Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

When we started the ultrasound I could clearly see that the baby had its legs crossed. The sonographer confirmed that indeed our baby was not going to give away any secrets at the moment. At our last ultrasound, our bean slept the entire time so on the advice of other moms, I ate chocolate at 8am in the hopes baby would do a happy dance from trace amounts of caffeine and sugar.

While waiting for the baby to uncross its legs, the sonographer examined in great detail the entire anatomy. She pointed out the 4 chambers of the heart, the spine, 10 tiny fingers, 10 little toes and the 2 hemispheres of the brain. She giggled when the baby moved its legs or flailed its arms saying our bean was very cute.

Perhaps there was a note in our file but while examining me, she stated that she too had undergone IVF several times with no success. My heart broke for her. This poor lady has a job that requires her to see beaming pregnant ladies all day long and stare at their precious babies on screen. We both offered our sympathies to her. As luck and life would have it though, she did have a miracle baby of her own...6 years after giving up fertility treatments. After sharing my ultrasound experience with friends who are expecting, I truly feel that I have had amazing technicians who took time to explain everything in great detail. Today was no exception and I sense that our technician knew just how anxious we were because she too, had been in our shoes.

As she approached the baby’s bottom she asked again if we wanted to know the sex of our baby.


I can tell you with confidence because the baby has shown me its gender several times during the examination.

My immediate reaction was that we were having a little boy. Surely the great gender reveal was a penis during her examination!

‘’It’s a beautiful baby girl’’, she exclaimed.

And just like that, we became the proud parents-to- be of a girl.

I know that I don’t have another experience to compare with but I don’t feel for 1 second that the magic of finding out the sex of our baby was any less significant than it would be at birth. I was in a dreamlike bubble the entire day. The following night we went out for dinner to celebrate our daughter otherwise lovingly known now as Princess Bean.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Case for Cloth

My husband and I have known for some time now that we are going to be using cloth diapers when our little bean comes into this world. Much to my surprise, whenever I mention this fact to friends and family I am not greeted with encouraging words but rather with cynicism. The comments I hear most frequently include:

1) You're crazy to do that. Do you know how many times a day a baby needs to be changed? Those cloth diapers are expensive.
2) I'm not convinced. Think about how much water you're wasting by having to wash those diapers. that's not better for the environment.
3) Cloth diapers are so messy. You are going to have to scrape poop and have wet pails that smell up your entire house.
4) You don't know what it's like to have a newborn. They are so much work. Why would you give yourself additional work?

I didn't want to take this decision lightly because in some respects they are right. Cloth Diapers are more work. Just like having to wash my dishes or load my dishwasher is more work. If I could just use plastic plates every night and throw them in the garbage then my evenings would be significantly easier!

So in response to some points raised. Here are my counter arguments:

1) Yes. A newborn baby needs to be changed approximately 12 times per day and then as they get older, maybe 8 times per day. From birth to 3 years of age one child will use 5000-7000 diapers or more! The average cost of disposable diapers is $2000-$3000 per child ranging from $0.30 to $0.45 per diaper. Cloth diapers can cost you as low as $300 to approximately $1000 depending on what style you choose, how many you buy and whether you use a diaper service versus home laundering. Cloth diapers usually pay for themselves within a six month period. And of course they can be used for a second or third child

2) Disposable diapers are the largest non-recyclable component of household garbage. One child from birth to 3 years of age will create approximately 3 tons of garbage if using disposable diapers. In Canada, over 4 million disposable diapers are discarded per day (1.6 billion per year)! Disposable diapers make up the third largest source of solid waste in landfills (after paper products and food containers) and may take up to 500 years to decompose. Also, the human waste is going into our landfills (which is actually prohibited by law). Instructions on disposable diaper packaging recommend shaking fecal matters into the toilet before disposing the diaper. This is rarely done.

Washing a load of diapers once or twice a week is roughly equivalent to flushing a toilet five times a day for a week.  I will also be choosing biodegradable detergents that do not contain phosphates. Waste water from laundering your own cloth diapers is far less harmful to the environment compared to the waste water from manufacturing disposable diapers (plastic, pulp and bleached paper).
3) With today's new cloth diapers, no need to scrape poopy diapers and use wet pails. While a baby is breastfeeding, the diapers go directly into the washer. As they get older and eat solids, you can also choose to use biodegradable liners avoiding any rinsing of poopy diapers. Just take the liner, flush it down the toilet and throw your diaper in your pail liner. Several decades ago, wet pails (pails filled with water) were used to store diapers waiting for laundry day but now it is recommended to keep the dirty diapers in a dry bag. On laundry day just take your pail liner to the washer, turn it inside out and dump the diapers and the bag in the wash. Today's diapers also have easy velcro or more big pins and bulky material.
4) Yes babies are a lot of work but the only difference is doing a an extra load of laundry every 2-3 days. What is the difference when you are already doing so much laundry? Studies concluded that cloth diapers encourage babies to potty train faster than disposables, because with disposable diapers, the babies seldom feel any wetness or discomfort.The materials are breathable and do not contain superabsorbent gels (sodium polyacrylate) or toxic chemicals such as dioxin that can be found in disposable diapers. Dioxin, a by-product of the paper-bleaching process, has been linked to cancers, birth defects, liver damage and skin diseases. Babies in cloth diapers are usually changed more often because it's easier to tell when they are wet. This usually results in less diaper rashes due to bacteria and ammonia coming in contact with the baby's skin.
I understand that cloth diapering is not for everyone and I certainly don't claim to commit to using cloth diapers 100% of the time. I am sure there are instances (like on a 7 hour plane ride to Europe) where we may use a dispoable. The point is that I am going to try my best.

I am shocked that in 2010, my environmental choice is greeted with comments that I am crazy instead of kudos for trying to do a bit extra to help our planet.
Information quoted from:

Environment canada
Ottawa Cloth Diapers

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So Relieved

After some humming and hawing, I decided that the pains I felt on the weekend were too strong for me to ignore so on Monday I called my OB's nurse with my concerns. Much to my surprise she said she completely understood by worries and that she would see me within a couple of hours to check my baby's heartbeat.

Thank you Canada for the amazing gift of public healthcare

Within 2 seconds of placing the probe on my belly, I heard the heartbeat. ''There it is'', she said smiling.
That was all I needed to hear to make everything right in my world again.

she also gave me the great news that our IPS results (integrated prenatal screening) for down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and neural tube defects came back normal.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The mysterious case of the disappearing baby bump

IfI have to be honest - I really don't *feel* pregnant these days. I think that seems weird to say especially given that today, of all days, is Mother's day. Some of my other non-ivf pregnant friends are just "channeling their inner peace of motherhood"' as one referred to of their pregnancy.

In my head, I know that I am pregnant and that as of 2 weeks ago, my baby's heartbeat could be found on the doppler. So why is it that every time I have a period of 2 weeks or more that goes by without confirmation, I get worried? Can I realistically chalk it up to having struggled with infertility and the constant worrying that goes hand in hand with ivf?

I really felt like I was growing a little baby belly last week. Even some of my colleaues (granted they know I am expecting) commented on how I was really showing now.

Then suddenly I woke up yesterday to literally have a flat stomach. Ok..perhaps a flat stomach that could use a pilates course but definitely not  a defined belly bump that was visible all week. Did I imagine it? Am I mistaking my growing baby for gas? For one too many Dairy Queen blizzards?

I have finally decided that all this worrying is not doing me any good and so I took the plunge and rented a doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. There are mixed opinions on them since some women claim it gave them the exact reassurance they needed and others get a bit worried when they cannot detect the heartbeat immediately.

I feel this is exactly what I need until I too,can "channel my inner earth mother".

I am also going to make an effort to stop comparing my body to others. I feel hurt every time someone says to me "you're so small. I have REALLY popped by now". "OMG, I totally felt little flutters at like 14 weeks".
ps: I am calling your bullshit on that if it's your first child.

Maybe I am worried about my disappearing belly for no reason. I certainly hope so.