I think I’ve written about 5 or 6 blog posts by now about our newest fertility plan developed with the help of our doctors, so I think we’re on about Plan G by now, right?
This week marked two important appointments in our family life: (1) the 3-month follow-up visit with the OBGYN after my miscarriage in May, and (2) an official evaluation of S’s speech by our state Early Intervention program.
With the OBGYN, basically it was just a discussion of whether or not my periods have resumed normally since the miscarriage (answer: yes, although it took a while so I’ve only had one), and discussing a plan for moving forward. Since I got pregnant so quickly last time around, my husband and I are a little more relaxed about trying on our own for a while. But, also since I got pregnant so quickly the last time around, we didn’t have time to do the tests the RE had suggested to check my hormone levels to help figure out a course of action. Since I’ve still got at least two conditions potentially affecting my fertility (irregular periods, which I’ve had for a while and have now gotten pregnant with three times so they don’t seem to be that much of a problem, and my scarred fallopian tubes, at least one of which is clearly still functional), it’s a little hard to know how to balance trying on our own with upping the ante on the infertility side of things. Our fertility history is neither the greatest nor the worst, so it seems likely that I’ll eventually be able to carry another pregnancy to term… but I’m also approaching 35, so we don’t want to mess around too much. The OBGYN said she’d just run the Day 3 labs herself, and I thought that sounded good because assuming they’re normal I’ll feel a little bit more relaxed about ovarian reserve and might be more comfortable trying on our own even as I cross the magical age 35 line into Advanced Maternal Age (gasp!). Since we’re traveling to visit our in-laws this week and I’m expecting my period sometime in the next couple of days I might have to wait until next month to do the labs, but no biggie there. So, at least for now, the plan is for us to try on our own for 6 months assuming the Day 3 labs are normal, and then if nothing happens head back to the RE for a new plan. We’ll see how it goes.
The Early Intervention evaluation also went well. The two evaluators who showed up at our house Tuesday afternoon were lovely — clearly experienced, comfortable with each other and with kids, and very thorough. They ran S through a whole battery of tests checking every area of his development. Other than a brief intervention from me when S decided it would be a good time to chug-chug-chug his train into the dog who was minding her own business sleeping on the living room floor, he behaved very well and wasn’t too shy with the evaluator even though he’s usually shy with new people. The upshot is that he has a mild speech delay, something to keep an eye on but not bad enough to qualify for state services. The tests confirmed what I’d thought, which was that there’s an enormous gap right now between his comprehension and his production. He scored 95th percentile in receptive language, but only 9th percentile in expressive language. The evaluator told us that there’s some evidence that having good receptive language skills is one positive predictor of a kid who will just outgrow a speech delay with time, although of course it’s not guaranteed. They are sending us some materials in the mail about how to help encourage his speech development, but she said we’re already doing a lot of the big things like encouraging communication with sign language, reading to him, and exposing him to the rich environment of daycare where he’s around other kids who are talking more. They also recommended that we talk to our pediatrician about having his hearing tested — the evaluator said that even though his receptive language suggests that he’s hearing just fine, she’s seen other kids that “fooled” them in the sense that even though they understood a lot, just a little tweak in their ability to hear got them to distinguish much better between different speech sounds and really set them off on a language spurt. So, we’ll work on getting that set up when we visit the pediatrician next week.
Otherwise, we are having a lovely visit this week with my in-laws in the Midwest. Traveling with S this year is just infinitely easier than traveling with him as a 6-month-old last summer — seriously, after our visit last summer I wasn’t sure we’d ever come back, but now that he’s a curious toddler who just wants to soak up every bit of attention from his doting grandparents and play with all the toys that Grandma has been scrounging off of Craigslist and enjoy zoos and parks and other such outings… he’s having a blast, which means I’m much more relaxed too. I still find it really hard to let Grandpa and Grandma take charge, especially where safety is concerned. They wanted to take him for a ride on the train this afternoon, and I just couldn’t stand seeing Grandma holding him up quite *that* close to the tracks while the train was pulling into the station, and then when we were walking through a really crowded place later I just didn’t want to be more than arms reach away from him because I was afraid he would get lost in the crowd, and I couldn’t help but grab his hand anytime he wandered more than a couple of steps away from them. I know Grandpa and Grandma are very careful with him, but somehow I just can’t keep myself from worrying all the time. I mean, I worry about leaving him at daycare, but (a) I do it every day so I’m kind of used to it, and (b) usually I don’t have to watch other people take care of him while I hang back. I also know Grandpa and Grandma aren’t as quick or steady on their feet as my husband and I are, and they don’t know all the ways that a toddler can be quick and wriggly, so I hover. They freak out about all the wrong things (like when he’s walking in a goofy way down the sidewalk and Grandma thinks he’s going to fall over when he’s clearly not), and don’t know to worry about the actually dangerous things (like the fact that he has zero sense of self-preservation and is liable to fling himself out of their arms when they hold him out to see the train, or dash into an impenetrable crowd of strangers with no warning). I try to control myself, but I can’t help it. That’s been the hardest part of this visit, honestly. But it’s still a major improvement over last summer when nobody was sleeping and S cried the whole time and then Grandma cried because she was so sad that he was so sad while visiting her. Looking back, I’m pretty sure he was getting like four teeth at once and going through a sleep regression on top of the travel stuff, but at the time I was afraid we’d broken our baby and that this cranky miserable sadness was going to be his personality forever. Ha ha, first time parent kookiness. 🙂 This year he’s back to being my sweet little boy, and I love seeing him so happy with his grandparents.
One thing that helps is that he is finally saying “mama” (which is basically his only recognizable word other than “uh-oh,” “up,” and “yeah”) and it’s the sweetest sound in the whole world. I mean, I know that seasoned moms can get annoyed by constant cries for “mama, mama, mama!” but for me, it’s still very new and incredible. When he reaches for me and says “Mama!!!” it just totally melts my heart. He knows who his mama is, and he makes it clear that I’m his rock (with Dada as an acceptable substitute most of the time). Being his mama has been the most special relationship of my life, opening a completely new dimension into my understanding of love, and to hear him call for me and know that he feels towards me at least a little of what I feel towards him is just pure magic. This is such a special time of life with our little boy. Even as I navigate spending time with in-laws and plodding down the long and winding road to completing our family, every so often I step back and just marvel in amazement at the wonder of this little human we created. He’s incredible. He’s just a normal toddler, but to me, he’s the biggest miracle of creation. Parenting seems to be an exercise in turning the most mundane things — diaper changes, snack time, waking up at 4:30am with a jetlagged ball of energy — into the most miraculous parts of being alive. I know some moms are bugged by the old ladies who tell you to “enjoy every minute of it,” but when a checkout lady at Home Depot gave me that line last week, I was able to reply honestly, “Oh, I do… almost every minute!” I really do.