Thursday, 31 December 2015

The year everything changed (and kept on changing)

Well, 2015, it's been a helluva ride.

I don't just mean that because it's the year we finally got to tell infertility to piss off as we welcomed our baby boy to our family.  Although of course that's a huge part of it, but it's really just the start.  Looking back on the past 9 months with Q, it sometimes blows my mind just how much change we've gone through on what seems to be an almost daily basis.  How can time seem to pass so slowly at times (I'm looking at you, 3am with a crying baby) and yet whiz by at others?  

When I have a quiet moment, I often catch myself reminiscing about certain stages or phases that Q has gone through in the past 9 months, or things we used to do with him that we don't anymore.  For instance, when he was first born he was such a sound sleeper that we used to keep his bassinet in the living room for the entire day, laying him down to nap in it while M and I (and often my mom or MIL) puttered about, watched TV, made dinner or did chores.  In the evening I'd feed him and then he'd fall asleep on M's chest as we sat on the sofa watching TV.  I'd doze off too, and M would eventually wake me and together we'd carry both Q and his bassinet upstairs to our bedroom for the rest of the night.  Over time, we started putting Q in the bassinet in our room at his bedtime, and we'd come up to bed later.  Then we started putting him in his crib in his own room, although when we went to bed we'd fetch him and transfer him to the bassinet just because we still wanted him close overnight.  Now, he's in his crib all night.  The bassinet still sits in our room, empty save for some baby blankets that Q no longer uses.  I'm pretty sure he wouldn't even fit in it anymore, and yet I can't quite bring myself to put it downstairs even though it would free up a ton of space.  It's as if moving it will somehow erase the memory of those early days.

Some changes have been momentous, like on Halloween night when all of a sudden we had a crawler.  Days later, he was pulling to stand.  Others have been more gradual, like Q (gloriously, blessedly, finally) stretching out his numerous 30-minute catnaps into two (mostly) solid daytime snoozes.  With each change, the old way of doing things disappears, our routine shifts, and we establish a new normal.  Then it all changes again.  Change IS the new normal.

I really owe you guys a proper update on Q and his development, and I really have no excuse other than now that I finally get an hour or two to myself in the middle of the day it's really damn nice to get to have a nap or read a book or just in general not feel like I'm rushing to get everything done.  I'll do a full-on 9 month update in January, I promise, if for no other reason than because I really want to document stuff for myself as well.  

In the meantime, I just want to wish everyone a (belated) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you joy and happiness for 2016.  And if that seems impossible, at the very least a smidgen of peace and the fervent hope that next year everything will change for you too.

Monday, 14 December 2015

The bitch is back

I got my period back.

You said it, Yeezy.

Seriously??   I read so many blogs from women parenting after infertility, and most of you guys are still going period-free up to a year after having your babies.  Some of you are wondering when it's coming back so that you can start trying for number two.  And here all I wanted was for it to stay away until I stop breastfeeding, which is probably going to be around the one year point when I head back to work. 

Nope.  Asshole uterus.

In hindsight, the signs were obvious.  I briefly had some EWCM, followed by copious amounts of thick creamy CM that should have alerted me that something was up.  But my body had faked me out a few months earlier with similar signs, and nothing actually happened.  This time around though, it was the real deal.  Q has been stuffing his gob with solids lately and has been increasingly disinterested in breastfeeding despite my best efforts, so I suppose it was to be expected.


It wasn't much of a period, mind you.  Some sludgy brown spotting followed by a day of super light flow, none of it requiring much more than some light tampons and panty liners.  And who knows, I might not get it again for a few months.  But it was enough to trigger some weird feelings that threw me for a bit of a loop.

At first I had the inevitable thought: oh maybe this means we should start taking birth control precautions.  This was followed by the equally inevitable HAHAHAHAHA YOU'RE INFERTILE YOU IDIOT YOU NEEDED AN EGG DONOR reminder.  And yeah yeah yeah, I know what you're going to say next.  In case you've been living under a rock, it seems like every infertile in the blogosphere has been finding themselves oopspregnant lately.  (No hate: I'm seriously very happy for you guys.)

I guess theoretically it could happen to me.  I mean, if I wasn't too tired to have sex, that is.  I still have some eggs, and there might be a decent one in the bunch.  Thing is, though...I'm pretty sure I don't want it to.  One of the things that I'm probably hyper-conscious about having an egg donor baby is making sure that he doesn't feel different in any way, or any less part of our family.  I think I'm probably irrationally afraid that if we got oopspregnant, Q would at some point feel like he's somehow less than the new baby.  Less important, less wanted, less my child.  And I never want those thoughts to ever cross his mind.  Plus I kind of like the thought of him having a full sibling from one of our four frozen embryos in the Czech Republic.  In the event he ever does feel different from a non-DE kid, he'd have someone to talk about it with.  And vice versa.  So while part of me would love to join the unicorn club, I'm pretty sure that if/when we do talk about having another baby, I'd rather it be with our totsicles as opposed to my dodgy eggs.

That said, the return of my period also brought that familiar anxiety, disappointment and sadness that I felt every time I saw blood on the toilet paper over the past couple of years.  Which is totally strange, as I don't want to be pregnant right now at all.  We're not ready for another baby for a whole bunch of reasons.  I wonder if it's not a bit of a conditioned response.  Like Pavlov's dog, I've learned that the arrival of my period means yet another failure of my body to make a baby.  Yet another month with promise unfulfilled.  Yet another month that I need to be sad.

Except it doesn't mean that anymore.  At least it shouldn't.  I wonder if I'll ever get to the point where the arrival of my period just means that it's time to go to the drugstore.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

3rd Blogiversary: Reflections on being a donor egg mom

Wow.  Another year gone, and yet another huge shift in circumstances.  On my first blogiversary, I wrote about feeling left behind.  Last year, I was the one doing the leaving at six months pregnant.  And this year, I'm firmly out of the trenches with an almost 8 month old baby boy.  A boy who fills me with pride and joy every day, and is doing an exceptional job of keeping me on my toes now that he's crawling around and exploring his world.

A boy who wouldn't be here if not for the gift of a stranger.

Before Q's arrival, I wrote about my worries and fears about being a mom to a donor egg baby.  Would I feel like his mother?  Would we bond?  Or would I feel like a surrogate mom to someone else's baby?  Would the donor issue constantly be at the back of my mind, a nagging reminder that my baby was "not quite mine"?

Admittedly, some of these thoughts lingered for a little while after Q's birth, although not in the negative way that I had feared.  In the first month or two, every so often I would catch myself looking at him and the thought would come unbidden to my mind: he's not mine.  Perhaps some of it was that brand new mother incredulity that everyone experiences; the "how could this tiny perfect human possibly be mine?" moment.  But for me, I knew this was also more than a little bit about the donor.  He's not "mine".  There was no emotion attached to it, no sadness or anger.  It was just a statement, almost as if my brain was testing me by throwing it out there every once in a while to see how I felt about it.  And how I felt about it, as it turned out, was this: So what?  

So what? as I changed another diaper.
So what? as I breastfed Q in the middle of the night.
So what? as I held him close while he napped on my chest.

As time went by, this passing thought occurred less and less.  Like any bully, it came seeking a reaction and when it didn't get one, it stopped bothering to try.  Before long I couldn't even remember the last time it had cropped up.  With each act of mothering, any fear that I wasn't a "real" mom was being washed away.

Now, if someone were to suggest to me that I wasn't Q's "real" mom, my answer would be this: if not me, then who?  The donor, while giving us the single vital cell we needed to bring Q to life, has never held him or nourished him.  She's never played with him, tickled him, or elicited a single smile or giggle.  Never soothed his cries or rocked him to sleep.  Never fretted over his illnesses or milestones, or cheered for him as he achieved a goal.  Never laughed at his shenanigans or been frustrated by his fussiness.  She's never experienced a single minute of this precious, amazing little boy's life while I have been there for almost every single joyful, messy, tearful, hilarious, tender, stinky, irritating, fear-filled, awe-inspiring second of it.

Before I gave birth to Q, any time I expressed doubts about being a donor egg mom M would tell me that I was being ridiculous and remind me that it was my body that was allowing Q to grow and thrive, and that it was my body that would give birth to him.  That through these acts, I was already his mother.  This isn't in any way to minimize the contribution of our donor, of course.  If not for her gift of that one tiny cell, Q wouldn't be here, and I will be forever grateful for that.  But that gift doesn't make her his mother.  It might have taken me a bit longer to get here than for someone giving birth to their own genetic child, but in the end I've realized: being his mother is what makes me his mother.

Obvious to some, yes.  But to this donor egg mom, I guess I needed to get here in my own good time.  And now that I am, it's a beautiful place to be.

Monday, 9 November 2015


Today is the first day I've been alone with Q in nearly a month.  It feels a little weird.

Just over three weeks ago M left on an extended business trip.  I took the opportunity to head east to see my family, giving my parents the ability to spend a nice chunk of time with Q while also sparing myself the challenge of being a single mom for longer than I thought I could handle.  

We had an amazing, busy time.  Pretty much every day we had a visit from aunts or uncles or cousins or friends.  Q showed no signs of shyness and flashed everyone his huge (no longer toothless!) smile, although he saved the biggest ones for my 6-year old niece (his only cousin).  She absolutely doted on him, insisting that she be allowed to help feed and bathe him in addition to spending tons of time just playing with him on the floor or in his exersaucer.  They even went Trick or Treating together on Halloween, and although I told her that any extra candy she got "for the baby" was technically mine, I never laid claim to it in the end.

Explain to me again why I'm wearing this?

As for mama, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to hand Q off to his grandparents and have a little "me" time.  I did crazy things like go to baby-free shopping or to the gym in the middle of the day, or go back to bed after giving Q his breakfast for an extra hour or two of sleep.  Such tiny things, really, but a huge indulgence for someone like me who doesn't have family handy at a few moments' notice.  It made me super envious of my sister, who lives about five minutes from our parents and is able to drop my niece for an hour or two if she needs to get something done or just could use some time for herself.

It also made me sort of wonder if I'm not doing Q an injustice by having him home alone with just me most of the time.  Not that there's really any other option, but he made a couple of huge strides in development while we were out east and I have to wonder if it wasn't the increase in stimulation that pushed him forwards.  For instance, he'd been rocking on all fours since his six month birthday, but hadn't been able to figure out how to coordinate his arms and legs to get moving.  Then, on Halloween night, we returned home from Trick or Treating and my niece dumped out her bag of candy on the floor.  Q (who is apparently food-motivated, much like his parents and their dog) immediately set out across the floor towards the candy pile.  It took us all by such surprise that we cheered super loudly, which terrified poor Q and actually made him cry!  He apparently wasn't too emotionally scarred though, and once I calmed him down he went right back at it.  Within days we were chasing him around the house to stop him from getting into stuff he shouldn't.  On top of the locomotion, his communication skills exploded as well.  He'd started babbling with consonants a couple of days before our departure (easing a lot of my previous worry about his development in this department!), and during our visit he positively became a little chatterbox.  My new favourite thing is listening to him "ba-ba-ba"-ing to himself while he crawls across the floor.

Maybe it was all just a coincidence of timing, since I know there's a huge explosion in development between 6 and 7 months, but I can't help but feel that all the excitement was a huge boost to his little brain.  I've started to notice that my little man is extremely social (i.e. sitting by the airplane bathroom was his favourite, since smiling at all the people coming and going kept him endlessly entertained).  Now that we're home in Toronto and it's just boring old Mom and Buddy all the time again, I really feel like I need to up my game and get him out of the house more regularly since he seems to love being around other people so much.

Anyway, here we are back at home, where at least Q's sleep is a little bit better and I don't have to deal with the temptation of my dad constantly bringing home sweets and dessert "because you're a guest".  Lucky for me breastfeeding is keeping most of the weight gain at bay, but Q loves his solids so much I'm starting to think that won't last a whole lot longer.  

I don't think you need that piece of pie, Mom.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Half birthday

It's mind-bending for me to acknowledge that today is Q's six month birthday.  As our whole little family (mom, dad, baby and dog) took a stroll yesterday afternoon, I couldn't help but reflect back to April 4th when I was walking those exact same streets trying fiercely to dislodge the baby who seemed to have set up permanent shop in my uterus.  While I haven't done regular monthly update posts, now seems a fitting time to have a look at how far we've come!

Stats: Weighs somewhere just north of 17 pounds (we'll find out for sure at his 6 month doctor's appointment next week), length around 27 inches at last check.

Nicknames:  Nothing super consistent, but some of the more interesting things I've heard come out of my own mouth are "Sweet Thang" and "Mr. Chub O'Cheeks".  Usually it's just more generic stuff like honey, sweetie, baby, or mister.

Eating:  Up until very recently, Q was exclusively breastfed.  Then, at his five month checkup, his doctor noted that he had slipped down a few percentiles in weight since his last visit.  His length was still on track, so she suggested that he was probably needing some more calories in the form of solids.  This made sense to me, since around that time he'd mastered rolling and was spending tons of time on the floor practicing that as well as bouncing around in his Jolly Jumper and exersaucer.  We had a brief scare when he broke out in a rash after only trying oatmeal and sweet potatoes, but it turned out to be a virus instead (bonus: first puke!) and after a brief hiatus from solids is now back at it.  So far he loves oatmeal (especially mixed with applesauce), sweet potato, pears and bananas, has a so-so relationship with peas and green beans, and wants avocado to go die in a fire.


Sleeping:  Oh boy.  This will probably be the subject of its own post in a little while, but suffice it to say that things got pretty bad with night waking after I wrote this post, and we ended up revisiting sleep training.  Only this time there was no fucking around, we got serious about it and really stuck to it worked!  Q now goes down generally without fussing around 7pm and sleeps until about 6:30am, with one or two wakings to feed.  I'm trying to get him down to just one night feeding (and hopefully soon none!) but if he does wake twice, the first one is usually around 10 or 11pm and I often haven't even gone to bed yet, so I consider it a sort of dreamfeed and don't mind getting up around 4am for another one.  Naps have remained pretty shitty, and in the last week or two went even further downhill as they dropped from his usual 30 minutes to often less than 20.  Which meant I was trying to put him down sometimes 4 times a day, and he was still barely getting 1.5 hours of daytime sleep.  So...we're in the midst of nap training as I write this.  Stay tuned.

Clothes:  Q just recently started fitting into his 6 month stuff, and can still do some of his 3-6 month things as well.  He's long and lean, so I often find pants or outfits with feet and legs are too big in the body or waist but too short in the length.  I know some moms get really sad and nostalgic about it, but I get a weird sense of satisfaction out of retiring smaller clothes and busting out the new stuff in a bigger size.  Like I've somehow accomplished something by helping this tiny human to grow.  Yeah I know, I'm odd.

Diapers:  Pampers size 3.  We've rotated between Swaddlers and Baby Dry depending on what's on sale.  I generally find them to be good although we've had a fair number of poop blowouts lately, probably due to some epic solid food craps.

Likes:  Q loves spending time in his Jolly Jumper and has just recently come around to the concept of bathtime.  He's also fascinated by his own penis, grabbing it every chance he gets (regardless of whether it happens to be covered in poop at the time).  He's spent entire baths with one hand on it like someone's coming to take it away from him.  Q also absolutely adores Buddy, laughing with glee whenever he watches one of us play fetch or tug-of-war with the dog.  For his part, Buddy seems to be coming around and will now give Q little licks and will even let him do some gentle exploratory petting (with close parental supervision, of course).

You taste like avocado.

Dislikes: Naps, avocado, being in the car too long, being left alone by mom for any period of time longer than 3.27 seconds.

Milestones:  Q has been hitting most of his physical milestones a bit ahead of schedule.  His head and neck strength was always good (we barely had to support his head at all apart from the early infant days) and he's been pretty chill about tummy time.  He started sitting unsupported a couple of weeks ago, although we still have to watch out for the occasional topple.  He's now working towards crawling, which freaks me the hell out as our house is not babyproofed.  He's really good at pushing up on his hands and moving from side to side or around in a circle to get at toys he wants, but whenever he tries to move forward he actually ends up pushing himself backwards instead, which leads to no end of frustrated crying.  He's gotten himself up on all fours and rocked a few times, but hasn't figured out coordinated limb movement yet and this generally ends in a faceplant.

Pride goeth before a fall

Communication-wise is where I think he may be a bit more behind.  He started cooing right on schedule, but still hasn't really graduated to babbling or consonant sounds.  He's a pretty quiet baby all around and doesn't make much noise at all, unless he's upset about something and even then his cry is pretty low-key.  I try to talk to him a lot and get some back and forth conversation going, but he just smiles at me and blows raspberries.  Surprisingly, I find if I leave him alone to be quiet is when he might start experimenting with sounds.  I'm trying not to stress about this too much, and he's quite social with people (always offering up big smiles), but obviously I'd love to her a random string of babble come out of his mouth sooner rather than later.  M's mom has reminded me more than once that daddy didn't really say much at all until age 2, so it's possible that the apple didn't fall far from the tree in the speech department.  Time will tell.

Illnesses:  So far in his short life, Q has had two head colds (the second was much worse than the first), and one mysterious virus resulting in a rash and a bout of vomiting.

Looking forward to:  Hallowe'en!  I have no idea what I'm going to dress Q up as but I can't wait.  M is away for three weeks in October/November, so rather than attempting life as a single mom Q and I are flying out east to stay with my family.  It'll be great for my parents to have a bit more extended time with him, and my niece is already looking forward to trick or treating with him.  She wants him to be Olaf to her Elsa.

Or I could just wear this giraffe hat.

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Great Baldening

When I was pregnant, I got a spectacularly backhanded compliment from a woman at my office that went something like this:  "You look so good pregnant!  You have such a healthy glow, and your hair is so thick and full.  You're so much prettier pregnant!"

Um, yeah, thanks.  I think.  

But she was right.  I had awesome pregnancy hair.  While I don't have thick hair, stylists have always commented that I have a lot of it and during pregnancy it just grew and grew.  It felt thick for the first time ever.  It was long and lush and shiny.  I even loved the way it made my face look; it somehow seemed to balance me out better and looked fantastic in pictures. 

I don't know why this GIF exists, but it's awesome.

God, I miss my pregnancy hair.

I always knew that it wouldn't last, and that it would go back to normal somewhere around 3 to 6 months after Q was born.  I even knew that it would fall out in pretty noticeable amounts, and I thought I was prepared for that.

I was SO not prepared for this.  Holy shit, you guys.  Holy shit.  It is falling out like WHOA.  

Every time I shampoo, I pull out handfuls.  I have to be careful to pile it on the side of the tub when I shower lest I clog the drain.  Then, just when I think I'm done and there can't possibly be more, I get out of the shower and dry my hair, following which my bathroom floor looks like the floor of a hair salon and I need to sweep.  Our bathroom garbage can is 87% hair at this point (fact: the other 13% is tissues with spit up and used breast pads).  While I wear my hair in a ponytail most of the time, on the few occasions I've tried to wear it down I just can't make it look right.  It looks thin and flat, and I have giant gaps in my bangs on both sides of my forehead.

Most annoying is the fact that now there is simply hair everywhere.  If I so much as scratch my head or run my fingers through my hair, at least a few strands fall out.  There is constantly one hair that is tickling me somewhere.  I pull it off my husband's shirt before he leaves for work.  I pick it off my child when he plays on the carpet.  I pull it out my vacuum cleaner's brush bristles and wonder if Locks for Love would accept the contents of my vacuum bag as a donation, for they could surely make several childrens' wigs out of it.  And the other day while walking the dog, I pulled it out of my dog's asshole when one turd stubbornly refused to drop, dangling like a pendulum from his butt by a single long brown hair.

Yes, this is a dental floss dispenser shaped like a dog butt.

The day I pull it out of my baby's ass is the day I just shave my fucking head.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Planes, trains and automobiles

Over the past month or so, our little Q has become quite the experienced traveller.  M and I have (bravely?  foolishly?) taken him on a number of adventures to see family and friends, and things have generally gone pretty well.  Here's what we've been up to lately:

Plane:  Just this past weekend we returned from a week-long visit to see my family out east.  Q finally got to meet my niece, who was also crazy excited to meet her baby cousin.  It's a three hour direct flight, which meant we got about an hour's worth of down time while Q napped and then had to entertain him for the other two hours, which wasn't too bad.  The worst part of the entire thing had nothing to do with travelling with a baby, and everything to do with the fact that Air Canada sucks donkey balls.  They've started charging for a checked bag, which is stupid but fine, whatever.  But for some reason, when we checked in online it wouldn't let us pay for the bag we were bringing and kept insisting that we had to go to "check-in assistance" at the airport.  Again, fine, whatever.  We got to the airport in plenty of time on the morning of our departure, only to sit in an unmoving line up for almost an hour until it was getting too close to flight time for our comfort, and we managed to flag someone down to get us through and onto security.  Where we waited in another unmoving line up.  My stress levels over travel are pretty bad at the best of times, but they were off the charts here.  We finally managed to board as the very last passengers on the flight, and I've made a personal commitment never to fly Air Canada again if I can help it.  My next trip home in October (Q and I will be going solo as M has a three-week business trip) I've already booked with another airline.  As M is fond of repeating, Air Canada should really just change its slogan to the following:

Train:  The week before our trip out east, I had the opportunity to meet up with the lovely Daryl, her husband and daughter as they travelled to Ottawa for some visa processing prior to their move overseas.  Q and I rode the rails since Ottawa is about 5 hours from Toronto and I knew from previous experience (see Automobiles, below) that Q wouldn't be able to manage a stretch that long in the car without someone in the backseat to entertain him and M, like a sucker, had to work and couldn't tag along.  I was a bit nervous going it alone with a baby, but needn't have been thanks to the fact that I took M's advice and booked a business class ticket.  It gave me loads of extra room and there was no one sitting next to me, so I was able to put Q in his carseat either on the floor or the seat beside me to play with him or when I needed some hands free time.  Also, business class = free booze so you can bet mama took advantage of that on the ride home later that evening.  

No, YOU'VE got a drinking problem!!*

Meeting Daryl was awesome.  We hooked up for lunch at a small Italian restaurant after her family's visa appointment and between the two of us flashed more boob than I think that establishment has seen in forever.  It was my first in-person bloggy friend meeting and I can attest to the fact that not only is she NOT a crazy serial killer, but she is in fact a warm and wonderful person whose baby girl has the most gorgeous eyes on the planet.  I'm so glad I braved the trip there to meet her and wish her and her family all the best in their new life across the pond!

Automobile:  This one was the most ambitious and definitely the most challenging.  Ever since we've been together M and I have joined his parents as often as possible on their annual beach trip to Maine at the end of July.  We missed it last year due to our trip to Prague and a friend's wedding in Vancouver, plus this year we were eager to bring Q along for his first ever ocean vacation.  The drive from Toronto to Maine is just over 12 hours, depending on how long you get stuck at the border, so we knew we'd have to cut the drive into two days (we usually just take shifts driving and power through) if any of us were going to survive it with our sanity intact.  The going was pretty slow.  One of us had to be in the back seat with Q at all times to keep him entertained.  Unfortunately he was on a half-hour napping kick, so we were pretty much only able to drive in 1.5 hour stretches as follows:  first half hour pleasant but growing increasingly tired and grumpy until he dropped off to sleep, second half hour napping (seriously, you could set your watch by this kid), third half hour awake and pleasant at first but increasingly cranky and impatient to be out of his carseat.  Then we'd find somewhere to stop for a coffee or lunch and give him about a half hour to stretch his legs and look at some new scenery, before getting back into the car and doing it all over again.  I wish I could say it was worth it, but as I mentioned in a previous post Q wasn't sleeping great while we were there so it ended up being a tougher week than anticipated.  He didn't even really like the beach or the water; he seemed afraid of the waves and howled when his toes were dipped for the first time, which was pretty disappointing for his beach-loving grandparents.  I'm sure next year will be a different story as we frantically try to chase him down and stop him from eating sand, but this year was a bit of a wash.

I will wear your lobster onesie, but I will not like it.

Anyway, that's all the doings and happenings around here lately.  All the travelling and the lack of nap-taking has made me a terrible commenter, but rest assured I'm still reading along.  I just usually have to do it on the go on my phone, which is horrible for commenting.  I promise to do better!  

*Glass was empty and previously held only water.  I am not an incompetent parent, just one who gets creative with her iPhone camera when bored.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sleep: You're doing it wrong

STTN.  EASY.  PU/PD.  NAPS.  CIO.  A whole bunch of letters that all spell the same thing: your baby is sleeping wrong and it's your fault.

After Q was born, I actually felt a whole lot of guilt whenever other moms would ask me how things were going.  They had that knowing looking in their eye that said they were expecting me to tell them how exhausted I was, and the last thing they wanted to hear was that Q was sleeping so much we had to wake him to feed.  Even as he got a little older, he'd sleep pretty much anywhere: in his carseat at a restaurant, while being passed around at a family reunion, and even in the audience at my dance recital (complete with blaring music).  At night, his favourite place to fall asleep was on M's chest after I gave him his last nursing session.  While I joked that this was probably a bad habit to get into and that we were creating a monster who would never be able to sleep anywhere else, I couldn't begrudge M the cuddle time with his baby after he'd been away from him all day at work.

Well, those chickens have come home to roost.

You rang?

Things started to go sideways somewhere around the 3.5 month mark.  Instead of falling asleep on the boob and being easily put down in his crib for naps, Q started waking the second his head hit the mattress and then requiring long sessions of rocking/walking/bouncing/patting to go to sleep.  Other sure-fire sleep inducers like the swing and stroller lost their efficacy as well.  Rather than falling asleep the second we started moving, I began having to take longer and longer walks to get Q to drop off.  And no matter what, he pretty much always woke up within half an hour.  Finally, my worst fear was realized when his nighttime sleep started to suffer too.  No more waking only once or twice to feed.  Now he was up at seemingly random intervals, as many as four or five times a night.  I was forced to admit that the dreaded four month sleep regression was likely upon us.

Then we went on vacation to Maine, although the word "vacation" doesn't really apply when you're stuck with a chronically overtired and overstimulated baby who is thrown into unfamiliar surroundings and is missing half of his usual sleep props.  Only once or twice did we achieve peaceful-baby-napping-under-the-beach-shade status, and more often than not we spent large amounts of time pacing the floor in our tiny beach rental trying to soothe Q for a nap in his Pack 'n Play.   I decided that when we got home, one thing was called for: sleep training.

Of course, because I spent all my money buying a baby because I'm a cheap bastard I wasn't about to actually buy any books on the topic.  All of that shit is on the internet now anyway.  I soon discovered what all of my experienced mom readers probably already know, which is that there are a bunch of techniques and pretty much no one agrees with anyone else except on a few key points.  Namely, that a baby Q's age should only be awake for a maximum of two hours at a time, and that I should be aiming to put him down "drowsy but awake" so that he could learn to fall asleep independently.  Here's what else I learned.

Things I'm doing wrong
  • Letting him stay awake too long
  • Nursing him to sleep
  • Rocking/walking/bouncing him to sleep
  • Getting him to sleep using his swing
  • Getting him to sleep using his stroller
  • Getting him to sleep using any kind of movement whatsoever
  • Taking him into our bed when he wakes at 6am so I can snag an extra hour of sleep
Things I'm doing right
  •  Nothing, basically

In a fit of panic that I'd already screwed Q out of having any kind of normal sleep schedule, I spent the next week trying to fix things.  I established a daytime schedule of feedings, awake time and naps.  I tried to anticipate Q's sleepy times and dashed him upstairs to his nursery at the slightest yawn or eye rub, and often even before then as the magical two hour window of awake time closed.  I refused to nurse before naptime, instead trying to create the elusive "drowsy but awake" state through other soothing techniques like songs and quiet time.  I laid Q down in his crib awake.  I let him fuss a little to see if he'd put himself to sleep, and when he didn't I'd pick him up and soothe him a little and put him back down.  

And my happy little boy, who barely cries at all, started crying with an intensity I'd never seen before.  Not just a few times or for a little while, but essentially any time I walked him into his room and closed his blinds.  It felt like whatever I was doing had basically made him afraid of being put into his crib to sleep, which had never been a problem before.  On top of which, none of it was working anyway!  Forcing him into his crib (instead of his swing or stroller) meant that he was getting maybe 30 minutes of naptime, if he would fall asleep at all.  By the end of one particularly horrible 90-minute nap attempt, M came home to find both of us in tears.  I was frustrated beyond belief and felt like a huge failure as a mother, since I was supposed to be making things better but obviously I was only making them so much worse.

Out of total coincidence, later that same week a local infant program that we attend was having a public health nurse in to speak about baby sleep and routines.  I steeled myself for a huge debate on sleep training techniques, and then asked my question about how to get Q on a better routine and make sure he was getting the sleep he needed.  And do you know what surprised me?  Almost every mom there (many of whom are parents of older babies and hence have been going through this a lot longer than me) said the same thing: just do what works.  If that was the swing, swing away.  If it was the stroller, lace up your sneakers.  The nurse chimed in as well with a comment that struck a chord.  She said to keep in mind that "baby sleep" has become an industry unto itself, so there's a lot of effort put into making parents feel like they need to buy into a specific program to help their child sleep.  And yet no one can agree on exactly how to do it.

It struck me then that for the better part of a couple of weeks I'd been stressing myself out about how Q was getting to sleep rather than focusing on just making sure that he was getting to sleep.  I was so pig-headedly sticking to my schedule that I'd totally stopped watching his cues and just listening to what he needed.  So I quit.  I took Q for a two hour long walk in his stroller the next day, and what do you know...he slept 1.5 hours of it.  We were both a million times happier.  That night, he only woke up once to feed.  It felt like he was thanking me.

I won't say that I won't try sleep training again at some point in the future.  And I've taken some tidbits to heart, including trying to make sure that I get Q down for a nap before he gets overtired, and attempting to put him down drowsy but awake.  If it's not working, I'll switch it up, and just do what works.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Grandparent visit (or, How my mom tried to kill my dog)

So, after a pretty calm and uneventful June in which one day was pretty much running into the next, July has been an absolute whirlwind.  My parents arrived for a two week visit in the early part of the month, and although my mom had been here shortly after Q's birth it marked the first time my dad was meeting his only grandson.  In addition to lots of baby play time (and mommy rest time!) we were out and about quite a bit.  If anyone is interested, I can now give quite a fulsome review of nursing rooms in a number of malls throughout the greater Toronto area.  We even took Q to the Pan Am Games to see some beach volleyball!

Why don't you look like that in a bikini, Mommy?

Despite being dragged from one end of the city to the other, Q was a good sport and only really got upset when we were dumb and pushed his limits a bit by staying out or keeping him in his stroller too long.  Otherwise, he rewarded his east coast grandparents with tons of smiles and seemed to love having someone besides me around to dote on him all day.

Probably the most eventful part of the trip came a day before my folks were scheduled to leave, when M's parents came to town and we all went out for dinner together.  My mother had bought some chocolates as a gift for my sister, and had been warned by me to keep them out of reach of Buddy the beagle's inquiring nose.  She kept them zipped up in her suitcase for the better part of a week, but the night we went out for dinner just happened to be the one night she forgot to zip it up.  We came home to a completely destroyed cardboard box on the living room floor, with one lone chocolate undevoured.  I'm not quite sure what made him leave that single chocolate, but if you've ever eaten a Purdy's Chocolate Hedgehog you will understand how hard it was for me to pick it up and toss it in the garbage and not eat it myself anyway!  They're milk chocolate filled with a delectable chocolate hazelnut filling; basically, it's like Nutella inside a chocolate shell.  Fucking amazing, is what they are.  And I had to take my dog to the vet and watch him be forced to puke it all up in a melty chocolate puddle that (very grotesquely) still smelled really good coming out.  Buddy seemed to think so too, since he made a go at the puke basin on the floor even after being forced to choke down a charcoal solution to stop the chocolate toxin from absorbing into his stomach.  Yes, Purdy's, I think we've got a new advertising campaign for you right here.  "So good you'll want to eat it again the second time around!!"  All joking aside, my mom felt like absolute crap about the whole thing.  I tried to reassure her it was just an accident, and didn't have the heart to tell her that between the emergency Saturday visit, the shot to make Buddy vomit and the charcoal treatment, the entire ordeal ended up costing us almost $400 at the vet.

This story gives me the sads.

In addition to my folks, we've also had a couple of other friends in town that we've managed to get together with for dinner, and there's been some happy news.  I met up with my friend Dee, who since last year has been going through some fertility struggles of her own.  After TTC for about 6 months with no success, she and her husband went to an RE and found out that she had a blocked tube.  She had a procedure to open it, and got pregnant right away the month after.  Sadly, at her 6 week ultrasound she found out the pregnancy wasn't viable, and she miscarried not one but two babies at 9 weeks.  A few more months of no success and more testing revealed her ovarian reserve was on the low end (although nothing as dramatic as full-blown Diminished Ovarian Reserve).  Her RE recommended considering IUI or IVF, but didn't really tell her which he preferred (just that IUI was cheaper but that IVF had better success rates).  She texted me in confusion, and I was able to offer my 2 cents that as long as her ovarian reserve was OK it probably wouldn't nosedive in the few months it would take to try a round or two of IUI before leaping to IVF.  That's what she ended up doing, and last week she took a test which came out positive!  I'm so incredibly happy for her and I love that there is some small benefit to what I went through in that I could give her some advice that helped.  I am hoping so hard that this one sticks for her.  On top of Dee's great news, last night M and I hosted another couple of friends for dinner.  They were so supportive of us when we were going through our DE cycle, so we were shattered when they told us last year that they had gotten pregnant but ended up with no heartbeat at their 12 week ultrasound.  But things have worked out for them too and they are expecting their first little girl in just a few weeks.  All in all, this past week has been the most excited I've been to NOT drink wine with friends outside of my own pregnancy!

Enough about you, I can hear you guys saying.  What about baby Q??  Well, he's hit a few milestones like rolling from tummy to back (mostly accidental) and back to tummy (definitely accidental).  He's also started giggling, which is just too fucking cute I cannot even.  Unfortunately that's mostly something that Daddy gets, because although Mommy is smile-funny she's apparently not ha-ha-funny.  According to his pediatrician he's ahead of the game with his neck and head strength, and she expects us to be chasing him around in no time because this kid WANTS.  TO.  MOVE.  During tummy time he grabs the blanket he's lying on and tries to pull himself forward while doing this little dolphin kick for propulsion, and the rest of the time he just wants to be standing up.  His arms and legs are constantly in motion, which should theoretically be tiring him out but sleep is still a bit of a moving target.  He's still up at least twice during the night to feed, and naps are hit and miss.  Trying to soothe him to sleep when he doesn't want to is like hugging a bag of writhing snakes.  I fully expect it to get worse before it gets better, since the four month sleep regression is looming and we have a family beach vacation coming up where I'm sure his schedule will get screwed despite my best intentions.

Oh well.  Kid's lucky he's cute.

How YOU doin'?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

All I wanted

I think infertility blogging is a lot like songwriting or poetry.  The best content comes from a place of heartbreak, when you're so unhappy you just need to write to get everything out.  But once you make it through the dark times, it's damn hard to write from a place of happiness.  You're not dissecting your life in exquisite, agonizingly artistic detail anymore.  You're just enjoying being happy!

That's kind of what it's like around here lately.  I don't really have anything to bitch about, so this blog has been pretty quiet.  Cue inevitable "whither my infertility blog now?" discussion.  Even when I was still in the trenches, I liked it when my bloggy friends who had made it to the other side posted every once in a while with updates on their life with baby.  I mean, I didn't want to know about every sleepless night or dirty diaper, but it was nice to read they were doing well and I liked seeing/hearing about their babies from time to time.  I kind of figure this is what I'm going to do myself.  I'm just going to post updates whenever I have the time or desire, and if you're into that I'm glad.  If it's too hard for you at times, or you're in a bad place, then I get it.  I didn't want to read any complaining about baby's first tooth when I was fresh off a negative pee stick either.  It's cool.

So yeah...things around here are going pretty great!  Q is charming the virtual pants off of everyone he meets, and is continuing to keep things pretty chill at home.  Last week we ventured out to our first ever mom-and-baby activity, a free afternoon infant program at a local province-run centre.  He was one of the younger babies there, but I think he got a huge kick out of looking at all the other babies and he definitely enjoyed the song circle time, while mama was quite happy to engage in some adult conversation!  We'll be going back for sure.

Development-wise, Q is starting to get a lot more interactive which is fun.  We have full-on cooing conversations now, and just this week he started trying to grasp and bat at some toys which is a whole lot better than me sitting there just shaking them at him.  He absolutely loves standing up, and basically can fully support his own weight as long as you're holding him to stop him from toppling to the side.  This was really cute at first (especially given the look of pride he wears on his face while he's doing it) but it's also really fucking hard on the arms after a while.  Guess I'll just have to suck it up and get me some awesome biceps.

The one area that is starting to be a bit more challenging is sleep.  Q has always been a pretty good sleeper, and back around 6 or 7 weeks old had gotten to the point where he was only waking once a night to feed.  He even teased us with a blissful few nights where he slept about 10 or 12 hours, straight through from 8pm to about 6am.  It was awesome.

Then we had one weekend where we had tons of family visiting, and he hardly napped at all due to the overstimulation.  This totally threw him off, and we still haven't gotten back to where we were.  Right now he's waking twice, once around 3am and again around 5:30am.  The 3 o'clock feed isn't so bad since he's all business and back to sleep, but the 5:30 one is a bitch because it's starting to get light outside and he's like, "IT'S MORNING!" and hence he's almost impossible to put back down at that point.  Daytime naps are also proving to be a bit of a challenge.  He used to just kind of nap wherever/whenever, but I've been trying to start more of a routine by swaddling him and taking him upstairs to his crib.  He'll usually settle eventually, but crib naps seem to be capped at about 30 minutes right now whereas swing/stroller/carseat naps can last upwards of two hours, so you can guess which ones are more appealing to me.  I know it's still early days but I really don't want to get into the habit of needing to rock or nurse him to sleep.  I'd also like to get a bit of consistency going, since some days he'll have a couple of big long naps but other days he takes four or five short ones and I never know which day will be which, so it makes things a bit difficult to plan.  Can I do some dinner prep or will he be awake in 10 minutes?  It's a mystery!

So yeah...I'm happy which makes me boring blog-wise.  A couple of times over the past few weeks I've had random moments where it's hit me all over again that we made it through to the other side of infertility.  Like, we'll be walking to the dog park with Buddy on his leash and Q in his stroller, and it's sunny and the smell of lilac is in the air and we stop and buy iced tea from some kids on the street and I just think, "Yes.  This is it.  This is all I wanted.  Was it really so much to ask for?"  It seems so simple, and it should be so simple for everyone.  Yet it wasn't, and isn't.  But I wish it was.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Groundhog days

I have a confession to make.  I have no idea what to do with my two month old baby.

I mean, I know how to take care of him, obviously.  Feed, burp, bathe, change, swaddle...I've got the hang of those.  But over the past couple of weeks, my teeny tiny baby who could barely rouse himself from sleep long enough to suck on a boob has turned into a slightly less tiny baby who is now awake and alert a lot of the time.  It's awesome, of course, and there's absolutely nothing to compare to the gummy grins that I'm now getting on a regular basis.  Along with that, however, comes the need to actually do something to entertain the little guy in order to elicit said grins, or to keep him otherwise occupied and stimulated.  It's kind of making me wish that my prenatal class had included a section on children's songs and nursery rhymes, as it has become apparent that my knowledge in this area is sadly limited.  Once we've sung Old MacDonald, The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Wheels on the Bus, I'm fresh out of ideas.  Lucky for me there's this YouTube channel that has turned 80s hair metal (among other things) into lullabies.  Now those I know!

Nothing like the dulcet tones of Axl Rose to put a baby to sleep.

Otherwise, right now my days are kind of blending into each other.  The most mentally challenging aspect is trying to figure out what order we should do things in.  Do we want to do tummy time, then walk the dog, then sing songs?  Or sing songs, tummy time, and dog walk?  Oh the variety!

I'm looking forward to taking advantage of some mom-and-baby activities in my area soon, but right now Q is still a little young for a lot of them.  I'm also sort of waiting for next week when Q has his two-month checkup and will get his first set of vaccinations before I venture out anywhere that has a ton of germy toddlers.  One cool thing I discovered is that there's a kiddie play centre within walking distance that has drop-in play during the weekdays.  Did I mention it's free for kids under 1 year?  The infant area is pretty small, since the place is mostly geared towards kids aged 2 to 6, but I'm hoping that I might meet some other moms there who are hanging out with their infants while they let their toddlers run amok.   I need to find me some local mom friends!

In the meantime, it's kind of ridiculous the sorts of things that I've been looking forward to doing since they get us out of the house.  Case in point: no one should ever, ever be as excited as I was to go to the passport office last week.  I wanted to get Q's done sooner rather than later so I wouldn't be rushing in advance of our semi-annual beach trip to Maine in July, so now he'll have a 6-week old baby photo on his passport for the next five years.  Luckily he napped like a tiny drunk so I didn't have to whip out a boob in front of everyone, although part of me was sort of looking forward to horrifying/offending a whole bunch of strangers.  Oh well.  Next time.

In other news, I got the go-ahead from my OB to resume normal activity at my post-natal checkup (which happened at 4 weeks instead of 6 for some reason) and have been using Q's nap time to squeeze in some workouts.  At first progress seemed agonizingly slow, and I was getting really frustrated and down on myself about it.  The first night that I put on my workout clothes to go to dance class I ended up in tears because of all the bulges that weren't there before, as well as the fact that the "baggy" shirt I tried to wear as camouflage turned out not to be baggy at all.  I was actually writing a whole big blog post about it in my head, but in the end I never put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) because I was afraid it would just come off as too whiny and ungrateful given the fact that all that really matters is that Q is finally here.  Now that a month has passed I've gradually started to see some of the remaining baby weight come off, and was pretty stoked to fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans earlier this week.  Granted, they were my stretchiest pair, but still.  Which made it all the more tragic when I discovered this only a day or two later:

Inner thigh hole!!  AGAIN!!

The universe giveth and the universe taketh away, I guess.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Everyone loves a good poop story, Vol. II

Everyone knows that one of the main reasons I wanted to become a parent was so that I'd have lots of poop stories to tell.*  Fortunately, little Q has been living up to expectations.  As I've slowly gotten to know our baby over the past 7 weeks, I've begun to figure out a thing or two about his patterns and his likes/dislikes.  One thing I've learned is that this kid has a digestive system like a grown-ass man with a case of Norwalk virus from an ill-fated Carnival ship poop cruise.

I learned pretty early on that no matter what you hear going on in Q's diaper, you gotta wait it out.  Like, at least 10 minutes from first gurgle to final shart.  Otherwise, you risk bathing in a fountain of breastfed baby poop, which is not unlike butternut squash soup in both colour and consistency.  I found out the hard way one morning.  I had just fed him and had heard a couple of juicy toots, so I decided to be a good parent and not let my son pickle in his own shit for too long.  As I pulled off his diaper, he let fly with a couple of good shots which (because I had him by the ankles with his ass in the air) arced like a poop-rainbow clear across the end of the dresser that acts as our change table.  I'm talking a good 3 feet.  It was impressive and disgusting at the same time.

The next time I heard those familiar sounds, I thought I had it figured out.  I waited.  I gave it five minutes at least, and thought I was in the clear.  Just to be sure, I held the old diaper up like a shield as I was wiping, and was glad I did as a new jet of poop flew into it.  I caught it, triumphantly, like a turdy baseball into a goopy catcher's mitt.  Smug in my awesomeness, I took the old diaper away so I could put on the new one...which was promptly shat upon again by my prolifically-pooping baby.  This time he managed to not only get the whole change table, but he actually got poop IN the diaper cream jar like some kind of gastrointestinal Michael Jordan.

I finally learned, like I said, that I had to wait about 10 minutes from start to finish in order to completely avoid any accidental projectile pooping.  Since it was mostly happening in the morning (just as M was usually heading to work, lucky me!) I neglected to tell my husband about this discovery.  So early one Saturday morning, after I had finished feeding the baby, M helpfully took Q in for a diaper change.  There had been some telltale rumblings, and I thought about telling M to wait it out a bit...but I was sleepy and also a bit of an asshole who figured he could learn the same way I had.  Q did not disappoint.  Within minutes M was shouting "Oh my God!  Oh holy shit!" as he was being bathed in a fountain of poop.  I smirked just a little.  Then I went in to help clean up.

*sarcasm, in case it's not obvious

Monday, 18 May 2015

Beagle versus Baby*

It has been 6 weeks since my humans brought home the hairless puppy.  I have a feeling it's here to stay.  In hindsight, I should have known something like this was coming.  It certainly explains all those new stuffies that my humans brought home over the past few months that I wasn't allowed to play with (despite my best efforts).  Although the hairless puppy hasn't played with them either, so I don't really see what the big deal would be if I took borrowed them for a while.

As far as puppies go, this one is pretty useless.  It must be the runt of the litter or something.  In addition to being hairless, it can't even bark.  Most of the time it doesn't make any noise at all, and when it does it mostly just mews like a kitten.  Once in a while I've heard it let out an attempt at a howl, but it's really quite pathetic.  I've tried several times to teach it what to do by demonstrating some proper howls and barks, but it seems disinterested.  It also can't walk, but has to be wheeled around in some sort of cart.  Perhaps it is defective.

Actually, that would explain a lot, particularly the amount of time my humans seem to devote to it.  Ever since its arrival, the hairless puppy has taken up the bulk of my humans' attention.  I myself have only given it a few sniffs, and prefer not to be too close to it due to the fact that it appears to have no control over its flailing limbs.  Yes, yes, the more I think about it, the more I am certain that it is defective.

Ah well.  I suppose I must be content with my humans' reassurances that the hairless puppy will eventually be mobile and have access to food which it will certainly drop.  I await this day with anticipation.  In the meantime, I shall content myself with finding new uses for the hairless puppy's many accoutrements.  This contraption is actually quite comfortable, if I do say so myself.

Nursing pillows...not just for nursing anymore!

* this post authored by Buddy the dog

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

3 weeks in

Holy shit.  I've had a baby for three weeks.  They let me take him home from the hospital and no one's realized they've made a terrible mistake and called or sent someone to take him back.  How is that even possible?  I know I'm almost 40 years old, but a lot of the time I barely feel like a grown up myself and now I'm in charge of a whole other person?  That's screwed up.

So, you ask, how's it been going?  Remarkably well, would be my reply.  Q is proving to be a ridiculously easy baby.  I'm not trying to brag; both M and I are genuinely befuddled at how we got so lucky.  For the first couple of weeks Q was basically just asleep most of the time, to the point that we were setting alarms to wake us up at night to make sure he fed every three hours.  Once he regained his birth weight, our pediatrician gave us the OK to drop that back to every four hours, although since then we've found that he generally wakes himself every 3 and a half hours or so.  All of this means that we've been getting long-ish stretches of uninterrupted sleep at night, which everyone told us we wouldn't.  I feel like I'm jinxing us by even telling you about it, but there it is!

Can't you see I'm sleeping?  NO PHOTOS!

We've also had the added bonus of having family around to help out with stuff around the house.  M's mom spent the first few days home from the hospital with us, and then my mom arrived for two weeks.  It's been awesome not having to worry about dusting or laundry or getting dinner, or conversely having someone look after Q while I sneak away to take care of some chores.  Not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous about how I'm going to handle things once we're finally left on our own after my mom leaves this week!

Breastfeeding has also been going pretty smoothly, apart from the to-be-expected initial nipple soreness.  So far I've managed to stick exclusively to breastfeeding, and my supply seems to be decent enough that Q is gaining weight like he should.  I've read more than enough blogs to know that I'm extremely lucky to be able to do this at all, so here's a huge shout out to my ta-tas for doing their thang.  I am however wondering when the magical fat-melting part of breastfeeding starts.  While I lost about 22 pounds pretty quickly after birth, it seems like I've plateaued now with 10 more to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Add to that the fact that my FUPA has now been replaced with a full-on c-section scar belly overhang, and there's a lot of work to do once I get the go-ahead to start working out again.

Of course things haven't been all rainbows and unicorn farts, and I don't want to pretend like it is.  Q does get fussy at times, and I get frustrated because I have no idea what he wants.  I also had a major crazy hormonal breakdown about a week postpartum where I essentially lost it at M because he is a hoarder packrat collector and I was sick of looking at piles of his stuff now that we also have baby clutter to deal with.  Then I bawled because I felt bad for getting mad at him, since he'd basically been my man-servant for days while I parked myself on the couch with a baby on my boob.  Yay for violent mood swings!

All in all, though, I'm mostly just amazed and overwhelmed by how lucky I feel right now.  And I say that despite being projectile-pooped on at 3am this morning.  Because...this face!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

My douchebag cervix: A birth story

Good thing I never bothered to write that birth plan.  Then again, if I had, it would have looked something like this:
  1. Push baby out of vagina.
  2. Failing #1, get baby out safely by whatever means necessary.
  3. Oh yeah, and try to make sure mom is OK too.
In the immortal words of Meatloaf, two out of three ain't bad.

The day before Easter I was 8 days overdue.  Since my OB didn't want me going more than 10 days over, and some inductions can take up to 48 hours from start to finish, at 8:30am on Saturday we headed to the hospital to get this show on the road.

Unfortunately, while I was basically 100% effaced I still hadn't started dilating at all, so I received an application of prostaglandin gel on my cervix in the hopes that we could get something going. I was monitored for an hour during which baby Q remained happy and I had two minor contractions, about half an hour apart.  The doctors seemed pleased that things were getting started, so M and I were sent home and told to come back in 6 hours for another dose of gel unless I went into true labour before then.

Of course, as soon as we left the hospital it felt like everything stopped.  Despite going for a long walk, I didn't have any more contractions and was pretty dejected as we headed back to the hospital at 5:00pm.  When I was hooked up to the monitors again, however, it appeared that I was in fact having fairly regular, very minor contractions that I was just barely starting to feel.  I was still only about 1cm dilated, but given the contractions I was having the OB felt that another application of gel would be risking over-stimulation of my uterus.  She put in a dose of Cervadil instead, which is basically like a medicated tampon that she explained they could pull out at any time if things got too intense.  They told us we wouldn't be going home again before baby arrived, so we settled in for the long haul and I was hooked up for another couple of hours of monitoring.

By about 10pm things had really kicked into gear, with the contractions becoming more frequent and painful.  At one point I was bouncing on a birthing ball as M was laughing at Saturday Night Live, and I distinctly remember feeling very resentful that he seemed to be having so much fun while I clearly was not.  My contractions were getting pretty painful and were coming every 2 minutes and lasting about a minute each, so it felt like things were going in the right direction, but I had no idea if I'd actually dilated any further.  I felt like if I had progressed at least a few centimetres, I could gut it out a bit longer before I got an epidural.  But if I still hadn't dilated at all, then I had a long way to go and I would definitely need an epi so that I could get some sleep.

Well, I've previously referred to my uterus as an asshole.  Turns out I should have been directing more venom towards my cervix, which was proving to be a complete and utter douchebag.  I was still at 1cm.  I believe my exact response was to shout "Oh for fuck's sake!!"

While doing the internal exam, the OB asked me if I'd ever had any procedures done on my cervix.  I replied that yes, I'd previously had a number of colposcopies and a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) to remove some precancerous cells a few years ago.  Since this type of procedure can cause some scar tissue which is tougher than regular cervical tissue, the OB recommended trying to sweep my membranes to see if that would help.  If you recall, this is the same procedure my regular OB had declined to do the previous Monday since I wasn't dilated enough and she thought it would be extremely painful for me.  Turns out, she hadn't lied.  The sweep sucked.  But it worked to a degree, and in the space of 5 minutes I had dilated to 3cm.  They took out the Cervadil, and I decided to hold off on an epidural a little longer in the hopes that I could remain mobile and dilate some more.

Bad idea.  The membrane sweep just made my contractions much more intense.  I tried to focus on breathing, but within half an hour I had vomited from the pain and had decided that an epidural was the way to go from here on out.  I have to admit that I was disappointed, not because I was trying to be any kind of hero and go completely unmedicated, but because I really thought my pain threshold was higher than 3cm dilation.  I had hoped to hold out longer, but agreed with the nurse when she said it was probably time to call for the anesthesiologist.

This is the part where things kind of started to go off the rails.  The anesthesiologist numbed my back, and inserted the epidural painlessly.  However, before he even had a chance to begin the medication I started to feel woozy.  I told the nurse I was feeling lightheaded.  The next thing I knew, both the nurse and M were snapping their fingers in front of my face and calling my name.  My blood pressure had apparently plummeted and I had passed out for a few moments.  As I came to, I puked again.  My bed was quickly reclined and I was given a dose of ephedrine through my IV to get my blood pressure back up.  I also got a squirt of oral nitroglycerin under my tongue and an oxygen mask over my face.  I somewhat nervously noticed that there were now something like 8 medical personnel in the room, whereas before there had been only two.

Once the epidural kicked in I started feeling a lot better, despite the fact that the monitors showed me as having had 6 contractions in less than 9 minutes.  The problem at this point now became Q, whose heart rate (which had been in the happy 150s all afternoon) had leapt up into the 180 to 200 range (probably in response to the meds they gave me for my low blood pressure, I later learned).  The OB told me that I was now almost 6cm dilated, and recommended breaking my water.  It came out stained with meconium, which they said was not surprising given that a) Q was overdue and b) he'd just gone through a period of minor distress.  But wait...all of a sudden I was only 3cm dilated again!  The OB said that the amniotic sac had probably been pressing against my cervix and that, once the pressure was released, my "LEEP cervix" (as it was now being called with some disdain by the doctors and nurses) had sprung back in like a rubber band.  Like I said, my cervix was being a total d-bag.

It was looking like it was going to be a long time before I dilated enough to make any attempt at pushing, and in the meantime Q's heart rate continued to stay elevated.  While it wasn't dangerously high, the OB advised that it was essentially like he was running a marathon in my womb; the longer his heart rate stayed high, the more stressed he would become.  The doctors decided they wanted to do a procedure that would take a small prick of blood from Q's scalp to see how much lactate was building up in his system.  If it was normal, I could continue to labour but if not, they would recommend "another way to meet the baby".  They studiously avoided using the word "c-section", but unless my hospital had figured out a way to transport babies from the womb a la Star Trek, we all knew what that meant.

Unfortunately, my douchebag cervix wasn't about to start being cooperative now.  After about 10 minutes of shoving a little tube up my vajayjay in a futile attempt to isolate my cervix, the OB waved the white flag and admitted defeat.  My cervix was still far too high and apparently tilted to the left to allow them to do the procedure.  Since Q's heart rate had been elevated for a long time and they had no way of accurately determining how stressed he was, they recommended a c-section.  At that point I had been staring at the fetal heart monitor for over an hour, silently but unsuccessfully willing Q's heart rate to slow down to normal, and I just needed to know that he was going to come out of me OK.  M and I agreed to proceed with the c-section.  

I'll admit that this is the part where I cried a little, partially because I had been hoping for the quicker recovery time of a vaginal birth but more so because I felt responsible for causing all of this stress on poor little Q's heart.  Everything had started to go downhill when I had requested the epidural.  If only I'd been tougher, if I'd been able to hold out against the pain, none of this would be happening...but it was, and I was soon on my way to the operating room.

There was no immediate urgency to my c-section, so everyone was pretty chill and calm while getting ready.  The c-section itself was weird because I could feel all the pulling and tugging they were doing (some of which felt pretty rough, since Q hadn't descended at all and it felt like they had to yank him out of my ribcage), but there was no actual pain and M helped by keeping me focused on him throughout.  At 4:30am they pulled Q out to a chorus of "oh, that's a big baby!" (8 pounds 11 ounces) and showed him to us briefly before whisking him away to the warming table to be checked.  I let out a few huge sobs when I heard him cry, and then urged M to go be with him while they stitched me up.

Since Q had been swimming in meconium, he had inhaled a little of it and needed some suction and oxygen to clear his lungs.  The hospital had a video camera over the warming table so that I could watch what was happening on a screen over the surgical table, which was awesome but also stressful since I could only see what they were doing but couldn't hear why or how he was responding.  M came back to give me updates, and told me that though Q was doing well they'd be taking him to the resuscitation room for a quick check before he could come with us.  On the way out the nurses brought Q to me for a quick look and cuddle, and then he and M were gone and it was just me, shivering uncontrollably on the surgical table while the doctors put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

When they were done, I was wheeled to the recovery ward where I tried to stay awake while waiting for my husband and baby.  They arrived around 7am, and I was finally able to hold Q skin to skin and put him to my breast, which he took like a champ.  Just about 24 hours after the whole thing started, at 8:30am on Easter Sunday my new little family was brought up from recovery and installed in our room in the post-natal ward.  To call it the most emotional, terrifying, amazing day of my life would be a hell of an understatement. 

Oh yeah, and those of you who told me that all my donor egg fears would disappear the second I held this little guy in my arms?  You were absolutely right.