Fully Cooked

Ding! Today is my due date. The turkey is officially done, but apparently this turkey wants to be little crispy or something.

The best part about being due today is people asking “when are you due?” and watching their reaction when I say “today.”

I was enjoying this yesterday as well, although obviously saying “tomorrow,” instead of “today.”  One woman shrieked, one man literally ran away from me (was he afraid of my placenta exploding on him or something?), another woman gasped and asked what I would do if my water broke (um, go home?). I had multiple people ask me what I was still doing at work.

And (so far) I’ve been able to respond politely to all of these comments and questions, including the “what are you still doing at work” question, even though it is highly irritating. It’s irritating in part because I would love to be home right now. I’m in a considerable amount of pelvic/pubic pain, which makes walking extremely awful, I’ve developed PUPPP, which is driving me absolutely batshit insane (I’m sitting here at my desk with my shirt pulled up, cool wet paper towels draped over my belly), I have a chronic bloody nose (damn winter), etc. etc. etc.

It’s also irritating because I would like to respond with something along the lines of “if I got more paid maternity leave I would absolutely be home right now.” The company I work for does offer some paid leave – 20 days – which I know is more than most people get in this country. And I’ve been able to save a month’s worth of vacation so all together I have about 3 fully paid months that I’ll be taking once the baby is born. And I’m grateful for that, truly I am. But I find the maternity leave policies (or lack thereof) in this country so offensive I can hardly talk about it. Three months is not enough. It just is not. To add insult to injury, if I were farther up the food chain in my company I would get 6 months of paid maternity leave, with the option to go on partial pay for additional time off.

(Another annoying thing that the higher-ups at my company keep doing is offering advice along the lines of “hire a night nurse – we did and it saved our lives”. SURE. Because night nurses are so inexpensive! And you pay me such an enormous salary! That’s totally affordable for me!)

Anyway, that’s about it. Most thrilling blog post ever. Here’s the tl;dr version: I’m due today. People are dumb. Maternity leave in this country is pathetic.

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Year in Review – 2013

Oh, Christmas. Always such a delightful pull and tug of thank-you-JESUS-I’m-on-vacation and holy-mother-of-god-I’m-going-to-kill-my-family. Some highlights for me this year include Tammy’s mother disowning her children (really); my sister and I spending the entire week squabbling over seriously stupid shit; and me, at almost 9 months pregnant making Christmas dinner from scratch for 6 adults (and thinking the whole time, this is bullshit, this is bullshit). The best part about Christmas this year was that it wasn’t last year. Reading that post makes me sad. I was so depressed and so angry and so deep in my own shit I could barely breath.

Since the post from 2012 was so damn depressing for me to read, let’s dive into the 2013 Year in Review, shall we?

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? The sustained pregnancy, obviously. Is that boring and obvious? Sorry. That’s basically my year. You can stop reading now! Phew!
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I actually didn’t do TOO badly on my first one from last year.  I did really well making homemade meals, at least until the first trimester barfs set in. I fell off that wagon hardcore and never made it back on. Oh well. I most certainly did NOT get back into yoga. I also did not take time to do things for myself. Resolution for this year: let go. You do not have to be in control all the damn time. Does it really matter if your mother puts the dishes away differently than you would? No, no it does not. Does it really matter if Tammy doesn’t pass that car when you would have? No, no it does not. Repeat ad infinitum.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. I had a few close friends have babies this year. Plus my sister in law had a baby in November.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. Quick, knock on wood and light some candles!! (Not that I’m superstitious at all.)
5. What places did you visit? [pause] Damn, did we not do anything this year? We went to the beach this summer with my family like we always do. We went to visit Tammy’s family a few times. But no, we really didn’t do anything this year. Wow.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? A happy, healthy baby. A job that doesn’t require me to be available 24/7, and ideally I could work from home sometimes and (even better) be part time.
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? All of the IVF stuff and then the pregnancy stuff. I still can’t fucking believe it worked.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? See above.
9. What was your biggest failure? Trying to control everything.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I’m sick right now with a cold. Nothing super seriously in terms of illness this year, thank goodness!
11. What was the best thing you bought? IVF. Hands down, best money ever spent.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Tammy’s always. That girl is good.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? How much time do you have? I don’t know that my own behavior was “appalling” or anything, although I certainly wish I had done any number of things differently. Tammy’s mother’s behavior appalled me, and it certainly depressed me. I would say certain politicians appalled me, but eh, it’s kind of their job to be obnoxious, right?
14. Where did most of your money go? IVF. Even though it was the best money ever spent, it was damn expensive. Why must it be so expensive??
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Being pregnant. Duh. Right now I’m really, really, really excited about the fact that soon I will no longer be pregnant, and I will have a baby in my arms.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013? Hmm. I don’t really have a song in mind. Maybe this one?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier.
b) thinner or fatter? fatter. Couch-to-5k, I’m coming for you in 2014.
c) richer or poorer? Financially poorer, richer in everything else.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I’d done more to make Tammy happy. I wish I’d done more for my health and fitness. I wish I’d carpe’d more diem.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I’d been less selfish and controlling. I wish I had worried less. I wish I’d spent less time stressing about work.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2013? We always split the holidays between my family and Tammy’s – we go to her sister’s house for Thanksgiving and spend time with my family for Christmas. In the past we’ve gone to my parent’s house, but this year we made people come to us. Despite having to make Christmas dinner for everyone (which turned out to be pretty damn good, thankyouverymuch, it was a pretty good time.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Fell in love with the baby. Continued to fall for Tammy.
22. What was your favorite TV program? We’re making our way through past seasons of Sons of Anarchy right now. I also started watching Scandal, which is so bad that it’s good.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2013? Not too much. I was gearing up for egg retrieval and was too sore and anxious to want to do anything. I think we went out to dinner.
24. What was the best book you read? My mom got me into a mystery series about a Chief Inspector in Quebec. I realize reading mystery novels makes me about 90 years old, but whatever. I wouldn’t say these were the best books I read though – that prize goes to The Goldfinch. I’ve been waiting for Donna Tartt to come out with a new book for effing ever and she did not disappoint. An absolutely haunting and magnificent novel.
25. What did you want and get? Pregnant.
26. What did you want and not get? The house to get much closer to done. The number one rule of home owning – everything takes longer than you think it will.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? No idea. We kind of stopped going to movies because after paying for the IVF things were a leeeetle tight around our household.
28. Did you make some new friends this year? Nope. How are you supposed to make friends as an introverted adult? How??
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? See above about what I wish I’d done more of and less of. This question is kind of dumb.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Revolving around the 3 or 4 maternity outfits I own. I dare anyone to say anything to me. Go ahead. I dare you.
31. What kept you sane? Tammy. Always.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Eh? No one?
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Gay marriage is pretty high on the list again. Raising the minimum wage would be awesome. Providing paid maternity leave would be awesome.
34. Who did you miss? I miss my grandparents. They’ve gone over the deep end into dementia. I miss who I was before I started trying to have a baby. There’s an innocence and a happiness there I’ll never get back.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. I haven’t “learned” this; I don’t think I ever will. I’ll have to continue to learn it, over and over for the rest of my life.

Like a Sleeping Baby

Thank you, lovees, for your helpful suggestions yesterday. Last night I had a snack before bed (whole wheat toast with peanut butter), took a unisom, put in ear plugs, and went to sleep, blissful sleep. I only woke up three times to pee. While I wouldn’t say I feel like a new woman, I DO feel like I can function and that I remember my own name. Which is a marked improvement. I’ll take waking up 3 times versus waking up 10 times for all and sundry reasons any day of the week.

I do feel a little silly for freaking out yesterday on my blog. A gigantic THANK YOU and a hearty smooch to everyone for not pointing out that a) it was only two nights, so, you know, buck up and b) I’m going to have a baby (knock on every type of wood available) in threeish months, and perhaps I should get used to sleep deprivation?

Because here’s the thing: both of those thoughts had occurred to me, even in my befuddled state. YES, it was only two nights. Apparently (she said, sheepishly) I had a bit of a panic attack that this was my new reality and how would I function and OMG what if my heart just exploded like one of those Japanese executives that work 20 hour days and end up keeled over in front of my cubicle or oh God what if I’m at home and Tammy’s out of town and the cat runs out of food and eats me and they discover my partially eaten body days later? …like I said, I don’t do so well without sleep.

Which brings me to the next point, which is that we’re going to have a baby soon, and babies, despite being delicious, are not widely known for their sustained sleeping. I am aware of this fact, and have gone into this pregnancy with my eyes open about the difficulties we will face once the baby is here (and there are plenty, believe me). I know that sleeping will be a challenge, I know that. But first of all, I won’t be having to get up for work like I am now (for at least three months, hopefully four if we can swing it financially). And right now (subject to change), we are anticipating that I will sleep in the guest room with the baby in a bassinet once Tammy goes back to work (after two or three weeks) so that she can be in charge of basically everything except feeding and wiping baby bum until I can get my metaphorical feet on the metaphorical ground. We’re basically anticipating that I will be completely useless around the house (cooking, cleaning, laundry, conversating, etc) for a while. Thus my freezer meals. And my parents helping out around the house.

And, hey. We could end up with a good sleeper. I was, apparently. My mom said by like two weeks I was going down around 7, sleeping until midnight, waking up then to be fed, and then sleeping again until 5 or so. After the early morning feeding I would fall back asleep and go until 8 or 9. Why, that’s downright civilized for a two-week old! As much as my parents like to cackle about me getting a child just like I was (read: a handful), in this instance I hope they are right.

Ramblings

Tammy did not get that job that would have required us to move, after three rounds of interviews. On one hand, I’m incredibly relieved that moving is no longer on the table (for now), especially because my parents are closing on a house in our neighborhood on Friday. On the other hand, I had worked myself around to a place where I could view moving as an adventure and an opportunity for us, and a chance for me to stay at home with the baby in January.

Tammy’s getting more and more excited about having a baby. As she puts it “my excitement is directly proportional to the size of your belly”. Even I can’t deny that I have a distinct bump that can only mean one thing. Random people have been more comfortable coming right out and asking me if I am pregnant, which is oddly discomforting. Saying yes feels almost…embarrassing, like I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Or like a teenager caught smoking or something.The flip side to this embarrassment is that I’ve become much more comfortable talking about the work it took for us to get pregnant. I drop IVF and frozen embryos into discussions of pregnancy and siblings like it’s no big deal at all. Look at me, normalizing IF and shit.

Speaking of normalizing, I’ve been working on acting like a normal pregnant lady who’s relatively assured of a baby at the end of this process. Tammy’s been painting the baby room, and we’re planning what furniture to buy. I’ve been researching day care options (OMFG expensive). I’m planning meals to make and freeze for the early days after the baby’s born and I even made my first one: tomato soup from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made the recipe a few times before, but this was my first time making it with fresh tomatoes from my mom’s garden. I did the whole blanch and shock thing to get the skins off easily, which worked like a charm. The fresh tomatoes (as opposed to canned) made the soup taste much more…tomato-y, if you know what I mean. Not a bad thing, just an observation.

I’m planning to make a few more soups (potato, broccoli cheese) and casserole type things (lasagna (don’t have a link to the vegan recipe I use), chicken pot pie (again, don’t have a link but it’s from here, which I highly, highly recommend). Any other suggestions, especially healthy suggestions (note my decidedly unhealthy options above) for freezer meals? Keep in mind that I’m vegetarian and Tammy’s vegan, but I’m pretty good at veganizing recipes (i.e. subbing veggies stock for chicken stock, faux meet for real meet, almond/soy/rice/etc milk for cow’s milk, etc).

I have a few posts rattling around in my brain but the biggest one is about religion and faith*. So, obviously a very light post that is a breeze to write. Another one is my struggle to be sensitive to people trying so hard to get pregnant while celebrating my own pregnancy. So, also quite fun and light. Slightly less heavy is the post on the second parent adoption proceedings that Tammy will go through after the baby is born.

Happy Fall, everybody.

*Working title: “On Why I Burst Into Tears When Discussing God and Death, or Spiritual Malaise”

Family Business

My parents are visiting this week. They’re staying through Thursday (or maybe longer, depending on the snow storm that’s coming tomorrow night).

I’m very close with my parents, and they have known about our attempts to conceive (and give them their first grandchild!) from the beginning. When I was a kid, I talked with my parents a lot about wanting to having kids when I grew up. Now, especially with my dad being a biologist, I value their input and advice in something that has turned out to be a lot more complicated than I had originally planned on.

We had a good discussion yesterday about IUI and IVF, and my (lack of) fertility. Keep in mind that my parents had their own weirdness with fertility. They tried for a few years to have my older sister, but they were only trying for a few months each year. You see, my mom is a college professor and wanted to have the summers off to bond/take care of a baby. She was having kids before FMLA* or any kind of guaranteed time off, and the dean at her college had only promised her a weekend. A WEEKEND. Can you even. So she figured she would time her pregnancies to coincide with the end of the spring semester. But with my sister they didn’t have any luck for a few years. Now with me, I was conceived on the first try, apparently.

Anyway, my parents are convinced that I wasn’t receiving proper care at our old clinic. They think the doctor was too young and inexperienced (true) and that I shouldn’t have been on Clomid in the first place as my lining started out on the thinner side (true) and they think I should “re-set” my counter and ignore those 8 tries at the old clinic (no can do).

I understand why they want me to do that: they think I need to stop thinking of myself as broken or having some problem that needs to be fixed. And my Dad thinks I shouldn’t be so quick to jump to IVF. While I understand and appreciate their suggestion, I’ve done this 10 times now, and yes, all 10 times count. At some point I have to re-evaluate my options and decide where our remaining money is best spent. I know I have some readers in the UK, and I have no idea how the cost of IVF/IUI with the NHS works, but here in the US unless you have insurance coverage (which almost no one does for infertility treatment) it’s all out-of-pocket. The cost breaks down this way (it varies a little bit by clinic and location):

Natural cycle IUI: $400 for doctor fees, $700 for 1 vial of sperm
Clomid cycle IUI: $1,500 for doctor fees, about $150 worth of medication (clomid + trigger shot) $700 for 1 vial of sperm
Injectable IUI cycle: $1,800 for doctor fees, about $750 worth of medication (injectable stims + trigger shot) $700 for 1 vial of sperm
Fresh VF cycle: $9,500 for doctor fees, about $3,000 worth of medication, $400 for 1 vial of IVF sperm (less expensive, woo!)
FET transfer: $3,000 for doctor fees.

As you can see it’s farking expensive and adds up quickly. So we need to choose wisely. And I think it’s time to move on to IVF.

Finally, my last comment in this meandering post, the Hope Monster has reared her ugly head. Remember how I was pretending this whole thing wasn’t happening? That all went out the window when my dad casually dropped into conversation that he think’s I’m pregnant. And then Tammy chimed in to say she ALSO thinks I’m pregnant. WHAT?! Guys, I had JUST gotten to a good place where I had moved on from this cycle and was pretty much only thinking about IVF. Now I’m right back in the trenches, praying to the pee stick gods at dark o’clock every morning, holding my breath and waiting for a miracle.

*Can I just interject that our FMLA is complete and utter bullshit. 6 weeks unpaid? Are you fucking kidding me? Every single other developed and/or wealthy country in the WORLD does better than that. It’s pathetic.