn’t have insurance and didn’t seem prepared for a baby, but here they were, on the road to parenthood while I was starting fertility treatments. It was really hard to not break down into a sobbing mess at that moment.
Lucky for me, I got my period before I got the blood work results back, so I got to skip the Provera step. I thought that was the worst part because I remember how terrible my skin looked after I took it in December. Pimples? HA! I was in for quite a surprise with Clomid.
At Justin Winery in Paso Robles.
You start taking Clomid on day 5 of your cycle and continue for 5 days. Well wouldn’t you know, my first and most important job interview landed right in the middle of those 5 days. I made it through and was asked to move on to the next round of the process which was to teach a demo lesson. I was really excited for the opportunity, especially since this school was my number one choice. It is really close to my house and the students are very high achieving. If I got the job, I’d definitely be moving up in the teaching world.
On day 12, you start doing the baby dance every other day for five days. That is also when the intense pain and bloating kicks in. Oh yes, just when you need to be feeling your sexiest, your stomach inflates to the size of a woman who is already five months pregnant and your jeans no longer fit. You have to wear mumus to work and the cramps keep you from walking from your office to your car without a break. I’m not exaggerating. It was BAD.
The beach at Morro Bay, where we stayed the night before our wine tasting adventure in Paso.
The best part was that it only lasted four or five days. I remember thinking, in the middle of the worst of it, “I cannot do this again next cycle.” But once it was over and I knew there was an end to the pain and bloating, I realized I could if I had to. And can I say that the baby dance was better than ever? Something about knowing that you’re potentially making a baby that makes sex so much better. It is an incredible connection between two people that nothing else comes close to.
The following week, I NAILED my demo lesson. I rocked it. And I don’t usually talk about myself in such a flattering way.
Next week, some incredible news!
Missed something? Catch up here.
After the holidays, we had an amazing distraction to get us through the first part of the year. We were selected to be on a new show on HGTV called Secrets from a Stylist with Design Star winner Emily Henderson. You can watch our episode, titled Mantique Minimalism, here.
Our living/dining room before:
The anticipation of filming was the perfect thing to get me through all the worries I had about getting pregnant. I just sort of ignored it for a while. I got my period in December with the help of Provera, but didn’t get it again for two months. Then, in March, I got my period all by myself. I have never in my life been so excited to get my period. My husband and I jumped up and down in the kitchen, that’s how excited we were to see Aunt Flo.
We decided that we would start clomid in April and we were hopeful that this would be our year. Then, I got some terrible news. I received a RIF or reduction in force letter that said I would be laid off at the end of the school year. I was also RIFed two years ago, but it was rescinded right before the end of the year and I was able to keep my job. However, this time my school’s enrollment was projected to decrease, so even if the RIF was rescinded, I would not be able to stay at my school and could be placed anywhere in the district. Even though I’ve worked for the district for four years, I still have the lowest seniority in my subject area because they have laid off everyone below me.
So, I began the job search. In addition to teaching full time, everyday after work I went to as many schools as I could to submit my cover letter and resume. I had a couple of good leads and was ready to interview and land a job.
We wavered back and forth trying to decide whether or not to move forward with our plan to start clomid. I felt kind of stupid trying for a baby when I wasn’t sure if I would have a job after June. At the same time, we felt like if we waited, we’d never make any progress in the baby-making direction.
After discussing it with my therapist, she advised that we see the job situation and the baby situation as two separate issues. She told me not to think of one as dependent on the other and to make a decision on the baby thing without thinking about the job thing. So, with that in mind, we decided to move forward with clomid in April!
Next week: clomid sucks. For real.
Missed something? Catch up here.
When I left off, I had been late two cycles in a row, but wasn’t pregnant. I was learning how to deal with it all by seeing a therapist and taking yoga and I thought I was just fine… until I didn’t get my period for two whole months. And it turned into three.
I went back to the doctor to see if I could take something to start my period because I thought that three months with no period and no positive pregnancy test was not going to work for me. He said that not only would he give me Provera to kick start my period, but he’d also prescribe Clomid to stimulate my ovaries. When I was in his office, I agreed, but by the time I got home, I decided I wasn’t ready for Clomid. I had read about the side effects and increased chances of twins and was terrified. I decided to just take the Provera, get my period, and hope that my cycle went back to normal on its own.
As the holidays approached, however, I became very depressed. When I had planned out this year in my head, I thought I’d be pregnant and showing by Christmas and that we would know the gender and people would buy us gifts and… and… and… Then, all of the sudden all of the women I knew (or at least 5 of them I knew on facebook) announced they were pregnant. I’d have days where I was fine and then BAM! I would feel like my world was ending.
This was about six months ago and I still have days like that. Actually, I’m having one today. I feel like I want to go away to a deserted island with no internet and no cell phones and just disappear for a while. I want to stay away until I get pregnant and come back when I know it’s safe for me to live in a world where I find out my friends are pregnant and can be happy for them. I feel like my life is meaningless without being a mother. I feel like this is all just wasted time and nothing really matters until I have a baby growing inside me.
I also have wonderful days. I had one of those on Sunday. I declared it “Wanna be a Mother’s Day.” My husband cooked me breakfast and I got all dressed up and we went to a museum exhibit I’d been dying to see, Art in the Streets at MOCA.
Then, we went to my new favorite restaurant, Bottega Louie, for lunch. And we totally pigged out.
When we got home, I rode my bike to the store to pick up some peonies, my very favorite flower.
It was the best day.
So, when I have days like today where I feel like there is no end to the pain I feel, I try to remember days like Sunday. It helps me realize that there is sunshine right around the corner.
How do you get through the bad days?
I’m a teacher, so every September, I get to start over. It is no nice to have that change every year. Remember the first day of school? New haircuts, shoes, and pencils… the optimism of a fresh start. It is one of my favorite parts of my job. Well, as summer ended and a new school year began, I realized I was late for my period. Oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t just realize it. I had been counting the days and when I didn’t get it on day 28 of my cycle, I was convinced I was pregnant. Never mind that the home pregnancy tests I was taking everyday were negative. They must be wrong, I thought. I’m never late! I’m either pregnant, or something is very wrong with me.
image from here
The second week of school, I was one week late and losing my mind. I called the doctor and the office said he wasn’t in, but that I could see his partner. I was such a hysterical mess that I left work (being a teacher, that is much easier said than done – I had to find someone to cover my classes and come up with a lesson plan, but it worked out) and went to see this other doctor before she left for the day – she only works in the mornings. I had never met her, but I thought I might like her more than my own doctor since she was female. Boy, was I wrong.
Yes, I was overreacting. Yes, I was crying for no reason. But that woman was a piece of work. She looked at me like I was a bug she needed to squash. She told me to… deep breath… relax… and that she would never prescribe fertility medication until I had been trying for over a year. Did I ask for meds? No. I wanted a blood test to tell me if I was pregnant and if I wasn’t, I wanted to know why my period was late. At the time, I didn’t really understand how little doctors know about women’s health. The most common infertility diagnosis? Unexplained infertility. Oh, thanks. That’s helpful.
After drying my tears, I headed down to the lab to get a blood test. The next day I got my period. All of that drama for nothing. That afternoon, I called my insurance company and asked about my mental health benefits. I researched therapists online that were covered under my insurance and found one that seemed to be a good fit.
image from here
Why did I need to see a therapist? Well I’m not new to therapy. I have some daddy issues (abandonment, verbal abuse, neglect) and I used to see a therapist when I was in high school. Also, my grandma was a therapist, so I was never afraid of it like I know some people are. Before we got married, my husband and I went to a few pre-marital counseling sessions, not because we had problems, but because we wanted to be one step ahead of the game. This time around, though, I knew that my emotions were out of control and I needed help to work through them.
I knew from the first appointment that I had made the right choice. My therapist is great and she sort of reminds me of my grandma, which is a plus (I was very close with her, but she died 7 years ago – much too early). She has helped me learn how to calm myself down and not dive right into the deep sadness I sometimes experience when something isn’t going according to my plan. Therapy is a journey, it doesn’t fix you over night, so I still have a lot of work to do and sometimes I still get carried away and convince myself that the world is ending tomorrow. I’m getting better, though, and that’s the important thing.
I was late for my next cycle, but I was more prepared that time around and I didn’t lose my mind. I didn’t even take a pregnancy test because that obsessive testing is what got me into trouble the previous month. I was almost two weeks late that cycle, but that was nothing compared to what would happen next.
Before I started on my journey trying to conceive, or TTC, I didn’t know I’d have to practically learn a new language. OPKs, IUIs, CD1-28 (or more), AF, BBT, AO, BCP, BFP*… it’s quite a learning experience, but one I hoped never to have to go through.
My aunt told me that with her second pregnancy she used an OPK, or ovulation predictor kit, so that she’d know exactly when to do the baby dance (another fertility nickname for… you know). When we got back from Australia, I decided to try this method so that we could time the baby dance just right and give us a better chance of conceiving before summer was over. I bought the cheapest one in the store and went to work, peeing on the sticks everyday for a week, but I never got a positive. I thought maybe it was because the cheap tests are hard to decipher – you have to determine if the color of the first line is darker than the second and it is a very slight difference that can be dependent on the time of day you take the test, among other factors. I decided to splurge on the pricey digital test for my next cycle, but again, no positive. Then, I started to panic. My cycle was still regular, but I couldn’t figure out why those darn tests said I wasn’t ovulating, so to the doctor I went.
This was the first time someone told me to just relax and it would happen. No, it wasn’t a well-meaning friend or relative, it was my doctor. Now, I like my doctor. He’s really funny and smart and he makes me feel at ease, but the worst thing anyone can possibly say to someone who is TTC is, “Just relax and you’ll get pregnant!” That comment makes us feel horrible about ourselves and while I’d love to just press my relax button and magically become a baby-making machine, it isn’t that easy.
I got a blood test to make sure I had ovulated and I had, but my hormone levels in the luteal phase (between ovulation and the start of the next cycle) were lower than normal. My doctor said that this would make it more difficult for me to get pregnant and, even if I did, it might not “stick”. While this was a little hard to hear, he assured me that there were plenty of things we could do once I got pregnant to help my hormone levels (shots, yay), so I was optimistic for the next cycle.
I guess the universe thought I needed a distraction because one of my husband’s friends decided to give us a labradoodle puppy that month, who we named Jackson.
Even though I didn’t really want another puppy after we lost Teddy, Jackson has been the best addition to our family. He is so gentle and smart, while still keeping us on our toes with his boundless energy. We just adore him.
Next Wednesday, I’ll share the experience that led me to finally make an appointment with a therapist. Yes, Amy gets a little bit crazy…
*Want to learn more fertility acronyms? Check out fertilityplus.org for a long list!
part II of Amy’s story…
In my last post, I said that we were just about ready to start trying to get pregnant and we had some exciting news. Sometime in May, my husband found out that his company was sending him to Sydney, Australia to do some training at their office over there that July. I was so happy for him and proud that he was selected for this amazing opportunity, but I really wanted to share the experience with him. We discussed it and decided that we’d find a way to buy a plane ticket for me no matter what because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we had to go for it.
While I checked out every Australia travel book in our local library, my husband did some hunting of his own at work. He looked into his company’s travel policy and found something about bringing spouses on business trips. It said that an employee could trade in their business class ticket for two coach seats in order to bring a spouse. He asked his bosses about it and if it applied to him and guess what??? It did! I was able to travel with my husband halfway across the world for FREE!
We were so excited for the opportunity and decided that we would wait a month to start TTC so that I wouldn’t be in that horrible sick part of pregnancy while we were down under. We romanticized about conceiving in Australia and choosing a name that held meaning from our trip. It was going to be winter there, but I was happy to leave the heat of the valley for a little while and get out my boots and coats. We were ready to go, but something terrible happened.
Our dog Teddy, only a year old, stopped eating and drinking about a week before we were supposed to leave. We had plans for both of our dogs to stay with my husband’s parents for the two weeks we’d be gone, but Teddy was definitely not ok. We knew that there were probably some whole socks stuck in his stomach, as he had Pica (though we didn’t know the term until after the ordeal) and we frequently found whole socks in his… droppings… no matter how hidden we kept them. After numerous x-rays and attempts at getting him to pass the blockage, the vet determined that there was nothing we could do. Surgery would be too risky as there were several blockages and the fabric was very hard to see and if we let him go much longer without food and water, he would suffer. I had to have him put down by myself while my husband was at work. We left for Australia two days later.
We tried our best to enjoy our trip, but a cloud hung over us and, though we gave it a good try, I got my period right before we left to come back home. I was pretty sad, but this was only the beginning.
Coming up next Wednesday: OPKs and another surprise.
the next few weeks we’ll be having some new guest contributors on Spearmint Baby. here is Amy’s story...
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