OB Appointments

Twiddling My Thumbs

Alas, I have nothing new to report. No baby yet. Not even close to having baby. We hit 39 weeks on Wednesday and like magic, I expected the call to come for real. No such luck. F has been pregnant four times before. Each time she has never gone past 39 weeks. Until now. We’re all a little dumbfounded. I expected to have a baby this week, and he seems to be quite content where he is. We had our weekly doctor’s appointment today, and there has been no further dilation. As a matter of fact, F feels great. Lots of energy, good appetite. She has been cleaning like mad. I’m torn between pride and irritation that our baby boy is charting his own course.

We do have an eviction date, however. Our OB practice thankfully will schedule inductions as early as two days after the due date. After we cleared up confusion about our due date again (they persist in using June 8 despite our being given a date of June 3 by the RE and every other calculator I’ve ever used), the doctor said we could schedule an induction for June 8. F really liked the doctor we saw today, and she isn’t on call until June 9, so we agreed to postpone the induction until June 9. So that’s possibly WB’s birth date: June 9.

Am I happy about having a date? Yes but mostly no. Frankly, dear reader, I am PISSED! I want him here! We are soooo ready for him! His clothes and bottles are washed and put away. I’m killing time at work. His room is ready. The floors are 100% done. We are ready!! I had prepared myself for him to be here this or even last week, and now I have to wait another full week and two weekends? ARGH. And F is SO thrilled because she gets her favorite doctor, and the date works out well for her. And that pisses me off too. Did I mention that I have a bit of a short fuse right now? I have been pretty stressed this week because I expected the call at any time.

I realize that there is nothing we can do about the induction date. It could be no earlier than June 8 unless they suspected fetal distress or some other issue. I understand that. So I’m kind of just mad at the world right now. We are sooooooo close to having him here but yet he’s not. And we have waited almost 4 years for him and would like to get on with our lives and out of the suspended animation we have been in. So envision me stomping my foot like an irate toddler. Humph.

In calmer moments, I take a deep breath and realize that WB could still come on his own before June 9. It’s very possible. And frankly, given the personality he has exhibited so far, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. He wants to chart his own course and do his own thing, so maybe he’ll come next week. Or tonight. Who knows?!?! And, it is nice to know that no matter what, there is a firm end date to this pregnancy. June 9, no later than June 10, we should have him.

So, J and I will try to enjoy this weekend. I left work a little early (thank you governor and your mandatory furlough time!) and bought flowers to plant. My flower garden is in dire need of attention and the plan is to address it this weekend. I can imagine taking WB outsite to admire the flowers later in the summer.

Our Evening in L&D at Rex

Nursery progress

Nursery progress

We reached 38 weeks on Wednesday, and it turned out to be a rather eventful day though not as eventful as it could have been!

F texted me around 8am to tell me that she was having some strong contractions that weren’t regular and to keep my phone close to me just in case. I had been pretty torqued before and that news made me really torqued. Later that afternoon she told me that while the contractions were still irregular, they were getting stronger and she was feeling pressure. She called the OB, and they wanted her to come in to be checked at 4:30.

I called J, and we headed to the OB, PBO and cord blood kit in hand. Everything felt very surreal at that point. The doctor checked her, and she was 3 cm dilated but there were other indications that she wasn’t quite ready yet. Still, to be safe, the doctor sent her to the birthing center to be monitored. They put her in triage and hooked her up to a monitor. It was fun watching the contractions! After about 40 minutes, they told her to go walk around and see if that would help things progress, so we made the circuit around L&D countless times. I watched a nurse wheel an isolette containing a newborn by us and wondered if we would have one of those soon.

We returned to triage and waited for a nurse to hook F back up to the monitor. And waited and waited. Turns out that they had three women back-to-back who came in ready to give birth. We were understandably lower priority! Finally, they hooked her back up, and the contractions looked the same. The doctor checked her, and she was still only 3cm, so he sent us home.

F was disappointed, but I was ok because I wasn’t going to allow myself to get excited until I knew it was going to happen. Plus, we didn’t have our bags packed, and there were still a few work things I wanted to finish up. J and I had a late dinner at Chili’s, and as soon as I got home, I packed our bags LOL.

Things have been pretty quiet since Wednesday. F is still having contractions, but they aren’t as strong as they were on Wednesday. We’re in a holding pattern. I’m interpreting Wednesday as WB’s way of telling us that we need to get ready, and it was very useful to focus me on what’s important right now.

It’s Friday AND it’s a long weekend, and I’m really looking forward to it because I am exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well and could use some quality relaxation time. There would be a nice symmetry if WB arrived this weekend because I started the shots for this cycle on Labor Day weekend. We shall see!

37 Weeks

Me marvelling over a teeny tiney t-shirt

Me marvelling over a teeny tiney t-shirt

So, as of Wednesday we are 37 weeks. I was talking to a coworker today about a deadline for getting content to me, and I realized that we could have a baby next week. I’m not sure how likely that is, but in my mind, any point after May 20 is fair game (and F told me yesterday she didn’t think she’d go much beyond 38 weeks. Wow). Obviously I understand that the point of all this is to result in a baby, but OMG, he could be here next week. Next freaking week. And if not next week, then very likely the week after. There is a surreal element to all this that is setting in. I am logistically not ready for him to come, but I am emotionally SO ready. It is odd, however, to realize that we are considered full term!

Speaking of being ready, we have a nursery! J gave me the best Mother’s Day gift by finishing the baby’s room. I’ve been washing baby items like mad, and the nursery has come along nicely. I feel like it is missing some accessories, but we’ll get there. I just wanted him to have a nursery. J and I will go to the nursery, open the door, and grin like fools. It is soooooo cute!! I’m really pleased at how it looks.

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Nursery semi done!

Nursery semi done!

In other flooring news, this is likely our final night in the living room. Yay! Tomorrow we will be moving our furniture back into the bedroom. Whew! Maybe we can have a day or so of life being slightly normal before it is turned upside down again by WB’s arrival. I doubt it 🙂 It feels great nearing the end of this project. We never intended it to take so long, but it finally is about to end. And the floors look great. They really do.

We had our first shower last Saturday, and it went very well. J and I had a great time and were surrounded by friends and family. We received some great books for WB as well as some much-needed baby items. We feel a tad bit more prepared now that we’ve had that shower. I woke up on Sunday with a sore right shoulder, and I was baffled as to why it was sore. It finally hit me: my cousin had let me practice on her 6-month-old baby Isaac. He’s 15 pounds, and I held him for 45 minutes at least. That explains it! I had no idea babies could build your muscles so.We have showers #2 and #3 this weekend. It’s a weekend of showers! Both will be fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing coworkers and old friends.

A Few Pictures

Oooh, two posts in a week! I came home, exhausted, moaning and stressed about all the work I have to do to feel ready to be away from work for 12 weeks, my chaotic house and increasing level of panic and instead of focusing on the tasks at hand, I decided to procrastinate even more and post a few pics!

We had our appointment today, and it was pretty uneventful. We didn’t have a dilation check, but the heartbeat sounded good. I did NOT like the doctor we saw today. He seemed rushed and perfunctory. I asked a question and F chimed in, and I felt like his response sort of dismissed both of us. Humph. The OB practice we use is a large practice with lots of doctors, and he is the first one I’ve met that I did not like. Hopefully he will not be on call when we go into labor.

We had the baby care class last night, and not surprisingly, we were the only couple there who did not have a member sporting a big belly. It felt a tad weird, but if nothing else, the surrogacy process has accustomed me to feeling a little weird and different. J and I didn’t like the instructor. She started off badly when she glanced down at my stomach, leaned in and whispered, “Are you adopting?” “No, ” I whispered, “Surrogacy.” She smiled and said, “Oh, how wonderful!” I know she meant well, but something about her delivery made us wince and really made me feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb. It’s kind of amusing, though, because once people find out we are doing surrogacy, they very delicately ask if we will be in the delivery room and if we know what it is. Of course we do and yes, we will! I understand that surrogacy is uncharted territory for most people, but the consistency of the responses and the tone is humorous.

We did learn some stuff in class thankfully. I’ll never say I feel prepared, but I have an idea of what I need to do. I think. We’ll find out! Being a big reader, I have lots of books.

Yesterday was a big day not only because we reached 36 weeks but also because we received word that our PBO had been signed by the judge. That means that F and her husband no longer have any legal responsibility for WB and that we will officially be listed as his parents on the birth certificate! The PBO process had been a little frustrating for many reasons, and it had seemed to drag, but finally, everything worked out. Our big fear was that it wouldn’t be finalized before WB’s birth, so it is a huge relief to have it done.

My cousin L’s water broke at 1:30 this morning, and she and her husband journeyed to the hospital. This is the third of four boys due in my family with WB being the fourth. L’s labor hadn’t progressed much when I last had an update, and I hope she makes some progress soon. Her baby’s birth means that we are next!

Now for pics!

Lucy in the glider.  I have a feeling we're going to see a lot of this.

Lucy in the glider. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot of this.

New paint and glimpse of hardwoods in the master bedroom

New paint and glimpse of hardwoods in the master bedroom

Can't see it well, but the nursery color is a light apple green.

Can't see it well, but the nursery color is a light apple green.

Sweater that J's mom made for WB.  It is adorable!

Sweater that J's mom made for WB. It is adorable!

Status Check

Today we reached 36 weeks. At our appointment last week, F was 1 cm dilated. Now that doesn’t mean anything really except that things are moving in the right direction and getting ready for labor. However, hearing the doctor say that she was dilated at all freaked out J and I quite nicely! We’ve graduated to weekly appointments, and our next appointment is tomorrow.

As for the house…I wish I could say the floor project was finished and we were no longer sleeping in the living room and more importantly that the nursery was finished, but alas, I cannot. We really are very close, but J and I are getting a little stressed. I spent two hours scrubbing our bathroom on Sunday because, well, it really, really needed it but it was something I could control! And sadly, I enjoyed cleaning it. I had my iPod and just scrubbed. You know it’s bad when you enjoy cleaning! I don’t think either of us ever dreamed it would take so long to put hardwoods in three bedrooms. In case you’re wondering, what we have left is to install the baseboards in the nursery and the master bedroom. Sounds easy, no? The installation is, but J is making the baseboards, and it involves sanding them, two coats of poly, another round of sanding and then two more coats of poly. You can put on 1 coat of poly each day, so it is a multi-day project. The super fun part is that it entails J and I spending an hour shut in the stuffy bedroom (no fan because of the dust it might kick up), inhaling the fumes from the poly as we brush it on. By the time we are finished, we are quite loopy. But it’s quality time for the two of us.

I turned in my final project for my grad class last Friday, and I was working right down to the wire, which is exactly how I didn’t want it to go. Oh well. My project turned out better than I expected, but I personally don’t feel it’s my best work. I don’t care. It’s done and it’s one more thing completed.

Work is still crazy. I’m still trying to make the plans I need to make, and the days just aren’t long enough. Que sera sera! At some point I just have to accept that they will do fine without me or at the very least muddle through for 12 weeks.

In happier news, we toured the hospital last night and have our baby care class tonight. Yay–we can finally learn how to take care of WB when he arrives LOL! The sad thing is that we paid for the class in early February, and it feels like that was only a few weeks ago.

We also have our first shower this weekend! We are so excited!

33 Weeks!

J and the Crib

J and the Crib

Oooohhhh, two posts this week! Today actually. It’s due to my laziness.

Today we had our 33 week appointment. F is measuring perfectly and the heartbeat remains a beautiful sound. F says that WB is still incredibly active, and she is starting to enter the uncomfortable part of the third trimester. Her tummy has definitely popped. She looks adorable and all belly and baby LOL. After our appointment, we went out to lunch with F and her husband. We’ve been so busy with floor stuff that we have been fairly reclusive and tired and haven’t been able to get together with them like we would like. I really cannot stress enough how FAST this year has gone by. I’m still having trouble accepting that we are 33 weeks. OMG. We will likely have a baby in 5-6 weeks. JHC! Anyway, we had a great lunch with them, and we would have loved to stay longer, but work beckoned. We hoped that we would be able to feel WB move, but he did not cooperate. Stubborn like his daddy!

In other news, we now have a crib in our nursery. OMG. J and I put it together last weekend. Thankfully, it didn’t take us too long, but it was a little disconcerting emotionally. I admit to feeling a little superstitious about it, but we have to prepare. And it is such a beautiful crib!!! J and my stepfather will pick up the changing table/dresser on Saturday. Then the nursery decorating can begin!!! J hopes to have the crib bedding ready for me in the nursery when I return next Wednesday. We shall see! At least at that point I will have fewer obligations on which to focus since my attention is all baby, all the time right now.

I’m trying to arrange a tour of the birthing center for us. Our hospital is very good, but I’m surprised at the low-tech applications I have encountered so far. You submit a form and someone calls you. Okkkk.

Voila the crib!

Voila the crib!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it will be like to have a baby, and I am getting so excited. That sounds a little ridiculous when I re-read that statement since we’ve been trying to have a baby for almost 4 years so you’d think at some point we would have thought about what it will be like to HAVE a baby. We have thought about it abstractly for years and sometimes tried NOT to think about it, but it is different thinking about it as a quickly-approaching reality. J and I know that it will be a lot of work and that everything will be different forever, but we are so ready and so full of anticipation. It has been helpful being able to hold a lot of young babies recently at various showers. My cousins thrust them at me with a “Here! Practice!” I thought my cousin’s four-month old was tiny but then I held my other cousin’s six-week-old. Tiny, tiny, tiny.

It’s been great being able to immerse myself in baby stuff. A coworker paid me a nice compliment recently when she told me that she had never seen me as relaxed and natural around kids as I was around her one-year old a few weeks ago. Being an only child, I found it awkward at times relating to babies and small children. And then once the infertility started, it was painful being around children, so I’m sure I seemed stiff. However, I love babies. I’ve always loved babies, and it feels so good being able to just let it out, enjoy small children and relate to them.

We still have a lot to do, but I am finally able to envison WB in our house. I cannot wait!

Clytemnestra or Ptolemy?

20w5d

20w5d

J and I have been married for 7 years but met each other 12 years ago. At some point, we started talking baby names, and we joked that we would freak out our families by coming up with ridiculous baby names.

After going over many silly names, we had the ones. We decided that if we had a girl, the name would be “Clytemnestra” and if we had a boy, the name would be “Ptolemy” (because I like the silent “P”).

We had the big u/s today and found out the gender. First of all, the baby looked great. It was moving all over the place, which relieved me since I was afraid it would pick today of all days to be calm and sleepy. All its measurements are right on track and no red flags were raised. The baby now weights 12 ounces. The tech switched from 2D to 3D, and I was a bit dismayed to see that the baby looks a little like me as a newborn (it wasn’t my most attractive moment). The 3D u/s was amazing though. I can’t believe how much detail there was.

And the verdict is…

It’s a Ptolemy!

J and I were a little shocked but in a good way. We are going to have a baby boy! F was surprised because she kept dreaming we were having a girl, and I had thought for a few weeks we would have a girl. However, I woke up today and just knew it was going to be a boy. Amazingly, that makes the 4th boy in my family between November 2008 and June 2009. I wondered what the odds of all 4 of us having boys were, thinking it must be high, but J (much better at math and tricky things like statistics and ratios) informed me there was actually a 1 in 8ish chance of all of us having boys. Oh. Ok, so not as unlikely as I had thought LOL.

Now we can begin planning the nursery in earnest! We have had names for both a boy and girl picked out for years, but we’re going to revisit our boy name to make sure we like it. I had breakfast with a dear friend and met her baby boy last Saturday. He is 6 months old, and as I held him and he tried to grab my chin and put his fingers in my mouth, my heart melted. I knew then that having a boy would be a wonderful thing.

I’m so glad it’s a Ptolemy.

17 Weeks, Second OB Appointment

After the constant attention at the fertility clinic, it was a huge adjustment to go to monthly OB appointments.  However, I kept reminding myself that monthly meant normal which is what we wanted.  I was really nervous for our next OB appointment on Dec. 22 because F was having blood drawn for the quad screen.  The quad screen tests for spina bifida, various trisomies, and Down’s Syndrome.  It’s not a “Yes/No” test.  Results come back indicating either a low risk or an elevated risk for one of the conditions.  I had worked myself up into quite a lather about this test because I am always fearing and anticipating the worst (however correctly or incorrectly).  I had read there were a number of false positives on the test and that it often caused parents needless worry.  Why have the test then?  Well, I figured that we’d rather know than not know and encounter it in the delivery room.

I loved the doctor at this appointment.  Despite being almost 17 weeks, she couldn’t find the heartbeat consistently, so she calmly asked for the ultrasound machine.  We were a little tense, but she reassured us that since F had had 4 other pregnancies, it was likely that the baby had more room to hide.  She was just very calm.  Sure enough, the u/s revealed a baby with a beating heart.  It was moving its arms and legs but wasn’t quite as active as it had been at other appointments.  I suppose even fetuses have to sleep sometime!

It has been amazing that we have had so many u/s.  We were able to enter the holidays reassured that everything was ok with the baby and show off pictures to family of its development from an 8-celled embryo to 9, 10, 11, 13 and 17 weeks.  I’m glad that we have so much documentation!

The Alien World of the OB’s Office

We had our first appointment with the OB on Nov. 24, and we were 12w5d (almost 13 weeks).  We had agreed that F could use whatever OB she wanted, and she decided to stay with the OB practice she had seen for her own three kids AND her first surrogacy.  I was relieved that they had some experience with surrogacy.

An OB office is a very strange place for an infertile after time spent (served?) in the RE’s (reproductive endocrinologist AKA fertility doctor) office.  RE offices are grim places filled with anxious, stressed couples.  There is little smiling and often a great deal of physical and emotional pain due to cycling, bloodwork, drugs, ultrasounds and failure.  In contrast, the OB’s office is filled with sunshine and happy people.  Pregnant women in various stages waddled in.  Small children cooed and garbled, receiving none of the glares they would have received in a fertility clinic.  In short, J and I felt like we had entered an alien place.  It was like that episode of Grey’s Anatomy when Cristina stumbles upon the dermatology floor, and it is so clean and happy compared to her bloody, often-tragic world of surgery.  J looked at me and muttered that he wasn’t sure if he could handle all this happiness so early in the morning and almost felt like he needed a drink.  So did I.

Our appointment went well.  I was a little nervous when the doctor couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler, but she quickly got the ultrasound machine.  I had also been reassured by friends that we would have at least one appointment during which they wouldn’t be able to find the heartbeat, so I was prepared.  Unfortunately, I had neglected to pass on that wisdom to J. 

The u/s quickly confirmed that everything with WB (our nickname for the baby) was fine. We saw it swim from one side of the sac to the other, and I was stunned a little freaked out by how long his legs were and how much longer than the rest of him they seemed.  If you’ve ever read Anne Rice’s Mayfair witch books and the Taltos in them, it is exactly what went through my mind!

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and we were very thankful to have yet another ultrasound confirmation that everything with WB was ok.  A weird thing happened when we returned to the waiting room:  we ran into people we know.  There are about a billion OB practices in the area, and it never occurred to me that we might run into people we knew, so I wasn’t prepared for it.  We haven’t exactly kept our infertility a secret, but we hadn’t advertised it either, and our recent success hadn’t been broadly advertised yet either.  I briefly considered trying to pretend I was there for a routine annual exam (since it’s also a gynecology practice) but since most people don’t bring their spouses to those, I decided to go with the truth.

It was my first experience spilling the beans–including that our pregnancy was a surrogate pregnancy–and the couple, there for the appointment for their second (and third–it’s twins!)–didn’t bat an eye at our news, which I appreciated.  You run all these scenarios through your head about what the reactions  you receive will be like and they are usually horrid, so it was a nice surprise that this couple said a simple, “that’s wonderful!”