Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Path to Parenthood Continues & A Little Word of Encouragement

And so the preparation for sticky hands and a new chapter of life continues. I mentioned before that we were cleaning out closets, selling stuff at garage sales, etc. Well, the trend has continued. For the past two weeks now we've been wheeling and dealing stuff on craigslist like there's no tomorrow. I get the biggest thrill out of selling stuff on there. Raise your hand if you LOVE craigslist!!! I'm guessing it's got to be some sort of disorder similar to that of people who like hoarding stuff. However, it's opposite for me. Freeing up open space is so therapeutic!

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

Yes, we were admittedly smitten with these materialistic objects. However, it's funny how your priorities and tastes change as you transition through life. When we sprang for art, kids certainly weren't on the brain. We were simply looking for an investment into home decor. Fast forward a few years, and we find ourselves discussing the more pressing need to start truly planning for retirement, paying off hubby's MBA, maybe building a pool for our family, and saving for our kid's college education...even though the child is not even here yet.  Somehow, having nice art just got knocked waaaay down on the totem pole. Do I miss it? Nope. Not really. I still appreciate the talent, but there are bigger fish to fry here in this thing called life.

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.


41 comments:

  1. Love this Emily! Thanks for the reminder to keep going. I'm sooooo thankful to hear that you and Preston are doing well! Can't believe you're already 22 weeks… so wild! Excited for you, friend!

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    1. Wild indeed. Time is flying for sure. You are welcome for the reminder. I want to see every last one of my friends realize this same truth, including you my friend!

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  2. Awww! I love your words of encouragement! XO

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    1. Thanks Aubrey. I know you feel the same way about wanting others to know they will come through this!

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  3. Loving this post, I feel the same about pretty much everything you said, especially the encouraging bit at the end.

    And YAYYY for not taking childbirth classes, and YAYYY for choosing to vaccinate! I felt like high-fiving you the whole time I was reading this!!

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    1. Hi five back atcha! It's easier than hugging each other these days anyway ;) hehe

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  4. I love my Emily updates!!! If I didn't already tell you love that his name is Preston! My airport angels newborns name is Preston and he is just too precious - so I'm just excited you chose Preston too! Glad you found a baby care class to go to and so fun you got to meet his pediatrician too! Oh and yes CL for the win!!!! (Even though there are online FB groups for each city that I'm kinda liking a lot more - 1. You know who the person is 2. It limits it to your specific area (helps for suburb people like me and 3. I don't know #3 - it's just easy! Love you. The end!

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    1. Oh that is a funny coincidence on the Preston name. I really hope everyone doesn't start naming their sons Preston though, because that is what happened with Aiden...the name I had wanted for years prior to it becoming #1. I made sure this one wasn't on the top 100!

      I just joined one of those fb garage sale groups too but haven't checked it out. You make some good points on that though! We actually sold our art on the Houston CL, because the artist opened a gallery there recently. We figured it would actually be better than trying to sell locally in Austin, where there is no gallery for his work. Our plan worked! They drove 3 hours to us to make the purchase! Love you too sweets!

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  5. Great post Emily, and a big WHOOP for 22 weeks! I'm glad that Preston is growing nice and big. Before you know it he will be in your arms. :)

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    1. Just that thought melts my heart. :)

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  6. SO glad to hear that the updates are all going well! And I have been a regular at the post-office selling off books on Amazon (we still have a long way to go to de-clutter). And Jason's Deli...DELICIOUS...and our local one has gluten-free bread...BONUS! Sending you hugs...each and every day we're moving in the right direction!

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    1. I've thought about selling books on Amazon but never have. They give me next to nothing at the used book store...$27 for two stacks of books last week. Lame! Glad you're on the Jason's Deli train. Yeah, I've definitely slacked on gluten-free lately, but will have to try out their GF bread if I ever do a sammy there. I always get side tracked by the salad bar!

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  7. Such a great post! Maybe it's just the circle I'm in, but I feel like birthing classes are always in TV shows and movies, but none of my real life friends took any. It sounds like you have a great plan and a great OB. Congrats on 22 weeks - so exciting!

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    1. Reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one playing hooky on birthing classes. Thanks Lilee!

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  8. Beautiful words of encouragement and such a happy post. I am so happy for you!

    Also, that salad looks AMAZING!! haha

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    1. I want another salad NOW! Man, I am going to put them out of business with the ginormous salad bar trips!

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  9. ahhh! 22 weeks! yay! I feel like I have so much to comment on, but my pregnancy brain is literally OUT.OF.CONTROL so hopefully I remember it all. If not, I might come back to comment again later ;0

    Those are the exact two classes that Jake and I took when we were first time parents. And, I highly recommend both of them. Both of us had very little experience with babies, especially newborns. We wanted to know what to do with an actual baby, not so much how to birth her. Neither of us had much experience with babies, let alone newborns. No nieces or nephews or friends with little babies at the time. Yes, the parts of the classes are boring, repetitive, and common sense, but we both learned things that we didn't yet know. Like, how to easily bathe a teeny tiny newborn with a healing umbilical cord :)

    I can so relate to everything you said about your RE. I truly feel the same way about mine. When cycles failed, I would doubt the office. Doubt him as a professional, doubt my decision to drive 2 hours each way to go to this office. But, then he would personally call me and discuss everything. He was always trying his best to A) do everything in his power to get me pregnant but also B) comfort me, and not push us to do anything we didn't want to. I LOVED that he would call me and have our WTF appt over the phone (free of charge) so I didn't have to drive down there. I loved that he called me when I entered the second trimester to congratulate me on making it past my fear zone. And then again around 24 weeks shortly after the anatomy scan to check in and see how everything was going. I'm so glad that you found this comfort in your RE as well. Infertility treatments are a scary thing, and it's soooo much easier when you're working with an RE and office that you love, trust, and feel comfortable with.

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    1. Yeah, def need to learn about all the umbilical cord stuff. We are in same boat. It's been eons since I babysat and all of our friends have older kids by now so not much newborn exposure the last several years here.

      So glad you have a great experience with your RE as well. Those little extras from a caring RE go a long way!

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  10. Amazing! So happy for you that everything is working out!

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  11. Wow, way to go Preston! I love that he is being an over achiever and growing at such a lovely pace! You have such great words of encouragement.... However, I must confess that I was distracted for a good amount of time by that heavenly salad... Oh.My.Gosh! I need that in my life, it looks so amazing!! So happy to hear all is going so well! Love the updates! XOXO

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    1. Yes, go Preston! He hasn't always been a week ahead in growth but inching very slow and steady like the hare. Double YES, you do need that salad in your life!

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  12. Your words of encouragement were just what I needed to hear today. It seems my life revolves around when I have to give myself an injection or when I "might" be ready for my trigger shot and IUI. My husband and I are on our second Follistim cycle and we feel like we're in a whirlwind. Seeing your words reminds me we will see the end of infertility one day and we can look back on this and think every, single 2 hour trip to the doctor was completely worth it. Thank you for sharing your story! BTW... LOVE the name Preston! :)

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    1. Hang in there Kari. It WILL be worth it!

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  13. What an exciting time for you, Emily! This is just so amazing!!!

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    1. And you too my friend. You are almost there. I can literally taste it!

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  14. I just found your blog and am so glad I did! I TOTALLY get the feeling about your RE. That he was put in your life for a reason! Ours is the same for us! We wouldn't be pregnant right now without him. I am eternally grateful to him! And I'm afraid to go visit him because I know I'll just break down into tears as well! :)

    Ashley
    Man and Wife and Two Fur Babies

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    1. Hi Ashley! So nice to meet you on here! So happy for you. Congrats momma! Just added you to my blog list too, so thanks for reaching out and connecting. :)

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    1. That's what I'm sayin. Thanks Jessah!

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  16. Always makes me happy to hear another positive update from you :) I am so glad that things are going well and that you have been able to find some relief and reassurance after all you've been through to get to this point. I also LOVE to get rid of things. As we prepare to move in a couple months, I'm selling and giving away tons of stuff, and it feels great, so I can definitely relate to that feeling!

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    1. Ah moving...as much as it sucks, there is nothing like de-cluttering and getting all organized into new closets!

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  17. So glad to hear things are going so well for you and baby Preston :) You have been through more than anyone should have to go through to get here and so deserve it!

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    1. Thanks Amie! So appreciate your sweet messages!

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  18. I love the message to just keep going. I'm TRYING, I'm TRYING!!! :) It warms my heart to hear how well you (and Preston) are doing.

    For the record, I'm kinda like you…I prefer winging things my way and would probably skip the birthing classes!

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    1. Oh, I know you are Suzanne! You are one of the most resilient people I know! Thank you for always being supportive despite the craziness going on at any given time.

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  19. I can't tell you how happy I am that you and Preston are doing so well :) I don't know how to PM you on here and you might not be comfortable sharing this info, but is there anyway I could get the name of your RE? I still haven't found one in Dallas that I just love and yours sounds absolutely amazing. I know different doctors work better with different people, but I have a lot of your OCD tendencies so it may be worth meeting him at least :) Plus, I think I'm close enough that going to Austin wouldn't be too difficult. Thanks!!

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    1. I just emailed you, but I'm also happy to share my RE's name publicly, because I love him so. Dr. Thomas Vaughn @ Texas Fertility Center in Austin, TX.

      I'm at eatloveprocreate@gmail.com if you have any ?'s. :)

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  20. Ah, I'm so happy for you, Em! I am not giving up the fight. Our history is too similar and I'm so close I can feel it. I've been praying for a "sign" rather than a baby these days and I think God has given it to me. Now, I just have to interpret it. HUGS!

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    1. Thanks Kelly! I'm glad to hear you've shifted your prayer requests to those of seeking direction rather than seeking "the thing" you want. I feel like when I stopped praying for a baby 100% of the time and started praying for PEACE no matter the outcome is...that's when my attitude really became more positive, in a way that I reeeeally need it to for my own sanity. I think interpreting signs is more about that deep down visceral gut feeling you got when you received the sign more than the sign itself...if that makes sense.

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  21. What an inspiring post. I am so glad things are going well for you and that your baby is so close to being in your arms. God is so good, it's amazing how he using all kinds of people to do his mighty work.

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