Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Dark Side of Nesting

Up till about 36 weeks, I would say I was doing really well. Since I've only gained about 23 pounds, I haven't been lugging around too much weight, and for my whole pregnancy, I've had minimal symptoms. Most of the time this has been great, although I have mentioned on this blog that it's been a little hard to hear from other people how I don't look very pregnant. At many times, this has really hurt. It's like I wasn't good at getting pregnant, and when people tell me how small I am, sometimes it feels like they are saying that I'm not good at being pregnant either. I know this doesn't sound totally rational, but it's the way people say it.. it's like everyone wants this nice big round pregnant lady, and I'm just not that. So I always get this sense of disappointment from people.

Anyway, overall I think I was doing well. When people would ask how I was feeling, I'd always say, "Great!" And I was. Though my energy level has flagged a bit in the third trimester, overall I had been sleeping well, feeling pretty rested, and not bothered by many physical symptoms at all. As long as I didn't lie down after eating, I avoided heartburn and indigestion, and my teeth were sensitive in December but have improved about 90% since then.

And then... it hit. Almost exactly at 36.5 weeks, this past weekend, everything changed. On Friday I was EXHAUSTED after work. Like, almost crying by the end of the workday. I didn't even do much at work- I basically have a desk job. But I felt dizzy and sick by 5 pm. I spent the evening trying not to move off the couch. And on Saturday, we went to a breastfeeding class, then lunch, then some shopping, and came home. B went out with friends around 3:30. I knew he'd be with them all night. Normally, I'd have made plans with a friend. But I didn't want to do anything but sit on the couch. I am just so tired, all the time. But then I started freaking out, thinking about all the things I still have to do at work... several major projects are unfinished, and I won't bore you with details, but there's lots of stuff I really don't want to leave unfinished. Also, I went to do some laundry and realized that I have a ton of baby clothes, but they're all give-aways from one friend, one neighbor of my mom's, and my sister-in-law... and they all must have had summer babies because ALL of the clothes are short-sleeved, legless onesies. And it's COLD here, and probably will stay that way for most of March! So then I started to freak out about being the horrible mom who takes her baby home from the hospital, in a snowstorm, in a summer outfit. And THEN I started to freak out about everything else: how I am going to eat or cook with a newborn, how I haven't sorted through the cradle full of books, how we don't have a car seat yet, etc. etc. etc. It was not rational. It was crazy worrying. I couldn't even read my book because my head was literally buzzing and my heart was racing. And I was exhausted and tried to go to bed at 11:30 pm, but I didn't get to sleep till 1 am because I could not calm down.

Sunday was the same- though I did go out and buy some stuff, and we have a car seat arriving tomorrow in the mail, I also meant to get the oil changed in the car, groceries purchased, etc., I just had to come home and sleep for two hours. And then again I could not get to sleep till 1 am, and I tossed and turned all night, at one point waking up drenched in sweat, and even the bed was soaked in my sweat. It was awful. I showed up at work yesterday an absolute mess, and was too tired to do any work at all, and had a couple of crying fits with my door closed.

This is what I am now referring to as "the dark side of nesting." I have read about nesting- this website defines it as "a pre-labor ritual that helps get your home ready for the baby, and helps you to pass the time"- and in birthing class, they warned us that it can be irrational and excessive and is not always healthy, but I did not expect it to be something that would hit me, or hit me this early, at 36.5 weeks. But it has- along with major anxiety about everything, and an almost chain loop in my head that he could arrive in as little as one week from now (I'm 37 weeks tomorrow, and 38 weeks onward is fair game).  I could still have 5 weeks, or I could only have 1!

Anyway, it's amazing what one good night of sleep will do. Last night, instead of peeing five times like Sunday night, I managed to only pee twice in the middle of the night. I slept a solid eight hours too. And today, I feel much calmer and normal. I still have anxiety and to-do lists, but it feels.... manageable. I don't feel like a crazy person. I haven't sweated through my clothes several times, the way I did yesterday. I don't feel a slave to my hormones the way I have for the last few days.

I know that today could just be a temporary respite. I have to keep plugging away at my to-dos, and I need to let B help me with the things he can. And I have to remind myself this is NORMAL, and some of it is irrational, and I need to slow down and remember that essentially, I am prepared. When he wants to come, he will come, and it will be okay.

Throughout it all, the fears and the anxiety, sometimes the sun peeks through and I remember: I will hopefully be holding a baby in just a matter of weeks. And then the incessant peeing and the washing of clothes and worrying about work undone in the office will just have to fade away. In March, my focus will be on the baby. It won't be easier, but I hope it will be more joyful. Because quite frankly, the dark side of nesting is pretty sucky. And I know it's not over yet. Hello, hormones. Welcome to taking over my life.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

35.5 weeks

I haven't updated this blog in close to two months. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, I just haven't known how to frame it. It's especially hard when two of the women whose blogs I used to read on a regular basis had negatives/miscarriages from their last cycles. I feel immensely grateful and lucky to be experiencing pregnancy. It's funny- there's this whole pyramid of how bad it can be. There are the women who come crying to RESOLVE groups about how they can't stand the thought of doing an IUI. Then they get pregnant the first time, and I'm like, oh cry me a river. Sorry you didn't get pregnant from a romantic evening of wine and dining, but you GOT PREGNANT. With relatively little expensive and invasive procedures. And then the next step up- IVF. While IVF sucks, and is expensive (I should know about both of those- I did it three times), I can only imagine how amazing it would have been if that had worked for me. Not to even mention those for whom it works the first time, and they have frozen embryos for the future.  I know it's not easy for either of these groups of women, but it's definitely a bridge I crossed a long time ago.

The final frontier in assisted reproductive technologies often feels like donor egg, though when I really think about it, it can go much beyond- for example, using a surrogate. Or moving to adoption, by choice or by necessity. So while I still strongly believe that anyone who wants a child badly enough will find a way, provided they have a supportive partner and the financial means (neither of which is small potatoes), there are so many different roadblocks and challenges to overcome for some women and couples. I count myself as extremely unlucky to have needed donor egg at the ripe old age of 32 (I'm 33 now, but was 32 on the day of transfer- and had been trying to conceive since I was 30 years old), especially when I never actually received a conclusive answer for why three IVFs failed so horribly.  But when you're in the infertility world for awhile, you realize how unluckiness takes all shapes and forms and degrees. And then I look down at my belly and thank the universe and my donor that I am able to sustain this pregnancy, no matter how much it took to get here and the tears and draining of money and greying of hair that have resulted.

This journey is not over yet. I am 35.5 weeks pregnant but no baby is here yet. I find it very difficult to connect my stomach to the idea that one of these days, hopefully 4.5 weeks from now, a baby is going to be laid in my arms. He won't be my genetic material, but he was grown and nurtured by my uterus and my healthy food choices and my love and my sheer determination to bring him to this world. I think it will be utterly surreal. I have watched my friends from RESOLVE go through the transition to being mothers, and I can't quite translate my growing stomach to this eventual event. But I know it's coming. I feel my stomach roll and see it ripple and I remind myself it's not gas- it's a human being in there.

Still, life right now is totally surreal. My hormones have mellowed a lot from when I used to cry all the time (see my previous entry on my very emotional birthing class), but I still occasionally tear up when I walk by the room we've decorated for him, or when I think of being able to introduce him to my mom and dad, or when I look through the photos of this whole journey that I am collecting in a special folder on this laptop. My physical discomforts are very minor compared to many women, and I hope birth will be the same way, but ultimately, I just feel so grateful to be experiencing this. Oh, I get tired and cranky, and I worry about daycare and money and the actual process of giving birth, but mostly, I just still am in disbelief that I am going to be a real mom someday soon. I cannot wait to sit on the couch and do nothing but hold him, and thank my lucky stars that something finally worked.

I don't know if I will continue to update this blog. I guess I will put something on here when he has safely arrived, but mostly, I just go to work, come home and sack out on the couch, and count down the days to meeting him. My infertility journey is not over- I still have fertility jealousy when women seem to come by new babies so easily, and I get uncomfortable when people want to talk too much about my pregnancy, and I know that I'll have to endure clinics and ultrasounds and shots if we decide to do this again, even for a frozen embryo transfer. But mostly, I just hope and pray that anyone else struggling gets through this too, and that it was all worth it.

Signing off for awhile, then. Good night.

His room, in progress