Friday, February 25, 2011

13 Weeks!...and Sleepless Nights

As of today, I am officially 13 weeks pg! It feels SO good to have made it this far and to be moving into the second trimester. I will not complain about leaving those first trimester symptoms behind! :)

So far, things seem to still be going well. I had to buy one of those belly bands because I only have one or two pairs of pants that will still button comfortably. I also noticed that many of my shirts have been starting to get snug. My friend recommended just ordering some shirts in a size bigger than what I normally wear, and that should tide me over until I am ready for maternity shirts. Silly me, I decided to just order some shirts and another pair of jeans from an online sale. I figured that since I was familiar with that brand of clothing and I was ordering a size that had always been too big, that I should be okay. Well, the clothes came in the mail, and the shirts either fit perfectly or on the verge of being too small! I won't get as much wear out of them as I had hoped. The jeans that I ordered fit perfectly around the waist, but are huge everywhere else. I am definitely NOT complaining because it is nice to know that the baby is growing, but I guess I didn't realize that I had grown that much.

Baby J is as cute as ever...I can't believe he is almost 4 months old! He is such a happy little guy. He recently discovered his feet, and he loves to play with them and roll over. I am pretty sure that he must be going through a growth spurt, though. He has been eating a ton more, plus he is no longer sleeping through the night. Before he would either sleep through the night, or at least sleep until 5:00 or 6:00, but go back to sleep as soon as he ate. Now, he gets up around 2:00 and will usually go back to sleep if you give him a pacifier. He then wakes up around 4:00 to eat, and then goes back to sleep. I know that isn't that bad, but it does make it hard when you are already so tired to begin with. DH is great at taking turns with me to get up with him, but I am looking forward to when he is sleeping for longer stretches again.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ultrasound and Dinner

I had the ultrasound for my integrated screening done on Thursday, and everything looked great! It was so great to see Jumper again. He/she seemed to be so much bigger in just the past week. We were able to get some really good profile pictures and also one where you could see Jumper's fingers. It really helped to make things seem more real and I am starting to realize more and more that this is actually happening and there is a baby growing inside of me.

I am starting to feel more comfortable with sharing the least slowly. This has been a blessing for my mom and MIL because they have been bursting at the seams waiting to share. They admitted to me that they had shared it already with a few people, so I have learned that I better not share any news with them until I am ready for it to go public. I know that I am not ready to make the news official on FB or our family blog, but I don't know that I will purposefully hide it as much. There is some comfort in the fact that my mom and I have the same condition, and she never had a m/c this late. Hopefully this means that my risk is back to a normal level and things will keep progressing well.

Last night, DH, J, and I met up with K (J's birthmom) and her fiance for dinner. It was good to see her, catch up, and get to know her fiance. The dinner went really well. DH and I weren't too nervous to meet, but part of me did wonder if there would be any awkwardness. The conversation seemed to flow really well. It wasn't like we stayed and talked for a long time after dinner was over, but we still had things to talk about. K held J, and afterword, she said that she did not feel a connection to him like he was her son. Even though she still loves him, I think that seeing J with us helped cement in her mind that she made the right decision. That was a relief for me...I was a little nervous that seeing J might make things harder on K, but from what I could tell, it seemed to help. I am not sure how if/when K will want to see J again, but we told her that we are open to another meeting and would let K make that decision. K also brought gifts for us, which kind of took us by surprise, since we didn't bring anything for her. She gave J a "Curious George" book and stuffed animal, and then she gave DH and me life history journals and wrote us each really nice notes. We plan to give K a gift for mother's day, and I am sure we will at least send her a card or small gift when she gets married.

Anyway, that is all for now. I am looking forward to enjoying my long weekend with DH and J tomorrow...should be nice!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

J's Birthmom

When asked about our adoption, it seems that most of the questions have to do with J's birthmom, K. People wonder what she is like, how often we communicate with her, and how willing we are to have her in our lives (and J's) in the future. So, without going into too many personal details about K, I thought that I would answer some of our most commonly asked questions.

What is K Like/How Old is She/etc.?
K was 32 years old when J was born. She has two other children, and knew that she was not in a situation to be able to take care of an unplanned baby. She seems to be very kind and I believe that she has a very good heart. K has long, thick, curly, dark brown hair and green eyes.

How Often Do You Communicate?
Right now, we e-mail K once a week, and the e-mail includes a picture of J. I anticipate that we won't e-mail as often in the future, but we have told K that we are willing to go at her pace. In a way, it has been nice because it has made us take more pictures of J than we probably would have otherwise, plus the e-mails help us document his weekly changes. We also text occasionally.

How Do You Think K is Doing?
From what I can tell, K has her good days and her bad days. She occasionally will e-mail us back and will sometimes text me. She has told us about plans to go back to school, hobbies, and other things she does to keep herself busy. I think that there are definitely still hard days - she still loves J, and I doubt that ever goes away. However, she has told us several times that she does not regret her decision and she is very glad that J is part of our family.

How Will We Tell J about K?
We don't plan to keep adoption a secret from J. We plan to start reading him children adoption books when he is able to understand what he is hearing. K also has given J a few things, such as a book, stuffed animal, and a letter. We want J to know that he came to our family in a very special way, that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and the role that K played.

Will J ever meet K?
Yes! We are actually going to dinner with her this Saturday. When we first started the adoption journey, it seemed to strange to DH and me that we would have a relationship with our birthmom. We thought that it would be too intrusive and worried that she would try to take a place as a second mom. As we moved further and further into the process, and especially now that we have J and know K, we don't feel that way at all. There have been some people that have expressed their concern or that they just don't really agree with our decision. We have tried to explain that we are doing what we think is best for J and our family. We obviously would not agree to meet with K if we felt that it was not a good thing. We feel comfortable with K and we think it is important for us to have a positive relationship with her. Also, if seeing J occasionally is something that will help K heal and move on, then why would we want to stop that?

It has been interesting to here all of the different opinions that are out there about adoption, especially with how domestic adoptions have become so much more open. One thing that I have learned is to keep an open mind and to take people's thoughts and opinions with a grain of salt. As with any situation involving you and your family, you have to do what is best for YOU, and not what your family/friends/random people think is best. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Not Ready

Now that we have had two u/s that show a healthy baby, DH is ready to start spreading the word. Problem is, I am not. He doesn’t understand my hesitation, and it is hard for me to explain it to him. He is looking at the situation logically, while I am looking at it emotionally. I know that if I had never gone through IF, I would be so ecstatic that I couldn’t wait to tell everyone our good news. After all, we have seen the heartbeat and the doctor said that everything is looking great and our risk has gone down significantly, so in his mind, why wait?

On Friday, DH told me that he has told his coworkers that we are expecting. I asked him why, and all he would say is that it started leaking out. I don’t know how it would start leaking out unless he was the one doing the leaking. Also, DH’s brother is living in Paraguay right now. My MIL must have e-mailed him with the news because in his e-mail to the family today, he said “I was so happy to hear the news about the new upcoming additions to the family! It’s going to be weird coming home to all these new kids in the family!”. This e-mail went out to all of DH’s extended family. They were aware that my SIL is pg, that my other SIL just had a m/c, so unless I am being overly sensitive, that points a big finger at me!

I know that I probably am just being overly sensitive about this, but I really just wanted to wait until the second trimester to really start saying anything. I feel so mush pressure from DH, my MIL, and my mom to start being more open, because they are all so confident that things are going to turn out. I keep joking that I am just going to start gaining weight and let everyone wonder what is going on, but part of me is serious about it. Maybe I just need to buck up, but I really am just not ready. I just wish that people IRL would understand that!

Friday, February 11, 2011

First Prenatal Appointment and Thoughts

I had my first OB appointment yesterday afternoon...things got off to a rocky start, but everything turned out okay.

I was SO nervous for the appointment. I kept imagining how things were last time I went in for a prenatal appointment and there was no heartbeat. What made things worse was that DH found out a couple days ago that he wouldn't be able to come with me after all. He had a meeting with his boss that he couldn't get out of, so I was so nervous that I would have to go through a worse-case scenario by myself.

I had scheduled the first appointment after lunch so that my doctor would hopefully be on time and I could get in and out pretty quickly. When I was going to check in, the receptionist told me that my doctor was delivering a baby, so they would still have me come back and get checked in. Once I was back in the office, the nurse told me that the doctor was actually delivering TWO babies and that I had a couple options: I could either reschedule, or I could wait...but the wait would be at least 60-90 minutes. I told the nurse that I was pretty nervous because of my history, so I would rather just wait and get the appointment over with. About this same time, DH called me and said that his meeting was over, so there was a chance that he might be able to get to my appointment after all.

The staff settled me in one of the exam rooms and I waited for almost two hours. Fortunately, I had brought a book with me, so I was able to keep entertained! :) DH was able to make it to the office, and about 15 minutes later, the doctor arrived. She started doing the u/s, and at first I was kind of nervous because she said "There is definitely something there, but right now it just is shadowing". WTF? After a few adjustments, she said that she could see the heartbeat! We were able to see our baby, and he/she was super active. I think the baby has a new nickname, because it was seriously jumping up and down like crazy. So, for the sake of this blog, I think I will call the baby Jumper. Jumper was measuring at 10w6d, which is perfect according to my dates, but a couple of days behind where the last u/s measured. I am assuming that this is pretty normal, though...there is bound to be a little discrepancy when two different people are measuring and they are using two different pieces of equipment, right?

The rest of the appointment was pretty uneventful. We went over my history and my doctor gave me a big hug before we left. So now, I have the u/s for my integrated screening next Thursday and then my next OB appointment is in 4 weeks.

It is crazy to think that I am at this still seems so surreal. Our parents are getting anxious to be able to tell people, but I just am not ready yet. Maybe after next week's u/s, but I don't know. Part of me is afraid that as soon as we go public, something bad will happen. Part of me hesitates because I am not looking forward to all of the "I knew you would get pg after you adopted" comments. I know that people mean well when they say that, but that is NOT the reason we adopted J. I would not ever change having J in my family, and adoption does not cause pregnancy. I have already had a few unintentionally hurtful comments, and I know that is a very small price to pay for having this baby, but I am still not looking forward to the others that are bound to come my way.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Start Talking About Infertility

I got an e-mail from RESOLVE this morning that had a link to a great article on Infertility that appeared in the Huffington Post today. The article is called "Infertility" The Disease We Need to Start Talking About". I copied and pasted it here:

Silence might be golden in some circumstances, but in the case of infertility it has been downright destructive.

Recently RESOLVE, one of the only organizations dedicated to infertility, made a bold announcement on its website: "People with infertility are being ignored." I always knew that insurance coverage for treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) is scant at best, and that many doctors still don't treat infertility as a major health issue. I've learned that blatant misconceptions persist when it comes to our reproductive health. And it's no secret that the media doesn't cover this subject as often as it should.

However, what I didn't realize is that infertility patients' reluctance to discuss their struggles and advocate for change is directly preventing those affected from getting the support and funding they deserve. As Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE, explains, "Infertility is not being discussed in the general public health realm -- it's not taught in health classes, it's barely touched upon in medical schools, and it's not a priority of any government entity. Yet how can we expect health care providers, educators, our government, and insurance companies to pay attention to infertility when the patients themselves aren't even talking about it?"

Why the silence? People battling infertility are certainly not alone -- a staggering one in eight couples face it -- yet many feel like it is an extremely personal matter not to be shared with anyone but anonymous women and men on message boards. Some say they feel shame for not being able to procreate or for having faulty plumbing, so to speak. Also, in our somewhat still Puritanical society, we've been brought up to believe that sex is a private matter. Discussing it in some circles, even when it pertains to a medical condition, is taboo.

Of course, not everyone feels that way. For instance, while plenty of celebrities would never admit having gone through IVF (even when so many give birth to twins in their 40s), Giuliana Rancic has helped break the mold by publicly sharing her fertility battle via her reality show Giuliana & Bill. "We had signed on to do this show and when we started having trouble getting pregnant, we decided we were going to be honest and reveal what was really going on," says Rancic, who suffered a miscarriage last year after undergoing IVF treatments.

The result of her candidness was both surprising and inspiring. "I started getting up to 100 emails a day from people telling me that I helped them because hearing my story made them feel less alone and ashamed," Rancic explains. "I was shocked by the fact that so many people go through infertility because so few talk about it. And while experiencing it myself has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined, I've found there really is a comfort in numbers."

However, Rancic is still in the minority: It seems that for most men and women facing infertility, it's easier to deal with something so emotionally, physically, and financially draining without having to field questions and opinions from every well-meaning friend, co-worker, or family member. Such comments like "Just go on a vacation, relax, and you'll get pregnant," or "You can always adopt," are far too painful to even acknowledge, so people figure that by remaining silent they'll avoid opening themselves up to such commentary in the first place.

It doesn't help matters that there's no general consensus on how to label infertility. In 2009, the World Health Organization officially defined infertility as a disease. Yet many individuals, organizations, and insurance companies still say that having children is a lifestyle choice and that infertility is not a serious medical issue. Some even liken fertility treatments to cosmetic surgery. But ask the millions of couples desperately trying to get pregnant whether or not having children is a necessity. Why would they subject themselves to months or years of such turmoil if, to them, it weren't essential that they try?

Certainly, there are plenty of valid reasons while this secret exists, but it needs to end. Thirty years ago, breast cancer was where infertility is today -- women just didn't talk about it (a topic I touched upon in a recent blog post). There weren't countless support groups, fundraising walks, and an entire month enveloped in pink. Women battling breast cancer did so in silence and, in turn, many felt isolated and ignored. However, now because there is such an international dialogue about the disease, breast cancer receives multi-million-dollar grants each year in research funding and patients are inundated with an outpouring of support and understanding.

Other cancers, AIDS, and many other illnesses follow the same path from shame to global support and advocacy: Once people start talking about it, the awareness, funding, and answers follow. "The silence is one of the key reasons why the infertility movement is not where it should be," says Collura. "By people speaking out and letting the world know that these are real issues affecting real people, that would impact advocacy, public education, and public policy."

What will it take to bring infertility out of the closet, so to speak? Possibly it would help if more celebrities like Giuliana Rancic came forward and if the media started covering the topic more extensively (as SELF magazine did with a groundbreaking piece on the subject). Maybe we need thousands of infertility patients and advocates to come to Washington D.C. for their Advocacy Day on May 5th rather than a few hundred like in years past. Or perhaps we just need the domino effect -- once a few people experiencing infertility open up, more will follow suit.

I don't know what the magic ingredients are that will take infertility from an issue no one talks about to a banner "pink ribbon" type of cause. The bottom line is that far too many people are suffering. But by suffering in silence, the stigma persists and the advances we need to overcome infertility will never become a reality. As Collura points out, it starts with those struggling with infertility saying, "We matter."

And when they do, the rest of the world must start listening.

There were a lot of things in this article that really hit home with me. How many times have I, and so many others, avoided talking about IF? How many times have I wished there was more media coverage about IF, but done nothing about it? I realize that IF is very private, but it really makes me wonder what changes could happen if that wasn't the case. I'm not saying that everyone needs to come out of the IF closet or spend all their time campaigning about IF...I just wonder if there was a little more talk or a little more effort, if things would eventually change.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few negative and insensitive comments posted after the article. Some people are so convinced that IF is not a health issue; simply a lifestyle choice and that it is nature's way of weeding out the population. Of course, these are the people that don't have any experience with just goes to show how much more education and coverage about IF is needed!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Never Been Here Before!

Well folks, I have officially made it past my "farthest along I've ever been" date. It feels good to have officially made it to 10 weeks, but I am still pretty nervous for next week's ultrasound. I don't feel like any of my pg symptoms have let up, but I am still nervous that I will get bad news at my appointment. This whole experience seems surreal and like it is too good to be true. Sometimes I have these thoughts of "Is there really a baby inside of me"? I hear that is pretty normal, and to be honest, I don't know when they will go away. Maybe once I start having a belly or feeling the baby move? I went to lunch with a good friend yesterday who is pg after IF. She is 18 weeks along, and she talked about how she still has doubts that things are turning out, so I guess this is just what IF does to you.

I was finally able to get in touch with my genetic counselor earlier this week. She said that based on my mom's history (she has the same chromosome issue as me), that she DOES NOT think that our baby is at increased risk for birth defects. That is what her partner had mentioned when we met with her last August, but it was still good to hear again. We decided to schedule one test (I don't remember what it is called), but it will give me an extra ultrasound, which I am definitely happy about.

In other news, we finally have a court date set to finalize J's adoption! It isn't until June 27, so we still have a while to wait, but I am so excited to have something on the calendar.