Tag Archives: birthday

One big step closer to tenure

Guess what?  My department unanimously voted in favor of my tenure case today.  Hooray!!!

To back up a bit, there are four steps to tenure at my university: the department recommendation, an “advisory” committee of faculty from across the university, the university president, and the board of trustees.  In practice, the department and the university committee are the two major hurdles: if you have positive recommendations at both of those levels, it is extremely unlikely (though not impossible) that you’d be denied at the president/board level.  It makes sense — after all, your department presumably contains the people on campus who know the most about your research and how to evaluate it, while the other faculty are the ones who can look at the big picture of your research, teaching, and service within the broader context of how the university functions, and keep an eye on any shenanigans that your department might be undergoing.

I knew that my department had to make its decision and give its recommendation to the university-level committee by February 15, but I didn’t know when they were going to make the actual vote until this morning.  Since I’m still on parental leave, I haven’t been around the department much (I’m currently making trips to campus about twice a week for a couple hours at a time to meet with my thesis students, and that’s about it).  This morning I drove to campus to walk our dog while pushing baby L in the stroller (campus is only 3 mi from our house, and it’s a nice place to walk with actual sidewalks, unlike the area around our house which is on a busy road).  As I was loading baby, dog, and stroller back into the car at the end of our walk, my department chair walked out to the parking lot, offered to hold the dog’s leash while I juggled baby and stroller, and nonchalantly told me, “Oh, by the way, the department will be meeting to discuss and vote on your tenure case this afternoon.  Is it OK if I send you an email about it afterwards?”  I was like, “Um, yes, please don’t keep me in suspense!”  Then he cooed at the baby and the baby gave him a chubby-cheeked grin that was totally adorable (good job buttering up the chair, baby!).

I mostly managed to keep my mind off of it for the rest of the day — childcare is a great distraction.  I picked up S from daycare at 4, and took both kids to our local children’s museum, which was lovely (L fell asleep in the baby carrier on my chest, leaving me free to engage with S).  But as soon as my husband finished working and my kid-juggling responsibilities eased up, I was glued to my phone waiting for the email, which came in around 6:30pm.  It was short, just informing me that the department had voted 3-0-0 in favor of my case, saying congratulations, and reminding me that the university committee was the next step.  Phew!!!  I immediately decided to take the big kid out for ice cream to celebrate while my husband put the baby down for his last nap of the day (and yes, we brought ice cream home for my husband).  I texted my mom and three friends to let them know the news, and enjoyed the congratulations rolling in.  It sounds like the celebration will drag out a bit, since one friend offered to bring dessert by this weekend to help celebrate, and another wants to celebrate next weekend — since my birthday falls in the middle of the two weekends, I find this a most desirable state of affairs!

So, that’s the news!  As I’ve mentioned before, tenure has been this big heavy weight hanging over my head, and it’s such a relief to have successfully cleared the first hurdle.  Please send good vibes to the university tenure committee, which will meet to evaluate my case sometime in the next couple of months!

HSG #3

Well, folks, do I get a prize for surviving my third HSG today?  They are always super-fun, of course, but actually today’s was basically a non-event — catheter/balloon placement was not even a little bit painful.  Not sure whether the difference is due to having had a full-term delivery since my last one or whether I just had a magical doctor doing the placement, but hey, I’ll take it!

As for the results, they were very good — better than I thought I could expect, really.  Both sides spilled dye almost right away, and the radiologist told me there was really only a little bit of scarring noticeable and only slight dilation on the left.  I don’t know if it’s even possible, but this HSG seemed much better than the one three years ago, when the dye only partly spilled and they told me I had a partial hydrosalpinx on the left.  So, good news, I suppose!  Although also no magical interventions to help this process go faster, presumably.

There was one thing that came up on the HSG that I am interested in asking my doctor about when I see her next week to debrief about this 3-month testing ordeal.  The radiologist pointed out to me some synechiae on the fundus of my uterus.  They were pretty obvious — it looked like a little notch taken out of the top of my uterus with little fingers poking out on either side.  He said, “With a history like yours, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a little scarring,” and seemed to mostly downplay it.  But scarring and uterine irregularities are some of the main known and treatable causes of RPL, so I’m wondering whether it’s significant enough that the RE might want to do something about it.  I’m also wondering why it didn’t show up on the SHG I had in December.  So, that’s something to bring up at my appointment on Tuesday.

And with that, I’m done with testing.  Hooray!  No obvious major problems, which is good in a way, but which also means no obvious solutions.  I’m sure I’ll update more after my follow-up appointment with the RE this coming Tuesday.  I’m expecting she’ll just tell me to go away and try on our own for six months or something, but who knows?  I am turning 35 this weekend, so maybe she’ll be more likely to want to intervene to step up the pace?

In other news, the semester is in full swing, I’ve got two big gen-ed classes and a seminar this semester with >100 students altogether, we just got back from a lovely weekend visiting dear friends in Boston, and next weekend we’re off to Texas for a conference, with kiddo in tow as we visit friends.  S is experimenting with two-word phrases, continuing his “hide and seek” obsession phase, and just generally getting ready to turn two in a couple of weeks.  I’m finally feeling like I’ve come out of the funk of last fall, when the weight of my dad’s death on top of two miscarriages in a row just put me over the edge.

As I’ve gone through all the heartbreak and waiting of the past 9 months, I often just take a step back and reflect on how fortunate I am to have S with me this time around.  He is the light of my life and the apple of my eye and all the cliches in one tiny little toddler-shaped body.  Whenever I am with him, I soak up the snuggles, knowing he’ll be too big too soon. There is never a moment that I take his existence for granted.  I continuously marvel at what a miracle he is.  And he gives me hope that someday this process just might work again and we might add a whole new layer of love to our beautiful family.  I have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to hope for.

The First Year

Hard to believe it, but the first year of my son’s life is past.  No longer an infant, he’s officially a toddler.  He decided to take his first four steps on his birthday, and watching him wobble from the kitchen island into my arms was an amazing moment — literally walking towards me, but figuratively taking steps away from his babyhood and into the little boy he is starting to become.

What a year.  It’s been hard, of course… but not as hard as I feared.  Mostly, it’s been amazing and surreal.  I still look at my son every so often and marvel at this little human, this creature who now exists and didn’t before.  This person who grew inside my body.  I wonder what’s going on in his mind.  I wonder what his life will be like as he grows.  I delight in watching him discover the world, discover his new capabilities, discover communication and connection.

He is his own little person, developing his own quirks and preferences.  He snuggles by rubbing his forehead against us (where “us” refers to my husband and me, our dog, his stuffed animals).  We discovered on his birthday that he has a healthy skepticism of helium balloons, which appear to defy all the laws of physics that he has come to know through experience.  All week we’ve watched him come to terms with the unnerving balloon in our living room, first glaring at it while pressed into my shoulder, then eyeing it warily while he played, then gradually moving closer, then touching it and recoiling as it drifted back towards him, then eventually grabbing it and giving it a good shake.  He’s cautious, but becoming an explorer.  Those first steps have been followed by an occasional one or two here or there, but he still prefers the speed and certainty of crawling.  He’s not saying any words yet, but he’s demonstrating that he understands a surprising amount of what we say to him.  He knows who Mama, Dada, Goldie (our dog), and Nana (my mom) are, he knows how to clap his hands (even if we just tell him without showing him), how to shake, how to dance, how to put one block on top of another, how to give us a toy (even if he doesn’t always want to), how to “come here,” how to “go get it,” how to snuggle, and how I ask if he wants to nurse.  He makes his wishes known if he wants us to read a book again, or press the button so that his stuffed elephant will sing again.  He is eating a wider variety of solids, and strongly prefers to finger-feed himself, generally refusing a spoon (unless it’s mommy’s spoon with mommy’s food on it). This week he ate blueberries, kiwis, clementines, quesadillas with beans, cheese, and avocado, polenta, toast with peanut butter, graham crackers with cream cheese, and a ton of fruit and veggie puree.  He is still skeptical of squash and green veggies that are not in pureed form.

My attempt at gentle night weaning has been a rousing success this week — after his birthday, I started nursing him for one minute less each night, and after the night when I fed him for only three minutes on each side, he just… stopped waking up.  Last night was night three of a solid 11-hour night without a feed, and without any fussing that required us to go in to comfort him.  All of a sudden my little guy is sleeping on his own, and it’s glorious.  He seems better rested and is sleeping longer too!  Now if only he’d nap longer than 30 minutes at daycare…

I love this little guy to the moon and back, and can hardly remember life without him.  Sometimes it takes my breath away how much I love him.

And… we are officially trying to have a sibling for him.  That’s probably a subject for a whole other post, but I am fully expecting it to be a long haul.  So we’re getting started now, planning to try on our own for a while before going back to the RE when he’s somewhere around 18 months.  I’m approaching this attempt much more like a marathon than like the furious, desperate sprint to get pregnant as quickly as possible after his sister died.  I just turned 34, so we don’t want to wait forever, but we can afford to take it slowly for a little while.  To be honest, I’m not exactly eager to jump into having two kids right away, even though we know it’s something we want in the longer run.  We’ve just hit our stride with one, and rewinding back to the newborn days looks daunting, to say the least.

In the meantime, we have an amazing little boy to enjoy and to care for, who fills our lives and our hearts to the brim.  We are so fortunate.  What a difference a year makes.

A Plan

Today we had our last scheduled appointment with our local OBGYN group, two days before my due date.  We got the full workup (ultrasound, NST, exam) and discussed The Plan from here on out.

The results of the full workup are that baby is looking great, positioned in the same optimal birth position he’s been in for a few weeks now (lying with his head square on my cervix, facing my back), and my cervix is starting to change, but is not yet considered “ripe.”  (For those who like numbers: 1.5cm dilated, 40% effaced, -3 station.)  Of course, cervical info like this is nearly meaningless — it’s entirely possible that left to my own devices I’d stay at the same numbers for weeks, and it’s also entirely possible that I could go into spontaneous labor tomorrow.  But it was encouraging to hear that something is happening.

Then came the talk about The Plan.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but the doctor just came out and said, “OK, I know you have a preference for Dr. X in our practice.  She’s on call next Wednesday, when you’ll be 40w6d.  What if we start cervical ripening Tuesday night and plan to induce on Wednesday?”  I agreed, they scheduled it, and it’s on the calendar.

It all happened so fast I didn’t really feel like I could think it through in the moment, but now I have some very mixed feelings, probably because I feel like this is a problem that just has no correct answer.

It’s a little earlier than I’d wanted, but only by about two days — I’d been ready to ask for cervical ripening to start at 41w0d, followed by induction, so this is two days earlier.  Two days isn’t a lot, but given where I am in pregnancy, it could very well be the difference between spontaneous and induced labor.  Or not — the problem is, there’s just no way to know.  Since two days is unlikely to make a substantive difference, maybe it’s worth it to have the doctor we prefer… but not if induction winds up leading to an otherwise avoidable C-section (not that there’s any evidence that this would be the case — the best recent studies indicate that induction at 41w does not increase the risk of C-section even with an unripe cervix).

In my ideal world, I’d rather go into labor spontaneously.  But there’s no guarantee that that will happen, or even that it’s what’s best for my baby and me.  After all, my mom waited, wound up going past 42 weeks, needed an emergency C-section, and I almost died.  So it’s not like waiting for spontaneous labor necessarily gives me a get-out-of-jail-free card for poor labor outcomes.  Waiting until 41 weeks seems like the best compromise according to the data — so one or two days earlier is probably negligibly different.

Another thing on my mind, of course, is the anxiety.  I’ve woken up in the middle of the night three times in the last week in tears with worry about my baby.  My nightmare (literally) is that I’ll wake up one day, won’t feel him move, and we’ll go in and he’ll be dead.  I know he’s alive and healthy now, and I want him out while he’s still OK.  I’m already in the regime where stillbirth risk is rising, and even though it’s still small overall, having had a baby die inside me with no warning once means that I just don’t want to take any unnecessary risk, even a tiny one, of having it happen again.

As I’ve been thinking about it today, I realized there may be a middle ground.  I know that the risks of induction leading to C-section are higher with an unripe cervix.  Given the slight dilation I have already and the excellent positioning of the baby, I’m hoping I’ll make progress by next week, but I just don’t know at this point.  So my slightly revised plan is to ask to go in for a cervical check Monday or Tuesday before they start the cervical ripening, to find out if my cervical status has changed.  If it has, I’ll feel much better about going forward with the induction.  If it hasn’t, maybe I’ll check on the call schedule and see if one of the other doctors I’ve felt reasonably comfortable with would be on call if I waited a couple of days.  There’s one doctor I definitely don’t want, and another that I probably don’t want, but either of the other two would be fine with me.  The only problem with this plan is that I think (although I haven’t confirmed) that they will not want to induce me on the weekend, which only gives me a couple of days of wiggle room unless I wanted to wait until Monday (which I’m not sure I do, and which my husband has already said makes him a little nervous). But getting to ask the questions would be reassuring.

At least for now, I’m happy to have a date on the calendar, and to know that there is a plan that everyone is OK with that would involve me holding a baby by late next week (fun fact: if all goes according to The Plan, it’s very likely that my son would share his birthday with his father!).  I’m also happy to feel like there’s some flexibility in the plan — the doctors I talked to today emphasized that I can call and ask questions anytime in the next week, and that changes in the plan were possible.  So for the moment I’m reasonably content to sit back and wait to see what happens.  Who knows… maybe I’ll go into labor in a few days and all of this will be moot anyway!  Point is, my son will be here soon, in a matter of days, not weeks.  And when I put it that way, it’s a pretty amazing place to be.

Birth Day

Don’t get too excited by the title — baby is still on the inside!

Tomorrow is my birthday.  It’s also the anniversary of my daughter’s due date.  It’s also the official “full term” 39-week mark in my pregnancy with my son.  Quite the triple-whammy of extremely mixed emotions.

Last time I wrote, I said I was mostly relaxed, content to wait for a while to meet my son.  Well, that equanimity has gone out the window this week, I can tell you!  Two of the last three nights, I’ve woken myself up crying in the middle of the night, the first time because I had a dream about delivering my daughter last year, and the second time because I was worrying about my son being stillborn.  The anxiety about wanting to KNOW that he’s arrived safely is starting to get to me, especially since I know that I’ve reached the upward slope of the U-shaped curve of stillbirth — even though the absolute odds of stillbirth are still low (about 0.5%), they’re increasing with every week that he stays inside, and will approximately double over the next two weeks.  I want to be patient and wait for spontaneous labor, but I also want to induce and get him out while I know he’s still OK.  A lot of my anxiety is coming from the fact that I never did settle with my doctors when we would induce if I don’t go into spontaneous labor (which I so far show no signs of doing, although obviously it’s still early). I find myself fearing that they’ll try to make me go to 42 weeks, and I just don’t want to do that.

I want to induce no later than 41w0d, which I think is backed up by good science.  I would probably chill out even more if the induction date were set a few days earlier, but at least right now I feel that I will completely panic if they try to make me go later.  Not only am I worried about stillbirth, but I’m also worried because my mom went more than two weeks overdue when I was born, and I went into fetal distress and almost died after her emergency C-section (it’s not clear why, but might have had to do with an aging placenta).  And when I say I almost died, it’s not an exaggeration — my mom was a labor and delivery nurse at the time (now she’s an OB/GYN nurse practitioner), so she knew that what was happening was truly scary.  It involved Apgar scores of 1, 2, and 2 (as my mom likes to say, it was the only standardized test I ever flunked).  Apparently I was the giantess of the NICU for a few days (since the NICU is mostly full of preemies, and I was the one huge post-term baby).  The very fact that my mom went late with me means that I’m more at risk for going late with my baby, and the fact that I have a history of placental abruption means that I’m at higher risk for placenta-related problems in this pregnancy.  Taken together, these things mean that I want this baby OUT before something really bad has a chance to happen.  Not to mention that I feel that giving birth to one dead baby is more than enough for one lifetime, thank you very much, and I’m happy to accept the risks of induction (which at this stage do not include an increased risk of C-section, it turns out) in exchange for a lower risk of stillbirth.

Phew.  OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest…

I’m trying to relax and enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy, but it’s really, really hard as my anxiety ratchets up.  It’s also poignant to experience the anniversary of my daughter’s due date and my birthday in my hugely pregnant state.  It makes me think about where I am in life: tomorrow, I turn 33.  I would also be celebrating my daughter’s first birthday this month (probably this week) if she hadn’t died.  But of course, she did, so I’m not — even though I consider myself her mother, I’m still “childless” in the eyes of the rest of the world.  I’m finally on the brink of giving birth to a living baby, but he’s not actually here and safely in my arms.  Yet because birthdays make me think about life in a broader sense, I can’t help thinking ahead to my next pregnancy (if there is a next one) — my husband and I have always hoped to have at least two children, and IF our son is born healthy, we plan to start trying for #2 around his first birthday, since it took us 2.5 years to get to this point with him and I have known tubal scarring that will make conceiving again tricky.  That means that in all likelihood, I’ll be at least 35 by the time our second baby is born (if, indeed, we are lucky enough to get there at all).  When we first started talking about kids, back before I turned 30, we said we wanted two or three, and we were going to start having them right away.  We planned, and God laughed.  Now, as I turn 33, my biggest hope and dream is that our baby boy will finally join our family sometime in the next two weeks… it seems like too much to hope that he might have a little sibling in the next couple of years, but I can’t help but dream about it and hope that things don’t get too much more complicated as I get older.

So, in the meantime, I wait.  I will say that my birthday tomorrow is looking very exciting!  First, I am planning to submit the paper I’ve been working on to the journal — it will feel so good to get that done before the baby arrives!  My coauthors have been really great about doing their share of the last-minute work to make sure it’s ready for submission, and it feels like a nice, solid piece of work.  I’m really quite happy with it. Tomorrow is also a big day in science because of the expected announcement of the first-ever detection of gravitational waves!  This is huge news, guys — extremely likely to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physics over the next few years.  I’m planning to watch the press conference live at 10:30am EST, and I invited the rest of my department to come watch it projected on the big screen in our library along with me.  Assuming the rumors are true, it’s going to be a pretty spectacular scientific birthday present!  Then, of course, I officially hit “full term” in my pregnancy tomorrow, which is exciting in its own way.  In the afternoon, my husband and I get to go talk to lawyers to do the super-fun job of drawing up a will (we’re being responsible future parents!).  And then my husband is cooking me my traditional birthday cake, the same one I’ve requested for three years running.

In the meantime, I’m trying to take a deep breath and coast through these last days (please, let it only be days!) of pregnancy.  I’m still feeling fine physically, still capable of tying my shoes and walking my dog two miles a day, and more or less able to sleep at night.  I mention this not to gloat, but rather because I only seem to read about how physically miserable all women are at the end of pregnancy — I’m not, and I want to make sure my own positive story is out there in case it makes anyone feel less apprehensive!  My main discomfort is just that I’m slightly obsessed with poking my baby all the time to make sure he’s still kicking.  Poor kid.  Hopefully I’ll be able to update you soon with pictures of him on the outside!

Due Date Detective

Calendar_0Quick poll: How many of you already know what your due date would be if you got pregnant this month?  Basically, I want to know how crazy I am along this particular dimension.

Today I thought about it, told myself I wasn’t going to do it, and then did it anyway — I checked my hypothetical due date.  Thanksgiving!  How poetic!  Last month was Halloween.  I’ll probably be gunning for a Christmas baby next month.

When you’re keeping close track of ovulation anyway, and you always know exactly how many DPO you are (5 for me today, in case you’re not keeping track), it’s hard not to be curious.

Thanksgiving would be very sweet, although again not so awesome with the whole academic calendar thing (not that I care!).  Our daughter was due on my birthday, and I’ve written before about how excited my husband and I were about that due date — since his birthday is not quite two weeks after mine, we were going to be a February family.  My grandmother’s birthday was the day before mine, and I always loved that bond that we shared.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers (who has three kids under the age of 7) was in my office chatting and somehow the subject of his kids’ birthdays came up.  He mentioned that when his daughter was due close to his birthday, he suddenly felt very protective of his birthday, like he didn’t want to share it with her.  I don’t think he remembered that my daughter was due on my birthday, but it made me feel sad, and not a little bit jealous, to think about how I felt about my daughter’s due date compared to how he’d felt about his: I would have been thrilled to share a birthday with my daughter (not that the odds were high — I know the chances are tiny of giving birth exactly on your due date).  I would gladly have yielded all birthday celebrations to my little girl.  But as with all of these thoughts that pass through my mind, I didn’t feel like I could say anything.  There was an awkward pause, and the conversation moved on.

So now every month, even though I know it’s silly, I check, and I daydream a little.  Maybe we’ll have a living baby to be overwhelmingly thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Maybe I’ll be huge and uncomfortable and my husband will have to be the one helping my mom with the cooking the way I usually do.  Maybe someone else will have to make the hard sauce this year.

Or maybe we’ll still be trying.  That would be around the time we’d hit our 1-year, back-to-the-RE date: officially secondary infertility.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.  For now, I prefer to daydream about our Thanksgiving baby.

The two week wait after loss

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Amen! (Except math. 7×14 days is only like 3.5 months. But otherwise I agree.)

I really thought I was over the two week wait anxiety.  You’d think I’d have learned by now that there’s no rushing biology.

Speaking of which… has anyone else had the embarrassing experience of realizing how hopelessly naive they were about reproductive biology before they started trying to get pregnant?  I know I can’t be alone… I remember seeing this study making waves in the media around this time last year.

The last time I received any formal instruction in reproductive biology — around 10th grade or so — it was mostly designed to freak me out about how easy it would be to get pregnant, how it might only take one act of unprotected sex, and BAM!  A baby.  (With the implication that my education and life would be effectively OVER.)  In 8th grade we all giggled at the old condom-over-the-banana act, and in 10th grade we collectively blushed while labeling the parts of the male and female reproductive systems, but at no point do I remember learning about the mechanics of ovulation and the timing of baby-making sex.  You’d think someone might have mentioned it.

As a slightly neurotic, academically oriented, driven and ambitious young woman, I was, I now realize, absurdly and excessively cautious about birth control.  I insisted on condoms, even though I was on the pill (which is just good practice for preventing STIs, but honestly I was mostly worried about pregnancy).  As a 26-year-old, my then-boyfriend convinced me that we should try sex without a condom — he told me he’d pull out in time (oh, what famous last words!).  Predictably, one time he didn’t.  I freaked out, and ran to the drugstore to buy plan B the same day.  Did I mention I was on birth control pills?  We hadn’t even had unprotected sex.  But I was taking no chances.

Intellectually, I knew bad things happened with fertility and pregnancy… I just didn’t think they’d happen to me.  People had been telling me my whole life how to avoid unwanted pregnancy, so I naturally concluded that once I wanted it, pregnancy would be as easy as falling off a log.

Snort.

And that brings me to the two week wait.  In our early days of trying to get pregnant, when I still wasn’t really sure how ovulation and implantation worked, I whipped out my first pregnancy test at 7dpo (by the way, I had no idea when ovulation was at that point… I still thought my cycles were going to be regular 28-day cycles and guesstimated accordingly).  Eventually, as my cycles got weirder and waits got longer, I did some reading about fertility rates per cycle, sighed, and settled in for the long haul.  I learned to relax and think about other things while I waited to get pregnant, knowing that it was normal for it to take a few months.  I thought I was over the two week wait, really I did… until now.

I ovulated on Saturday.  Every day, multiple times a day, I wonder if I’m going to get pregnant this cycle.  I know I probably won’t.  We timed sex perfectly (day of ovulation and one day before — thanks, OPKs!), but even so there’s only about a 30-40% chance it’ll happen this cycle.  And that means that more likely than not, I won’t be pregnant, and we’ll have to try again.  I fully expect it.  And yet, there’s a treacherous little piece of me — OK, a big piece of me — that thinks, “Yeah, but what if…”

For better or for worse, I seem to be one of the lucky(?) women who gets an early hint from implantation bleeding.  Before my pregnancy with our daughter, for both cycles using the OPK I experienced very clear implantation bleeding a week after ovulation (I suspect the first was a blighted ovum).  That means that I’m freaked out for this weekend, waiting to see if the telltale smear of blood will appear on my towel after my morning shower.  If I see it, I’ll be even more anxious the following week while I watch my temperatures every day and wait to take a test.  If I don’t, I know I’ll keep thinking “Yeah, but what if…”

Why is this suddenly so much harder after loss?  Part of it is good: I have hope again, finally!  Now that we can try, I want to try!  All of a sudden, our baby might be only nine months away!  (If we get pregnant this cycle and it sticks, it’ll be a Halloween baby, in case anyone is wondering.)  It feels like the early days of trying to get pregnant, when every cycle might bring our longed-for baby.  But part of it is desperation: I’ve waited so long now, surely it must be my turn!  What if I’m not as healed as they told me I was?  What if there’s some lingering damage from my train wreck of a pregnancy that is keeping me from getting pregnant?  Do I really have to wait another year before going back to the reproductive endocrinologist?  I need help, people!  To sum it up, there’s a lot of anxiety underlying the getting pregnant process after our loss.  (And I’m sure there’ll be even more anxiety if we ever get to the being pregnant process again… but that’s a subject for another post or six.)

Anyway, that’s where we are today.  In two hours, the calendar will flip to my birthday / due date.  I’ve been weepy today, and I suspect I will be tomorrow.  Also in the background is my worry that stressing over the birthday / due date combination is going to reduce my chances of implantation this cycle.  But I’ve got a long (9am-9pm) workday ahead of me, so at least I’ll be staying busy.

Solidarity fist bump to those of you out there who are struggling through the two week wait after loss.  If you’ve got any tips, please share!

My Birthday / Due Date

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My morbid black birthday cake?

My birthday is this week.  My birthday is (was?) also our baby’s due date.

Birthdays have never been a big deal for me.  I’ve enjoyed every age that I’ve been — some more than others, but I’ve never been bummed about moving on to the next one.  This is the first one that’s felt like it comes with a ticking clock.  I’ll be 32 this year.  I know, I know, lots of women don’t have their first baby by 32, especially these days, especially academics.  Still.  We started trying to get pregnant when I was 30, and in some ways it feels like we’re actually farther away from being parents now than we were when we started.  When time slogs by in months — from cycle to cycle, with 9 months of pregnancy ahead if we ever get that far (oh, how I hope the next one lasts nine months!) — years start to seem short.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about our parents’ birthdays.  My mom and my husband’s parents are going to be such wonderful grandparents, but as they enter their mid-60s I wonder how much time our future children will have to get to know them.  My first grandparent died in his 60s.  One died in her 70s.  Another in his 80s.  And the last a year ago in her 90s.  There’s no predicting it, of course, and they’re reasonably healthy so far, but as our parents start to creep up on those ages — while we spin our wheels in the land of pregnancy loss and infertility — I worry.

And of course, there’s the very obvious absence of our daughter this February.  My husband’s birthday is almost two weeks after mine, so odds are that our daughter would have been born in between our birthdays.  We were so excited about being a February family.  When I was pregnant, I used to daydream about my birthday.  I had imagined how uncomfortable I’d be — but how joyful I’d be as well.

That said, what makes this birthday / due date double-whammy a little easier to deal with is the good news we had on Monday.  All of a sudden we’ve gone from months of bad news and uncertainty to good news and hope.  This week also marks our first attempt at getting pregnant.  If I do get pregnant this cycle (unlikely as that may be), I’ll feel as though it’s partly our daughter’s doing — a gift from her as she encourages us to move on with our lives.