Babysitting Offers

I am sure that in my past pre-parenting life I did this too. I’m sure I casually offered to every friend with children that I would be happy to watch their baby if they and their spouse wanted to get out for a date. It’s a sincere and thoughtful offer. I appreciate the positive sentiment. I honestly have two internal reactions that I won’t share anywhere but here. Inside I think, “Thank you for your offer, but…”

  1. my sensitive daughter would be TRAUMATIZED if I left her with someone other than her other mom, her nanny, or her grandma (or maybe my best friend). While your offer is kind, she would scream the entire time I was away and wonder who in the hell you are. Lately, I’ve had a surplus of casual “dog park friends” offering to babysit. I’ve never been to their homes, they have never held our baby, and I have no idea what their infant experience is. Being on the parenting side of things, it strikes me as absurd that anyone would consider this scenario.
  2. I do not want more time away from my daughter. I am away from her for about 40 hours each week while I work. That is plenty. I cherish and relish every moment we have together, and I co-sleep in part because I want more time and contact with her when I’m home.

I am pretty sick and tired of people asking if my wife and I have gone on a date alone together. (BTW, we did once, and I basically spent the whole time wondering why we hadn’t just brought the baby). I am REALLY tired of people acting like I need to get out! go to a movie! have fun! Blech. I get out to work, go to coffee shops, take long walks and hikes with baby and dogs, have at least two social engagements each weekend, and go out to dinner with my wife (and baby) at least once or twice a week. I don’t need to go out without the baby, so quit implying there is something wrong with taking her (nearly) everywhere I go.* Truly, if I felt like I needed some time away from her, I would happily make arrangements and take it. I don’t know why people seem to think I secretly want or need to take that time and am somehow denying myself the pleasure. It makes me wonder whether they needed more time away from their kid(s) (which is totally fine!) and so they assume I do too or whether I have some sort of separation anxiety and in a healthy world I should WANT more time for myself.

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Who would want more time away from this little peach? (Also, smoothie, not murder)

*I am not referring to events or activities NOT suitable for a baby, like formal weddings, loud concerts, etc.

Parenting and Pets

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With my brother’s dog on a road trip home from Oregon!

My wife and I often say that the hardest part of parenting is our pets. I’m not sure if this is unique to us, so I thought I’d put it out there and see how other people feel.

Let me start by saying that we are animal people. We have two dogs, but we both love all dogs and most other animals. Our dogs have always been included in every aspect of our lives, from hikes to trips to just lounging on the sofa. We have always bought them nice, comfy beds, toys, collars, and other accessories.image2(5).JPG

When we initially brought home the baby, our younger dog was positive we had brought her a prairie dog with its very own cage for our bedroom (crib). She was THRILLED and we panicked a little, researching high-priced, specialized trainers to help the dog understand she couldn’t eat the baby. It took her about 48 hours to realize it was a human, and then she kind of kept her distance. The older dog experienced a LOT of stress. He would hide in the closet when she cried, and he really started to keep to himself. I know he could sense my stress hormones with being a new parent, and this stressed him out too.

Cut to six months later and the baby loves the dogs and the dogs love the baby. They are at that really cute phase of sniffing her and she giggles when their whiskers tickle her or she reaches for them to touch their fur and they think she is scratching them. She lights up when one of them walks in the room. It’s cute.

Here’s the problem…as much as I love them both, the dogs have been driving me CRAZY for the last seven months. They have an uncanny ability to shake their heads and jingle their collars within 15 seconds of the baby falling asleep at least twice a day. The older one has really increased his bunny-chasing dreams, meaning he wakes us all up running and barking in his sleep in the middle of the night. The younger one steals pacifiers and delights in chewing the tip off and then tossing it around the house with glee. They also, both, for some reason now STAND exactly where I need to walk in the house, ALL. THE. TIME. Lastly, and this one isn’t really fair, but walking them has become SUCH a burden. I walk them morning and night between 20 and 60 minutes (sometimes even longer), and I usually have the baby strapped to me in the Lillebaby. In concept, it’s not such a big deal, but every afternoon it feels like such a chore. I used to enjoy the dog walk, but now I just daydream of strolling along with a sleeping baby and no dog insisting on sniffing EVERY BLADE OF GRASS or while the other dog is yanking and pulling toward the squirrel she saw cross the road 3,000 feet ahead of her. Alternatively, put the baby in the stroller and walk the dogs? No. The stroller wheels might touch their legs, because they persistently try to walk in front of the stroller on their leashes, and they jump 3 feet in the air like you’re clearly trying to murder them.

Maybe it’s just that we’re more tired, so we have less patience. Maybe the reduced attention is making them act out. Maybe I’ve just become bitchier with parenting. I feel terrible about it. I know that they are impacted, and they are coping in their own way, but sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out! I truly spend a LOT of time trying to remain calm, patient, and understanding with the dogs, because none of this change is their fault. I’m hopeful that this phase will pass and they will magically blend back into our daily routine and not feel like an additional burden on top of parenting a young child.

Attachment Advice Needed

So, my wife and I went out of our way to really try to balance out our daughter’s attachment to both of us. We split the first six months of work – I worked mornings and she worked afternoons. I pumped bottles for my wife to feed. We share bathing, diapers, etc. There are some things I do more of (walking dogs with baby in carrier everyday, clipping fingernails, etc.) and some things my wife does more of (riding in the backseat to comfort a cranky baby in her car seat, taking baby to music class and swim lessons, etc.) But, we really tried to both play active roles.

At about 6 months, our daughter started showing her preference toward me. At 7.5 months, it’s undeniable. In fact, she really doesn’t want ANYONE else holding her most of the time. She’ll tolerate short visits in other people’s arms, but for the most part, if I am present, she wants to be on or with me.

A big factor in this equation is that baby and I sleep pretty much attached. She nurses through the night, and I don’t really mind, so it is what it is (bad habits and all). She also has a strong preference for breast over bottle (from birth). So, if she thinks there is ANY chance she can have breast, she’ll stubbornly deny the bottle, even if it’s fresh, warm milk. Between 6:30 am and 3:00 pm, she will drink 5-6 ounces from the bottle from our nanny, and wait until I get home. At that point, she’ll chug milk through the afternoon and evening to make up for the lost calories. (Hellooooo reverse cycling).

My question is this: how long is the stage in which she insists that I be the one to tend to all of her needs going to last? It’s obviously frustrating for both my wife and I, and it clearly hurts my wife’s feelings. I try to remind her that it’s a healthy developmental stage, that it means our daughter is developing the essential skill of attachment, and that there will be PLENTY of times in the future when I am NOT the preferred parent and she is. Every baby goes through this, right? Do you have any suggestions? Any hope for when this will pass? Thank you!

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Practicing eating “solids” from a miniature silicone spatula, because she finds spoons to be extremely offensive.

Chemical Pregnancy

My wife’s period started on Saturday. I harassed the heck out of her, “are you SURE it’s full flow? do you have cramps? is it just spotting? what color?” She assures me that it’s an actual period. That puts us back at CD4, on the third attempt at an unmedicated IUI.

Initially, we intended to do just one unmedicated IUI, but our clinic requires you to have an HSG before using clomid or femara. The clinic also requires you to take a month off of trying to have an HSG. I know that this doesn’t make any sense, but it is what it is. When the first IUI didn’t work, we decided that we didn’t want to miss the opportunity for the baby to have a September birthday (we both really like September), so we pressed forward with natural try #2. After this last cycle, and a chemical pregnancy, we decided to just push forward with ONE more natural cycle. I have read that women are very fertile the cycle after a chemical pregnancy, so we’re going to go with that unscientific theory and try one more time. If it doesn’t work, we’ll pause for the HSG. At that point, we might take one more month off to avoid a Christmas birthday. I have always felt bad for kids who have their birthdays overshadowed by the holidays. Is this silly? If you have a December or early January birthday and love it, please tell me.

The only other consideration that is haunting me at the moment is how many vials it’s going to take to make the sibling(s). I REALLY want to have three kids. (I would have six, if I could…) My wife is pretty much on board with three. (She would probably prefer two, but she isn’t too resistant to three). We have eight vials left to make 1-2 more kids. That sounds like plenty, right? And it also sounds like so few! Our donor is all sold out, though I have asked the bank to contact me if any vials get returned.

Anyhow, we push onward, enjoying the day-to-day with our miniature daughter. She’s just crossed the 11 lb threshold at 7 months, though she also just started wearing 9-month jammies because she’s so long. She has been sitting independently for about a month, rolls both ways, and loves to stand, holding on to things. She isn’t making any movements toward crawling, which is fine with me, frankly. She’ll get there some day, and when she does, keeping track of her will be 900x harder. She also poops on the toilet with 95% reliability, is TRYING to figure out the solid food thing, and has started to enjoy reading books rather than just gnawing on them and trying to tear pages. Other new interest: swinging.

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Quick Update

We had another very faint positive test last night (14DPO). To be honest, all three of the pink dye tests looked about the same – all very faint. I’m a little bit concerned this could be an ectopic. My wife called the clinic to let them know she got a positive. She also needs to have her TSH tested again, because they put her on levothyroxine 30 days ago. We’re waiting to hear that they called the orders in to the lab, so she can go get a blood draw. Based on the faint pink lines, I think we’re going to hear a very low Beta. I probably won’t get another chance to update this weekend, but maybe by Monday I’ll have two beta numbers to compare.

Pink Dye Update

Well, I’m afraid we’re having a chemical pregnancy. Here is the test from last night (13DPO, 6 p.m.): 13dpo.jpg

The second line was definitely visible, but faint. I assumed that it was very light because we tested at the end of the day, not FMU. I expected this morning’s test to be darker.

And here is the test from this morning (14DPO, 6 a.m.):image1(4).JPG

The second line was much more faint…barely visible.

It’s pretty hard to ride the roller coaster of thinking you’re going to have a September baby, imagining announcements, calculating how far apart the siblings would be, etc. and then go to wondering when that sibling will ever come to be! When I was TTC, my wife was pretty oblivious to most of the ups and downs, and she didn’t know about things like chemical pregnancies, or the statistical probability that a test is accurate at 11, 12, 13 DPO. It’s not that she didn’t care, she just doesn’t obsessively research like I do, haha. This time it feels a little harder, because she is much more aware of the ups and downs, and I hate to see her be sad, angry, disappointed.

I haven’t given up all hope, but I do think a test should be darker on 14DPO if it’s a viable pregnancy. I’m turning to hoping that the cycle after a CP can be a very fertile time. I’m also glad to know that my wife’s tubes are open and she is capable of getting pregnant, because those are two hurdles that must be overcome! We’re going to do one more natural cycle before having an HSG and starting clomid. I think we’ll probably get a progesterone test during the TWW this time just to make sure that’s not what’s causing a problem.

Thank you all for your comments and feedback! It’s so nice to be able to have a community of people ready to throw their two cents in rather than rambling to a friend who has no idea what I’m talking about!

And just to end on an “up” note, this tiny bug has no idea of the roller coaster her moms are riding, hoping for her little brother or sister to materialize! image1(4).JPG

Conflicting Results….Thoughts?

So, my wife is in the midst of her second TWW on an unmedicated IUI. She used a trigger shot at 2 am the day before insem/ovulation, because she got a positive OPK when she got up in the night to pee.

She got a VERY faint positive with CBE Early Results (the plus sign) on 10 and 11 DPO. On 12DPO, the line was SLIGHTLY darker. Then today, 13DPO, she used CBE Digital, and it says “Not Pregnant.”

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To be fair, the 11DPO test barely shows any more line since it has dried. But, it was definitely there during the test window.

Possibilities:
1) The trigger was somehow creating a false positive THIRTEEN days later (at 12DPO). This seems far-fetched, and it doesn’t make sense why 12DPO would be darker than 11DPO, but the variation was very slight.
2) The second type of CBE (digital) is not as sensitive, so it’s not picking up the HCG yet, but she is actually pregnant.
3) Chemical pregnancy that is already ending.

Other considerations: she said she feels different than a normal PMS stage, and her boobs are much more sensitive. She said she feels “something happening” in there. Of course, as we all know, these can definitely be phantom symptoms. I’m not sure whether symptoms accompany a chemical pregnancy – I would guess not, but I’m sure it’s different for everyone.

Thoughts? Any other ideas? Has anyone gotten conflicting results from these two types of tests?

Here is the 12DPO test closer up. This photo was taken a full 24 hours after the test reading period, and the line was actually darker during the 10 minute window in which it should be read. As it dried/aged, the line faded. It was originally so clear that my wife could see it with just a lamp and without her glasses at 6 in the morning yesterday, but of course it was much lighter than the cross line.
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I appreciate your insight!!

We had a baby.

Well, six months later and I finally feel ready to write about my birth experience. And parenting. Six whole months of it. But first, a brief excuse for my absence: Baby came 5 weeks early with absolutely no warning. I’ll write more about that later, but to be honest, my emotions were RAW. I felt robbed of that last month of pregnancy. I felt like a failure. I felt a MILLION emotions that do not make a lot of logical sense, but what can I say? Pregnancy and childbirth bring out emotions that we may not even know exist…

Then I delayed writing about her online. We occasionally post short, funny updates about our daughter on Facebook, but we haven’t posted any pictures. We want to respect her privacy, and we’re also leery of exposing too much of her life to the World Wide Web. I know that there are fantastic and perfectly logical reasons why it’s FINE to post your child on the internet…we just don’t. We have agreed that we can each post one photo of her twice a year. So, my wife and I will each be posting something around Christmas, and we’ll each probably post something in the summer. This policy may be revised and/or eliminated, but that is where we are right now.

One additional reason I want to get back to blogging is that we are hot on the trail of baby #2. We like the first one so much, we figure we’ll have another. This time, my wife will be carrying. We have already tried one unsuccessful natural IUI with the same donor, and we’re currently on CD2 of IUI #2. The experience of “passenger” on the TTC train is so different, and I’d like to write a little bit about that in the coming weeks.

Finally, a few words about my daughter. We think that she is perfect in every way. Despite being early, she is developmentally on track as far as baby life skills (rolling, sitting, sleeping). One of her “issues” (every kid has at least ONE issue, right?) is weight. She is TINY. She was born 6lb, 6 oz, and at six months she’s sniffing at 11 lb. She is healthy, long, average (large?) head circumference, and smart, but SKINNY. It’s been a struggle to watch her weight creeeeeeep up the scale. We have one of those super sensitive baby scales at home so that I can feed my neuroses with daily or weekly weigh-ins. She eats well and her diaper output is great. The pediatrician is not worried so I’m doing my best not to worry.

More posts, including a very delayed birth story, will be coming along shortly. And since I don’t think you know our REAL names, here’s the little pumpkin:

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Austin, Texas

At the end of March, I attended a conference in Austin, Texas. This was my second visit, but the first was in August of 2011, which was quite a different experience! During my first visit, I attended a wedding at the completely bone dry Lake Travis. It was a little bleak. This time I got to enjoy the lush green spring with blooming flowers and full bodies of water!

Austin is such a cool city for so many reasons. Yeah, it’s in Texas, which is nobody’s favorite state unless they are from Texas, but Austin has great energy. There is so much innovation – in music, food, art, and even urban design. I couldn’t ever live there due to the climate (I can really only tolerate so much sweat between my boobs), but it is such a fun place to visit.

Because I was staying at the conference hotel downtown, I walked EVERYWHERE. In fact, during my three day visit, I walked an entire marathon. I popped by the capital building, breezed through 6th street (during daylight hours), walked down Rainey Street to see all the new restaurants and bars, watched the bats one evening, got an incredible grilled cheese sandwich from a food truck on south Congress, and walked the entire Ann and Roy Butler bike path around Lady Bird Lake up to South Pleasant Valley Road. It was just beautiful.

Here are some photos:image1(1).JPGIMG_0119.JPGimage3(1).JPGimage2(1).JPGBy the end of my evening walks, which averaged 8-9 miles, I was SPENT. One evening I overestimated my stamina and by the time I got back to my hotel, my blood sugar had plummeted. That is one of the things that has surprised me about pregnancy. When the tank runs dry, it runs dry FAST, and there better be snacks and water nearby.

During my visit I did enjoy a few breakfast tacos, a lot of frozen yogurt, and a burger or two. I also ate about 14 yogurt breakfast parfaits at the conference. I just could not get enough of fresh berries, yogurt, and granola. In fact, even after I returned home, I continued to make my own parfaits. So good.

Speaking of food, the only cloud over my memory of this quick trip is that I got a serious stomach bug somewhere along the way. Luckily, it didn’t manifest itself until I got home, but I will forever remain wary of banquet food and airplanes after this illness. I’ll write more about that in another tantalizing post.

A tale of three ultrasounds

We went for our anatomy scan at 20 weeks. I was excited, but relatively relaxed, because I was feeling Biscuit move frequently enough that I knew he was alive and well. Of course, anatomy scans can reveal a lot of scary things, but we were emotionally prepared for any challenging news. My wife had to run to the restroom, so they ended up calling me back while she was gone. I laid on the table and lowered my waistband and the ultrasound tech got straight to work. When my wife walked into the room, she asked, “Did you find out?” because she was sure I was going to try to find out the gender! She definitely does NOT want to know, and I feel very neutral about knowing, so I agreed not to find out. The US tech then said, “I was going to ask if you wanted to know,” and we both answered in the negative.

Out of curiosity, I asked the tech if she knew the gender, and she said she did! So in the matter of a few swooping scans over the baby, she saw enough to know what it was. That made me think it’s a boy. However, a few minutes later, I could see the femurs. It was the view looking up through a clear floor at the baby’s bum, if he or she were sitting upright with his/her legs out front in a “V.” I could clearly see the V of his/her femurs, and there was nothing in between!! At that point, I was sure it was a girl. Of course, I am NOT a radiologist, and the depth of the scan could have been too high or low to be showing anything in between. My wife thinks I’m crazy. She actually didn’t believe me that you can clearly see the boy parts on the screen, because they are still so little. She and our male friend surmised that if an average male is 5’11”, and an average manhood measures 6-7″, and baby is 11 inches long, then the bits are truly tiny. Obviously the two of them have very little knowledge of prenatal development, so I had to google images of boy ultrasounds to show them what it looks like. In summary, we still did not find out the gender, but it was fun/funny to wonder and try to see.

After the tech did a lot of measurements and swooping over my belly, she let us know that she was not getting up to the baby’s head, because it was wedged way down into my pelvis. Biscuit was not interested in moving, and he didn’t even really demonstrate his impressive karate skills for my wife or the tech. The tech tilted the table waaaaaay back so that I was head down, trying to ease him out of his crevice. Finally she had me get up, stretch, drink some juice, walk around the building, pee, and try again. Nothing worked. She wanted to see his face, which was down toward the floor/my back, and his brain, which was super low. She rescheduled us for another try, a few days later.

The second ultrasound was shorter, because most of the parts had already been measured. However, baby was in the EXACT same position, face down deep into my pelvis. At this point, I started to wonder if he was stuck. Cue: irrational panic. Would his head or brain properly develop if he spent 6 months wedged into my pelvis? Was he caught on a ridge, bump, bone, or something? I didn’t mind at all if he is just uncooperative, I wanted to know that he COULD move if he wanted to move. After appointment number two, at which the tech said “I’ve only ever had this happen once before!” which of course made me wonder what the heck happened with that mama/baby…did everything turn out fine??  The tech scheduled us for ultrasound #3 just 2-3 days later. I scheduled a chiropractor appointment to see if he could adjust/open my hips at all. I did handstands. A lot. I emailed my midwife asking her for reassurance. She responded with a very loving, helpful email saying that everything was probably fine, and three attempts would be the limit. We wouldn’t need to try again.

At the third ultrasound, Biscuit threw us a tiny bone and managed to roll up for just a few moments. It was enough time to catch a shot of his nose/mouth and a better view of his head. The tech sent me to pee, I stretched, and then we made one more attempt, and the little devil had rolled right back into his cubby in my pelvis – face down. She said that she thought she had gotten enough and the maternal fetal medicine doctors would review and let us know. We left assuming that everything was fine and that if we didn’t hear anything, they had enough photos.

I have always been one to say that we would not be using any interventions with pregnancy and childbirth, so the irony of the situation is not lost on me. We attempted insemination with fresh donation and ended up in a clinic with an IUI and donated sperm. I assumed I would skip all but one ultrasound, but I’d already had one at 9 weeks to make sure Biscuit was alive, well, and ALONE in there. Now at 20 weeks I’d had three more ultrasounds trying to see his darn head/face. The lesson is becoming very clear. Whatever I plan…reality will likely be much more complicated.

Here are some of the better shots the ultrasound tech was able to get:

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