Ultimately, we were both very glad our first attempt at TTC didn’t work. I don’t think we would have enjoyed our Mexican vacation and wedding had I been in the throws of morning sickness. We also would have had to forego scuba diving and my dress would not have fit so marvelously.
A few months before our wedding, we had decided that Izzy would start his PhD in Optics at the University of Arizona in the Fall of 09. The program was recruiting him pretty intensely (he’s my hunky genius) and it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. I scoped out the university before we committed to the idea and serendipitously found a lab that I thought would be absolutely perfect for my PhD. Izzy accepted his program’s offer and I started looking for employment. We decided that I’d postpone applying to grad school for one year in the hopes that I’d get pregnant and have the baby in time to start the following fall.
We started TTC again on our wedding night. I’d been charting for about six months prior and had figured out that my cycle is pretty freakishly textbook regular. I’m even one of those women that can feel myself ovulating. We figured, piece of cake, I’ll be pregnant in no time! In the meantime, we took a month long road trip honeymoon. We traveled from NM out to California, up the coast to Portland, over to Yellowstone and back to NM. It was amazing! I’d already traveled much of the country with my family but this was Izzy’s first trip to most of the spots we went to. I was really hoping to conceive somewhere along the trip but alas it was not meant to be. It would have been really cool to tell our first born he/she was conceived somewhere between routes 66 and 80.
Stopping for smooches somewhere along Route 1
A week after our honeymoon, we headed to Tucson. We had purchased a little townhouse on the outskirts of town. We arrive on our closing date with U-Haul, puppies, kitties, and a plethora of houseplants in tow. Low and behold there was a tenant in our home. So began a very stressful 4 months. We somehow managed to get the guy out of the house just in time to rescue our plants and animals from the searing 110-degree heat. Who moves to Tucson in August? Idiots, that’s who. I started my job as a research technician three days later. Our house was in shambles but Izzy and I managed to make it livable before he started school.
Then, for some strange reason, we decided to renovate the house. We tore out the nasty carpet and linoleum and found big cracks spewing mold in the foundation. Oh joy. It took us until Christmas to put in new hardwood floors (gorgeous sustainably harvested floors), tile the kitchen and repaint the whole interior and our house is only 800 sq ft! We did all the work ourselves in between my full time job and Izzy’s extremely intense grad program. There were many nights spent grouting tile/painting into the wee hours while listening to jazz on NPR. Coming home to a house full of dust every night wore on both of us. Needless to say, all this was not conducive to baby making.
Our kitchen-midconstruction (see sanity beverage within arms reach)
When we finished the house (OK, it’s still not finished but it’s much nicer and totally baby ready), we were finally able to relax.
The nursery is complete!
We visited my family in NJ and NYC for Christmas and spent some time simply enjoying our little twosome. When we arrived back at home, Izzy suggested that we put of TTC for several months so that baby wouldn’t come at a time when he would be studying for his oral exams. I was not pleased by this idea. I had already put off grad school for a year and I was eager to get started. He agreed to try for one more month. I sent in my application. A week later, we conceived.
In our year of on again off again TTC, I’d only ever test once. One BFN was enough for me. I promised myself I’d wait until I was at least 5 days late to test. Remember, I’m freakishly regular so 5 days late is a big deal! On January 30th, Izzy and I went out to dinner. He ordered a beer and questioned why I didn’t. I told him we couldn’t talk about it yet. He just sort of stared at me with a goofy smile on his face. I was only three days late but my impatience won and I tested later that night. When a VERY intense second line appeared, I casually walked over to Izzy, handed him the test and told him we could now talk about it. Big silly grins ensued, smoochie smoochie, and then we realized we were pregnant. Holy moly!
Morning sickness hit hardcore in week 7. I’d made lasagna the night before and just the sight of the leftovers the next day sent me reeling. I had to tell my boss sooner than I was planning to because I had to miss a few days of work due to overwhelming nausea. It was pretty rough but I was sooooo happy to be pregnant. I went for my grad school recruitment at 10 weeks pregnant and miraculously managed to not puke on anyone. I received my acceptance letter two weeks later and decided to spill the beans. Our families were overjoyed. This will be the first grandchild for both our families. My coworkers (all younger and in a very different place in their lives) were a little shocked but happy nonetheless. It’s cute how clueless they were to my running out and puking every day. My boss (single 40-something nerd) has been great. My graduate program has been more than accommodating. Timing isn’t the greatest since I’ll have to put off starting until next spring but it ultimately won’t affect my studies all too much. I start my PhD in Genetics in January.
This pregnancy has been pretty uneventful. After the morning sickness subsided around week 18, I was feeling pretty awesome. I was planning to continue my 100 mile per week cycling commute until I got too big but nausea and fatigue quickly put an end to that. I can’t wait to get back on my bike! She misses me. We found out we’re having a little girl! We’re both terribly excited to have a girl but we would have been just as excited for a boy. We’re throwing around names but I’d like to meet her first before we make anything official.
The only bump in the road was around 22 weeks. It was over 100 degrees outside. I’d been running errands all day. I cleaned my house like a mad woman in preparation for my Dad’s Memorial Day visit. When I got back from the grocery store, I plopped on the couch to rest my feet for a minute. I started feeling really tired so I got up to move to the bedroom for a nap. On my way I stopped off at the bathroom for a quick pee. The next thing I knew I was wondering why I’d taken a nap on the bathroom floor. It took me a minute to realize that I’d fainted. Fueled with panic, I jumped up. My face felt a little funny so I looked in the mirror. To my horror I saw that my lip was covered in blood and my left front tooth was mostly gone! I ran to the back door and yelled for Izzy who was out pulling weeds. He came running and the terrified look on his face did nothing to soothe my nerves. Of course that’s when my Dad and his GF pull up. Izzy sprang into action and grabbed me a cold compress. I sat on the couch and called my MW. She calmed my nerves and explained that I probably fainted because I was dehydrated and I had gotten up too quickly after lying on my back for a period of time. I felt much better after talking to her and although I had to walk around looking like a redneck for a few days before I could get my tooth fixed (long weekend and all) I was none the worse for wear. My tooth is totally going in my little lady’s baby book! I’ve since been MUCH more careful about hydrating myself and taking the hint to slow down when I get even the slightest bit dizzy. Izzy also won’t let me mop anymore
We’re pretty much all set for baby’s arrival. Our friends and family really came through in helping us acquire the essentials. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for little lady to choose her birthday! I’m going to continue to work up until my due date. I figure it’ll help me keep my mind off baby business (as I sit here at work writing this). It gets harder and harder every day to get anything done and I’m exhausted and achy when I get home. If she decides to come late I’ll just enjoy some time to myself at home. I have to come back to work part-time in late December in order to keep my health insurance and then I start school in mid-January. Izzy and I are going to really try and limit how much time she spends in daycare. His line of work allows him to work from home whereas mine requires that I go in to my lab but our schedules are really pretty flexible. I’m confident we’ll work something out that will afford us plenty of time with baby and allow me to continue BFing for as long as little lady desires. I’m sooo looking forward to BFing!
Belly progression (more recent ones are still on my camera .... I've been lazy)
Me and mumsies after my shower ~32 weeks
There’s no one thing that brought me to wanting a natural childbirth. Here’s a few of the contributing factors:
I adore my mom (and my dad too but he had less to do with my birth). She was young and naive when she had me. Despite her naiveté, she knew deep in her heart that she wanted a natural childbirth. My parents had little money and she received minimal prenatal care from a clinic. At 45 weeks (yes, 45!) her water broke. At the hospital, she refused pain meds and delivered au naturale just two hours later. There was meconium in the amniotic fluid and the doctors wanted to keep me for observation. They told my parents I was desperately ill. However, when they found out my parents didn’t have insurance I was magically cured and sent home just a few hours later. For my brother and sister’s births, my mom went late again. Each time, she had insurance and better care and because she was seeing doctors regularly she was coerced into inducing at 43 weeks. She endured lengthy pitocin inductions with both of them but still refused pain meds. She also made sure they didn’t give her the surprise episiotomy she got during my birth. If my teensy tiny little wallflower mom can handle all that, I most certainly can!
I won’t get into the complicated mess that was my MIL. She was an extremely difficult (those of you who followed my sob story on the October forum know) and yet inspirational woman. She died this past May following a long period of drug abuse. When I first met her, she was one of the strongest women I’d ever met. She raised five utterly sensational kids on barely more than scraps. She gave birth to Izzy under a tree near Lake Tahoe with only his father in attendance (by choice).
Visiting Izzy's birth tree during our Honeymoon
She gave birth to his four siblings at home with MWs. She became a lay MW later in life and spent a great deal of energy spreading the word that women are powerful and capable. On occasion, she would tell me phenomenally beautiful stories about the births she had attended. While my own mother had instilled in me the confidence that my body could birth a child without intervention, she instilled in me the skepticism for the ways most doctors approach childbirth. Also, because Izzy has always been around natural birth, he has been my strongest supporter.
As a biologist, I have studied the form and function of the human body. I have also studied the processes by which nature has assured that each species has the means to reproduce. The c-section and induction statistics coming out of hospitals in this country solidly contradict my understanding that women are built to birth their babies unassisted at a rate that allows for perpetuation of our species. If 80% of women really needed inductions to safely birth their babies our species would have died out a long time ago. I also happened to go to school with an awful lot of pre-meds and I know for a fact that they are not gods. My obsession with research compelled me to begin collecting knowledge about childbirth the day Izzy and I decided to have a baby. The more I read the more convinced I became that we would both need to be active participants in our birth if we were to have any chance at achieving a natural child birth in this invention-crazed society we live in today.
When I reached the age at which I started to think about one day having my own children, I assumed I would do it much the same way my mother did. I knew nothing of MWs and homebirth wasn’t even on my radar. I figured I’d have my babies in a hospital without pain meds. Years later, when Izzy and I started talking seriously about having kids I was adamant about staying as far away from a hospital as possible. I started looking into alternatives and found that Albuquerque has a wonderful network of MWs and several birth centers. Little did I know, Albuquerque is a gem in a sea of seething natural-birth hatred. I looked into options in Tucson before moving here and found the one birth center in town. Upon getting our BFP, I contacted the birth center and went to an information-gathering class. We decided a birth center birth would be the best choice for us. I am a little uneasy about a homebirth because this is my first, my house is tiny, and I do not have a bathtub (I’m really attracted to the idea of a water birth). We thought about renting a tub but honestly, there’s nowhere to put it. Besides, our insurance won’t pay for a homebirth. Maybe baby number two will be a homebirth but for now it’s the birth center.
I love love love my MWs. There are six of them and I think I’ve met them all. They have never once made me feel stupid for asking questions. They are 100% behind every decision I’ve made. The birth center itself is lovely. It’s the same one Leigh (cactuswren) gave birth at back in July. My only qualm is their 41 week risk out policy. They are overseen by a high-risk obstetrics group and there is pretty much no way of getting around a hospital transfer if I go beyond 41 weeks. Knowing this and knowing my mother’s history of going well beyond 41 weeks, I fudged my LMP date a tad. Little lady has until 41 weeks and 5 days to be born at the birth center. I spent a LOT of time fretting about risking out earlier in this pregnancy. After a lot of soul-searching (and support from Leigh), I am now at peace with the possibility of a transfer. Izzy’s been a harder sell but I’ve now gotten him to a place where he understands that remaining calm about it will assist us in having the birth experience we desire. By sending myself into hardcore relaxation mode, I’m hoping she’ll decide to make her appearance no later than October 17th. If she doesn’t, I’ll have a joyous natural hospital birth. Fortunately, the hospital I’d be transferring to isn’t all that bad. Ironically, I’ve been having so many BH contractions it’s got me a little worried she’s inherited her momma’s impatience and is going to show up early! I hope fudging my LMP doesn’t come around to bite me and force me to transfer because they think I’m early!
I loved reading and learning more about you Erin! You have some beautiful Mexico wedding pics! Also what a neat pic under your DH's birth tree. What a story that is to tell about being born under a tree, very cool! Sounds like you are both very on the same page in regards with what you want during this birth.
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
Erin, that was so much fun to read! Who could take a break?! You are a really compelling writer. I'm so glad you have a lodge now so I can properly stalk you!!!!
I really enjoyed your intro!
Mommy to three gorgeous girls
at 6 weeks 22/10/09
Welcome to your lodge and thank you for sharing your story. I love your wedding pictures. Amazing!
Christy birth doula, Hypnobabies instructor, small business owner & most importantly MOMMY.
Thanks ladies! I'm excited to stalk my fellow October mammas on here as well!
My 36 week appointment yesterday went well. I met with one of the MWs I hadn't met, Cece. I really hope I've met them all by now! We liked her a lot. We talked at great length about what would cause us to transfer and what a hospital delivery would be like. Izzy was rather impressed with how she answered all our questions with both scientific evidence and personal experience. He's hoping she's on call when I go into labor.
Baby is looking good. She's lying somewhere around LOA as she has been for the past few weeks. I'm measuring a week ahead (according to my real LMP) as I have been all along. HB sounds good. My BP is great. I gained 4 lbs in 2 weeks according to their scale but this was my first afternoon appt and my weight fluctuates quite a bit during the day. I weighed myself this morning and my scale registered about 1.5-2 lb gain.
On our way home, Izzy nearly crashed the car making a quick turn into a See's Candy shop. He's a bit of a chocoholic! We then headed to the pet food store and stocked up on enough cat food to last until November. I desperately needed more maternity clothes (all my shirts are too short!) so we stopped by a second hand store and I got a few things. I really hope that's the last of the maternity clothes I need to buy!!!
My belly's poking out at the bottom of my maternity shirts too. Boo! I don't want to buy anything else. It must be because I'm carrying her so low though cause these are the same clothes I had with DS and I don't remember this problem.
Glad to hear you had a good appointment. My weight fluctuates so much from morning to afternoon. If it's after lunch, you can almost guarantee a weight gain that looks a little exaggerated.
That's so funny, I just got back from an appointment with Cece too (got an IUD)...she is super nice and really helpful--a great mw to do your birth plan appointment I would think! Glad you were both happy with how that went.
AWESOME to read your story and learn more about you after all this BC-specific chatting. Once your little girl arrives (yay!), you should definitely try to come to the Mom & Baby group at the birth center; it would be great to meet you IRL . I am loving it, and it's so nice to have a reason to keep hanging around over there...I started at two weeks postpartum. The thought of having no reason to be there regularly anymore was just too sad!
45 weeks, wow! With all of your and Izzy's knowledge and experience with NCB, though, I feel 100% sure that barring some unforseen medical reason, you are going to have a beautiful natural birth experience no matter where you end up having her. I have mentioned it before, but the #1 most helpful thing to me in sticking with my drug-free, medical-intervention-free birth was EDUCATION, and the conviction that came from it. You have that in spades; you have nothing to fear! It'll be intense, but it will be the most rewarding thing ever. And it sounds like your DH will be an amazing advocate, too.
Can't wait to follow the rest of your journey! And let me know if you are in serious need of maternity clothes...I just brought a few shirts and put them in the red giveaway box at the BC, and there's plenty more where that came from! I lived in dresses my last month because of the short-shirt issue, and pants getting so uncomfortable. Not sorry to be done with that part...although it's shocking how obnoxious dressing for NURSING can be...