BlogHer’s Absolute Beginners

I thought this crib sheet was really useful. First of all, it’s written by Mel, and she really knows what she is talking about.

Read and print out the entire crib sheet for pregnancy after infertility or loss now.

On Planning and Shopping for Your Baby

I totally agree with Mel here: Planning can be a stress reducer, but it can also feel like a jinx. With this pregnancy, I didn’t buy anything for a long time. And even when I do buy things, I throw out anti-jinx spells each time. I’ve not done a lot of actual preparing yet, either. The furthest we’ve gotten so far is to clean out the room that will be the nursery and then just kind of throw all baby related things into it. I probably ought to get going on that, though, so that this baby can have a place to sleep and some clothes to wear.

On Calculating the Risks of Prenatal Screening/Diagnostic Tests

I also loved Mel’s advice here. Our policy is that we accept every test available that doesn’t carry any risk. So if it is a blood test for me or an ultrasound — yep, sign me up. A lot of people say that they wouldn’t change anything no matter the results, so they turn down the tests. We wouldn’t necessarily change anything based on a blood test either, but we would like to have all the information and be prepared.

On Needing, and Asking for, More From Your Doctors

Mel’s advice to seek extra reassurance from your doctor if you need it was also really applicable to me. With my history, I am officially “high risk,” and so my regular OB referred me to a perinatologist. I’m being seen by both doctors simultaneously, and it is a really nice balance. My OB’s office has a very “everything will be FINE!” attitude, and my peri’s office is much more of a businesslike, let’s-check-that-out attitude. So I get the casual attitude from one office and the extreme monitoring from the other. It is a very reassuring mix.

On Relating to Other Parents

The last section that really resonated with me was about having very little in common with other parents. I have felt that a lot. I cannot stand how some parents (not YOU) treat their children with so little respect and ungratefulness. I am all about complaining when complaining is warranted and hard-won children are still hard. (Especially those that are “spirited” and born with very strong opinions and NEVER SLEEP, EVEN NOW.) But I know some parents who always act like their children are inconveniences. And I just cannot feel that way, since I know all too well how much worse it is when those children aren’t here. I’m not saying that I never complain. It’s just that I rarely feel that there is much to complain about.

What did you think of the Crib Sheet? Is there anything you would add?


  1. Anne says

    I love that advice about seeking reassurance when necessary–after two miscarriages, I went for weekly ultrasounds and hugs from my favorite doctor, and it was wonderful. I would have been a bigger mess without those appointments.

    I love posts like these–they make me feel less crazy.

  2. Sandy says

    That last picture of you and Dibits is so precious…you can FEEL the love…she will love that photo forever…especially when she becomes a mom someday and knows just how strong your love is for her

  3. says

    I completely relate on the fear of jinxing everything too early on. We moved out of the States at 13 weeks, and made the decision to buy a lot of our oversized baby gear in SC since we didn’t know what our options would be in Germany. I felt so morbid, but I checked and double-checked all of the return policies because I was so certain that something would go wrong with one or both of the babies. I did have a different mindset about testing though. I just felt that after over a year of testing and IF stress, I couldn’t deal with any stress related to false-positives or “maybes” from the results. We turned down all of the genetic screenings and declined the n/t scan and have the attitude of we’ll cross that bridge when/if we come to it. That said, I fully understand the opposite decision and think that it’s great that the option is there for parents that want it!

  4. says

    I’ve been trying to get to this one.

    Angela has good points on the prenatal tests. You do have to factor in the psycological stress of waiting for yet more results, and of having results which aren’t cut and dried answers (such as the quad screen which only gives you odds of having a problem not an actual diagnosis – very safe physically, but not necessarily reassuring when you’ve fallen on the wrong side of too many stats, and even with a firm diagnosis many conditions diagnosed prenatally have very wide clinical ranges which can only be properly narrowed after the birth and therefore difficult to know what to do with, even when you’re firm about whether or not to terminate). You may decide it’s better to put your emotional energy into learning to live with uncertainty.

    We certainly felt that way with PB with the quad screen (although it didn’t cause me undue stress to go for it with SB). Paradoxically, though, extra betas and ultrasounds were something I felt I couldn’t live without, especially during the first trimester for PB, so even with the same couple the decision may be different depending on the timing (stage of pregnancy) and the test.

    I once heard of an OB who warned a former IVF patient at the first consult that they didn’t give special treatment “just because” the conception was IVF. Seriously, I haven’t come across it myself and I believe and hope it’s a rare attitude, but I was appalled. Doesn’t the doctor realise that the knowledge you can get extra reassurance if need be is in itself reassuring, therefore dramatically decreasing the need for extra reassurance visits? IIRC that patient was able to change OBs. If anyone reading here comes across this sort of attitude: don’t let them make you believe your fears aren’t worthy of attention.

    Overall, I like the sheet. Definitely good to see PND highlighted, and the advice about hooking up with other PAI parents (and knowing the circle can often comfortably widen as the children age, especially after families are complete) is reassuring.


  5. says

    I have to say that pregnancy after infertility/loss has to be the most frightening, yet exciting time of my life. I did the same thing buying stuff – I was so afraid I’d lose one of my babies and would hang on to the receipts. Even after they were born, I hung on to the receipts for items I hadn’t used yet. I was THAT paranoid.
    When they did the fancy test at 11 weeks to determine the risk of genetic issues with the babes, I made a calculated risk both times. I tested well both times and figured that the risk of miscarriage due to the amnio was higher than the risk of issues and passed on the amnio. I was like you – I wanted to know what I was dealing with and be prepared – nothing more.
    Since we live fairly close, I imagine that you’re seeing the same perinatologist that I did. I adored him. He answered my questions truthfully and gave me full details of risks without being frightening. By contrast, one of the OB/GYN at the LARGE practice I went to, tried to scare me into ending the pregnancy with my first one by telling me that my child would likely have all kinds of defects and that I WOULD DIE ON THE TABLE! Needless to say, he and I don’t see each other anymore.
    Also, I’m like you with regard to how special I believe my kids are. They are my miracles. Science said that I would never have them. God said otherwise.

  6. says

    Fantastic piece and I totally agree about the testing. It’s just good to know in advance and can help alleviate the stress of a new baby if you know what to expect.

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