Getting Pregnant with PCOS – Luckier than Thou?

Any of us who have ever struggled with getting pregnant with PCOS knows the score.  To be blunt, it sucks.  It sucks if it’s your first time trying to get pregnant.  It sucks if you’re trying for your twenty-fifth baby.

Jenny of the Cloth Diaper Revival is seriously working hard at getting pregnant with PCOS.  She’s been chronicling her struggle… and it mirrors my struggle when we were trying to conceive Eudora.  This week’s post was things not to say to a woman who is struggling.  Even though Jenny recognizes that she is fortunate to have one already (she used the word “blessed”), it doesn’t make her want another any less badly.  It doesn’t ease the ache.  One child is not a substitute for another. [Read more…]

Secret Pregnancy is Hard

I have a secret pregnancy.  We haven’t told a soul that we’re pregnant, barring medical professionals who need to know these things in order to treat me properly.  We’re going to my in-laws’ for dinner. It’s Sunday. It’s what we do every Sunday.

Secret Pregnancy (Cloth Diaper Addicts)My in-laws are awesome.  Ever seen That 70’s Show? My in-laws are Red and Kitty. They don’t just act like Red and Kitty. They actually have some resemblance to Red and Kitty. In fact, when I was trying to explain who my father-in-law was to someone who worked in a different department of his government agency, I actually said “You know, that tall guy who would remind you of Red Foreman?” (The girl I was talking to actually said, “Oh, yeah! Except he’s taller and has dark hair?”)

I completely love my in-laws. They have helped fill some of the void that was created since my parents are gone. I’m sort of the daughter they never had.  And my mother-in-law is desperate for a granddaughter.

My husband wants to keep this to ourselves until we’re 8 weeks. That means another 3 weeks of not saying a word. While I do think that we should wait (we told them the day we found out on the one that didn’t work out), I only want to wait until we’re past the point where everything went wrong last time.  (I actually think that my husband would just plain like to ignore the event until we’re 8 weeks. To him, that’s the magic number where suddenly everything is okay and we don’t have to worry so much about things going wrong. He has said that he wished that we didn’t find out quite so quickly.)

Even though we’ve agreed that we don’t want to say anything to anyone, period, it’s going to be very hard to keep something this special a complete and total secret. I want to celebrate, and hope that my celebration and happiness will be the thing that stops anything from going wrong this time.  I almost feel like a secret pregnancy is asking for it to not work.

It’s the complete opposite of the approach that my very low-key husband has in mind.

How long did you keep a secret pregnancy before sharing with the world?

Originally posted on July 19, 2007 for What to Expect.

Update: That secret pregnancy is now a happy and energetic three year old boy. 

Image by Paul Brunskill.

Question to Never Ask a Pregnant Woman

Everyone has to know that there are some things you just don’t ask.  There are places that you just don’t go.  However, it seems that with pregnancy, all bets are off.  People’s brains stop filtering.  That being said, there is one question to never ask a pregnant woman.

“Are ______________ excited?” (Fill in the blank with you, your partner, your parents, your other children, your dog, whatever.)

Question to Never Ask a Pregnant Woman (Cloth Diaper Addicts)What kind of question is that? I mean, seriously, if a person is pregnant and does not want to be pregnant, there are options available. Yes, some of those options are distasteful and even morally objectionable to some people, but those options do exist for a pregnant woman, nonetheless.

I’ve always told my students and my staff that there is no such thing as a stupid question. I’ve always believed that questions exist to clarify and obtain information. But what kind of moron would ask if someone is excited about their baby? Seriously, what do they think a pregnant woman going to say? “No?”

Even if our partner/parents/child/dog/whatever wasn’t excited, why would we tell this person that they’re dreading the impending arrival of our small human? Is it any of their business? In all honesty, if anyone important to you isn’t excited about the small human in your womb, you probably have someone else to talk to about it. And it’s not going to be someone who feels the need to ask!

For the record, my husband and I are cautiously excited. We had a miscarriage a couple of months ago. (There. I typed it. Now if I can actually *say* the word, then that might be considered progress.) I figure in another two weeks, we’ll be over the hump where things started to go wrong last time, and then we’ll be just plain excited.

The rest of my family doesn’t know yet. I haven’t communicated this news to anyone in my life but my medical professionals who need to know these details in order to treat me properly. Even so, I expect that they will all be happy, since they were last time.

But if they weren’t, why would I tell someone who feels the need to ask? If you have to ask, we’re not that close and I wouldn’t tell you anything beyond “everyone is thrilled”, anyway!

Now if only people would learn to think before they ask the same question, over and over and over….

What was the most obnoxious question that people asked you regarding your pregnancy?

Originally written for What to Expect on July 18, 2009.  That pregnancy is now a happy three year old boy.

Pregnant with PCOS – Small Human Construction

So, I’ve been trying with the husband to get pregnant for about a year and a half.

Irony.  I actually had to try to get pregnant.  I managed to get pregnant twice over ten years ago while taking steps to prevent it.  😛  Apparently, I have PCOS, which would imply that I’ve always had PCOS, so it’s very odd that getting pregnant is only a problem in the last year and a half.

We had a pregnancy that didn’t work out.  (“Didn’t work out” is my euphemism for the obvious.  I can’t bring myself to even type it, let alone say it.)

Here we are, two months later with a positive.

I’m trying to be optimistic.  But I’m trying to not get my hopes up.

It’s all positively ridiculous.

Originally posted at WTE July 13, 2009.  That pregnancy did work out and is three years old.

Confirming Pregnancy – Off to the Doctor’s!

I’m a housewife. I don’t have any children living with me. So, I don’t really leave the house very often. I’m a home body. I have no real reason to go out usually, and when I typically do go out, my husband goes with me. We have joint appointments with the doctor today. I schedule it like this so that I know that I’ll ask any pertinent questions regarding my husband’s health. Our appointments are for making sure his respiratory infection is all good and for confirming pregnancy.

Confirming Pregnancy (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Having done this a few months ago, I expect that my doctor will do the following: tell me my due date, tell me to quit smoking (even though I quit six months ago and have told him repeatedly that I have quit), tell me to take prenatal vitamins, tell me no drugs but Tylenol, and then tell me that it’s really too soon to do anything, so I should come back in a few weeks.

He’ll also give me a lab requisition to have a blood draw for confirming pregnancy.

Then we’re probably going to have an argument. I’m going to insist on continuing with my Metformin, as last time I stopped taking it (because he, his co-doctor and wife, and my OB/Gyn told me to discontinue the medication, in spite of evidence indicating that the drug should be continued through pregnancy), I stopped being pregnant. I’m going to insist that my progesterone levels and my betaHCG levels are monitored.

In the end, he’ll give in and do these things, because he realizes that it is easier to give in to my requests than to argue with me.

But YAY! I get to go in today. I’m oddly excited about confirming pregnancy, even though I already know what’s going to happen.

Originally written on July 15, 2009 for What to Expect. Confirming pregnancy went pretty much as expected… except I didn’t get an argument about discontinuing Metformin and I was referred to an OB/Gyn right away.

Baby Stuff Obsession

I’m not due until March 22. I haven’t even had my first appointment. (That comes tomorrow.)  And what am I doing? Pouring over ConsumerReports.org baby stuff reviews. Whenever another expecting mom asks about a product or a specific brand, the first thing I do is run to ConsumerReports.org and see what they have to say about it.

Baby Stuff Obsession (Cloth Diaper Addicts)It’s not like I’m ignorant about baby stuff. I’ve used it all before when I had my son in 1997. (Yeah, okay, 1997 was a long time ago. That’s beside the point.) I sold baby stuff when I was a sales manager at an upscale department store, so I *had* to know what I was talking about in order to sell it, and sell it properly. After all, I wanted people to have the right stuff, not just any stuff that I could sell.

Even though my husband will not even entertain the notion of buying anything for about two more months, I’m still researching obsessively. It’s not like ConsumerReports is going to go away in the next couple of months. It’s not like I don’t already have a good idea of what I want based on previous experience, both as a parent and a salesman. It’s not like there’s a final exam or like I’m working on a dissertation.

And, seriously, it’s not like the world will end if I get the second top-rated stroller instead of the first. Sheesh. But I still keep a ConsumerReports tab in my browser, just in case.

Did you go nuts over baby stuff during early pregnancy?

Originally written for What to Expect on July 14, 2009.

Update: I figured it all out eventually. Some of the choices I made were brilliant. Others? Not so much.

Image by Sundesigns

Miscarriage Fears – Looking Back on Pregnancy (5 weeks)

I’m so glad I blogged Norton’s pregnancy like I did.  It’s a way of ensuring that I never, ever let time dull memories.  One of the big things that I coped with during that pregnancy was miscarriage fears.  I’d managed to conceive Norton one cycle after a loss, so I spent a lot of time terrified.  I preferred to think of it as “cautiously optimistic.”  I originally wrote this on July 14, 2009.

My state of mind can be, at best, be described as cautiously optimistic. At my worst, I’m in the early stages of grieving.

Miscarriage Fears - Looking Back on Pregnancy (5 weeks)I got my positive test on Sunday. It’s not like I’ve been able to stare at a ticker for weeks, knowing that it’s counting down the days (well, months, really) until I have a baby.

However, it wasn’t that long ago that I was staring at a ticker and excited over another pregnancy. It didn’t work out. I still blame my doctors. Every single one that treated me.

I have PCOS. After trying for months and not even getting a period, I got a referral to an Ob/Gyn who backed my GP’s PCOS diagnosis and put me on Metformin. My GPs (a husband and wife practice) didn’t think that I should continue with the Metformin once I got pregnant, and the gynecologist agreed.

I didn’t agree. I did research, because I’m a know-it-all geek who has to know a little bit about everything. I tend to approach a hobby with enough research to imply that I’m working on my dissertation. I found conflicting studies, some said to discontinue the Metformin, while others said to take it. The ones that said to stop didn’t say why. The ones that said to continue listed benefits for women with PCOS, such as reduced chances of miscarriage, reduced chances of gestational diabetes, etc.

They insisted. They’re doctors, so they should know best, right?

Yeah, well, I’ll never be that naive again. Two weeks after I stopped taking the Met, I wasn’t pregnant anymore. It was the most physically painful time of my life. And that’s not even touching on the emotional aspect. I spent five days in and out of doctors, labs, and the emergency room. My gynecologist’s partner (who was on call when everything started to go wrong) insisted that I start the Metformin back up, and increase my dose. For five days, they strung me along with false hope.

I’m terrified that this will end the same way.

But I remind myself that I’m going to continue taking the Metformin, which will reduce my odds of things… not working out again to be that of a normal, non-PCOS woman. I told my GP last time that I would not discontinue Metformin for the next time. He agreed with me. I’m not sure if he meant it, or if he was just humoring me because I was on the edge of hysterics.

Neither my husband or I are willing to get as excited this time as we did the last time. Not yet. We have to get past the fear first.

Ultimately, though, we did get past the miscarriage fears and settle into a fairly routine pregnancy.  Eventually, I got to the point where I could actually use the word.  (That did take a while, though, and it was long after the miscarriage fears subsided.)  Did you get pregnant after a loss?  How long did it take for you to get past miscarriage fears?

Your Birth Plan Is None of My Business

Interesting things show up on my Facebook feed from time to time, often courtesy of Heather over at The Parenting Patch.  She shared an article regarding the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new wording regarding home births.  Really, having a home birth in mind is just part of your birth plan that takes more planning than… say, deciding that you want soft music at the hospital.

Heather loves to cite statistics that back her reasoning for having a home birth with her daughter.  (Okay, Heather loves statistics in general.  But that’s cool; statistics are extremely useful when making a point.)  However, I’ve come to a conclusion regarding the writing of a birth plan.  Statistics to defend or convince others about your birth plan are unimportant.

Your Birth Plan Is None of My Business (Motherhood Looms)

Does it matter how she got here, as long as it was a positive outcome?

There’s a very simple reason as to why: your birth plan is absolutely none of my business.

It doesn’t matter if you want to have a hospital birth, epidurals, and as drugged up as a birth as hospital policies will allow or if you want to give birth under an oak tree in the woods with a circle of women dancing and chanting around you, then catch the baby yourself and feed the placenta to a passing wolf.  Whatever.  It’s entirely up to you.

It’s your birth plan.  It’s your body.  It’s your baby.

There are times, of course, when I think that someone’s birth plan may be a little outlandish.  That being said, it does not matter.  It falls squarely in the category of things in life that are not my business.  If you ask “what do  you think about my birth plan?” and you’ve decided that you want to… oh, I don’t know, cut the umbillical cord yourself with a sharpened rock in the woods, I will tell you why I don’t think it’s a good idea.  But if you don’t ask about my opinion on any aspect of your birth plan, who am I to tell you that it sucks?

What kind of reactions did you receive on your birth plan?

Hiring a Doula – A Smart Move

Hiring a Doula - A Smart Choice (Motherhood Looms)There were a lot of things about my pregnancy with Eudora that didn’t go as planned. Not much went according to my birth plan, either. Oh, and our coming home from the hospital was a disaster. Out of all of those fiascos, though, there’s one thing that was a good move – hiring a doula.  You’d think that since I had a repeat c-section, I would have considered hiring a doula to be a waste.  You’d think wrong.  You see, from the beginning, hiring a doula was more about my husband than me.

In the beginning, I was down with having a repeat c-section.  My first childbirth, which was vaginal, was just horrible.  I had back labor, and it was severe enough that I nearly lost consciousness.  I was on the verge of blacking out when I got my epidural.  However, my husband really did want the experience of seeing his child born, so I got on board with a VBAC and started using Hypnobabies to prepare.

I ended up with a c-section because Eudora wouldn’t descend and she was tachycardic.

With all of that in mind, how was hiring a doula helpful?  Well, while I was still attempting to labor, she was great about helping me focus.  She was company.  She helped with keeping the monitors on since Eudora was flailing around in there so that they would lose her on the monitors.  She was focused on keeping me comfortable.  But the most helpful part of hiring a doula came along after the doctors decided that it would be a good idea for us to do a repeat cesarean.

I was okay with having a c-section.  For me, it was fine because I knew that there would be a definite end to the cramping.  It was relaxing to know that there was an end in sight.  My husband started to fall apart.  The last time, I’d had a c-section because I just plain wouldn’t go into labor.  It was scheduled after two failed inductions.  This time, though, it was a c-section because one of us was in trouble.  He was on the verge of a panic attack.  The idea of losing one or both of us was something that he couldn’t shake.

At that point, hiring a doula was about him.  She took him out of the room for a walk and a coffee.  She stayed with him while I was being prepped.  She stayed with him and our daughter while I was in recovery (and puking my brains out).  She then stayed with us for a bit while I tried to breastfeed (and puked more).

Even though our birth plan was a complete bomb, hiring a doula helped both my husband and me.  I’d totally recommend hiring a doula to anyone who is on the fence.

Did you hire a doula?  How did it work for you?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Get Congratulations and Condolences

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the announcement of her pregnancy!  Welcoming a new baby is such an exciting time, full of joy and endless possibilities.  I’m happy for them on what’s coming for them.  A baby is just amazing.

At the same time, I have to offer condolences.  I’m not expressing sympathy over the loss of a fun and fancy-free lifestyle.  They’re old enough to be quite beyond that by now.  Besides, he’s in the military and they’re used to having to be careful what they do unless they want it on the front page.  That’s nothing new.

What’s going to be new for them is something that every parent experiences, only it’ll be magnified by a billion because of their roles.  Already, I’ve seen comments about how they should cloth diaper, blah blah blah.

On one hand…  If they decide to use cloth diapers, it’d be awesome because it’ll help spread the trend towards a more sustainable system of baby diapering.  But on the other hand, it’s their decision.  Good grief, the line has just shown up on the pregnancy test (metaphorically, since the news just broke yesterday), and we’re already seeing things about how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should raise their child.

Wow.

It’s not just use or don’t use cloth diapers (or nappies, as they’re called in England and other Commonwealth countries).  First thing this morning, I saw an article on brands that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should purchase for their upcoming bundle of joy.

I’m starting to think that while some people are genuinely happy for “Will and Kate,” others are seeing their child as a breathing advertisement for their wares.  That just sucks.  I get that if Kate is seen pushing a stroller through the park, that stroller will suddenly become the most sought after thing.  It’s just… meh.  Let her get healthy and out of the hospital, or maybe even start showing, before using her pregnancy as an opportunity to advertise your stuff.

What do you think about the “stuff that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should buy” articles that are already coming out?