Eight weeks in…

Holy crapballs, how do any of you new moms have time — or hands — to blog?! I’ve opened up WordPress a dozen times and it’s only now, almost eight weeks after Max’s birth, that I’m able to do a quick update. I was going to elaborate on his birth story, but you know what? Forget it. Blah blah C-SECTIONS ARE INTENSE blah blah; that’s kinda the gist of it. OK, now before he wakes up and realizes he’s pooped himself, here are a few more current pics of the little man:

Max8

Max7

Max8

In the first 8 weeks post-birth, the two of us have:
- Walked through the park with other stroller moms and not been called out for being a fraud or even looked at funny;
- Breastfed in an art gallery;
- Attended fancy dinner parties at friends’ houses
- Had brunch at a restaurant… like, an actual restaurant;
- Taken the SUV stroller into rather tiny shops and cafés;
- Survived two weeks of daddy being away;
- Projectile shat on two of mommy’s girlfriends (um, that was NOT me)

The babe has received mail addressed to him (and I opened it, which I guess was maybe illegal, technically?), gotten a social security number and health card, been hashtagged on social media, taken lots of baths, conquered a yeast infection (what? boys? yes) and peed on a variety of objects. He’s transitioned into cloth diapers, has started smiling and cooing and staring at high-contrast images (then again, he’s also been known to stare at the blank wall next to the change table for minutes on end, so who knows, maybe he’ll be a paste-eater after all). Likes: Being in his wrap/carrier; the hairdryer; running water; stretching both arms up over his head upon waking from a nap; excessive bouncing. Dislikes: His adorable shark hat; kisses; sleeping in the bassinet; classical music. Longest stretch of continual sleep to date: 5-ish hours. Breastfeeding: Like a champ! This kid will suck on anything; pacifiers, bottles, nipples, fingers… and more! (Just kidding, not more).

Questions on my mind:

- I want to get on board with this sleep-training stuff early; is this really a thing to be anal about or should I let the kid figure out his own rhythm? When do I start? And what books do I need to read? Can they be short books? Comment below and help a momma out!

- I know we’re far away from introducing solids, but how do I do that? Do you still start with rice cereal? What’s this about introducing one new thing every few days? Can’t I just blend together a sandwich?

- Diaper rash: How do you prevent it, other than frequent nappy changes and zinc cream and “naked time” (read: DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN! HELLO?!)

OK, that is all! For now, at least… I have to go check in on some of you ladies (Stupid Stork, Burnt Toast especially) who’ve had some miraculous successes in your IVF journeys — so damn exciting!

Introducing…

This kid… always full of surprises. I’ll cut to the chase: We had our beautiful baby boy, his name is Max, and everyone is healthy and elated!

Max1

Max2

But of course, my dearest babe had to keep us on our toes right up until delivery. As you all know, I was scheduled to have a C-section with my amazing OB on Wednesday; well, on the Sunday before (Canadian Thanksgiving), I was woken up at 7 a.m. with a crazy-ass painful contraction. It lasted a couple minutes, then passed, and I thought to myself, “Man, I hope that was just a one-off thing, ’cause it would really be a shame to miss out on turkey dinner tonight.” I rolled over in bed, felt the little guy move, which reassured me, and then my water broke. I was all, “Pee? … Lots of pee? …. FUCK FUCK DEFINITELY NOT PEE!!!” Ran to the bathroom, cleaned myself up, woke my husband, called triage, finished packing my bag, and bolted to the hospital in 8 minutes flat.

Once there, it was determined that I was 1 cm dilated and also that there was meconium in the water; this, coupled with the fact that I was now having contractions quite frequently, all led to a C-section happening about three hours later with an OB who looked to be about 19 years old. The C-section really deserves its own separate post — for a routine procedure, it’s an insane experience that I just did not anticipate, from the massive operating room to being strapped, Jesus-style, on a cross-shaped table, to a robust team of at least 10 doctors and nurses and other specialists, to the side effects of shaking uncontrollably, dry-heaving, weeping, and feeling totally unprepared to actually meet my baby, scared shitless that I wouldn’t love him at first sight.

Aaaaaanyway, it all went smoothly otherwise. Spent two nights in the recovery ward with a fantastic team of caregivers that made me get all warm and fuzzy about Canadian healthcare. Breastfeeding has, blessedly, been a cinch right from the get-go, I’m healing pretty quickly, and weirdly I could have been “that annoying woman” who’s able to walk out of the hospital in skinny jeans — my stomach is actually flatter than it was before I got pregnant (the nurse said five minutes after they stitched me up, “You’re bikini ready!”), and I have no idea how or why, but hey — I’ll take it.

As an aside, now that I think back on it, I should have known that our kid would arrive on the 13th, regardless of when we scheduled the C-section for — it’s kind of our lucky number, with hubby’s birthday falling on Sept. 13th, our wedding on Aug. 13th, and Max first making his presence known with two pink lines on a pregnancy test on Feb. 13th. As for it coinciding with Thanksgiving — well, it’s only appropriate. I can’t think of anything to be more thankful for than a healthy baby boy in my arms.

Will update again soon, but for now am trying to use every spare minute to sleep. There are so many of you who are at such critical times in your IVF cycles or pregnancies and I’m desperate to get back to reading/blogging, but for now, I gotta Max out. :)

C-section booked!

Well, it seems Mine to Command, Infertile First Mom and Two Adults One Child all came the closest to guessing when I’d deliver (you all put in bets for somewhere between 38 and 39 weeks). My OB has decided that I may as well go ahead with this C-section next Wednesday, Oct. 16, when I’ll be 39 weeks exactly. So assuming nothing problematic happens before then, you can all mark your calendars (because I am THAT important in ALL of your lives). I should point out, too, that while Oct. 16 may seem like a rather boring day on which to be born, it turns out that junior will forever share his birthday with… wait for it… National Feral Cat Day (this year’s theme: Architects of Change)!

With five days to go until — knock on wood, spit everywhere — I have an actual baby in my arms, I can’t help but reflect on how insane it is that we’re finally here. That I’m living a life that includes a big round belly, a bassinet in our bedroom, conversations about diapering, prenatal classes and so forth; it’s a world I truly wasn’t sure I’d ever get to inhabit, and while I have at times gotten carried away with it and other times been blasé about it, I have never EVER taken it for granted. When I was in triage recently having my blood drawn, the nurse was stressed and distracted and started talking to a doctor while she was jabbing my arm; she realized that she’d fucked it up and that I’d be left with a nasty bruise. She was right, as evidenced by this poor-quality photo:

bruise

I shrugged and said, “Don’t worry about it.” Then she started tsk-ing and apologizing and warning me that it was going to get worse and could be quite sore and so forth — in the end, I was like, “Girl, I can guarantee that whatever the heck happens to my arm is nothing compared to the shit I’ve been through to get to this point in my pregnancy. I would happily start each day falling down a flight of stairs and getting covered in bruises if it meant I could be, and stay, pregnant.” OK, I may not have said these exact words, nor referred to the nurse as “Girl”, but you get the gist — I think every woman who’s gone through the torture of infertility would have the exact same reaction as I did upon being told that something might leave a bruise. Like, seriously, whatevs.

Anyway, Oct. 16 is fast approaching, and before I get sucked into a vortex of BAHHH-LOOK-AT-MY-BABY-OMG-LIFE-IS-AMAZEBALLS, I’d like to pause for a moment and say a humble thanks to all of you bloggy friends for being here with me through this journey, from the grossness of neon-blue Estrace leaking out of my lady bits to the challenge of seeing how fast I could administer my own shots… then to the sheer elation of seeing those two pink lines (which remains the highlight of my entire pregnancy, frankly)… and then the panic of not-quite-doubling betas, a bleeding episode that led to me cackling euphorically on the bathroom floor when I realized it was coming from my bum hole… and then further worry over echogenic bowel and the possibility that our fetus had Cystic Fibrosis… and then finally to now, when we’re about to bring what appears to be a perfectly average, perfectly healthy, 7-pound boy into the world.

It means a lot to have this support, even when it’s just a little comment here or there from a stranger on the Interwebs.

– Oscar acceptance speech over –

So stay tuned next week for exciting news! And if you have any tips when it comes to C-section recovery, feel free to share. I vaguely remember some of you talking about milk of magnesia or something to help prevent constipation and the importance of getting up and walking rather than lying in bed the whole time… can y’all remind me?

God bless drugs…

I named this blog Yeah, Science! because I am constantly impressed by the miracles science is able to achieve; it got me pregnant (thanks for nothing, temperature charting and raspberry leaf tea!), and now it’s totally keeping me pregnant. I was predicting, after the blood pressure ordeal, to have to deliver a pre-term baby — but then I started taking one tiny little pill, twice a day, and now I’m coasting along merrily toward the 38-week mark. As with nearly all phases of infertility, it was a moment of hurry-up-and-wait — there were about three days of MANIC rushing around, getting work stuff finished, getting the basement functioning again, assembling the nursery, installing the car seat, cancelling all social commitments, etc., and then each day allowed us to get more done, and then all of a sudden it occurred to us that we mighhhhhht just be ready for this kid to arrive. Like, now. How do I know that it’s officially time for baby? Well, mostly because my time on bed rest has transitioned from meeting deadlines and making calls to insurance adjustors to surfing the web for cute squirrel-themed artwork on Etsy and knitting pumpkin cozies. I mean seriously — I am knitting. sweaters. for. pumpkins.

SO JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN BABY ALREADY!

Some of you asked a while ago for nursery pics. I must warn, once again, that we are not one of those couples who just happened to have a spare room with white walls, ie. a blank canvas simply waiting to be attacked with tasteful Amy Butler fabrics and pastel bunting that spells out the baby’s name and mammoth gliders with matching ottomans. We also had a budget of, like, nothing. Therefore, consider this a warning for the images you are about to see. There is an orange wall. There is a green wall. There is deer wallpaper. There are paint-by-numbers. It’s basically the same ’60s cottage kitsch theme I had for my office. Also, you will note that we still don’t have a proper change table — this is because I continue to suffer PTSD from trying to source a changing pad that isn’t a) pastel coloured or terrycloth; b) $100; or c) bigger than the top of our dresser. Hence, we’ve got a sad, folded-up towel sitting there for now. Oh, and yes, those are two electrical sockets right above this area — we still need covers for those, of course. And yes, the monitor is currently affixed to the crib; it will be relocated to the window ledge eventually. Please don’t call Children’s Aid just yet — I promise we’ll get around to ironing out these details.

Anyway, here’s what things look like so far:

Nursery1

Note the stack of cloth diapers… scary, I know.

Nursery2

The IKEA Poang rocker… sans ottoman, but maybe one day.

Nursery3

Changing area with My Brest Friend. The watercolour depicts a radish because this was our nickname for baby (it came about whenever he was the “size of a radish”, according to our pregnancy app). This area is a bit sparse, obvy, and I also feel like we’re low on the product side of things — you can see we have baby powder and zinc cream and wipes, but should I be getting arnica? And vitamin D drops? And anything else?

Nursery4

Laundry hamper and our designer tote diaper bag.

All I can say is, this kid better have a fondness for retro decor… otherwise he’s gonna be all, “I think my stork got the wrong address, yo!”

Thanks for hanging in here with me in this final stretch — and let me know if I’m missing anything obvious in the nursery, or if you’ve got any tips for enduring another week of bed rest (now that Breaking Bad is over, there’s a major hole in my life. Don’t be surprised if we reveal the name of our son to be Jesse Pinkman).

Now taking bets – just how long can I stave off pre-eclampsia?

I’ve written before about my blood pressure highs and woes. For most of this pregnancy, my soaring estrogen kept the BP at a blissful 110/70 or thereabouts. Then in the third trimester, it went back up to where it usually hangs: A dismal 120/90. I started checking it at home and peeing on sticks to look for any protein in my urine, and it all seemed OK, except for the part where I’d only bother to check it after lying down in bed for a few minutes at night. This week, I showed up for my regular OB appointment and, as soon as I saw the intake nurse doing a second squeeze of the cuff and then a third squeeze before letting out a sigh, I knew it wouldn’t be good news. Brace yourselves: 150/110. Aaaaand cue the doctor coming in to remind me for the zillionth time what the signs of pre-eclampsia are and ask whether I’ve had any of them, and by the way could I go over and demand an urgent ultrasound down the hall and then also head over to triage to get this checked out properly—oh and don’t eat or drink anything, “just in case.”

For a minute, I started to fear I may actually need to deliver this kid ASAP. And of course the pregnancy triage unit is located in the very centre of an enormous hospital and therefore has NO wireless phone signal and NO data reception, so once I was hooked up to all the monitors, I couldn’t even call my husband to fill him in on where I was. Actually, now that I think about it, I didn’t even bother to tell him I was going to my OB appointment, either, so I had visions of having to suddenly ring him up and be all, “Hey hon! Um, we have a baby now! Can we start thinking a bit more seriously about the name?”

Long story short: Everything is now fine. Well, “fine”. My blood pressure dropped a bit while I was being watched, my pee is clear, baby’s heartbeat is fine, growth is on track, movement is good, bloodwork is unremarkable, etc. Still, I’m now on medication and have to go in to repeat about five hours’ worth of tests in triage every two days while obsessively self-monitoring to ensure I don’t have headaches, blurry vision, swollen ankles and whatnot. If I ever get a reading that hits 160/110 and/or experience any of these symptoms, that’s when I can freak the hell out and floor it to the hospital.

So! Let’s take bets. Clearly, this kid is not going to be cooking until 40 weeks. He’s 36-ish weeks now (you can see the latest—and probably last—bump pic on my page), so my guess is I can maybe hold on until Wednesday before delivering (at which point I’ll be 37 weeks). He’s also still breeched, so it’s definitely going to be a C-section, but I’m kind of over it. The idea of straining to push a baby out my vajizza for hours on end when my blood pressure is this high only worries me more, so bring on the slice-and-dice!

Now, place your bets!

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

Oh man… don’t even. I can’t bring myself to look at how long it’s been since my last post, but what can I say? It’s TIFF season (aka the Toronto International Film Festival), which is the most insane time of year for me as an arts reporter, and it means I have barely a second to shove an occasional wad of street meat in my mouth, let alone blog. As a side note, if any of you have pressing questions for Mr. Harry Potter, I’m interviewing him in a few days, so pass those along. Also speaking with Dexter, and that hot guy from True Blood (Ryan whatever-his-name-is), and haven’t yet organized my notes on their upcoming films, so will gladly use my allotted 20 minutes with each for random subjects of conversation like, say, how they feel about breech deliveries.

Last time I had an ultrasound, it showed the little guy as being the kind of breech where his butt is down by my cervix—apparently any breech position leads to an automatic C-section in most U.S. hospitals because doctors want to avoid getting sued if anything goes wrong. But my mother was saying it’s likely for Canadian OBs to attempt a natural delivery if the baby starts coming out bum-first. Erm… this kind of freaks me out. I’d much rather try to turn him so his head is down where it should be, and at 33 weeks, I’m running out of time. I tried singing that “Turn, Turn, Turn” song repeatedly but then figured I may as well look up some other strategies online. This is where it gets hella weird, girls.

The first result that came up was 9 tips for turning your fetus. Among those tips? Applying an ice pack to the top of your stomach and a heating pack to your vajayjay; playing music through headphones positioned by your crotch, or “have Dad place his mouth on your lower abdomen [ed note: they really mean vagina] and talk to the baby, encouraging him or her to move towards the sound of his voice”; getting onto the floor on your hands and knees, then wiggling your butt around; or lying upside down, on a 45-degree angle — and note, “You can use large pillows or an ironing board to help you get into the slanted position.” Oh, can I? Great! So basically, if you want to find me, I’ll be here lying upside-down on a tilted ironing board with an ice pack on my stomach and a heating pad down below with my husband singing to my vagina. No probs. Seems SUPER scientific.

ironing

Anyone got any better ideas?

P.S. Bump pics page has been updated yet again, but don’t expect any major changes from 28 weeks to 32… same old tummy, basically.

The time has come (no, not THAT time! Not in labour, don’t panic)

ragweed

Back in the day when I thought I could actually time when I was going to get pregnant (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. ahahaha… ha), I had this master plan of getting knocked up in November, after the first frost, and then delivering a baby by mid-August, which would mean I’d avoid being preggo during ragweed season. This may seem a bit over-the-top to you non-allergy-sufferers who think late summer and fall is the most glorious time of the year, but in my case, I don’t just get a few sniffles, I get ITCHING OF SATANIC PROPORTIONS up in my nose, in my eyes, basically everywhere, before my body then decides that one mucus plug really isn’t enough — EVERYTHING NEEDS MUCUS, NOW. If I don’t take any meds, it’s torture; I once did a ragweed study at a hospital to make some extra cash, and when I realized I’d been dealt the placebo, I had to drop out early because it was impossible to sleep unless my face was submerged in a vat of Visine and nasal steroids. When they did the prick test on my wrist and waited to see if a spot of redness showed up, my ENTIRE ARM ended up in a huge rash.

For a while, I was on prescription-strength antihistamines, but I kept having to increase the dosage to the point where my doctor-mom actually seemed concerned about the potential for cardiac arrest. Then, in desperation, I decided to go out on a limb, do the all-natural thing, and try this nettle extract. Miraculously, it worked!

But now, it’s kind of up in the air whether or not I should be taking it. A lot of naturopaths insist it’s totally safe during pregnancy — and, in fact, is even used in hippie-oriented fertility treatments. And yet, as with many herbal remedies, there hasn’t been much in the way of real, concrete, double-blind studies to determine that it has no effect on the fetus. So I’m a bit hesitant to start taking it now.

I’ve read that Benadryl is OK for pregnant women (this site says “Benadryl is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby,” and my mom says it’s fine), so I guess that’s what I’ll be taking, but I’m pretty sure it can also make you super drowsy. Any of you guys have advice?? The ragweed season has begun and I’m feeling like the odds are stacked against me. I did a nasal rinse last night and woke up this morning with nostrils chock-full of grossness.

P.S. On an unrelated note, I finally heard back from the organization that accepts donated cord blood and apparently I didn’t qualify as a candidate because I’d been to Kenya. Once. For less than a week, many years ago. Apparently some weird HIV strain that doesn’t show up on blood tests (??) is prevalent there, so that’s that. Kinda bummed, but on the up side, it means we don’t have to rush to cut the umbilical cord, hence a bit more oxygen for the babe.