I’m knocked up again.  This was an “accidentally on purpose” development for us.  You see, back in the middle of November, after eight months of breastfeeding my daughter, I weaned her.  I was trying to wean her for six weeks prior to that, honestly, but the stubborn little butt just wouldn’t take any formula, even mixed in with her mashed up bananas.  I had always thought I’d breastfeed for the entire first year, but here’s the God’s-Honest: breastfeeding was making me a crazy person.  I felt trapped by my own child.  I couldn’t have a day off, an evening off.  It didn’t help that I also had a crazy over-production of breast milk that made everything painful, wet, and leaky if I didn’t shove my nipple in some kind of sucking device every three hours or so.  I was stressed, exhausted, and, though I was a stay-at-home mom, I felt like I had been stapled to my baby, my “spot” on the couch, and my living room.  I was in prison.  Worse, I was in solitary.  I was snapping at my husband, feeling like I was the only one responsible for keeping our child alive and healthy, which was unfair to him and way too intense for me to handle on my own.  Weaning was hard decision to come to, but ultimately it was the best decision for us.

<Sidebar> This overproduction of milk, though, let me do something really rewarding, but really difficult while I was nursing.  I donated 240 ounces of breast milk to Mother’s Milk Bank of Ohio.  That’s almost two full gallons of human breast milk.  It was a very time-consuming and hard process, but I’m glad I did it, if only to have had the experience.  Also, it was a great way to use up my extra milk.  There was no way that my daughter would have been able to drink all of my milk that I had pumped and stored up before it started to sour [every day, I was pumping an additional 8-10 ounces, on top of the 30 or so she was getting every day. I’m apparently part bovine on a genetic level], and this way, I get to have a great story of how the woman in charge of the local milk bank smiled at me and said that my donation was “like Christmas” for her.  “Until you came in, we didn’t have enough to run our pasteurizing tanks.  Now we do!”  That made all of the hassle of sanitizing and pumping and cleaning and freezing and labeling really seem worth it.  I don’t think I’ll do it again, though.  Because it really *was* a gigantic hassle. </Sidebar>

But then the decision to wean was just kind of made for me, several ways.  First of all, early in November, I contracted the worst UTI of my life.  Delivering my daughter vaginally damaged my bladder (I’ll talk more in depth about that in a later post).  My nerves on the inner sphincter to my bladder (the part that connects your urethra–your “pee tube”–to your bladder) got damaged from the delivery, and consequently, they atrophied.  It was a process that started during pregnancy (I had both stress incontinence [Oh, shit! I sneezed and peed myself!] and urge incontinence [Oh, shit! I had to pee and couldn’t make it to the toilet!] while I was pregnant), and one that can’t be fixed with Kegels (So, friends and ladies, though I know you mean well, kindly quit chirping, “Just do Kegels!!” to me when I open up about my recent and lasting relationship with Poise Pads.  I get it.  I do ’em.  All the time.  And still just pissed myself. Thanks for the tip.).  Anyway, these weakened bladder muscles mean that I am more susceptible to UTIs and other infections because I’m more “open” down there and exposed to any wandering bacteria that want to move in and take up residence (and they actually do call it “walking bacteria.” No shit. That’s a real medical term.).  So I got this UTI.  Within an hour, I went from, “Hmmmm.  I feel like something may be a little off” to pissing blood.  My pee looked like cranberry juice.  It was midnight on a Friday, and my husband had to pack me and our daughter into the van and take me to the emergency room, me now doubled over in pain and certain that I had cancer in my lady-parts.

The ER doctor said that my urine was the worst she had ever seen.  “Awful.  Just awful.”  She gave me an IV drip, and started Morphine, because I was in so much pain (Morphine, by the way, made me completely stone.  I kept telling my husband that I was wearing football shoulder pads.  That my shoulders were out in front of my body.  I wanted my shoulders back in place.  But on the plus side, I had forgotten about my burning peepee.).  Then she started prescribing antibiotics.  A lot of antibiotics.  And then four days later, the hospital called me and said that they wanted me to continue my current run of antibiotics, but start an *additional* round of them, because it turned out that my UTI was drug resistant to the other two I was already on.  Technically, they said, I could continue breastfeeding, but my daughter would get diarrhea.  Bad diarrhea.  And my body wouldn’t be able to filter out all of the meds.  So she would get those too.  I decided that was it.  Before I started my third round of antibiotics, I breastfed her for the last time, crying into her hair and trying to explain to her why she was going to be unhappy the next few days, why this had to happen so suddenly, and apologizing for not living up to my end of the bargain, apologizing for secretly being relieved that I had a legitimate excuse to stop this beautiful, but exhausting ritual we had.  Three minutes into her feeding, while I was still blubbering, she was already asleep.  I put her in her crib, and I knew that she would be okay with this next phase, this new development.  “It’s okay, Mama.  I just want you.  Just you.”  And I was right.  Three days after I started my antibiotics, our little girl was taking all of her bottles with ease, and my husband could finally start putting her to bed at night. (He is now the champion of bedtime.  I can put her down, and she’s up and crying after an hour.  If he puts her down, she’s comatose until 9am.  I don’t know how he does it, but I will make him continue to do it forever.)

But as I said before, it wasn’t just the UTI that inspired me to wean my daughter.  It was also motivated by talk of conceiving #2.  You see, in order to get pregnant the first time around, my husband and I had to undergo fertility treatments.  We tried on our own for six months, after which I happened to mention to my gynecologist that there was nothing regular about my cycles, and he recommended us to a fertility specialist.  After a battery of tests, we were given a 4% chance of conceiving on our own.

<Sidebar>Remember in Sex and the City when Charlotte was having trouble getting pregnant, and she went to her doctor and started sobbing and freaking out because she *only* had a 15% chance of getting pregnant?  Well, now I know that Charlotte can suck a big donkey dick, because 15-20% chances for pregnancy are about the monthly odds for healthy, normal couples without fertility issues.  I was given 4% odds when they were able to make me ovulate.  After being on the drugs for a few months, we figured out that my lazy-ass ovaries weren’t all that interested in ovulation, even with medical intervention. I would have tap-danced on my doctor’s desk if he had said 15% odds.  I would have been able to just have sex.  Hell, I could have fucked.  Instead, I was having reproductive intercourse.  On schedule.  No funny business.  Let’s get this going, babe.  So, yeah, I loved that show, but that scene just makes me cringe when I see it now. </Sidebar>

I was on Clomid for six months, then we tried an Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI).  As far as infertility goes, it’s the easiest and cheapest of the procedures you can do for pregnancy issues.  The doctor takes your husband’s, ahem, sample (spunk), spins it up in a centrifuge so that only the good, strong swimmers get concentrated at the top, then takes a little pipette, and injects the boys directly into your uterus, bypassing the cervix altogether (which can also be murderous to sperm.  Really, it’s amazing that anyone is able to get pregnant, because the female body is NOT nice to those things!).  A few days beforehand, I got a shot of hormones directly into my ass, then had to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound to look at my ovaries and see if and how many eggs I had ready to release.  Our doctor didn’t have a lot of faith in this procedure for us.  He told us that we’d try it four times, then move on to IVF (to give you a sense of the scale of infertility treatments, let me point out that the IUI costs about $300 per session.  IVF, after insurance, is about $13,000 per session.  And you often need more than one.).  Bobbie and I were already discussing in a joking-but-not-really way the possibility of adopting a Chinese daughter (“They come with their own abacus!”).  But, then, I felt funny.  Just nine days after the procedure, five days before I was “supposed” to take the test, I woke up and took a pregnancy test.  And there it was.  Boom.  A blue line.  Our daughter.

When our daughter was six months old, my husband and I began talking about starting the process for our next baby.  We talked to our fertility doctor, and he said that before we began anything, we’d have to have our baby completely weaned from breastfeeding for at least two full months, then we could start the process again, jumping straight into the IUI if we so desired and skipping those months with Clomid (I so desired.  Clomid is wonderful, but I was an insane bitch on it).  I decided I would start the slow process of gently weaning my little girl, with the hopes that she would be fully off the breast in October, and we could start 2013 with a fresh outlook and a fresh goal for a new baby.  Well, like I said, my girl did NOT want to be rushed into weaning, and by November, we were still pretty much breastfeeding (and I mean *breast* feeding.  She often wouldn’t even take my milk from the bottle if she knew that Mama was at all close by).  Then, the strange godsend of that horrible IUI forced both of us to put an end to it.  By November 15th, I could say that my daughter was fully weaned from the breast.  The countdown was on.  By January 15th, we could start our process for baby #2.  Even though we knew that the odds of us getting pregnant again so quickly were slim, we began to talk in excited tones about me taking a pregnancy test on our daughter’s birthday at the end of February, and seeing that gorgeous blue line.  We’d have so much to celebrate!

In the first week of January, I started taking Provera, a hormone to make me start my period (my cycles have never made any kind of sense, so Provera helped while we were trying to conceive to at least give me some kind of a schedule).  I took it for ten days.  And waited.  No period, which was weird, because it always used to make me start right away.  But the nurse said that it would take up to two weeks for my period to begin.  So I waited some more.  Then, on a Thursday afternoon, while my daughter napped, I just decided to take a test.  Just to see.  Just in case.  And there it was.  That blue line.  I was six weeks pregnant.  I had been pregnant since New Years.  Without medical intervention.  Without drugs.  Without reproductive intercourse.  Without a pipette and an ultrasound wand.  It had just happened.  All on its own.  In spite of 4% odds.

And now I’m almost 10 weeks along.  My babies will only be 18.5 months apart in age by the time this one comes along (oy vey), which is almost exactly how far apart my big sister and I are in age (double oy vey).  Because this is my second pregnancy, I started showing almost instantly, and I realized today that I already can’t see my vagina anymore (hence, the title of this post).  I was planning on writing a hilarious post about the trials and traumas of the first trimester (I’ve thrown up in my kitchen sink, while feeding my daughter breakfast, more times than I’ve thrown up in the toilet thus far), but I guess sometimes I don’t have as much control as I think I do.  And as I look down at my little round belly, I guess that’s not always a bad thing.