Sunday, March 18, 2012


I have decided to redesign my blog.  I'm going into the renovations without any specific idea of what I want my blog to become.  My hope is that my intuition will guide me as I go, so that I end up with a blog that is ready to tackle the next leg(s) of my journey.  There are a lot of other things I should probably be doing instead of working on my blog (working on Ian's nursery, writing thank you cards for gifts we got three months ago, coloring my hair), but for three months I've devoted all of my time to Ian and his needs...I need to devote a little "free time" to what makes me feel good.  Right now...that's my blog.

I have no idea how long it will take me to complete the renovations to the site.  I'm not even going to give an estimate because, as anyone who has ever had a bathroom or kitchen remodeled knows, these things always take much longer than expected.  In the meantime, I will continue to read my friends' blogs and to keep you all close to my heart.

One last picture of the Little Prince to keep you company while I'm gone.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Lately I've begun to wonder what is going to happen with this blog.  I've been following many blogs for the year (plus) I've been blogging.  Some blogs have gone private.  Some bloggers have opted to end their blogs for various reasons.  Those reasons include: having a baby and not having time to continue blogging, stopping the journey towards parenthood and finding it too painful to continue writing about that decision, finding that infertility is no longer a subject that dominates enough thought each day to warrant continuing an infertility blog, etc.  Some bloggers who have found their "happily ever after" change their blogs to mommy blogs.  Some say goodbye before signing off for good.  Some just stop writing one day.  Just as each journey is individual and each blog is individual, the right way to approach a "blog transition" varies based on the individual writer.  I guess the question is, what "blog transition" is appropriate for me.

I have NOT been blogging nearly as much as I used to.  I miss it terribly.  I don't want to stop blogging all together, as I find writing incredibly therapeutic and emotionally rewarding.  I've made the most amazing 'blog friends" over the last year and I feel like I continue to make more friends with each post I write and each post I read.  I don't think I can just quit writing this would feel like I was moving away from my friends and family.  That means I need to figure out what type of transition is appropriate for me.  The subject which dominates my thoughts these days is not my infertility journey, but the amazing outcome of that journey.  Don't get me wrong, I am still at a point where not a day goes by that I don't think of my infertility/egg donor journey at least once, but even so my blog could very easily turn into a "mommy blog," as I LOVE writing about my little man.  I feel weird about officially morphing my blog into that though, as I feel like it isn't staying true to the infertility roots of this blog.  I also have a major life decision coming up that I need to deal with, and I would love to focus my blog on that for awhile, as it is another journey of sorts (without getting too involved in the discussion, the topic involves the possibility of undergoing weight loss surgery), but that topic is only tangentially related to infertility and/or motherhood.  I don't think I'm up to multiple blogs when I have difficulty already being "present" on this one.

I look at my blog homepage and I think of all of the things I want to change visually.  I look at my blogger name (Princess Wahna Bea Mama) and I worry that it doesn't fit neatly into my situation anymore.  I am in need of change.  I need this blog to continue to reflect who I am and where I am at in my life.  I'm just not sure how to do that. 

So, what do I do?  I know the decision is ultimately mine, but I would LOVE it if blog friends...could give me words of advice, support, guidance, etc.  I have lots of blog friends at lots of different stages of their own journeys...through infertility and through life.  You all have a way of making me think about things that I overlook when I'm trying to analyze something on my own.  I would love any help you have to offer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mommy and Me Yoga

Ian and I had our first Mommy and Me Yoga class today.  It was a really special event for me, as the yoga instructor for the Mommy and Me class is the same instructor who taught my Prenatal Yoga class and the Yoga for Fertility class that I attended during my last two years of infertility treatments.  She has been an amazing support.  Her kind and calming energy has worked wonders for me throughout the years and, today, it worked wonders on Ian too.  He was so relaxed that he delighted the rest of the class with a symphony of flatulence.  I was really embarrassed at first...especially because he tends to smile and laugh every time he lets out a loud bout of gas.  But all of the other "mommies" were laughing and so I was able to relax and enjoy the humor of the situation.  Ian is quickly teaching me that I've got to just let go and roll with the punches.  He's going to turn my world all topsy's his job...he's a child.  I need to learn to enjoy the ride...and I'm already starting to get there.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ian's Birth Story (Unabridged version)

I’ve promised this post for awhile now, but could never seem to find time to write it.  I know that it has to be done though, as I am starting to forget the details of Ian’s birth…something I really don’t want to do.  The story is really long, but breaking it into several posts just didn’t feel right.

I want to give a quick disclaimer…I didn’t sugar coat any of this.  If you are going to have a baby and you try to avoid people’s labor and delivery horror stories, you probably should avoid this.  Mine was by no means a “horror” story, but it wasn’t pretty either.  And…as with most things…my experience was my own.  Just as women experience infertility differently, I think the same is likely true with giving birth.  Also, skip it if you don't want to see a picture of a newly born baby.  I have an edited version (so as to make it G rated) of our very first picture of Ian in this post.  I had considered leaving it out, but this is my blog and my story and it feels right to me to have a picture to go with my words. 

For those of you who still want to share in this story, and are willing to commit the time to reading the whole thing, I hope you enjoy.


As most of you know, I went into labor at 30 weeks and was already four to five centimeters dilated by the time the doctors caught it.  I was hospitalized and placed on bed rest, trying to keep my “bulging membranes” from breaking.  At 33 weeks of pregnancy, my contractions were consistently measuring at three to five minutes apart.  However, I had only dilated one more centimeter during the three weeks I was in the hospital.  The day I hit 33 weeks, I started feeling really crappy.  I was more crampy than normal, felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t seem to shake some serious grumpiness.  I threw up breakfast and barely kept down lunch.  When I had my fetal monitoring it showed that my contractions were consistently two minutes apart.  But an internal examination revealed that my cervix hadn’t dilated further.  Everyone assumed this was just my normal super-slow labor. 

The next day, I felt the contractions change.  My back became sorer and I was having a tough time ignoring the contractions.  I took Percocet…something I had been doing a good job holding off on up to that point.  One of the resident doctors felt my back and hips and told me my pelvis was separating more, likely causing the pain, but that it was all perfectly normal “late pregnancy stuff.” 

That evening (December 2nd), my friend (an awesome massage therapist and fellow IF sister) came to visit me.  She gave me a light massage to help ease the back contractions.  It was such a blessing to get a quick break from the pain.  She commented that she could really feel the contractions in my back.  I appreciated the validation as I was feeling like everyone was so used to me being in labor that I was beyond getting any sympathy when things got more uncomfortable.  When my friend left, I told my husband that I was feeling better, so he went home to get some sleep.  Within an hour, I was calling the nurses into my room.  I couldn’t explain what was different about the pressure and pain I was feeling.  I just knew something had changed.  One of the residents checked my cervix again and said it was about six centimeters dilated still, but she could feel my contractions very strong internally.  I was moved from the antepartum floor to a labor and delivery room, just to be safe.  I called The Prince.  He initially said “Call me back and let me know if it is real labor.”  I can't tell you how angry I was at that response.  Luckily, I wasn't the only one who was angry about his response…my nurses were livid that he wasn’t immediately coming to be with me.   So, during my second call, when I was still bickering with The Prince over whether he needed to come to the hospital or not, one of my nurses took the telephone and told him he needed to get his butt to the hospital “NOW,” regardless of whether I was having the baby that night or not.  By 11:30 p.m., The Prince was in the labor and delivery room with me (on his best behavior).

I was given two doses of medication to stop/slow my contractions and received yet another internal exam.  I was still only six centimeters dilated, but the baby had moved down two stations.  My contractions were between one and three minutes apart, and were lasting about 45 seconds.  That was when the nurse from hell was assigned to me.  We'll call this woman “B” (and I won’t comment on what that “B” stands for).  B was the only labor and delivery nurse I have ever met that I despised.  She started right out telling me (and The Prince) that this wasn't “real” labor because I clearly wasn't experiencing the kind of pain women experienced during “real” labor.  I explained to her I was on week three of constant contractions...I didn't feel my pain reaction was likely typical.  She was unconvinced and kept pushing me to take pain medication and additional medications to try to stop the contractions.  Finally, at 3 a.m., I was so angry I asked to speak to my doctor.  Dr. C was out of town so his partner, Dr. S was my doctor for delivery.  She was in the middle of a triplets c-section, and so a resident (actually two residents) came in to talk to me instead.  I explained to the residents that, after three weeks, I knew what was status quo for my labor and what was not.  What I was experiencing was of the “not status quo” variety.   The residents encouraged me to take some pain medication so that I could get some sleep, but they would not agree with B (who really irritated one of the residents by repeatedly interrupting her while she was talking to me) that I should take more medication to slow the contractions.  The residents agreed with me that, if this was “true” labor, taking too much of that medication would only prolong delivery and increase risks to the baby.  I explained that I wasn't going to take any pain medication because I wanted to wait until I spoke with the doctor (Dr. S), so I could be clear-headed during the important conversations.   B left the room in a huff, saying I should just call her if I needed her.

From 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., The Prince and I dosed on and off.  My contractions were really intense, but there were two minute breaks between most of them and I could sleep during the breaks.  With every contraction, I breathed and worked on visualizations I had started practicing during my hospital stay.  I considered calling the doula, but decided against it because something inside of me felt like I needed to get through what I was experiencing on my own.  At 6 a.m., B started with her crap again.  A nursing student was shadowing B and it was all I could do not to make some nasty comment about how B was the last person who should be training someone in patient care.  The contractions were increasing in frequency again and I was starting to waiver on whether I wanted pain medication or not.  What I was not wavering on was my distaste for B.  The Prince kept telling me that I should ask to be assigned to another nurse, but honestly, I didn't see the point because, after hours of B telling me that I wasn't in “true” labor, I was starting to believe her.  I didn't want to be the “pain in the ass patient” if this wasn't the real deal.  I held out on the pain medication because people kept telling me Dr. S was on her way into the room. 

At 8 a.m., Dr. S came to my room and took a history of what had happened over night.  Again, B kept chiming in with her opinion, but Dr. S didn't seem to pay attention to her.  When Dr. S did her internal exam, she turned to B and said: “Get the room prepped.  She's at eight to nine centimeters and the baby is coming.”  And at that moment...a huge, pivotal moment in my life...the only thing I could think of was…“SUCK IT, B!!!”  Seriously.  That was my immediate thought…”Suck it you stupid, mean nasty lady!  I was right and you were wrong. Hah!” 

And then the petulant two year old in me stepped aside and I put on my big girl pants (figuratively) again.  Immediately panic set in.  I was really going to have this baby.  After weeks of “false alarms,” this was it.  I was going to be a mother…and we were going to find out if our baby was okay.  I asked to get up to go to the bathroom because all of the sudden I had to pee like a race horse (and the panic was making me feel like I would die if I stayed on the bed/table any longer).  I was told “No” but I got off the bed and went to the bathroom anyway.  They couldn't really tackle me and, at the time, it didn't bother me in the slightest to pee in front of a room full of people.  I quickly realized, of course, that peeing wasn't relieving the feeling that I was so sure was a full bladder and being squatted over the toilet was not the ideal position when the baby was moving down.  So, I hopped back onto the bed/table and scooted down as directed.  Dr. S informed me that it was obvious my water wasn't going to break on its own, so she would need to break it for me.  I consented...happy to find some relief from the building pressure that was quickly overtaking the pain of the contractions.

Dr. S took something that resembled a crochet hook out of a sterile bag and proceeded to break my water.  I felt a quick pinch and then a huge rush of warm water between my legs and down my butt.  Dr. S said “There’s really a lot of fluid” as we kept waiting and waiting for the waves of fluid to stop coming out with each contraction.  The Prince just kept saying “Holy crap!”  I had to laugh at the look on his face…his expression was something between “I’m gonna’ throw-up” and “Cool!”  I was relieved to hear that the fluid looked good and clear.  Then…the first “transition contraction” hit.  Suddenly, I was the one saying “Holy crap!”  I told Dr. S “Something’s wrong,” and Dr. S replied “No.  You’re just having your baby now.”  I said the only thing I could think of… “I want an epidural,” and I was informed that we were well past that point.  I explained that they didn’t understand.  I REALLY NEEDED an epidural and would have asked for one earlier if I had only known that the baby was coming.  Dr. S was unpersuaded by my pleas.  She also denied my request for pain medication, explaining that taking any pain medicine at that point wouldn’t do any good and would only slow the baby’s respirations.  I begged The Prince to make them understand (as if he had veto power in the room).  But, ultimately it became clear that no one was listening to my complaints and I was going to have to just grit my teeth and do it…have that baby. 

I tried to distract myself by staying focused on all of the people who had come into the room to prepare the incubator and emergency equipment for the baby.  The room was full of the NICU team (which consisted of about eight people), three nurses who were taking care of me (inclusive of B and the nursing student), Dr. S and a resident.  My husband (and his camera) were at my left, while all of the NICU team and the nursing student stayed at my right.  Dr. S, the resident and B remained positioned at my feet/between my legs.    

I’m not sure exactly when Dr. S told me that she needed to help the baby…before I started pushing or after a couple of pushes.  It’s a bit hazy.  But I do know that she had to reach inside and pull the “lip of the cervix” up and around the baby’s head because he was stuck on it.  There was so much pain and pressure at that point, I couldn’t tell what sensations were from reaching or pushing or pulling or baby scooting.  I just knew that it felt like there were bicycle handlebars wedged between my hips, trying to come out my butt.  That was exactly how it felt to me…and I repeatedly said so to anyone who would listen to me.  They kept “shushing” me…telling me to conserve my energy so I could push the baby out.  I was pretty sure there was no way I was getting the baby out.  (And I was pretty vocal about that belief, too, the entire way through my delivery).

When Dr. S had me start pushing, I had no clue what I was doing.  I thought I knew…bear down like you are trying to poop, right?  That’s what I had always heard.  Well…whoever used that as advice on how to push a baby out has a very different bowel system than I do.  I started out pushing like I was trying to take a poo (P.S.  All that worrying I did about actually pooping on the table was wasted energy…as when the time comes…you could really care less if you are taking a giant poop right on the doctor’s head, so long as the baby comes out).  I was quickly scolded by B that I wasn’t “placing my energy in the birth canal.”  Apparently I was “using my face too much.”  Who knew that I poop with my face?  (By the way, you will know if you used your face too much when you are done because you will have tiny and huge coin sized spots all over you face where the blood vessels burst from straining.  Mine show up in every picture of me with Ian for the first two weeks of his life).  So…by trial and error…I slowly figured out which pushes were wasting my time and energy and which ones got things moving in the right direction.  Of course by trial and error I mean B telling me what a crappy job I was doing whenever it was wrong.  I yelled at her repeatedly in between contractions, telling her she was mean and “not helping.”  The nursing student took over the counting for the pushes because I think everyone in the room knew my feelings about B about two pushes in.  The nursing student was awesome and upbeat, but I still struggled. (By the way…my “pushing advice” would be…you will know you are doing it “right” when this God awful guttural sound comes out of you, leaving you to look around to try to figure out where the Exorcist noises are coming from.  I could never mimic that vocalization if I tried…but it came out of my mouth from somewhere deep in my stomach…and it got that baby moving fast).

Every time I had ever talked with anyone about labor or watched a show about a baby delivery, the woman was always depicted as pushing to the count of ten and then relaxing and breathing.  No. no.  You push to the slow count of ten…three times in a row before you get a break.  I was NOT prepared for that.  I eventually gave in (of course) and pushed for over 30 seconds at a time.  But initially I resisted and argued that I had been the victim of false advertising regarding what delivery entailed.  I would quit after ten seconds…only to realize that your contractions don’t quit just because you think you need a break.  When your body says “Push!,” you push whether you feel exhausted or not.  When I think back to the “pushing,” it seems like it went on forever.  But I remember saying to The Prince, when it was all done, that it seemed like it only took a few pushes.  In reality, I pushed from a little before 9:00 a.m. to 11:01 a.m.  I’ve been told that two hours of pushing is considered a really quick delivery.  God help the women who push for longer.  They must be in much better shape than I was in.

The thing I really remember the most clearly about the delivery, is how The Prince behaved.  I had been so concerned about whether he could be emotionally present and sympathetic and helpful during labor and delivery.  He was AMAZING!!!  When I was crying that I couldn’t do it (and B was saying “You have to!”), The Prince would get my attention and would hold my hand and say “You are doing it!  You are doing so amazing. You are having our baby.  I love you.”  Over and over he repeated that…meaning it (or at least convincing me of it) every time.  He really kept me going.  He also did a great job helping me hold my left leg up.

Which brings me to my next gripe about delivery.  No one told me I had to hold my own legs.  Sure there is a person holding each leg at the knee, but during delivery they tell you to reach under your thighs and pull them back towards you, rounding your back into a “C” shape.  So…essentially you are holding a serious crunch position with a pregnant belly, and pulling your legs to you from around that pregnant belly, for at least 30 seconds at a time…over and over and over.  I did prenatal yoga…didn’t prepare me for holding that position.  I thought I had to do the pushing and the hospital bed and people at my legs did the rest.  I thought wrong.  When they say a mother brings her baby into the world…they aren’t kidding.  The mother does the work…lots of work!

So…fast forward to 11:00 a.m.  I was spent from pushing.  I was certain that baby was not going to come out and I was going to need a c-section because I was too tired and in too much pain to push.  I told everyone I was going to try one more push, but I knew it wasn’t going to do anything because I had nothing left to put behind it.  I didn’t even hold the push a full 10 seconds.  I just couldn’t do anymore.  That’s when Dr. S said “Reach down and touch the baby’s head.”  I said “Yeah right.”  I hadn’t felt the “ring of fire” that everyone talks about experiencing when the head crowns, so I thought they were just trying to keep me from quitting by tricking me.  Plus, I always thought it was pretty gross in natural birth videos I watched, when the baby’s head was hanging out of the vagina and the woman was reaching down there to touch it.  I always felt like there was no reason to do that when you could cradle the baby a couple of second later…after it was out of your vagina.  Then, I heard The Prince say “There he is,” and Dr. S said again “Reach down and touch his head.”  The Prince (who is never forceful) grabbed my hand and moved it towards the bottom of the bed and said, through tears “Touch our baby. You can do this.”  I moved my fingers a couple of inches and there it was…a wet, hairy little head.  That was all it took.  I drew up strength from God only knows where…strength I was certain just seconds before that I didn’t have…and with one quick push the baby was out.  I get it now…why the mother reaches down to touch the head.  That first touch seals the deal…it causes your body to surge with a strength and a protectiveness and a love for that baby that allows you to do absolutely anything (even push some stocky shoulders out).   

I heard The Prince ask “Is he okay?,” and then I heard a cry…a gorgeous, strong cry…of a baby with mature lungs that wasn’t fighting to breath.  I didn’t get the “baby on the chest moment” that I might have had if Ian had been born a couple of weeks later.   And The Prince was not offered the option of cutting the cord.  Ian was born at 11:01 a.m. on December 3, 2011.  He was 33 weeks and 2 days old…premature enough that time was of the essence in getting him into an incubator and cared for.  Thanks to my gestational diabetes, he was a chunker and he weighed 5 pounds and 13 ounces (initially reported on my blog incorrectly as 5 pounds and 11 ounces).  

Ian enters the world...not the friendliest greeting.

The extent of assistance Ian needed to breathe was the clearing of his lungs...the same thing all babies need.
The NICU team quickly wrapped Ian up like a mummy in Saran Wrap, to keep his body from losing heat too quickly.
This is how Ian looked the first time I saw him, when the NICU team held him for me to see before whisking him away.

 As soon as Ian was out in the world, The Prince’s attention shifted solely to Ian (as well it should).  I, on the other hand had been sufficiently assured by the NICU team that Ian was safe and on his way to the NICU, so I drew my focus back to what was going on with me.  The NICU team told us it would be an hour to an hour and a half before we could see Ian, so I felt I had that much time to rest.  Hah!

No one told me you had to deliver the placenta too.  I have watched calves and puppies be born, and always the afterbirth/placenta slides right out after the baby animal comes out.  I just assumed the same happened with humans.  Not so.  And, in my case, my uterus was so stretched out from three weeks of contractions, it couldn’t contract enough to get the placenta out.  Even with an increased oxytocin drip, Dr. S had to reach inside of me and “gently coach” the placenta out with her fingers while the resident pushed on my stomach (my very sore stomach).  I also had an excessive amount of bleeding (it looked like someone was murdered at the bottom of the bed and all over the wall behind the doctor’s stool) which had to be stopped with additional hormone infusions.  Once the placenta and bleeding was taken care of, it was time for stitches.  At that point, I said “Now that the baby’s out, is there anything to prevent me from getting some pain med?”  Dr. S said I could have some Stadol and B brought it to me (after dropping it on the floor the first time).  While B was giving the medicine she said “See.  I’m not so mean am I?”  To which I replied “No.  You’re just judgmental and condescending.” (Go me!)   Ultimately, the tearing was pretty severe.  I had to have six internal and seven external stitches.  Interestingly, I whined about the pain of the Novicane needle going into the vagina during the stitching process.  You would think that after having a baby, you could handle any pain with ease…but that stupid needle really hurt.  By the time the stitching was finished, it was past 12:00 p.m. and The Prince was anxious to see Ian in the NICU, so I hopped in the wheelchair, made a quick stop in my room, and away we went to the next floor up in the hospital. 

In the elevator, on the way to the NICU, I told The Prince that if I ever got it in my head that I wanted to try to have a vaginal birth ever again…shoot me.  I promised myself that I would never forget how “awful” the experience was.  And yet, by the next day, the memory of the pain was starting to fade.  I have heard it said, and I think it is true, that women have to forget the childbirth experience or there would never be enough babies to populate the world.  I am writing about how painful things were, but I don’t “feel” the pain.  You know when you think back to breaking a bone or endometriosis cramps, and your body feels the pain a little just because you think about it…like the trauma of the pain stays in your body for future reference?  Well…that doesn’t happen with childbirth.  Within a day or two my memory of the pain had significantly faded and had been replaced by a hormone high that I can’t even describe.  I have to admit, there is something strangely empowering about having gone through that experience.  The Prince acknowledged it.  For weeks after Ian was born The Prince would occasionally look at me, smile, and say “You did so well,” or “You are amazing!”  He’s right.  If I had known what was involved in childbirth, I would have said “I can’t do that.”  In fact…I did repeatedly say I couldn’t do it as I was doing it.  When you have a baby, you find a strength you didn’t know existed.  No one can ever take that away from me.  And...if I had to go through the delivery experience every day, for the rest of my life, in order to keep my sweet Ian with me, I would do it in a heartbeat.