Back on the IVF train

A second kid has been a weird topic at home. Hubby and I had always wanted 2 kids but after all that went on last time, I at least wasn’t as confident. It took a couple of years before I could even contemplate pregnancy and recovery without a gut “nononono”.

With varying degrees of success, I have been trying to use the last year to get healthier. I put on a lot of weight post-pregnancy — I’m basically back to my max-pregnancy weight. Sigh. I finally saw my endocrinologist to try and get my glucose down (my overall sugar levels are fine but it spikes post-meal). So now I’m on a continuous glucose monitor (yay for tons of data; boo for having lots of errors). I also started metformin. And maybe there’s a glimmer of hope that between the two of them, my weights slowly coming down? Maybe. I also had a ton of neck issues (courtesy of a year+ of remote work) so started physical therapy for that. It ended up being a really good idea — effectively a lot of the exercises were strength training and I actually have some muscle now.

Mostly I feel like I would want to have 2 kids (when they’re older) but 2 little ones now feels like a lot. But I’m also not getting any younger — I turned 35 this year and am well aware that everything becomes harder with age. Covid also changed plans — we were originally thinking of kid #2 last year but then decided to put it off till things stabilized more.

It’s a very different mindset that I’m finding myself in. Before A* I would have done/gone through pretty much anything to be a mom. Now.. well I am a mom. And while I might want another child, its nowhere near that level of desperation (if that’s the right word). We finally did have a talk with my RE and basically said that we wanted to try again but aren’t going to pull out all the stops. We’ll try a few rounds and if that doesn’t work, that’s that. We have an embryo in the freezer and will try a FET. And then.. maybe 1 retrieval cycle? I really don’t see myself having energy for more than that.

And so with a lot of caution, we’re back on the IVF train. Testing started last week; I had my saline ultrasound today. I had completely forgotten what’s involved! It’s been 4(!) years I suppose so that’s not entirely surprising. But there’s just so much and I had forgotten. Calling them the moment your period starts. Hubby testing. I need letters of clearance from my endo and an MFM. A bunch of additional tests from other doctors (pap smears, breast exams, etc). It’s a lot.

The nurses were all “what took you so long to come back?” Honestly.. sleep deprivation. And a ton of fear. Fear of all the complications of pregnancy. Massive tearing. A hard recovery. Mostly I’m crossing my fingers that this time will be easier.

The other part of (potential) kid #2 that’s surprisingly hard is the lack of support. Like take my mom — I know its coming from a place of love and caring but she’s mostly been saying “it’s ok to have only 1 kid”. I know that she just wants me not to worry or push my body for something I’m unsure about but that also makes it harder to push for it myself. Or a friend who when I was complaining about the mental load of the sheer number of appointments/pieces involved in IVF was like “You don’t have to do this. It’s always a choice.”

And yes, it is a choice. I am choosing to put myself and my family through this again. But also, for us, we need a ton more help and involvement than the average couple and that never fails to sting.

And now we’re 3!

I’m back! For the last two years I kept composing blog posts in my head but never got to writing it. I miss this community!

A* is no longer a baby and now a thriving 3 year old. He’s been at home since last year — we were lucky to be able to take advantage of family help for childcare. He’s starting daycare in another month which is very much needed but also terrifying to me as a mom. It’s been so long since he was anywhere but with family that it’s going to be a transition.

The last year … well, it was as good as could have been all things considered. My immediate family was safe and together (if increasingly crowded in our house). A lot of extended family got sick when cases spiked in India but they’ve all recovered. Our jobs all allowed us to work remote and so financially we were ok. We mostly just stayed at home pretty much all the time. Even now, we’re continuing to be careful — we wear masks indoors and don’t do a lot indoors to be honest.

What else… we potty trained over memorial day weekend using the quick 3 day method. It worked surprisingly well. Day 1 was miserable – by 10am we were ready to give up and exhausted. Day 2 was fine. By day 3 we were done! We’ve had occasional accidents but not a whole lot.

Baby has been in speech therapy for the last year — he’s speaking so much more and I think almost ready to graduate. I feel less ready for that I think. In the last year, without any other teacher, it’s been really nice to have someone who actually knows something about early childhood development.

Current favorites — rainbows (hence the cake), building blocks, baby shark, alphabets and ‘mumers’ (numbers).

As for me — lets see. I cycled through 2 jobs in the last couple of years. I can’t tell if I’m being overly picky or not — I’m on the verge of looking again. I’m in a field that’s currently in demand so feels like I might as well take advantage of that. For the most part things are ok with some variability in health. Relieved that all my family (other than the kiddies) are vaccinated!

Checking in

How is everyone? I still can’t believe the surreal times we live in. We’re in a shelter-in-place state and we’ve been home for more than a month now. At least our governor seems to have their shit together and be doing the write things.

Also can I give a shout out to Risa for her article in Vox!

We’re lucky in a lot of ways — it’s been a bit of an adjustment to working from home but not too bad overall. My parents live with us so between everyone, we have enough coverage for childcare. We only had one desk in the house (obviously we never planned for an event like this) so one of our big purchases was another desk for me to work at.

Baby misses daycare and I think, misses other kids (he gets so excited when someone walks past the window). But he’s been largely ok. He runs around and generally seems to have enough to entertain himself (or at least let himself be entertained by us).

Hubby and I still have jobs. Hubby’s in academia so his is more stable. I’m nervous about mine but so far, no layoffs. Still, we had pay freezes, hiring freezes, promotion freezes, the works. It’s definitely a small thing in the face of what so many others are going through but I was rather pissed at the promotion freeze. I was up for promotion in April (it was part of my sign-on offer) and I’m already in a lower title than others with my background.

Things that have stayed the same / are working:

  • Honestly, I’m a homebody and I find working from home less stressful. There isn’t a morning rush and it’s a calmer day-to-day.
  • I also don’t mind less pressure to go out and do things. We usually would try to do something each weekend and feel bad when we couldn’t. No pressure now.
  • We’re all working as usual. It’s a re-orientation of how but the actual work is still the same.
  • I work in more data oriented work but I have been excited to be able to bring in bits and pieces of Covid work to my actual work. It’s small but at least it feels like I can contribute in some small way to everything that’s going on.

Things that have changed:

  • People at home. So it’s Hubby and myself. Little A*. My parents. And my mom freaked out a few weeks ago that my brother was alone (note that he’s a 31 yr old grown man) and kept panicking so he came over too. That’s 5 adults and 1 toddler in a 3br. With 3 of the adults working full time at home. There’s space but barely.
  • Groceries. Oh god, our routine is insane now. We try and do delivery as much as possibly (and yes, I feel bad for using others’ labor at a time like this but I do tip heavily and I don’t want to risk exposure to the many people living at home). Also, just sourcing groceries is so much effort.For this many people, we go through a lot of food — basically 3 gallons of milk a week and 1 tub of yogurt a day. So yes, we’re the crazy people who buy a ton but we need it for just regular functioning.
  • Disinfecting everything. If Hubby goes in person, he wears gloves, comes home and showers. When anything is delivered, we spray the bags with Lysol and then wash everything with soap. Milk cartons, yogurt cartons, bags of frozen veggies, everything. Things that aren’t perishable are quarantined for a few days in the foyer.
  • Washing hands like crazy. We are definitely careful. We wash hands after going out for a walk. After touching the outside doors. After getting mail. Basically anything.
  • I miss meeting friends. We video chat a lot more but I do miss the actual interaction.
  • We don’t eat out at all. Honestly that’s probably a good thing. We ordered in once in the last month.
  • We were going to meet the RE this spring to start thinking about baby #2. That is indefinitely pushed off now. Let’s see how the next few months go.

We haven’t done face masks. Largely because we haven’t left the house since that became the norm. But for the most part, I’ve made peace with this new norm. I do wish I was one of those people who picked up a new hobby or baked bread each day but.. that’s not me. My weekdays are up, spend time with baby till 11. Then my workday starts. Work till 6. Dinner/bedtime. Work again after baby goes to sleep. Weekends are mostly just play with baby, groceries and cooking.

Take care everyone! Stay safe!

A* at 18 months

I’m a little late – he’ll actually turn 19 months this week 🙂

Mostly I can’t believe that I’m a mother to a toddler. He’s growing like a weed! He’s walks and runs now all over the place. He tried to climb everything. He loved blocks and those magnetic building tiles. He also loves his quiet time with books.

He went through a long period of daddy being his favorite but over the last week, I am. If I’m not around, he’s ok but if I’m in the vicinity, I need to be playing with him or else. He’s definitely hit tantrum age which is.. interesting. We haven’t quite figured out how to handle it — it’s usually at things like the blocks fell down or something which isn’t really in our control.

The one milestone I worry about is speech. He says a few words and understands a ton but for an 18mo he’s behind in talking. So far, we’re keeping an eye on it but we might get a speech therapist depending on how the next month or so goes.

This winter has been intense. After starting daycare in the fall, it’s been one bug after another. Baby’s been through 3 ear infections, strep, pink eye, croup, stomach flu, and a handful of generic bugs. I’ve been through 2 rounds of strep, pink eye, bronchitis which triggered an asthma attack while I had the stomach flu. I can’t wait for winter to be over, just so we’re all a bit healthier.

Other than the bugs, things have been chugging along. Mostly I’m .. content. It feels almost strange after so many years of struggling to his another phase in life. But I’m content with my job (at least for now). I’m so content and at peace with my family. I’m tired and drained (even with my parents around to help!) but all the stress is physical and not in my heart.

I feel like a lot of other parents at this stage start trying for kid #2 but we’re not there yet. I’m still not physically up for either the IVF or pregnancy again. We’ve gotten as far as we’re ready to start thinking of another child but that’s it. Maybe after hubby’s tenure (which is only a year away at this point).

The one thing that I do stress about these days is money. As much as we earn decent incomes, we also have a lot of expenses. We live in a not-super cheap city, optimized for commutes rather than rent. And my parents live with us so it’s essentially a 4 adult + 1 kid household. Daycare is ridiculous — we’re in one of the cheaper ones in the neighborhood and it’s still $2k/month! We’re going to have to start thinking about school districts and moving to a good one by the time A* hits kindergarten.

Still, these are every day stresses and never fun but we’ll figure it out and find what works for us.

Quick updates

I’ve been so bad about blogging these days, mostly because my mornings are crazy. I used to have a breakfast and blogging routine but these days, mornings are get ready, get baby ready, and everyone go!

Baby A* is growing up so fast! He’s adorable and lovable and becoming his own little person. He started walking a few weeks ago and now has graduated to running (typically when he got a hold of someone’s phone and doesn’t want to give it back). He’s also such a joker — he likes making ‘jokes’ doing things like giving me his pacifier and laughing or holding something the wrong way with his eyes twinkling. He loves building things with these magnetic building blocks. And ‘reading’ though he never lets us finish a book with him. And wheels on the bus. Oh god, I’ve been dreaming of baby shark do-do-do.

He started daycare a month ago which is… ugh, idk, not amazing. He’s not been eating/sleeping well there and in 5 weeks, he’s gotten sick 3 times already. It happens but it’s still hard to deal with.

I’ve been struggling a bit at work to balance my identity as a mom with that as a damn good researcher. Lots of feelings about this one especially since I’ve had to take so much time off to handle all the sick times.


 

I was recently reminded of this community as I was talking to a friend starting her own IF journey. So much thanks and love and hugs to all of you for your support and kindness and thoughts over the years.

Now that baby’s a toddler, I’ve been wondering about another child. I don’t know if we’re done family building yet. At least for now, with baby being 16 months, neither Hubby nor I feel ready to start thinking about a second child. Maybe next year but for now, we’re just trying to survive with all the craziness in our lives. The funny thing is just how much at peace I am with life. Sure there are ups and downs but I’m largely content with life. It’s almost surreal reading posts from a couple of years ago and remembering where I was emotionally. Was it only 2 years ago? It feels both like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

1 year old!

Baby A* turned 1 a few weeks ago!

It’s pretty amazing to think that a year ago, he was this crinkled scrawny baby and now he’s crawling around and getting into all sorts of mischief. Favorite things to do include removing all the ziplocs or tissues from the box and (very rarely) putting them back. Or putting stuff from one shelf into another. Or ‘reading’ books i.e. turning pages with the books typically upside down. Or playing with anyone’s phone/laptop/remotes. We’re trying to be better about using such things around him but well, we’re human. He still chews on everything but less than before. It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

We’re now weaning him off formula which is .. rather terrifying actually. There was some comfort in knowing that whether he ate or not, he’d get nutrition. But he’s actually pretty good about food. His current favorite is blueberries but he loves anything with a strong flavor. Like marinated feta. Or anything spicy. Oddly after all my initial ambivalence about breastfeeding, I find myself reluctant to let go of our nighttime nursing ritual.

We’re now hunting for daycares and trying not to panic at the wait times. Or the cost.

Things have been so busy with apartment hunting, moving and new job that I’ve flaked on just about everything else. And.. running late for work now so more later.

 

Life Updates

I’ve been MIA from.. everything for a while. Blog. Friends. Mostly I’ve been in heads down, crunch mode. Tons of studying and trying to remember stuff that I haven’t used since undergrad.

But it paid off — I signed an offer for a new job last week! It’s going to be a change from academia but in some ways I’m looking forward to it (hellooooo not working on weekends!). In other ways, I actually feel really guilty for leaving. Research is actually going well, I have tons of ideas, and I have great mentors. But also.. there’s only so long that I can attempt this track. For the most part, it’s a huge weight off me to now move onto other things — apartment hunting. day care hunting. summer plans.


Baby A* is growing like a weed. We got told that he was rather.. heftier than he needs to be (I’m not sure how I feel about the whole measuring BMI at his age). But it did give us the push to night wean him (which we had been wanting to do for ages but apparently my husband only actually gets on board after the doctor telling us to). So now he sleeps straight through the night. Umm, sorta. We give water when he wakes up sometimes. And he’s up bright and early trying to crawl all over us. Overall, I am not a fan of cosleeping.

He’s also (finally) started crawling by doing this weird army-crawl thing. But he’s been walking (with our help) for ages so I’m not sure that it matters. He’s also starting to pull himself up which is.. mostly terrifying.

These days, I go through the house to catalogue what we’re keeping. Mostly.. not much. Too much likelihood of things falling on top of him. God knows he likes pulling everything these days.


Funnily enough, while apartment hunting, one of the places we saw was in the same building as our fertility clinic. I just couldn’t… Too many memories and too much frustration. But also, time heals. I don’t feel the same angst that I used to there. Things did work out and I have a beautiful boy.

Envy

I used to envy one of my friends for how easily things came to her in life — her two pregnancies were easy to achieve with no pregnancy or L&D complications. And even outside of family.. things like job transitions seem to happen seamlessly (I know she works super hard, just that she seems to see less of the rejections that I and most others seem to deal with).

But now,she’s dealing with challenges the likes of which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Her youngest is facing a lot of very serious health challenges (who’s only a few months older than A*). At first it boggled my mind that she essentially quit her job so she could provide care for her youngest (this was a girl who was always super serious about academics, came up with her own major in undergrad, and proceeded to get fantastic residency, fellowship, and faculty appointments). Now as it’s getting more serious and complicated… now I’m just heart broken for her.

It’s a reminder to me how thankful I am for what I have — healthy and happy spouse, child, and parents. Sure I get stressed about work and whether I’ll ever find a job but that’s rather minor in the grand scheme of things. Having a healthy family who are all happy with whatever they’re doing (be it work or crawling) is such an incredible blessing.

I don’t even know how to support my friend – I check in and tell her that she can always talk if she wants to vent but I can also completely understand that sometimes you just don’t want to. Mostly I’ve been telling her that I’m sending love her way.

Donations

For the last several weeks, I’ve been dealing with trying to get stuff we have out of the house. Partially because we’ll move in the summer (not far but still it’s a move). Partially because I’ve realized that our current place is much bigger than we need and the extra space is just leading us to accumulate stuff . Partially because baby’s stuff is starting to take over the house. Partially because I’m realizing that between hubby lack of organization and just the stuff we have, it’s stressing me out. And yes, I might have watched a bit too much Marie Kondo 🙂

At any rate, first on the list are items that we truly don’t need anymore. Clothes that baby has outgrown. Postpartum care items. The co sleeper we used for the first six months. The infant car seat. Fertility medicines. And it’s been surprisingly hard to work out what to do with some things.

Stuff like the cosleeper or carseat are easy — we had hoped to have another child and at any rate, aren’t sure if we’re done so we’re packing those away for the future. Outgrown baby clothes go into a pile to donate and one to keep for future use.

But some of the other stuff is hard. Postpartum care items — I have piles of perineum ice packs, an unopened set of adult diapers, and an unopened box of breast pads. I don’t need them anymore and it’s not the sort of thing that I intend to carry from house to house for a second child. And it’s also the sort of thing that must be useful to someone – a women’s shelter maybe? A couple of hours later (and many web searches, emails and phone calls), I realized that it’s surprisingly hard to donate such items. For reasons that make no sense to me. Ok, I get that some places only serve a certain age group and postpartum is a very specific one. The one local place that did accept them, I’m not sure I want to donate to (their website language reads very anti-choice and I’m not sure I want to support that). Eventually I found a place in Maine (!) that accepts (unused) medical supplies for donation to developing countries. All my space needles from fertility treatments are going there too.

Another pile of stuff I wanted to donate was my insulin – I have a few vials when my doctor prescribed them but then I switched doctors and never used them. Given the cost of insulin, I didn’t want to just throw it. Eventually found a place in Florida that accepts diabetes supplies – test strips, insulin, needles, lancets, the works.

And the last round of things – my fertility meds. I ended up being really bad at this. I didn’t feel comfortable donating them until I was in the third trimester — during most of the pregnancy, I was worried that something would go wrong and wanted to keep the meds in case we had to do another cycle in the fall. This is irrational of course – I would have still had insurance coverage for meds and by the time that ran out, these meds would have expired. But there you have it. By the time I got around to trying to donate them, most had expired. Mostly I’m just annoyed at myself that with all the need for these medications, I didn’t do a better job of filling in the gap where I could.

This whole process has been rather depressing actually. I know I’m not the only one with surplus items that should be of legitimate use to others. And it’s just frustrating to realize that the way the system is set up, the easiest thing to do is throw them out. I spent some of my childhood in India, and in some ways, I think the system there is better able to reduce waste. There are always those in need for food/clothes/medical supplies. Electrical items that don’t work first go through attempts at repair in these tiny roadside electrical shops. Ditto with clothes/shoes/pretty much everything. Here it’s often cheaper to just buy a new one. As for repairing them myself, face it, even if I have the skills to repair one of those things, I certainly can’t do all of them.

I do think that there’s a need for a centralized donation pool of some kind to at least know where to best donate different types of items and it still surprises me that nothing seems to exist.

Baby A* at 8 months

Wow. I cannot believe it’s been 8 months.

Mostly things are chugging along. After months of worrying why he’s not turning, suddenly baby now turns. I’ve yet to see him do it but I’ll leave him for a minute and I com back and he’s on his stomach trying to wreak havoc.

He has definitely reached the wreak havoc stage. Last night, he started rummaging through things on the nightstand and knocked over the baby monitor. And he has a walker which he’s figured out how to maneuver so he can reach whatever he wants. Yesterday I caught him at the tea shelf trying to grab whatever boxes were there. And when that failed, he started pulling the wire rack. We are not ready for this. We haven’t childproofed and were not planning on it since we’re likely moving in a few months.

He loves food! He’s always willing to give something a try though he might refuse it later. Also this kid knows when he wants food and when he doesn’t. If we try and give him more formula and he doesn’t want anymore, he’ll let us put the nipple in and it’ll just… sit there. Or he’ll smirk at us as if he’s trying to say ‘nice try’. We really need to teach him sign language because he currently just grunts whenever he wants something which could be any of food, sleep, new diaper, being picked up, different toy, general boredom…

I feel like for the last few months, I only really write about the good. Perhaps part is that I feel so guilty for the bad. There were (and still are) parts of motherhood that I do not like. And many moments when I wonder if I’m cut out to be a mom. Or whether I’m good enough. Some moments of wishing I was back in my old life where I had sleep. And a lot of guilt over everything – guilt over not having undiluted joy in motherhood, especially when I’ve worked towards it for so many years. Guilt over enjoying work and realizing that I really don’t want to be a stay at home mom. Guilt over not enjoying co-sleeping. Guilt over feeling like I’m the bad cop (maybe this one I can put on my husband. Everyone who knows us knows that he’s going to be the sucker who lets the kid get away with anything). Guilt over getting angry with baby, especially when I’m exhausted and sleep deprived. Guilt over not just liking working but not wanting to take a step back and go for a lower pressure job.

Everything I’ve read and heard from friends, fellow bloggers, and basically everyone seems to say that a lot of these are normal. So I don’t talk about it much and mostly it’s fine.

And there are plenty of wonderful times. Like at some point last week, I was looking at baby and just so overcome with love and thinking about how lucky I am that he’s here and healthy and thriving. And I started tearing up (happy tears). And baby saw that and immediately started getting upset and worried because he saw his mamma crying and he was so confused. It was such a wonderful moment.

On a different note, I turned 33 this week. And it was lovely. For the first time in many years, even with my job in major flux, I was fairly content with where I was in life. I ended up going out to this new boozy dessert place which was awesome. And enjoying a night out without baby.