Tag Archives: relationship

She Says… A Tale Of Fat Fingers

A few weeks ago, at the start of our childbirth class, our instructor asked all of the couples, “Ok, so who’s still wearing their wedding rings?”. We all laughed, and I proudly raised my hand, one of the only people still able to keep their wedding rings on their expanding fingers. Not that it means anything at all, but I was proud to be in that camp.

“Well, I was one of those lucky few also” she continued. “Around 36 weeks into my first pregnancy, in the summer, same as you guys, I started to feel that my hands were a little sore and puffy when I woke up each morning, even after sleeping in air conditioning.” I nodded enthusiastically — the same thing had been happening to me recently. The swelling always went back down if I stayed cool throughout the day, and it was never so much that I felt like my rings were stuck on, but I knew exactly that puffed up feeling she was describing. “And then one day, I woke up and my ring finger was completely blue. Swollen so much I could not pry my rings off. We tried lotion, olive oil, cold water, ice… you name it, we tried it. When it still wouldn’t come off and my poor finger still looked like it was going to fall off, we went to the emergency room where they had to CUT THE RINGS OFF.”

Umm, excuse me?! Benjamin and I exchanged a look of sheer terror. Call me materialistic, but my engagement ring is one of my most prized possessions. I still stare at it almost every day, over five years since the first day Benjamin put it on my finger and asked me to marry him. His proposal was a huge surprise, as was the ring (we’d never even discussed what kind of ring I wanted, and he proposed so early I’m not sure I had even though about it much). It is a constant reminder of how well Benjamin knows me, because I could not have picked out a more perfect ring for myself if I tried. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

So, sniff sniff, as of a few days ago, my rings are off for the rest of the summer. It’s not that I’ve gained too much weight (which is why I always thought pregnant women took their rings off), or even because my swelling was getting out of control and they almost got stuck, but more as a precautionary measure so that I don’t end up in the emergency room watching one of my most loved belongings be cut off of my puffy hand.

It feels weird to not feel the rings on my finger, and I’ve had a few moments of panic that I left them somewhere I shouldn’t have. I’ve also considered that now it looks like I am an unwed mother. But you know what? I don’t really care. My fingers can get as puffy as they want and I know I won’t have to cut my beautiful engagement ring in half!

He Says… Four Years

Today is Kate’s and my four year wedding anniversary.  On the one hand it is hard to imagine how quickly it’s passed, but on the other hand I feel like we have done a lifetime of things together.  I was just looking back on the post I wrote a year ago, when we were in the midst of still trying to figure out how to conceive a child.  Amazing how much has changed in a year and we are now less than 2 months away from meeting our son that is (not so quietly) residing in Kate’s stomach.  Anyway she asked me to blog today and not make a cheesy, sappy post (like I often do) so I’ll keep all the lovey-dovey stuff brief.  Happy Anniversary, my darling; I love you more than words and can’t imagine going through this adventure with anyone else.

In other news, we have a big weekend ahead of us with a 2-day, 14-hour childbirth class.  To be honest, I can think of more fun things to do on a weekend so I am not entirely looking forward to it.  That said, I will try to be a good student and pay attention as I imagine there is some useful stuff for us to learn.  I do sort of feel like Kate reads up on so many things, baby and birth related, and since the birthing process relies more on her abilities than mine, that she (especially) will feel like the class is very redundant.  We’ll see.  Still it will be nice to have a weekend together to hang out, just the two of us (plus a bunch of other pregnant couples in our class).

Hopefully we can go get some of the painting supplies and possibly start priming the nursery this weekend.  I am starting to feel a little stressed about all we have to do before the big day.  We still need to paint and and assemble the nursery, buy a new car, do some fixes to our house that we said we’d do before the baby arrived, and I have a ton of work over the next 5 weeks.  I know we’ll get it done, but it is starting to feel like a lot.  I am optimistically hoping that once the baby arrives we’ll have a few weeks of more low-key time at home, just the three of us, when we only have one thing to focus on.  I know that will bring it’s own stresses with it, but I think it will be very enjoyable, none the less.

Anyway, Happy 4 Years, my honey!

She Says… Ask Us Anything (Part 3 of 3)

Third and final segment of “Ask Us Anything”. If you missed them, check out Part 1 and Part 2. Thank you all so much for your questions — we had a lot of fun answering them! I was pleasantly surprised at how similar our answers were, even though we wrote them independently. You brought up some great issues that we had thought about individually but hadn’t necessarily discussed, so it was a good opportunity for us to share with each other too.

21. Did you ever throw up? I remember you saying you had some nausea but wasn’t sure if you ever got “sick sick”.

Kate: I felt generally pretty gross from weeks 7 – 11, but (luckily? unluckily?) I never actually threw up. I am one of those people who avoids throwing up at all costs, so at times I wondered if puking would relieve my hangover-like symptoms… but I just couldn’t do it. I’m still not sure which is better, but I am glad I was able to keep food down to nourish the little babe who was doing a lot of developing at that point. Unfortunately for him I ate 90% carbs to keep that nausea at bay. At that point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I birthed a bagel!

22. Do you think you’ll continue to blog after baby and beyond?

Kate: Without a doubt! I’ve got the blogging bug. In the beginning, I envisioned blogging to be a way for my family and friends to keep up with the baby I thought we’d have in no time. When we started having problems, blogging became a sort of therapy, a cathartic way to get my thoughts out of my head and to connect with others struggling with the same issues. Now, since I got preggo, it has transformed into a living, breathing journal/memory book/photo album to capture this incredible time in our lives for our baby. It’s such a dynamic way to share thoughts and information; I can’t see myself giving it up anytime soon. And hey, maybe one of these days I’ll become a “famous” blogger who gets stuff for free and is asked to write for other sites/publications. Let’s such say I wouldn’t hesitate to quit my day job if the opportunity arose.

Benjamin: I definitely hope so. I am thrilled that people enjoy reading our ramblings (well, my ramblings… Kate has useful things to say). I am interested to see how we continue to blog and what direction it takes. I don’t want to bore people with posts like “Look what the baby did today” as I am not sure most people care. There will probably be some of that, but I think Kate has turned our blog into a useful resource of information on pregnancy related topics and I think being so personal and informative is what has made this blog work.

23. Were there any certain mental phrases that you repeated to yourself during your infertility treatment (words of encouragement)? I believe that our minds have a great deal of power over how well our bodies perform.

Kate: I didn’t really use any specific mantras during my treatment, but I totally agree that the state of our minds can have incredible power and control over the state of our bodies. As I’ve said before, I was incredibly fortunate to realize that there was a problem almost immediately after going off birth control. I took a very proactive stance and pretty much demanded that doctors take my issue seriously even though I had not been “trying” for a year, which is the medical definition of infertility. So although I might not have been repeating mental phrases, I was certainly soaking in every little piece of knowledge I could about my situation and trying to make any positive changes I could in my lifestyle. In addition, I think one of the reasons I never got completely overwhelmed with the infertility treatments was that I stayed very positive about my body and what it could do. I am fit and healthy and capable of so many things, and that confidence in myself helped me maintain the perspective that once we figured out my fertility issue, we could and we would get pregnant. And, at least in our case, we did. Positivity and perspective were key for me.

24. Do you plan on circumcising your son?

Kate: The short answer is yes. We are going to circumcise our son. However, prior to finding out that we were having a boy, I never realized what a controversial topic this is. For Benjamin and I, the choice was relatively easy. One day one of us said, “So, are we going to circumcise Piccolino?” and the other one said, “I think we should… do you?” “I think so too. I just wanted to see if we were on the same page”. And that was that. However, once we began discussing the issue with other people, I began to see that the answer is not necessarily that simple — there are a LOT of good arguments on both sides. There is also a lot of misinformation out there that people try to use to argue their side of the issue. For us I think our gut instinct was based on aesthetics and our own experiences up to this point in life. Without bogging you down with lots of links, suffice it to say that there are both benefits and risks associated with the procedure, and I think parents should choose whatever feels right to them.

Benjamin: Ah yes, that is a good question. I think we are pretty sure that we will circumcise him. I got the sense growing up that most of my peers were circumcised (I was… in case you are wondering), but I know that circumcision rates have dropped dramatically since then. I found this statistic online: “The intact rate among newborn males in the U.S. has increased from 15 percent in 1965 to 44.5 percent in 2006″ (http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/). So circumcision is still the norm, but not by a lot (although in this region of the US, it is still about 65% who get circumcised). I know that a lot of the health concerns with not circumcising have been proven invalid. My guess is we will still do it, but I do think it’s an odd thing, in general. The idea of cutting something off a baby that they were born with, something that does no harm to them, seems strange.

25. Do you think your life will never, ever be even slightly the same once the baby is born? What parts of your ‘old’ life do you want to keep even though you have a wee one?

Kate: Ha! I love the way this question is worded. Although I realize our lives will change immensely with the addition of a baby, I also think a lot of it will be the same. We already spend most of our time at home (when we’re not traveling). We don’t go out drinking or spend a lot of money on eating in restaurants. We prefer to cook and stay in on a Saturday night, and love our weekend routine of walking the dog, going to the grocery store and tidying up our house. Although the schedule may change  bit (especially in the beginning), I think the addition of a baby will make our “normal” routine that much more special. There are some parts of our life now that I do not want to let slip away, though. Like being able to talk, just the two of us. I think back on car rides with my parents and siblings, and, until we were teenagers, I don’t think there were really conversations going on… more like everyone talking at the same time about things going on in their lives. So I want to make sure we build in some quiet time just for us. To talk, or not to talk. One of the things I love most about my relationship with Benjamin is that we don’t always have to talk. We really appreciate just being together without talking. I think that will be really difficult with a loud baby and (inevitably) chatty child. Also, I hope I can find time to continue cooking the way I do now. I LOVE to cook, and Benjamin enjoys eating my carefully planned meals and is always up for trying new things I cook. I know time will be tighter with a baby, but I hope I can find the time to keep cooking us wholesome and delicious meals.

Benjamin: Well, no, our lives will never be the same. We will be parents, and we will have a child (and hopefully someday children) and I imagine that changes everything. But I don’t think everything will have to change. We will still have to work, and I hope that I can continue to have as much drive in my work as I have now, once we have a child. I hope that Kate’s and my relationship stays just as strong (and I suspect it will). I think our priorities will shift dramatically, but I hope that we continue to be able to do some the things we enjoy now, even if it’s less frequent or involves our child.

26. Do you regret anything you have made public on here?

Kate: Actually… no. I think we knew from the beginning that someday we would share this blog with family and friends (once we got pregnant), so although a lot of the info is very personal, I never posted things (about our sex life, for instance) that I wouldn’t want my mom to read. While I think we’ve been very forthcoming and honest, we’ve also chosen what we write, so I don’t mind that it’s out there for anyone to read.

Benjamin: I don’t think I do. Kate edits bad/inappropriate things I say.

27. Do you feel that having struggled with infertility in the past has made you more fearful during the progression of the pregnancy and the prospect of the birth?

Kate: Yes and no. In the first trimester, the struggle to get pregnant did make me more fearful. I was acutely aware of how difficult it was to even get to that point of seeing that little plus sign, and I had created so many relationships with people who had struggled longer and harder, and still had to deal with the pain of miscarriage. In some ways I was over-educated… I Googled every little symptom and spot and pain, and it probably added a level of fear and stress that would not have been present if I had just gotten pregnant right off the bat. That said, struggling to get pregnant also helped me to appreciate and cherish every moment more than I might have if I didn’t have to work so hard for it. Every day I woke up feeling sick, or nights I couldn’t sleep, I never felt frustrated/angry/sad… I just felt thankful. And I realize every single day what an incredible miracle ever baby is. Prior to my little dance with infertility, I never really “got” it. Now, safely in my 3rd trimester, I think I’m past the worrying stage, and I’m just looking forward to this new adventure, and can even look back and appreciate the struggle it took to get here.

Benjamin: Kate can answer this better than I can, but the doctors were pretty clear that the infertility issues, once overcome, would in no way effect the pregnancy. I think we both were a little wary during the first trimester (as most people are), but not really any more so because of the struggle in getting pregnant.

So that’s that! More than you probably ever wanted to know about Benjamin and I :)

She Says… Ask Us Anything (Part 1 of 3)

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget! We opened ourselves up to your questions a few weeks (months?) ago, and I promised we’d answer every one. And now, after many weeks of crazy travels and busy schedules, we’re finally ready to post our responses. Quick notes: There are about 30 questions (in no particular order), so I’ll post them in three segments over the next few days. If there were duplicate questions about similar topics, we only answered the question once. If you have more questions after reading these answers, don’t hesitate to email or comment away!

1. Any specific advice for coping with the disappointments along the way to getting pregnant?

Kate: I think the most important thing is keeping perspective. It’s amazing how all-consuming babymaking can become when you begin to have problems (and even for a lot of people who aren’t having problems, but are just impatient). I think one of the best things you can do is figure out what it takes for you to be able to take a deep breath and see the big picture. Having a baby is just ONE part of your life (although believe me, I KNOW how hard it is to think that way when you’re in the thick of it), and although it’s very important, it’s not worth losing the rest of your life over. I have seen a lot of people lose friends and perspective while struggling with infertility, and unfortunately that makes the challenge even harder when you have no one to turn to. The bottom line is that there are many, many ways to create a family. The hardest part is changing your own timeline or plan to accommodate the hurdles you come up against.

Benjamin: I think the biggest thing for me was knowing that there were always other options for us. We were lucky that our setbacks were relatively short and the diagnosis never seemed dire, so I was pretty upbeat through it all. In a way, the delay helped me adjust to the idea of getting pregnant. But I knew that if things did get worse there were other alternatives, like adoption. Prior to trying to get pregnant I told Kate that I felt strongly about adoption instead of spending years and years and tens of thousands of dollars on trying to get pregnant if that was problematic. She didn’t entirely agree. At the time, I felt like I didn’t understand how someone’s desire to have a biological child could be that strong that they would go through so many physical and financial struggles to achieve that when other options existed. While we never got to the point of thinking of adoption, during our TTC process, I did start to have a change of heart, knowing that if Clomid didn’t work, we’d try the next thing, and if that didn’t work we’d try the next thing. I tend to be pretty practical though, so I do think at some point (probably before Kate hit the point), I would begin to advocate for adoption. But I guess that it is good to know even if there are disappointments along the way, that there is pretty much ALWAYS a way to have a child. And I do strongly believe that adopting a child, especially a baby, makes that YOUR child.


2. What are you most afraid of, giving birth or the baby actually being here?

Kate: I am kind of waiting for the shoe to drop on this one. So far I’m not afraid of either of those things. I am sure that when the time actually comes that I turn to Benjamin and say, “It’s time. The baby’s coming.”, I’ll be scared sh*tless of what is about to happen to my body. But for now, I totally trust that my body was created to do this, so there’s nothing I really need to know or be scared about. Similarly, I’m sure that once we bring that tiny baby into our house for the first time and we’re alone and the baby’s screaming, I’m going to be terrified about not knowing what to do. But I have been around a lot of babies growing up, and I think I have good instincts. Benjamin and I are excellent problem solvers, too, so I think we, as a team, can handle anything the little guy throws at us. But really? Talk to me in August and I may be singing a different tune.

Benjamin: I am not too afraid of the birth itself, but I haven’t given it too much thought. I imagine that when the day comes, I will be pretty nervous. My biggest fear of having the baby is that we will be exhausted all the time. And from everything I have heard, we will be. But we’ll get through it. I am also a HUGE worrier. Like, it could be my job. I worry that I am going to over-worry. Obsess about every cough, every weird sound, every cry, etc. I hope that I do not drive Kate, our doctors, and our families crazy with my constant worrying.

I am also afraid of having a teenager, but that is a whole other story.


3. What would you say is the most difficult part of struggling with infertility? And what was the easiest part?

Kate: For me, the most difficult part was not knowing when it was going to end. I am very Type A. I like things in a list, in my calendar, with a deadline. The most difficult thing about just not getting my period at all was how there was no timeline. At least once I started treatment I could count days and know where I was in my cycle and how many days I had to wait until the next step happened. Without any timing I could count on, I felt very lost and frustrated. The easiest part, for us at least, was getting pregnant once I was diagnosed and treated. We got pregnant on the first cycle I actually ovulated (2nd Clomid cycle), and it has been smooth sailing since then. So, just goes to show, infertility does NOT necessarily mean you’ll have trouble in the baby department forever.

Benjamin: The infertility experience was much different for me than for Kate. I never really got to the point of feeling lost or hopeless. I don’t think Kate did either, but I know it affected her more, as it was her body that was going through the problems (not that I am placing blame). Not really the easiest, but definitely the best part of it was building a community through our blog. I am still shocked at how far-reaching our blog has become, and I sort of doubt that it would have done so had we gotten pregnant right away. Through the blogging process and dealing with infertility issues, I was introduced to so many people going through similar and harder things than us, and I was happy that we (read: Kate) could become a resource in helping other people. I have to say I am super impressed with Kate’s talent at taking on this blog, and I think that there is a future for her in something related to these issues. But I digress…


4. Well, you know I’m dying to ask what name you’ve picked… but I know it’s a secret.

Kate: Sneaky, sneaky, trying to figure out the name when I say “Ask Us Anything”! Let me rephrase. Ask us anything except the name! It’s still a secret. Surprisingly, neither of us has blurted it out to anyone yet.

Benjamin: Well, since you asked… it’s Kananinoheaokuuhomeopuukaimanaalohilo, which means “The Beautiful Aroma of My Home at Sparkling Diamond Hill is Carried to the Eyes of Heaven” in Hawaiian (thanks Wikipedia).


5. What are your feelings about breastfeeding? Do you plan to try it? If so, do you have a goal for how long you’d like to do it?

Kate: I am going to try my darndest to breastfeed. I’m realistic about how difficult it is, though, because I watched my sister struggle through it with her first baby. Her baby had a very tough time latching on, and the stress of having to work so hard to do something so “natural” began to have a negative effect on my sister’s relationship with her child. Once she switched to bottles and stopped stressing, everything improved. However, I would really, really like to try to make it work. The health benefits for me and my baby are undeniable, and I can’t think of anything that would strengthen the bond between us better. Also, it will help me get some of this baby weight off :) I’m going to keep an open mind, and recognize that it’s hard, while still trying my best to make it work for me. If I can make it work, I think I’d like to do it for about 6 months (based on the very little that I’ve read about it so far), but really I will play that part by ear. Once I return to work I’ll have to pump, so I think we will need to encourage bottles early on in the process. I know that can be tricky (nipple confusion… yikes!), but we’ll navigate it the best we can.

Benjamin: I plan to try breastfeeding but I doubt I will succeed.

But in all seriousness, I know Kate plans to breastfeed and hopefully that will work out. On the advice of some friends, though, we plan to try to incorporate bottle feeding pretty early on so that the transition from breast to bottle is not as difficult and so I can play a more active part in the feeding process. (By the way, I doubt anybody without a child has heard of the term “nipple confusion”. I had not until recently, and find it to be hilarious.)


6. I just got put on supplemental progesterone and I feel like I have “roid rage”! Are the high levels during pregnancy enough to make you lose your cool more often?

Kate: I’m pretty lucky when it comes to mood swings. As in, I don’t really have them. I THINK Benjamin would agree. If anything, I have felt a bit weepier than normal, but I think Benjamin appreciates seeing my “softer side” (since HE is usually the crier of the two of us). Even during fertility treatments, the hormones didn’t really affect me by making me angrier or more moody. Sex drive? Now that’s a different story. I get teary-eyed and completely uninterested in sex when my hormones were out of whack, but not moody — pick your poison, I guess!


7. Hmmmm…any weird cravings? How have your healthy eating habits changed during your pregnancy?

Kate: I wish I had something hilarious to say that I craved, but really my eating hasn’t changed all that much (except that I’m allowing myself a bit more sweet stuff than before!). In the first trimester when I was feeling kind of pukey, I just wanted carbs, carbs, carbs. Bagels, bread, crackers, chips, cereal… you name it. Since then, the only thing that is out of the ordinary for me has been condiments. Pre-pregnancy I ate sandwiches with hummus on them, and would steer clear of things like chicken salad because of all the mayo. Now I want a sandwich just because it INCLUDES mayo. Similarly, my grocery shopping while pregnant has been pretty funny — I come home with a lot of processed foods that normally I wouldn’t dream of (do you know what Benjamin got me for my birthday? Doritos. Among other things… but the Doritos may have been my favorite part). I think it’s because I am generally such a healthy eater that being pregnant has given me the excuse to relax a bit.

Benjamin: Kate is a very smart, healthy eater. She is also a great cook, so I get to eat yummy, healthy food when we are home. BUT, I was hoping that she would have weird cravings. She HATES tuna and pickles, and I was really hoping she’d start craving them. For no real reason other than that it would amuse me. For the most part she has been pretty normal with her diet and her food cravings. But last week when we had not eaten dinner at 10pm and were in the car, we stopped and got pizza and frozen yogurt (she ate the fro yo first). That is something that she never would have done pre-pregnancy, and I loved that she did it, enjoyed it and didn’t feel guilty. Although I don’t know what my excuse for eating all that was.


8. This is disgusting, but apparently it is actually a real thing: what do you think about placenta eating (see momversation episode from this week for more info: http://www.momversation.com/episodes/eating-placenta-mmm-mmm-good)?

Kate: Ummm, don’t know how to answer this. No comment? I don’t plan on eating my placenta. And I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Benjamin: I don’t need to look at that link to say that that is gross. But apparently people wash their hair with the placenta, too. I imagine we will not be leaving the hospital with any placenta. At least I hope not.


9. How do you and Benjamin plan to keep your marriage strong and healthy after the baby comes?

Kate: We are a great team. I think our relationship is bound to grow in ways that we can’t even imagine when we add a baby to our awesome little family. I also realize we will be challenged in ways we never have before. But we are both so committed to our life together that I think just working together to get through this new adventure will do wonders for keeping our marriage strong and healthy. That, and talking. A lot. About everything. Which we already do, but I imagine it becomes even more important when most of your daily discussion is monopolized by talking about poop. Also? Giving each other time to do the things that keep us sane. Like working out and traveling and seeing friends. Time apart always helps us realize how we really prefer to be together.

Benjamin: Good question. I am VERY lucky to be married to a wonderful person. We compliment each other incredibly well with our similarities and our differences. We rarely fight, and seldom argue. We are normal people, though, and we definitely bug each other from time to time, but as a whole I think our marriage is very strong and we really are each other’s best friends. I have to say that the pregnancy has really made my love for Kate even stronger than before. Knowing that she is carrying our son is such a powerful thought that I cannot help but love her even more, and I know she is going to be an awesome mom.

I know that a lot of stress can come from having children and I think we just need to not let it overwhelm us. It’s hard to know and to verbalize how we will continue to keep our marriage strong. It’s not something I worry about though, fortunately, as I know we will make it work.


10. You both travel a lot–do you have any plans for traveling with your son? Where would you like to take him?

Kate: I want to take him everywhere! Unfortunately most of our travel is done separately, for work. But we do travel a bit together, and I can’t wait to tote our little guy around with us. Remind me of that when I have a car full of baby stuff to bring along with him. Seriously, though, I’d love for us to travel a lot as a family, although we’ll probably wait for some of the bigger trips (Europe?) until he is old enough to appreciate them.

Benjamin: We DO travel a lot. For work especially (I am writing this now from a Red Roof Inn in lovely Trenton, NJ), and I would say that most of our trips in the last couple years (even if they have been together) have been work related for one of us. I am looking forward to NOT traveling a lot once our son is born. I am getting really tired of all the travel and just want to be home for a few weeks in a row. I know that it is going to be really hard to go away once we have a baby and it pains me to think of having to leave for work.

However, I do think it will be nice to travel with our son when he can appreciate it (or to travel to places that we can appreciate even with a young child). My parents have a nice house in New Hampshire that Kate and I love to go and it will be easy to go there with a baby. Plus Kate’s family recently moved back to the East coast, and there are (currently) 2 cousins that we hope Piccolino will be close with.


Ding! That’s the end of Round 1. More Q&A to come tomorrow.

She Says… 1 Year Blogiversary!

Happy birthday, This Place is Now a Home!

On February 22, 2o09, this blog was born. I finished my masters degree program, threw the birth control out the window, and we optimistically entered a new phase in our lives together: the “trying” phase. We had no idea at the time of course, but not only were we embarking on a new phase of our lives to start a family, we were also about to go through months of frustration, anger, sadness and struggle together to make that happen. On that day in 2009 the thought of having trouble making a baby had never crossed my mind. I knew that it takes women my age an average of 6 months to get pregnant, but both Benjamin and I secretly thought it would happen immediately. We were young, healthy and anxious — what could possible go wrong?

Apparently… lots. You all know the story (or if you don’t, you can read the timeline here), so I won’t re-tell it again. But it is overwhelming to me what we went through and how much we learned throughout the last year. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about how this last year unfolded. It opened my eyes to how common it is to struggle with infertility, and was an unforgettable object lesson in recognizing that you have no idea what issues other people are dealing with in their lives at a given moment. It brought Benjamin and I closer as a couple, and I honestly didn’t even think that was possible. It was like we became one person to fight this fight. Perhaps most importantly, it has made me value and cherish every moment of being pregnant and I imagine it will color every moment I spend with my little one(s). Because I know just how much of a miracle this baby is, I am able to appreciate even the less-than-pleasant parts of pregnancy and I hope I can do the same once the baby arrives.

Riding the infertility roller coaster brought another very important thing into my life as well — YOU! The struggle to get pregnant caught Benjamin and I so off-guard that we didn’t even realize how “open” we were being on the blog or how rare our candidness was… we just kind of wrote everything as it happened. One day at a time. In doing so, however, we began to meet other young, healthy couples going through the same things. The community of people I met through blogging carried me through the hard times. I love reading every email and learning each reader’s story. These relationships have (caution: cheeseball alert!) made me a better person — more understanding, more empathetic, and more willing to listen without judgment.

I know many people have struggled longer and harder than we have. But to be honest, I’m not sure it’s the length of the journey that matters. We are all alike in that we’ve looked infertility in the face and decided to fight it.

Benjamin and I have come full circle in the last year. It’s been a wild ride. Happy 1st Birthday, little blog!

She Says… Busy Schedules

Benjamin and I did some calendar planning over the last week. We plotted the weddings we have been invited to this summer, his work trips, and my work schedule, and what we came up with was a calendar that is pretty much booked up until June (except for a few weekends with nothing planned that I would like to keep that way!). Thank goodness for June, when I have to stay close to home (or at least not fly) just in case the little one decides to come early.

How is it that we don’t have a free weekend until almost 5 months from now?! While we are fortunate to have the ability to travel like we do, and are even more fortunate that Benjamin has enough work to keep him traveling regularly (he works freelance, so even if it’s on weekends, we like it when he works!), I do wish that we had a few more “free” weekends to enjoy at home together before the baby comes. Because I can only imagine how our weekends will change when Piccolini is here. Frankly, we’re both looking forward to having some forced downtime starting in June, and are really looking forward to the weeks and months after the baby comes to clear our schedules and concentrate entirely on our little family.

This weekend has been one of those rare weekends where neither of us had commitments, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending the time together. Yesterday we went to the gym, spent a leisurely afternoon grocery shopping at Whole Foods and made a delicious lasagna dinner together. Today we went out to brunch, walked the dog together, and I spent the afternoon baking bread and muffins for the upcoming week. How lovely! Sometimes I think I would be totally happy to never leave my house since Benjamin and I enjoy spending time together so much.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. Hope you’re all having a weekend as relaxing and satisfying as mine!

She Says… The Windy City

We are in Chicago!

I am running a training in my company’s Chicago office today and tomorrow, and Benjamin was able to tag along with me on the trip. We’re trying to make it feel more like a mini-vacay than a work trip, and so far we’re succeeding! We had an only slightly delayed flight yesterday afternoon (which is really the most you can hope for when flying into Chicago, right?), a yummy dinner last night (albeit late, so I was a little hangry), and really enjoyed our king-sized bed last night. I love staying in hotels. This morning we had a quick breakfast together before I made my way to the office, and Benjamin has the day to explore the city.

I only wish we were going to be here long enough to meet up with some of our readers/blog friends who I know live nearby. But alas, we have to leave tomorrow right after my training is over. Maybe next time, Chicagoans!

Once we’re home sweet home again I will post some pictures from our exciting ultrasound yesterday. In short… it was awesome! We saw Piccolini swimming all around and got to see the clearest picture yet of his/her little face. More to come on that later. In the meantime, it’s back to work for this girl.

She Says… Celebrate Good Times

A few months ago some friends of ours gave us a gift certificate to a fancy shmancy restaurant. When we were trying to conceive, I set it aside and decided that we would use it to celebrate when I [finally] got pregnant (Side note: Why is it that so many women/couples struggling to conceive often put off good things until that magical day comes? Live it up, ladies! You’re already dealing with so much stress, just buy that new purse or go out to dinner. Why make yourself suffer doubly?). But then we found out the happy news the day before Thanksgiving, a.k.a. before eating so gluttonously that we couldn’t imagine going out to another multi-course meal. And then the all-day nausea set in, and I wanted to go out to a lovely dinner about as much as I wanted to stick flaming hot pokers in my eyes. And then it was Christmas and we were crazy and traveling all over the East coast. So as the weeks went by, and I silently held my breath for the 12 week mark, I mentally reserved the gift certificate for that deadline.

Lo and behold, it finally came. 12 weeks, and the dinner I had so been looking forward to! On Saturday night, Benjamin and I got dolled up and headed out for a romantic dinner for two (well, three). This restaurant is a teeny, tiny gem hidden in a very cute part of town not far from our house. The food is based on pure ingredients, locally produced and sourced whenever possible, and prepared with the flair that only a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef could imagine. It was beautiful food in every sense of the word. We both took advantage of the 6-course tasting menu (I got the vegetarian, Benjamin got the meat-eater’s special… with suckling pig prepared three ways as the main dish!). What an incredible way to taste all of the creative concoctions the talented chefs came up with. We were in foodie heaven.

And, might I add, it was the most romantic date we’ve been on in, well, well over 12 weeks.

She Says… FEAR

The first few days after we found out we were pregnant, Benjamin and I were floating on air. With silly grins plastered on our faces, we just looked at each other with stars in our eyes and could barely see straight. Then, of course, reality set in, and some of that innocent bliss was replaced with fear. Mostly a fear that this baby that we’ve put so much of our hearts into already won’t make it. Or a fear that there is something wrong with the baby. Or fear that, somehow, this was all some kind of cosmic joke, and I’m not really pregnant.

We have since put the last one behind us… after those two good betas, I’m pretty certain that I’m really pregnant :)  As for the other two fears, however, I just can’t get them out of my head. The other day I said something about the possibility of miscarriage, and Benjamin said to me, “You’re not allowed to worry about things like that. Because you’re always the one who tells me not to worry… you just can’t be the worrier, because I already am”. It’s true. I am usually the voice of reason between the two of us, but pregnancy has seemingly turned the tables. So, apparently I’m not allowed to worry. If only it were that easy.

Statistics say that 15 – 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Once you hit 8 weeks, the chance of miscarrying goes down to 3%. And once you hit 12 weeks? Down to 1%. But, as anyone who has struggled with infertility knows, statistics don’t mean ANYTHING to the people who are on the losing side of them. If you are someone who has a miscarriage after 12 weeks, it doesn’t matter that statistics say your experience was highly unlikely… it’s your LIFE.

Anyway, even though my beta numbers were quite high, I have an excellent diet and healthy lifestyle, and I’ve been preparing my body for pregnancy for over a year, there is still that little voice in my head that keeps talking about miscarriage. And the logical part of my brain knows that if the unthinkable does happen, Benjamin and I will be ok, and the fact that we know I am capable of getting pregnant is a huge, huge step forward. Also, this cycle was really our first cycle EVER to “try” (since it was the first time I ovulated in, oh, 10 years), and now that we know the magic formula of Clomid to take to make me ovulate without turning me into Octomom, getting pregnant shouldn’t necessarily be such a struggle next time.

But honestly? I just can’t think about it. The bottom line is that if something is wrong with the baby I’m growing, and it is destined for miscarriage, there’s nothing I can do to change that. But, chances are that we will have a healthy pregnancy and a bouncing baby in our arms next August.

Our first ultrasound (December 14th) can’t come soon enough, though. Until then, I’m holding my breath.

She Says… Home Again, Home Again

Ahhhhhhhh. It feels so nice to be home!

On the babymaking front: I finished up my Clomid a few days ago and have been taking 2 teaspoons of Robitussin a day since then to improve my cervical mucus. Not really sure if it’s working yet, or even if it’s something I need to be doing, but the medicine’s not all that bad, and I figure a little cough medicine isn’t going to hurt me. I started using my ovulation predictor kits (OPK) yesterday morning. Negative yesterday and negative today. That is perfect; it’s kind of nice to have a few days of negatives to give me a baseline and make sure there’s a CLEAR difference between today’s reading and the positive I’m going to get in a few days (positive thinking, right?). Just to be on the safe side, my willing husband and I are covering our bases, so to speak. Last month I got my positive OPK on cycle day 15. This month, cycle day 15 should be next Wednesday. Although I’m going to be using the OPK’s every morning until then just to be sure I don’t miss it, I’m not going to be disappointed until at least Thursday if I don’t see a dark pink line. On Thursday if I haven’t gotten a positive, I will go in for bloodwork and ultrasound to check out my progress. If everything’s looking good but I haven’t ovulated yet, we’ll be instructed to use the injectible Ovidrel that’s been sitting in our ‘fridge since last month. I’m hoping that we get a distinct positive early next week and can verify that I ovulated. That would be a huge success!

In other news: Benjamin and I are enjoying our relaxing weekend together. We went on a little date to Whole Foods last night and re-stocked the kitchen with delicious food. We planned out meals for the next week and made some awesome fish tacos last night for dinner. Today I’m baking bread, catching up DVRed tv shows and exercising. Ahhh, what a wonderful life :)