3 months

My baby boy is three months old! 

And in that time I have resigned from my job, my husband started flying for a new company, we sold our home, moved to a different state, and as of yesterday bought a new house. Whew! 

When Walt was one month old I was “solo parenting” for three weeks while my husband was at training for his new airplane. I was scared at first but I absolutely loved that time with him. My favorite time was just taking a nap holding Walt every afternoon. And after doing all the feedings, changes, and middle of the night needs I felt pretty confident as a new mom! 

After my husband came back home the move was on! We packed up and moved into an apartment while we searched for a house. We found a beautiful brick home on three acres outside of a small town. Growing up a military brat I never had a hometown. I’m excited to finally settle in, create our home, and raise our son in small town America. 

Walt has been fantastic throughout this process. He still sleeps through the night and has transitioned to formula well. We started physical therapy for torticollis. He has a tight neck muscle from his position in the womb but he’s already making great progress! 

Overall, life is good. 

How to have a baby with a pilot

My husband and I have a sick joke that we do things the hard way. It just seems to be a common theme in our life. Our friends recently had their baby boy, who came on the due date. The dad commented “Six good pushes and he was out!” I laughed and told my husband, “Don’t expect it to be that easy for us.” 

Recently my husband has been confronted at work about when this baby was going to arrive. He’s an on call charter/corporate pilot and typically flies more than 20 days a month (including overnight/multiple day trips). His boss made a remark that he thought my husband has been lying about my due date because I’ve been full term for weeks and the baby hasn’t been born yet! Obviously this man knows nothing about babies even though he has two kids of his own. 

All along his company has offered their congratulations and stated they would keep him close to home the month of April. He’s been doing day flights (we call them out and backs) and a few overnight trips. Up until this week it hasn’t been a problem!

There is a notoriously awful client who decided they needed multiple airplanes for an international 2 week trip. Usually, my husband would be stuck with the airplane abroad for 2 weeks. Did I mention it’s to a country that’s currently in a war?! Anyways, the big boss and his wife are stuck taking the plane abroad because my husband insisted he needs to be in Pittsburgh for the birth of his first child. My husband still has to fly the first leg of the flight because of the long flight time so they can switch crews. It’s a complicated schedule with multiple crews in multiple countries with a client who typically shows up late and changes plans last minute and screws everything up. 

  
It’s pretty much my worst nightmare right now. I have a bad feeling my husband is going to end up stuck in Canada while I go into labor! 

I feel like the stress of his work not cooperating with us just might make this baby come! My mom is coming over just in case so I’m not in Pittsburgh alone. We’ve been waiting for baby to drop and last night I started feeling a lot more pressure down below. Today also is 39 weeks exactly so we’re really getting close to the big due date! 

I’ve always taken pride in my independence being married to a pilot. Heck, I’ve fixed busted pipes and broken down cars when he’s been out of town! But I really don’t want to deliver this baby without him. We worked way too damn hard to get here and he deserves to see his child born too.

Planning for after baby

I’m a planner. Which doesn’t always suit my life being married to a charter pilot. Over the year I’ve learned to let go of fixed dates and plans. That didn’t always work with our struggles to get pregnant (for example: husband missing day of ovulation, missing IUI attempt) and I have a feeling this lifestyle isn’t always going to be compatible with baby either.

My husband and I have had many discussions about parenting. We’re not planning on attempting to have any more children after this. I’ve been trying to soak in every moment of this pregnancy and I plan on doing the same with the early days of infancy. My husband gets called out on flights on little notice and is gone for extended periods of time. We’ve decided there needs to be one parent who is always there for baby. And I know it’s going to be me. 

I don’t mind putting my career on hold for the time being because this baby has literally been years in the making. I worked too hard to get here. I’m planning on going on maternity leave this April and as of now returning to the classroom January 2017. My husband’s contract at work is up at the end of this year so we’ll have a better idea of what will come next for our family. 

There’s also the question of birth control after baby. My first thought is WHY? What’s the point? Obviously I don’t need it to prevent pregnancy.

But after thinking about it, I’m almost leaning toward taking some form of birth control. For the three years of not being on birth control, I absolutely hated that feeling at the end of my cycle. Am I late? Did it work this month?! Only to be disappointed. Over and over again. Although I won’t be temping or tracking ovulation, I know myself too well to think that voice has disappeared. That’s where the vicious questioning of unexplained infertility begins. Why couldn’t/can’t we get pregnant on our own? What is wrong with us? 

I feel like taking birth control is my own way of taking charge of my fertility (or infertility). I’ll know for certain that this baby is and will be our one and only without a phantom dream of getting pregnant naturally. 

But I guess I have a few months to think about all of this. 

I can’t do it all

If infertility hasn’t already taught me this, I’m sure learning it with this pregnancy.

I’m definitely feeling pregnant. I’m feeling the limitations of my body. No matter how I stubbornly insist on doing things for myself, there are things I just can’t do. And I’m forced to ask for help. 

My husband left for a week long flight around the world. Usually I enjoy my alone time and I take pride in my independent pilot wife lifestyle. Yeah, he’s gone but I’m not stopping my life. 

This time is different. I told my husband I have a legitament fear of getting stuck in the bathtub (sciatic back pain is no joke!). We’re also projected to get a massive amount of snow later this week. Instead of busting out the snowblower, I’m stuck inside so I don’t fall on my big belly. I had to hire the neighbor boys to shovel my driveway this week. 

I don’t like this feeling. I hate asking for help. I don’t like having limitations. I’m the type of person who does things just because someone else says I can’t. 

But I have a feeling this is just the beginning. Being married to a charter pilot also means solo parenting for weeks on end. And I think that also means I’ll continue to admit that I can’t do it all on my own. 

Seeing infertility everywhere…

I’m in a book club. It’s part of my pilot wives support group online. We all can get pretty lonely at times when our partner’s are gone for extended periods of time with little notice. So a book club is a harmless way to stay connected and busy.

A few months ago we read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. If you plan on reading the book, skip this paragraph. If you have read the book, you know the main character Rachel is a divorced alcoholic whose husband left her after rounds of unsuccessful IVF and went on to impregnate his mistress. The book features complex characters with an interesting murder mystery story line. Every character is this book is flawed, much like real people. One of our book club questions was about the least favorite character. I read as the women in my group just tore apart Rachel for her lack of self respect and acts of helplessness. Yes, she messed up. A lot. She has some huge issues. But I didn’t feel the same way toward this character as the other women in my group. I empathized with her. I know that shitty feeling where you just don’t feel like you’re good enough. I know that empty feeling inside that Rachel described after not being able to conceive for years. She was broken. I know that feeling too. So I felt like I had to stick up for Rachel and that shut the conversation down.

Leaving-Time

This month we’re reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. Again, another murder mystery this time entwined with elephant facts. Harmless, right? Spoiler alert. As I’m reading the book I’m noticing a theme of pregnancy loss, grief, and death of a child. Not exactly what I’m wanting to read at the moment but it was a compelling enough story for me to finish the book. This passage about an elephant who just delivered her still born calf stood out to me as I read next to my sleeping husband.

“If you are a mother, you must have someone to take care of. If that someone is taken from you, whether it is a newborn or an individual old enough to have offspring of its own, can you still call yourself a mother? Staring at Kagiso [the elephant], I realized that she hadn’t just lost her calf. She had lost herself…. Nature is a cruel bitch.” p199

I broke down and cried. These imaginary characters and story lines are starting to get to me. I can tell myself that they’re not real, but for too many women it is real! The book described how elephant grief was a communal process. All of the elephants in a heard would mourn the passing of one of their own. They stayed together. They made sure they were taking care of each other for however long the mourning process was going to be. And of course, elephants never forget.

The book club started discussing our grieving process versus an elephant’s. I immediately thought about pregnancy loss. The elephant who lost her calf was surrounded by all of the other elephants. They all touched the calf. They all bellowed out in pain together. The mother was never alone.

Then I think about pregnancy loss in our culture. Until recently, it was taboo to talk about. Women still don’t announce pregnancies until after the first trimester and the largest risk of miscarriage has passed. Is this to protect the women or everyone around her? Personally, I mourned my loss alone. I didn’t reach out. I didn’t tell anyone. I had all of those terrible feelings that come along with pregnancy loss that I tried to just shove away. I wanted to just move on. And I found that in order to truly move on, I had to talk about it and grieve. And even though I lost my child, I still feel like a mother. Everything I’m doing right now is for my child. That’s what keeps me going through procedure after procedure.

So now I feel like the crazy hormonal lady in my book club that sees infertility everywhere. And gets waaay to defensive about fictional characters, in this case, an elephant. I thought I’d just share a little piece of my brain today and two books worth avoiding if you don’t want to think about infertility and pregnancy loss.

Expect the unexpected

Any Big Brother fans out there?

Expect the unexpected. That’s the lesson I learned from this cycle. The plan was: take letrozole, ovulate like I typically do on day 12-13 (4th of July weekend), IUI, success!

Here’s what actually happened: take letrozole, surprisingly don’t ovulate until CD 16 (what?!?!), miss IUI because husband is out of town on a flight.

Yep, no IUI this cycle. I went in this morning for a monitoring appointment and today should have been the day. Unfortunately, Marcus was dispatched out of town flying and won’t be home until tonight. We have absolutely no control of his flight schedule (since he flies corporate/charter jets) and can’t predict what days he flies. It just so happened every single airplane in the fleet was flying today. My doctor said we could go ahead and do the IUI tomorrow, but she said it would be just as effective to try on our own and line things up better next cycle.

I could go back and “woulda, coulda, shoulda” this cycle, but I’m not going there. Yes, I’m disappointed. But I’m pretty used to it after 2 and a half years of trying to get pregnant. And I’m pretty used to being let down by my husband’s work schedule. They are just things out of our control. We’ll just do the deed the moment he walks in the door tonight and hope for the best. It looks like two mature eggs this cycle so at least we’re upping the odds a bit. (Oh, did I mention my dad is staying the night at our house tonight… this should be fun)

So there’s the new plan. Oh, and we’re freezing his damn sperm next month! #pilotwifeproblems

keep-calm-i-m-a-pilot-wife

I laugh at the thought of doing an IUI while he’s own of town. I could tell me future child, “I got pregnant with you while your dad was in Florida!” hahaha.

A very expensive booty call

I decided last night to go ahead and fly to Florida today. Although we got a positive ovulation test Thursday, I want to be EXTRA sure we don’t miss the magical ovulation window.

And what the heck?! It’s Valentine’s Day and I’ll take any excuse to leave sub freezing temperatures and go to a beach!

Here’s to a weekend of baby makin’!

Timing

Being married to a corporate pilot I’ve learned to live in the moment. This is something I struggled with for years when he was just beginning his career in aviation. He’s on call 24/7, with few days off and little notice before he’s dispatched away for a flight.

I live without schedules, plans, planned vacations, or expectations for the most part. We literally take every single day as it comes, which has its upsides and downsides. I can say I’m more spontaneous but it also comes across as “flaky” to many friends who don’t quite understand. We miss family and friend gatherings every year and rarely RSVP correctly to weddings. It is what it is and I’ve lived it for almost 5 years now. I’m proud of how independent I’ve become and how much stronger I am because of this lifestyle. It’s what I know and I’m pretty apprehensive of how life would be with my husband home every single day!

So I pretty much had to tell our life story to my RE when we were deciding on which fertility treatments to move forward with. Because of my husband’s lack of work schedule and traveling for extended periods of time she suggested trying an IUI right off the bat. But we wanted to try a month of clomid and timed intercourse before dropping $3000 for a small increase in our chances of conceiving. And it gives us more time to bulk up our savings. So we decided to try clomid for a month and see if my husband can get his work schedule to ease up for our 2 week window of BDing.

Now my life of randomness and spontaneity is becoming planned down to every single day. I’m obsessing with which days or weeks my husband needs to try to be around, whereas before I learned to not do that for my own sanity and happiness. It feels so counterintuitive for me. Planning leads to being let down when he’s not able to be home.

I feel like I’m setting myself up for a tough February. Not only will my hormones be jacked up, but my hopes are high for baby making success and I’m expecting my husband to be home in an industry where that doesn’t always happen. I’m scared. I’m nervous. But I’m hopeful.

Infertility means juggling so many aspects of your life at the same time. Like I’ve said before, although there is physical pain I struggle with the emotional and mental pain the most. And now my peace of mind in our day to day lifestyle is being cracked open and exposed.

Unexplained pretty much sums up my life

Do you ever feel like you always do things the hard way? It’s almost become a sick joke at this point between my husband and I. When there are more than one way of doing things, we always do it the hard way. And not by choice.

I would LOVE to haphazardly have unprotected sex and WHOOPS! Now we’re having a baby! But unfortunately that’s not in the cards for us.

When we first decided to start trying to conceive, I remember telling my husband that I’m glad we’re so young because it might take a while… I don’t know why I ever said that. I didn’t know about our impending fertility issues. But I did know we always do things the hard way. Did I mention it was 106 degrees at our outdoor wedding at our beautiful ceremony sight that was destroyed by a tornado 2 weeks prior? Yeah….. There was a lot of photoshop used in the making of our wedding photos.

So today was our first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. After reviewing the tests I’ve already had done my doc filed us in the category of “unexplained infertility.” She prescribed more blood tests to figure out if I ovulate or not (because it’s a mystery to us all!) and an ultrasound to check cysts on my ovaries. The word surgery was thrown out there and that’s when my head started to swim. But let’s hope that doesn’t have to happen.

She also brought up our timing issue. My husband is gone for extended periods of time and some months we just can’t line things up right and miss that window. I call it prime time! And don’t even get me started on those stupid ovulation pee sticks…

Anyways, she suggested starting with an IUI because of my husband’s work schedule. Does anyone else have fertility issues on top of difficult schedules or traveling? I’m not going to lie, I would love to fly out to where my husband is stuck for work during prime time. Fun, but obviously not practical.

So I’ll go back this week to have an ultrasound and blood work. I’m praying everything comes back OK and I’ll join the clomid club and go from there! Ugh…. Always the hard way.

Google is not my friend

I successfully navigated most of our family holiday parties without breaking down in tears, saying something inappropriate, or avoiding them altogether. I only had one “break down and ugly cry” moment in the car driving back to Ohio. Of course, we were asked “the question” I mentioned in my last post. But I used my go to answer and the sting didn’t hurt as much this year. It could be because I prepped myself more this year or I’m just used to answering it at this point. Now to look forward!

Monday is our first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. I started fertility testing with my OB/GYN this past spring without any conclusions. When it got to the point of prescribing clomid, I opted to make an appointment with a RE. I have a history of ovarian cysts so I felt like this was a better option for me personally. I researched RE’s in town, heard recommendations from friends and online, and decided to go to the biggest clinic at the women’s hospital downtown. Plus it’s close to work! (Trying to be positive here)

Since I already did fertility testing with my OB/GYN, I needed to pick up my records to take to the new doc. Let me just reference the title of this post; Google is not my friend. I found myself devouring every page of my records google-ing every medical term I could find. And I freaked myself out.

My husband has been out of state at training for the past month, so I was home alone, bored, lonely, and obsessed with my file. I went over my HSG results (which we completely normal) and my bloodwork that said in large lettering “ANOVULATION.” Not good.

Then there were the ultrasounds. I had a series of ultrasounds done to check cysts in my ovaries. Those were scary. I won’t get into the details but after reading and google-ing I was left feeling like I had two busted ovaries.

So this brings me to my appointment on Monday. What was your first appointment with your RE like? I’m expecting a consultation, maybe we’ll go over past tests and a plan for treatments or further testing. I’m scared of being given a prescription at the first appointment. I’m scared of being tossed into a sterile room with a gown on without warning. I’m scared of having docs in my “lady business” right away, but I guess I should be used to it at this point?

And by the grace of God, my husband will be home on Monday and not on call to fly. Thank you airplane Gods. I don’t think I could do this first appointment without him. I’m a nervous wreck.

I put this appointment off for a few months just because of fear. Although the tests I’ve done so far weren’t painful, the process is. I’m scared of finding out why we aren’t having children right now. I’m scared of a diagnoses. I’m scared of feeling defeated. I’m scared of starting treatments and getting my hopes up. I’m scared of doing treatments and my husband not being home anyways (#pilotwifeproblems). I’m just plain scared. So there’s that.

Any advice or words of encouragement are appreciated! I like hearing from other women who have walked in these painful, ugly, and uncomfortable shoes. From what I read online, there’s hope for all of us. I’m just waiting for mine.