Tag Archives: Pregnancy

The Journey to Motherhood

Ian, I really don’t know where to begin. I can hardly believe we celebrated your fourth birthday last week. The surreal feeling of walking through the hospital doors as two and leaving as three seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. Moments after you were born, I stared into your eyes hardly believing you were mine — mine to take care of and nurture forever. You were mine, and you were here.

I wanted to wait a year to establish our marriage before we tried for children, but the best laid plans rarely work that way or follow our desired timetable and our life changed in a swift direction, fast. I never imagined that there were so many couples with fertility issues, and in fact, that I would be one of them.

Each month we waited and quietly hoped that it would be our time and we could be parents, and with each month that passed we never gave up on that hope. We read articles religiously on how with each cycle there was a 20% chance of pregnancy with every couple, and that the vast majority of pregnancies occur after a year of trying. But despite this information, I couldn’t help but sit in the bathroom and cry with every passing month, or stare at obviously pregnant women and wonder what I was doing wrong. Was I miscounting magpies? Did I need some fertility dolls? Or maybe it was just a case of getting on a plane to Asia to visit a shrine for people like us.

I couldn’t understand it, it just didn’t make sense. I didn’t want a BMW or a yacht, I wanted a child, a little one to take care of and nurture. It was a righteous desire and for reasons unknown to me – us – I was being denied something so natural.

We kept our heartache a secret from everyone. It was something we didn’t care to discuss or share with anyone: Family, friends or colleagues. I didn’t want or need to hear the commiserative, “stop trying to try” or the ever popular, “everything happens for a reason” mantra with the emphatic knee pat at no extra charge. It became difficult enough watching other peoples’ fertility run around without a marching band of reproductive enthusiasts to share it with. Then again, with every month that passed, it got increasingly more difficult and moral was fading fast.

I stopped crying after seven cycles.

After a year I sought out a Gynecologist, one that I thought might help, but in hindsight didn’t specialise in any reproductive issues. She advised me to track my BBT (Basal Body Temperature) for three cycles. Each morning as soon as I flicked my eyes open, I had to reach across to my nightstand and take my temperature with as little movement as possible and then chart it. Months later, as I sat in her office waiting for some sort of prognosis, she glanced over my line chart and mumbled with gritted enthusiasm, “well, it appears as if you’re ovulating.” I was no expert, but even I knew that wasn’t true. The lines I had created rarely spiked, if at all. Little did I know my years of bragging to schoolmates that I had no PMT (tension) came with a sorry price tag, one that would come back to haunt me later in life.

Seven months later, we moved from our two-bedroom apartment into our first home and we were no further forward than we had been a year earlier. After we were settled in, Bryan looked through the Yellow Pages, found the section we needed and phoned a clinic hoping they could direct us. They were a OB/GYN clinic, but one of their doctors also specialised in infertility and high risk pregnancies. The receptionist shuttled us to the right doctor and made an appointment for us.

It was mid-September of 2003 when we walked into the doctors’ office that resembled a spacious, beautifully designed lodge more than it did a place to practice medicine. The dimly lit, expansive room was filled with brown leather couches and mission-style chairs, beautiful wooden floors and an open, ceiling-to-floor stone fireplace. I felt at ease instantly.

It was there I met Dave. Not Dr. so-and-so. Just Dave. Of all the doctors I have met in my life, this man tops my list – and not just for the obvious reasons either. He was charismatic, but in a gentle non-assuming way. He smiled, he listened, he asked questions and he sympathised. His unspoken words spoke volumes too. His bedside manner was exceptional and I would have gladly shared all my medical history with this man just so he could make me feel better about everything.

It wasn’t an appointment, it was a therapy session.

He asked me the routine questions: How long is your cycle? How long have you been trying? Have you tracked your BBT? And more. When I mentioned my chart, I told him of my concerns and he said he wanted to try something. Then a question I wasn’t expecting: “Which day of your cycle are you on right now?” “Day 5”, I said proudly. “Perfect. I want to try you on a 5-day regimen and then after that, have intercourse on Day 10, Day 12, Day 14 and 16.” This was already more than anyone else had done for us.

Interesting. No more 11, 13, 15 and 17. It seemed so foreign to me all of a sudden.

There was something about it, a feeling I can’t really describe. I just knew. I wasn’t even technically late the morning I ran downstairs in the dark and took the pregnancy test. A positive. I had to blink and just make sure. I was quiet for the very first time. I just sat for hour-long seconds and stared at the little piece of technology I had just peed on that changed my life.

As I walked quietly back into our bedroom and slipped back under the covers, I leaned over to where my husband lay and whispered, “Bryan, I’m pregnant” : The words I had longed to say in two very long years. We hugged, weeping together, unable to really come to terms with the reality of the situation.

It was a Saturday, the 19th of June and the day before Father’s Day; five o’clock and definitely time for dinner. The nurse handed you to me and smiled. I studied your sweet face, counted your fingers and toes and kissed your tiny forehead. You made me a mother and stole my heart. I will never forget that day.

I have loved watching you grow and learn, and despite how hard some stages have been, I decided a long time ago to stop wishing them away and embrace everything. Thank you for reminding me what it’s like to be four.

Oh, and if your brother ever asks about his middle name, just tell him about Dave.

1 day old1 day old

6 months old

1 year

2 years old
He wanted to go outside, but knew he needed socks and shoes. So he put daddy’s on.

2 years 2 months
At a OB appointment with me, my last one with Dave before we moved to MT at 27 weeks gestation.

3 years old

4 years old


The Long Road Home

I am now dilated to a 3.  My doctor also stripped my membranes to see if it would move things along for me.  The next available induction day was next Monday, so I have a definite date if things don’t go anywhere before then.  Trouble is, I have to be there at 07:30.  They only set aside 3 spaces per weekday for inducing mothers, to give walk-ins the chance to birth, which I think is totally fair.
We had to go back to Costco, so I could pick up the contacts I’d ordered, so we took a walk around to see if anything would come of it.  At the checkout one of the women there smiled and said, “when’s your baby due?”  I laughed and said, “three days ago.”  Both she and the one right behind the till were a little shocked that they hadn’t taken me in to get me started and we explained about the inducing scheduling.  Then one of them said, “is this your first then?”  And I am just as surprised that I have went overdue as everyone else seems to be, but somehow I was kinda expected it.
I started feeling some contractions coming on in the store, but didn’t take too much notice.  Then about 25 minutes after leaving the doctor’s office I started having some major contractions all within about 6-7 minutes of each other.  Now, bear in mind I had just come from my doctor’s office, and the last thing the medical assistant said to me was, “you know, if you’re having regular contractions 6-8 minutes apart – just go.  Go to the hospital.”  So I kinda had that thought in the back of my mind.  I watched the clock vigilantly from 5:36 p.m. onwards and they were regularly spaced out, all much stronger than last week, for the duration of an hour.  So I thought, ‘why not, the hospital’s right here, may as well go in and see if it’s anything.’
Long story short, the contractions got stronger, same amount of time in-between and then after a while they gradually tapered off and got less intense.  We walked around the ward for an hour to see if that would give any indication of what direction I was headed in and I slowly realised it was probably time to head home.  Again.
I’m actually fine, I’m not concerned or depressed about it at all.  Just really sarcastic.  The baby is fine, his heartbeat is great and the fluid is perfect, everything is fine, my body just isn’t quite ready.
I’m fully expecting Ian to be mad at me for not bringing home brother (he’s having a sleep-over tonight).  But give him a week after he’s here and he’ll be telling me to put him in the trash.
Personally, I think the baby didn’t want to come out because he’d heard it was going to be -8F (-22C) tonight, and I don’t blame him one bit.

And Deliver Me From Evil

The phone call:

Blah, blah, blah…due date yesterday…blah, blah, blah…came and went like a bad smell…blah, blah, blah…set up a day to be induced(?)”
Cue: “Girl from Ipanema” while you wait
“Okay Siobhan, the nurse said that you need to be seen before we can schedule you for that, okay?”
“Well, I have an appointment for Wednesday – if I make it that far – should I just wait till then?
“Oh, you have one for Wednesday?  Oh yeah, there you are down there.  Yeah let’s go ahead and wait till Wednesday and we’ll go from there.”

The Shoot Horses for Less than This

I’m still here, just so you know.  Well, at least for now.  I think I’m officially tired of sharing.  I have to keep peeking into the nursery to visually remind myself that the full-on but going nowhere contractions are all worth it.
I never had this nicety with Ian, I was induced 2 days early (because I was so physically thrashed and unable to function – like walk) and by-passed a lot of the formal stuff.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
I’m also grateful there’s a huge snow storm coming in that started today and should be fully escalated by Wednesday.  What’s life without drama?
And while we’re at it, let’s hope my doctor gets over his stomach flu pretty fast.

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

I had a few nasty contractions last night and realised something quite profound: I can handle dull, severe pain, but not sharp stab-you-in-the-ovaries-and-up-to-your-gut pain.  Of course, they amounted to nothing and weren’t close enough together to justify any hasty judgments.  I was awoken at 3:30 a.m. (‘please no, I need some sleep’ I murmured) and then again at 5:30.
Just after 9 a.m. I made a call to my doctor’s office.
“Hi, I just wanted to confirm my appointment this morning – I can’t find my appointment card.”
“Oh hi Siobhan, I was just about to call you next…Dr. Montgomery is out today ill.”
“Would you be interested in seeing Dr. Jennings?”
“Not to be rude, but no thanks.”
(I’d seen him 3 weeks previous and he ‘rubbed me up the wrong way’.  I didn’t want to have to talk to him again and hear his snide remarks – I’m assuming he was trying to be funny.  Or something.)
“How about Monday morning with Dr. Montgomery?”
“Well, I’m due on Sunday though.”
“Would you like to see one of the Nurse Midwives?  How about 11:30?”
So we went and saw her and that was definitely a new experience.  I’d never had my uterus measured before or heard the heartbeat just through a sonogram.  She was also pretty persistent on me not having an epidural and wanted to know how many classes I had attended and how much I had benefitted from them.
I’m definitely of the persuasion that if God made mankind smart enough to develop ‘the Cadillac of pain medication’ (as my previous doctor coined it), then I’m going to use it.  I don’t think I’m any less of a woman for not going natural or that that somehow makes me a bad mother.
After she checked me (still 80% effaced and dilated to a 2-3), she asked me something I wasn’t expecting.
“Would you like me to strip your membranes?”  I stared at her blankly.  (And did I look that desperate?)  Then she continued, “do you know what that is?”
“Yeah, I know.  No it’s okay, I’m fine, I think I’d rather wait.”
One, she’s not my doctor, and two, I wasn’t ready to go through that, especially since we had Ian with us and no one around close to watch him if I suddenly went into labour.
So we left the doctor’s office a little forlorn that I hadn’t progressed any further along and made another appointment for next Wednesday at 4:15 in the off-chance I may still be with child.
We picked up some more things around town while we were there, and while Bryan was outside trying to jimmy the car door lock open with a bent coat hanger to get to his keys out of the ignition*, Ian and I walked around Costco slowly (not by choice, I swear the baby’s head is resting under my pelvis) and got a few things we needed.  And a few things I thought we needed too.  I was just about to head up one aisle when a sweet older lady who was approaching me, smiled and enquired:
“When’s your baby due, dear?”
She made a funny “OooOooh” sound and her hand quivered over her mouth – which I thought was a nice touch – and then she added, “you’re brave!”
“Well, I’m in Missoula, so I’m okay!” I laughed.
The ironic thing is, on the way in, the door attendant exclaimed, “when are you due, tomorrow or the next day?!”
I think she was joking when she asked, but her face fell a little when she heard my response.  Then she added, “I can’t deliver babies, I don’t do that…!”
So, we’re just getting on with things til the little one decides on making an appearance.  Bryan’s going back to work tomorrow (again, hopefully this time for longer than 30 minutes) and Ian and I will play puzzles and make 2-piece jigsaws and colour.  Other than that, I’m hoping for a fairly quiet day.
And in the meantime, our packed bags sit on a couch close to the door out to the garage.
* There was a lady in the car park who’d called a tow truck and Bryan snagged him while he was still around to get the door open.  Goodbye another $35.

False Alarm

Warning:  Some may find the following blog a little T.M.I.
I got up this morning at 03:30 for my nightly grope-around-in-the-dark bladder-emptying ritual, removed Ian from our bed and took him to his and then attempted to get back to sleep.  The dog next door barked profusely for who knows how long and I really struggled to get back to sleep.  Just before 6 a.m. when Bryan was leaving for work, he said his goodbyes and added, “How are you feeling, are you doing okay?  Okay, I don’t want to alarm you, but there was a tiny bit of blood on the toilet seat…”  I made a manoeuver to check and Bryan confirmed there was a little.
After he left, I tried to get back to sleep again, but couldn’t get it off my mind.  After half an hour, I gave up and went to the bathroom again.  Sure enough, there were tiny dots on my underwear.  “Oh good”  I thought, “I thought it was going to be worse than that.”  After wiping, I checked and was shocked to see so much more, and it was thick and clotted.  I tried not to panic, but it was inevitable.  From anything I’ve ever read, blood is never a good thing.  I grabbed the phone and called Bryan and we conference called the doctor’s office.  She then hung up and paged the doctor on call and he phoned me a few minutes later to see what was going on.
“You’re probably okay, but you should come to the hospital, just to make sure.”
So after I shared his advice with Bryan, I took a shower and started getting ready.  Ironically, I had planned on putting Ian’s bag together later on today.  Bryan got everything together and we were out of there at 7:30.  We then dropped off Ian, said our goodbyes and headed the 45 minutes to the hospital.
On the way there, I started experiencing contractions.  The first one or two were 11 minutes apart, the next seven were 6 minutes apart, and it stayed that way after we arrived at the OB Ward.
As soon as I mentioned to the nurse what was going on, she said, “oh, that’s really common, it’s probably your mucus plug.”  I remarked, “I wish I’d called you now instead of the doctor’s office!”
She monitored me for a few hours, told us the baby’s heart rate was great and his oxygen intake was perfect.  I was still having contractions, but they were becoming fewer and further in-between; although I did have two really good ones.
She went through a few questions with me like, “will anyone else be in the room with you attending the birth?”  “I hope not, because they’re not invited!” I quipped.  “Will you be having your tubes tied after this delivery?”  “No…why?  Should I?!  Hahaha.”  Then I said, “well hey, at least I still have my sense of humour…”
After checking with my doctor (he said I could go home), and checking my progression twice, she suggested that I walk around Missoula for a few hours to see if that would help the progression, if at all.  She said that there was “definitely something going on” and that it might be later today, tomorrow or sometime this week.
All walking around Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart did for me was wear me out completely.  After we got home with Ian and we all crashed and took a 2-hour nap.
So basically, we’re back to the waiting game.  I’m beginning to wish pregnancy came with a built in countdown stop clock.

Breathe, Relax

I woke up in bed while my water was breaking and tried to run to the bathroom in an attempt to control it (nesting mode), trying not to panic too much.  Bryan had left for work 2½ hours ago just before 6 a.m. and it’s weird how alone and isolated you feel.  Then I realised I needed to call him to get home right away.
Just as I was about to grab the phone, I half woke up, made sure I was definitely okay and went back to sleep.
I hate vivid dreams.

Little Fingers

I had my ‘targeted ultrasound’ at my local clinic yesterday, 3 weeks early so Daddy could be there too. The targeted ultrasound is where they check everything; the thickness of the placenta, the fluid rate of the amniotic fluid through the cord, brain, heart and kidney function. Abdomen size, head size, thigh bone length – they even checked fingers and toes. Oh, and if there was any confusion, he’s definitely a boy. I am still amazed by the technology, and comforted by its ability to provide the peace of mind any mother craves.