We even sold some art that we absolutely loved. I'll pay a brief homage here for anyone who appreciates good photography to the phenomenal Peter Lik, who created the pieces we sold. We no longer have a giant 90 inch tall cavern in our foyer or a beautiful peaceful tree above our dining room table, but we enjoyed them while they were in our lives...
|"SHINE" by Peter Lik|
|"INNER PEACE" by Peter Lik|
Speaking of planning, I'm trying to be good about going through the month-by-month checklist given to us by our OB. Apparently, now is the time to register for childbirth/parenting classes and to choose a pediatrician. Wow, talk about a reality check! This parenting thing is really happening!
I've made an executive decision on our behalf as a couple to go totally rogue and NOT take childbirth classes. For one, the classes are sooooo long and at really inconvenient times clear on the other side of the city. We aren't lazy people of course. We'd put forth the effort if we felt it would really alter Preston's life. However, after talking to many women who've already given birth, it's quite clear that much of the information they teach goes in one ear and out the other.
It's also clear that no matter how much you think you know how to do Lamaze breathing or have your birth plan all spelled out, there is no telling what will go down in that delivery room. Feel free to talk me into it if you've taken childbirth classes and felt they were some sort of lifesaver, but my gut tells me we'll be perfectly fine just winging it.
As I've said before, I'm more concerned about learning how to best care for Preston once he arrives. Hubby and I are instead enrolled in a much shorter Baby Care Basics class that teaches newborn childcare, and we'll be taking the short Breastfeeding class, as well as hiring a lactation consultant to help give pointers on that. We will also be doing a tour of the maternity ward at our hospital. Outside of that, no plans for any other classes. Being selective is all part of the master plan to conserve energy and brain power for the things that matter most. Let's hope I don't kick myself later for being clueless on certain topics!
Happy to report that I met with Preston's pediatrician yesterday, and I LOVE HER! She came recommended through our neighborhood message board, and I can see why. She answered all of my questions and concerns about vaccines, newborn protocols, and gave me a calendar of appointments to expect for the first few years of life. Nowadays babies are typically given a Hepatitis B vaccine before even leaving the hospital, unless you elect otherwise.
I wanted to make an informed choice on vaccines BEFORE being faced with decisions in a hospital bed. As you may know, there's a lot of vacccine controversy hooplah. After speaking with the pediatrician though, any concerns I might have had are now alleviated. We will be doing ALL of the recommended vaccines, including the series of 3 Hep B shots beginning immediately after birth. The ped was a great listener, overwhelmingly sensitive and caring, and she even hugged me before I left and seemed genuinely excited to meet Preston soon. Um, that was a first to get hugged by a doctor, but I'll take it!
Yesterday was also another apt. with our perinatologist at 21w5d. The u/s tech did a very thorough u/s checking size & function of all organs again too...pretty much another full anatomy scan really. Hearing things are on schedule or ahead is such music to our ears. It seems Preston is averaging more with each passing month. He's now measuring a full week ahead (@ 22w5d) and weighs about 2-3 oz. more than average (1.3 lbs currently).
I have a theory that Jason's Deli must be a contributing factor to this fabulous growth pattern. I cannot get enough of their spinach salads & chicken pot pie soup these days. The habit has now grown into one of take-out, after discovering you can pack roughly 2 lbs. of salad into one container. Ha! I just had it for lunch, and I want it again for dinner. Luckily, I've gained a normal amount of weight myself (15 lbs.) despite the trucker sized appetite.
|Can't get enough Jason's Deli salad bar. I must be stopped!|
Back to the apt...According to the doc, my "cervix is a mile long" (@40mm) which is good, because there are no signs of incompetent cervix, a cause of pre-term labor. With every positive report comes another sigh of relief and another rush of emotion and tears....tears of happiness.
And if seeing two doctors yesterday wasn't enough, I also ran into my RE for the first time since we first learned we were pregnant. I was dropping off some old half-used meds to my IVF nurse to use for demos, and there he was. I looked at Dr. Vaughn, opened my sweater, pointed down at my 22 week tummy, and just smiled really big and started crying all at the same time. I was about to fall apart into a million pieces but thanked him as graciously as I could and just excused myself saying, "I've gotta get out of here before I break down like a crazy person!" Of course, he was totally put together and said how very happy he was for us. He is such a calming force I swear. I REALLY need to write him a letter, because Lord knows I can't keep it together in person.
I knew the moment we met this man that he was placed in our lives for a reason. I felt in my heart of hearts that he was THE ONE here on earth to help us. (Remember, he was the 2nd RE we sought help from.) Maybe it was the figurine on his desk that read, "Babies are a gift from God." Maybe it was how well we just clicked from the first meeting and how well we communicated every step of the way. He didn't talk to me like a lay person and we understood each other without question. Yet he also just made everything so simplified in a way that both hubby and I really needed. It takes a special kind of doctor to be the perfect combination of technical yet simple.
I doubted if I was in the right place at times whenever a cycle failed or when I found myself butting heads with him on certain aspects of any given protocol; The never ending quest of the infertile woman for ANSWERS! Anytime I searched for answers elsewhere I would use the information to advocate for what I thought was worth exploring, but was always led back to him to help us implement it. I really felt in my heart that he was given a gift to help others and wasn't just some egotistical asshole in this profession for the money or because of some God complex. It's like there was an angel on my shoulder telling me to stay put and keep trying with his help, even admidst the doubts that crept in. It was a textbook "gut feeling." I trusted him. I respected him. I knew he had our best interests at heart.
And when it didn't work, we'd just try again....and again...and again. I really and truly believe that for MANY women out there trying to conceive with an extreme amount of difficulty, you want to give up the most right before you're about to actually succeed. I have been there. I know what that feels like.
I want to tell you that if you're still struggling to create a family, your life will not be ruled by infertility forever. The journey will come to an end, and there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. It might be a longer journey than you would have wished, and it may take turns you didn't plan for, but you will survive and come out of this a stronger human being. This time last year, we'd just experienced our first IVF failure, and it wouldn't be the last.
To think... we began fertility treatments in 2011. It took Clomid, Femara, Chinese medicine, IUI's, 4 IVF cycles (3 FET's), 2 surgeries, and 4 pregnancy losses before finally reaching this point.....not to mention a ton of 'Come to Jesus' moments on my hands and knees. Yet here we are, in the unfathomable remarkable place of being 22 weeks along, signing up for parenting classes, and making way for a whole new life with a beautiful healthy baby. It's a daily reminder to never ever give up on something you want more than anything else in the world. I can safely say I've learned that lesson in a way I never expected to learn it.