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Showers: When and how do infertiles handle them

01/22/2013

Belle

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Quilt top progress so far! Two more rows to attach and then I’ll take it to be professionally quilted. I feel that $100 in fabric is not the time to learn how to machine quilt on my own 🙂 I’ll save that for the floor/play quilt I make from cheapo fabrics instead!

The Professor and I are in a REALLY strange spot right now. The Chicken is due at the end of June. Professor’s work contract is up at the beginning of May. Professor still does not have a job lined up but is frantically hunting. We have no idea where we will be and if or when we will move. This is forcing us to do things like take childbirth courses much earlier than other people. It also means our showers need to be held before the beginning of May.

Which leads me to an entirely new neighborhood of panic: what if the shower is too early and something goes wrong? Furthermore, our shower has to be planned quite a ways in advance since many attendees must travel and/or fly into the area – we have family and friends scattered all over the country. What if something goes wrong and we have to cancel and people lose their plane tickets? Should I have a P.S. on the invitations that reminds people to purchase trip insurance since this is not a “done deal?”

Adding to the complexity is that I just feel weird asking people to buy us gifts. I had the same hangups when we got married. Our wedding shower had about 6, maybe 7 attendees because I just felt strange asking for people to buy us stuff – and the Professor and I were totally in this for the long haul then! We shared cats for Pete’s sake. There would be no leaving someone at the altar so there was no worry about gifts being inappropriate

We considered having a shower after the baby came, but we have NO IDEA where we will be. We could still be in Lexington, or we could be living in Finland for all we know. Tentatively we have a shower in Kentucky set for April 20 and a small one in Alabama for April 6. The ladies interested in throwing it have been instructed to do nothing more than talk among themselves until the results of our 20 week scan are in. Then… I don’t know. What is the rate of loss after a successful 20 week scan? Or maybe more importantly, what is the rate of loss after 20 weeks in the infertile population, cause you know we tend to abide by our own set of statistics.

The entire thing is tremendously stressful. It is easy for me to buy the necessities used – then we are the only people out money if something goes wrong and we don’t have a house full of extra things like wipes warmers (I still can’t get over the wipes warmers…). But if a bunch of people buy us a whole bunch of things? I can’t imagine how we would handle it – especially with our closest friends all living at least 400 miles away, if not an entire continent.

How did you handle your showers after infertility? Has anyone had to hold their showers at the beginning of their second trimester due to moving or other scheduling conflicts? Am I insane to even be talking showers at this point?

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25 Comments

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  1. tchrgrl05 #
    January 22, 2013

    I don’t think that having early showers is a bad thing, and I don’t think it’s too early to think about them; thinking about them means that you’re able to start accepting Chicken, and that’s really hard to do after what you’ve been through. I had my first at the very beginning of my third trimester. About the “what ifs…” well, I don’t think the baby is ever a done deal until he’s out and healthy. I just read that the occurrence of third trimester issues causing a non take-home baby is something like .6%. If something were to happen to the Chicken, just like if something were to happen to mine at this point, I think people are way more concerned about you than about the gift or ticket they purchased. At least I would think so. It’s morbid, but I think about what I would do with all the stuff too, if something were to happen. This is one thing where you can’t base it on “what ifs.” Babies are expensive, even for necessary things (not wipe warmers 🙂 ), so for you to try to buy even what you need at first if you had a post-baby shower is a lot for a first time mom. I mean, that’s my opinion of course. I’m sure tons of women out there buy just the basics for baby on their own so I can’t speak for them.

  2. Romy #
    January 22, 2013

    My gynaecologist told me the chance of something going wrong with the baby after 15 weeks would be less than 1%. Having said that, I plan on doing a baby shower after the baby is born, partly because that’s how showers are done in the Netherlands and I’d like to hold on to the tradition, and partly because I feel weird about celebrating a baby who hasn’t yet been born. I know you said you don’t plan on finding out the sex so your shower could never be like this anyway – but I find it so weird how some people in North America throw a shower for an unborn baby complete with a cake in either blue or pink and the baby’s name on it. It must be a cultural difference but I can’t get used to it and it feels much safer to me to just celebrate the baby’s birth with a shower afterwards – and people will be able to buy whichever gift they want because I also never got used to the gift registry and asking people for specific gifts idea 😉
    How much notice would you have to give people? If you did one after the baby is born, you could pick a date as soon as he/she is born for a few weeks later. Would that be too short notice? I guess if you plan on moving to Finland it might be 😉

    • Romy #
      January 22, 2013

      Something I personally have a hard time with is my parents’ continued question of when I want them to arrive (from the Netherlands) because they want to book their tickets now. I’m 16 weeks and 4 days now and it just doesn’t feel right that they’d spend $3,000 on tickets when to me the baby still doesn’t really feel like a sure thing. My dad keeps asking when I’ll give them a date and I feel really pressured to but it just feels so scary.

  3. January 22, 2013

    First, I love your reference to sharing cats. I have a friend who calls animals “fuzzy engagement rings,” and this just enforces his theory 🙂

    I don’t think you are crazy for planning a second trimester baby shower. You are pregnant, and pregnant ladies have baby showers. I can personally say that if I bought a gift for a friend and she lost her baby–“losing” the money I spent on that gift would be far from my mind. My biggest concern would be her having to deal with all that baby stuff in her house. So I wouldn’t worry about people wasting money on baby things because the people who care about you aren’t going to resent you for accepting a gift from them and then losing your baby.

    Accepting pregnancy is a really hard thing to do when you’ve been through everything you’ve gone through, and this is just another step to that acceptance. I know you can do this, and even though it’s hard and scary, you totally deserve to kick back and enjoy a baby shower.

  4. January 22, 2013

    Don’t plan anything until you’re 20 weeks…even 24 weeks, viability and then plan it for 30-32 weeks preggers. I had to travel for my showers and thus had it at 31 weeks…it worked out great. I really wouldn’t do it in the 2nd trimester, as a fellow infertile…you may still feel like you’re going to lose the baby at any second all the way up until you’re 3rd trimester when the baby punching you in your ribs is enough to convince you that the baby is safe =) I think it will just be more stressful for you to do it earlier, you don’t need to be worrying about canceling shower plans if the worst were to happen, so just avoid it!!!

  5. January 22, 2013

    I have to agree with the others who commented: if, God forbid, something were to go wrong, your family and friends likely wouldn’t care about the gift cost/plane ticket. Their concern would be with you. I’d try to wipe that worry from your mind if at all possible and just go ahead with the showers as planned. Of course there’s always going to be worry, especially after IF and loss, but the chances of something going wrong at this point are very low. You’ve waited so long and worked so hard for your little one that you deserve to have him/her celebrated – without stress! 🙂

  6. jak #
    January 22, 2013

    i would just do what you have to do. the chances of things going wrong right now are different kinds of chances and different kinds of “wrong” than in the 1st trimester, especially first 8 – 10 weeks. the odds are very low that things will go wrong right now. just plan and relax. if something does go wrong (which is wont!), people are going to know anyway, baby shower or no. if it makes you feel better, perhaps plan it for after 25 weeks? the magical viability window (although this is admittedly not viability with a guarantee and very much uphill battle, but planning that way may take some worry off your mind?)…

    i’m with you on gift getting being a little weird. we dont want gifts and are going to write on the invitations that a donation can be made to a local children’s home and that there will be a box to drop donations in at the party. we didnt do a wedding shower. as per the above comment, we already had a house and furry engagement rings, so felt weird about gift getting given we were also in it for the long haul.

    the quilt is looking excellent! love the colors. i remember being a kid and staring at the different blocks on the quilts on my bed. chicken will appreciate it. i know it. even if it gets puked and poo’ed on!!

  7. Arbrefleur #
    January 22, 2013

    I have to agree with your lovely commenters! I am poor as dirt, but if I bought a plane ticket and a gift and the whole thing to go to a friend/relative’s baby shower and then an unimaginably heartbreaking loss happened to that woman, I would ONLY be thinking about her welfare and health. No way any of your friends and family would feel any differently. That being said, try not to even think about that! (Impossible, I know, but it must be said even if it’s ridiculous 🙂 As a recipient of a Doctor Google medical degree, I’m pretty sure your chances at this point are the same as everyone else’s! So, even some Oblivious Fertile having an Obliviously Happy Baby Shower probably isn’t thinking about all the things you have to think about, but she’s actually in the same exact boat. I don’t know if this is helping, but all I’m trying to say is please go ahead with your plans. Try to have fun!!

  8. January 22, 2013

    Belle, all I can say is, tell me when you’re ready, and I will send you gifts.

  9. January 22, 2013

    Ive left the majority of the baby shower to my sister to plan but I have already lined up some check lists (Im obsessed with check lists!!) and have started thinking of themes, so no your not planning too far ahead. I was thinking I want mine at least 8 weeks ahead of schedule as it will give me a chance to go and purchase whatever items I didnt receive as gifts.
    And yes, I know it feels weird asking for gifts but its part of the celebrations. I know it sounds abit cheeky, but the amount I have provided friends and family with over the years of waiting for my chance is ridiculous and now its my turn.

    • January 22, 2013

      Here here! Cheeky or not – this is true! We shower our friends with gifts for their kids, their weddings, their graduations. It’s YOUR turn! ENJOY IT!

  10. January 22, 2013

    I know how hard it is to check fear at the door, but there is a point when you just have to and take the leap of faith. At 24 weeks you are at the point of viability, but try not to get stuck there. My showers were insanely early (like one at 16 weeks) because I knew I would be on bed rest. And I was actually on strict Bedrest at 21 weeks! People throw you showers so you get the things you really need like bottles and crib sheets. People just love buying baby stuff whether or not you have a shower or register. I figured I might as well register and let people buy the necessities. The thing is fear can cripple you the entire pregnancy and continue even AFTER delivery so you have to decide when to let it go, and the sooner the better. Seriously, if Iet fear in, I would be scared now that my babies may not wake up from their naps today. That is no quality of life for any of us. I let fear go!

  11. January 22, 2013

    I agree – if, god forbid, soemthing went wrong, your friends would be more worried about you than the money thei spent on a toy or blanket. You need to do what is comfortable for you! When will you feel that you can enjoy your shower? What do you need to do to protect yourself? You are #1!

  12. January 22, 2013

    First of all, you’re not asking people to buy you things – your shower hosts are. 😉 People LOVE buying baby things – they really do. You’re not putting anyone out by having a shower (or rather, being the guest of honor at your shower).

    The chances that something bad would happen after a 20 weeks scan are small – like – WAY SMALL. You need to assume that this is all going to work out, because it is. I would not put anything on the invitation about this not being a done deal. If something would happen, no one would be upset about the money lost. They would be upset about YOUR loss, and that is all. BUT THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN (and yes, I am yelling at you!).

    I think doing it in April is just fine. No one will question it. The third trimester is when showers happen!

  13. January 22, 2013

    Like most people here, I agree that close friends and family won’t worry about “money lost” but more for your well-being. As a fellow infertile in my second trimester as well, I have had some people ask me about showers to which I’ve told them nothing until after our rainbow is born. I think it’s for more of my own sanity. Enjoy the showers and hope that all goes well with Chicken!

  14. January 22, 2013

    GREAT question and post! I always thought about the same thing wondered how I would handle it so thanks for asking it.

  15. January 22, 2013

    I also think people won’t be worried about money lost – they are your friends and family, they are hoping for the best for you and will generally act as if there is a positive outcome and if, Gd forbid, something happened they will be thinking of YOU first.

    In terms of gifts – in my experience, people want to buy the silly things for you, not the practical things. We had things like diapers and wipes on our registry and people wanted to buy us things like an exersaucer or whatever. So put the things you would like but don’t need, because those are the things people want to buy. Another reason to put things you’d like but don’t absolutely need on your registry is that people won’t necessarily get you the things you NEED before the baby comes (I can give you a good list if you want!). We were waiting for some things until the last minute and then just bought them ourselves in the end. Also I kind of suggest registering for clothes you like because people will give you things they think are cute, which may or may not be absolutely hideous… There are universal registries (I used myregistry.com) that can have things on it from multiple sites – the downside is you don’t necessarily know if someone has bought it if they don’t properly use the system, which has only happened to us once and we got a duplicate gift.

    I didn’t want anyone making any real announcements (like on facebook) until after viability – maybe hold the shower after 24 weeks? Can you do that with your schedule? Or else just know that most pregnancies that make it to 20 weeks are in it for the long haul, and holding a shower early is not a jinx. ❤

  16. January 22, 2013

    We are doing my showers before the third trimester in case of complications. Don’t blame you for doing them early at all

  17. Flavia #
    January 22, 2013

    Hi Belle,

    Haven’t commented before, so here goes. I was really paranoid about it, but I was a lot like you and got along on borrowed, used and a few gifts from friends after baby was born. It turns out that babies don’t need much! My mom bought us a rocking chair (we used it all the time), we found the used crib, friend lent us a moses basket. My aunts splurged on the car seat. Then friends started visiting after baby was born and brought gift. We never did the registry- ended up not needing it. Oh, stroller (jog) came from credit card points gift. My friend, who sews beautifully like you, made me a sling. So it all kinda came together. Best of luck & congrats on chicken!!

  18. January 23, 2013

    Ok belle, I can only say how I felt but we were crazy high risk. I wanted to ENJOY my shower, not do it with ‘what ifs’. So I did it at 33 weeks. You are having a baby, ok? You ARE. So forget the stats on losses. But think about the point at which YOU will really enjoy it and embrace it.

    I, too, felt gifts were weird, and you know what? I WANTED to buy the things my baby would wear & play with. We were given most big items second hand, so instead, we asked each person to bring their favourite childhood book, inscribed. Jman has the most wonderful library now, and it will be a source of joy for years. Some people still brought clothes and bits n pieces too, but it just felt so RIGHT to do this… It had so much more MEANING than stuff on a registry, like he was getting read a story by each person we love.

    • Christy #
      January 23, 2013

      The key here, I think, is to lessen the stress because the important thing here is the mother and the baby. Since you and your husband have uncertainty with regards to where you’ll be at that time. I would wait until you are settled into his new job location. By that time, your little one will be a couple of months old and a bouncing baby that relatives and friends can ooo and aaah over. Remember, baby’s don’t need much in the early months but love and sleep. They’ll sleep anywhere. My little brother slept in a playpen his entire baby time.

      Also, I like the idea about getting children’s books because we, too, feel weird about getting gifts. We plan on not having a shower because our family is strewn halfway around the world. The ones that would come would rather come when the baby’s is here because, come on, they all want to play with the baby. Now my only dilemma is to coordinate the coming of the relatives because I can’t have all of them come at once with a newborn in the house. (They all want to come the week after the due date…sigh. That’s just not going to happen….)

  19. January 23, 2013

    I have faith that everything will be fine, but like others said your family cares about you and the plane ticket would be the last thing on their minds. Just start to mentally prepare now for the showers. You will be able to get everything organized early and that will be a weight lifted. My family always does surprise showers, but my Mom, MIL and Hubby knew how I was feeling about things and decided to tell me. They are actually having it later than they wanted to. I will be 31 weeks. I too have an issue asking people to buy us stuff. Working on a shower post too.

  20. Amy #
    January 23, 2013

    Ike was due at the end of June, too, last year, and I had one shower in April and another in May, so I don’t think you’re too far off at all. I felt very much the same way, but both my best friend and my sister were so overly excited for us that I had no real choice but to just go with it. I too considered waiting until after birth, but honestly – don’t do that to yourself, because you never know if your newborn will make that fairly easy or nearly impossible! You are on the right track, it just takes more faking it until you sort of make it, and before you know it the showers are over and you’re trying to figure out how to organize all the stuff! I felt the same way about gifts, but people really and truly do love buying for babies (most of them are fertiles, right?), so it’s pretty much just doing them a favor, I say! 🙂

  21. January 24, 2013

    Being that I do live in Finland, *wink* and my family on the west coast of the US, they threw me a Skype-shower. Most of the stuff they has sent me in a huge box beforehand was stuff from when me and my siblings were little to 2nd hand stuff that my mom had bought (in hopes of a grandchild) before she died. It was a great party in my opinion.
    Like others have said, I don’t think there is nothing wrong with having it early and people will be more concerned about you and your hubby if something does go wrong.

    I love second hand shopping for my little one. Babies outgrow stuff insanely fast and don’t really wear the clothes out or get them stained. Why spend full price when you can get stuff dirt cheap that is almost new. Plus, I’ve saved so much money this way.

    (p.s. if you do come to Finland 138 days (I think that is it) before your due date, you are entitled to a maternity box that is totally amazing!!

    • January 24, 2013

      Oh, diaper wipe warmers.. I don’t understand those either. Here, we just rinse the baby’s butt under water in the (bathroom)sink and dry him/her of with a towel. I only use wipes on occasion and that is usually when I am out of the house, if there isn’t a child friendly bathroom to be found (I carry a small hand towel with me to dry his butt then).

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