Thursday, August 15, 2013

It Doesn't Go Away

As phenomenal as it is to have this beautiful baby in my arms at last, he has not been a cure for the emotional wounds of the last four years. I never expected him to be, but the last few days have taken me by surprise with just how intense and sharp and close to the surface that grief still remains. I knew it wouldn't really go away, but I thought it would dull around the edges. It doesn't. It is part of me and I'm not even sure I would want it to go away at this point.

Last week, I was staggered watching a Twitter friend receive news that her long-awaited pregnancy was over... and remembering the days and weeks spent processing the loss of my own first pregnancy in vivid and excruciating detail.

Then, I finally went to the grocery store for the first time since before I was pulled from work and put on bedrest... bad idea to leave Thumper at home with Daddy and go all alone. I found myself drifting up and down the aisles with tears dripping down my face, thinking how the last time I was at the grocery store (in June!) I was still pregnant. And staring down the knowledge that I will never be pregnant again and admitting that despite all the complications, I DO WANT to be pregnant again. I always knew I wanted two children. I knew when we had our first sight of Thumper on ultrasound that I still wanted him to have a sibling and I was heartbroken that he would be an only child. All of that grief came flooding back along with memories of years of pre-pregnancy grocery trips spent fighting tears over other women's pregnant bellies in the aisles. For some reason the produce section was always the worst...

All this also dregs up the memory of the phone call from the embryologist after our donor egg cycle, telling me that all of our remaining embryos had stopped growing and we had none to freeze. I closed my office door and sobbed for hours over those little lost lives, even knowing that they were only ever "potential". The power of that sorrow shocked me then and it still does. I never expected to be so attached to a handful of cells that weren't certain to be anything ever. For a few days, they were mine and then they were gone.

It never goes away.

Friday, August 9, 2013

He's Here (or An Eventful Two Months)

And nearly one month old... to recap and catch you all up:

34 weeks: NST after a day of no fetal movements. All fine. Two days later, we had to put one of our cats to sleep - definitely one of the most horrible moments in my life. He was my first ever furbaby and had been with us for 12 years.

36 week appointment: BP 170/110 with protein in urine. Midwife pulls me out of work and puts me on bedrest. NST shows baby is fine but I'm not great, so admitted to hospital with possible pre-eclampsia. Ultrasound shows baby is still breech and estimates weight at 8.5 pounds already. Three days in hospital to monitor, medicate and get BP under control. Last ditch ECV to turn baby not successful. C-section scheduled for 39 weeks, bedrest continues.

38 week appointment: BP still elevated, increased protein in urine. Officially diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and called in to hospital for c-section with only four hours notice. Thumper delivered healthy and perfect in every way (and at only 7.5 pounds).

Now we are four weeks out and he is hitting milestones left and right. As of today, he can hold his head up by himself for about 30 seconds at a time and is starting to make social sounds instead of just crying. Prof has taken to fatherhood like a fish to water - he was absolutely made for this and I am loving watching him don this new mantle.

I am hitting MY milestones a little more slowly... but then, a 40 year old body doesn't heal as quickly as a younger one might. My pain levels are lingering a little higher than normal. I am also struggling a bit with the baby blues, combined with emotional side effects from the blood pressure meds and the inevitable baggage of infertility trauma. As I said on Twitter,

I live in fear that the Universe is going to snatch my beautiful boy away from me, that he's too perfect for me somehow. Then I wonder if losing Cat Two was the Universe taking a "sacrifice" so I can keep my baby & if the Universe will honor that substitute.

I still have eight weeks before I go back to work, and I'm already dreading it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

32 Weeks and All's Well

For anyone who is still checking in... that about says it all. Things seem to be going quite well. Most of the weirder symptoms/problems have tapered off. We had a baby shower, started childbirth classes and the nursery is mostly complete. I'm trying to savor the whole experience, knowing I will never get to do this again.

I never wanted this to be a pregnancy/parenting blog, so there will not likely be frequent posts though I will let you know how this all plays out. I don't plan to disappear entirely, but neither do I plan to transition this space into anything other than what it already is. I will leave it "as is" for others to find in hopes that it can provide some comfort or reassurance that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Friday, April 26, 2013

March/April Shout-Out

I don't really know what to say right now...

We are all still here, Inhabitant is still kicking away in the inside to my eternal relief. March basically sucked as usual (with occasional rays of sunshine). April is sucking much less, but has not exactly been blissful either. I'm back on pelvic rest due to random episodes of unexplained spotting and mild contractions. Work is completely insane and I'm exhausted.

This week was NIAW and I couldn't even tune in. I spent the week owning that fact that I'm still carrying a lot of sadness, resentment and jealousy and that is not likely to change any time soon. So I have the happy thoughts of Inhabitant and the accompanying fears on his behalf, plus the grief for years wasted and embryos that didn't make it and siblings that will never be... and I am not feeling eloquent or even articulate, much less able to rally to any battle cry for awareness. I'm just trying to get through one day at a time and that is going to have to be enough for now.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Brought to You By the Letter B

  • BOY - Inhabitant is Team Blue! We had our follow up scan to get the rest of the measurements (all good, kiddo measuring slightly ahead as usual), cervix and placenta doing just fine and we have an official sex ID. We can now refer to the offspring as "He". And He is very active. He also feels very strongly about mealtimes. I get a flurry of kicks and punches every time I eat. This is immensely reassuring.
  • Boobs - Had a bit of a scare here this week. I have developed what *may* be mastitis, but no one can confirm this. It doesn't hurt or itch, but things are pink and warm and inflamed. Midwife gave me antibiotics which made no difference, so I got an urgent appointment for a breast ultrasound. While this failed to yield a diagnosis, it did uncover two small masses in one breast, one of which needed a biopsy. It turned out to be cyst, so a HUGE relief. I am now off to a dermatologist to try again for a diagnosis as I am unwilling to just keep trying different antibiotics in the hope that one will do the trick. Sigh.
  • Belly - Totally eclipsed by the boobs (in size). At my almost-20 week weigh in, I was up a total of six pounds from my pre-BFP weight. My mom gained twelve total with me, so six seems OK for the halfway point. I'm pretty sure five of those pounds are in my bra. My belly still looks more bloated than anything. I was a little concerned about this, but the scan shows the Inhabitant is growing just fine, even slightly ahead of schedule. Must just be how I'm built. I admit, I feel like it would be nice to actually look pregnant. Only one person has guessed at work so far. They asked my boss (but not me?), and haven't said anything aside from that.
  • Basketcase - I finally broke down and bought the Baby Bargains book in an effort to prepare myself for the onslaught of stuff that will need to be acquired in order to support the Inhabitant once he makes it to the outside. I made it about half way through the first section (discussion of nursery furniture, specifically cribs) and freaked right the fuck out. Ended up hiding under the duvet in tears. One week later and I'm not exactly certain why I freaked out, but I just couldn't deal. I asked Twitter for some advice and after a brief chat with Prof, we decided just to check at the Ikea near his Mom's house later. Neither of us is up to thinking that far ahead just yet. Ostrichville, I tell you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

19 Weeks (and All's Well...)

Sorry for the delay in posting, but we took a short trip out of town for a family reunion and then I had a crazy week at work. Thanks so much for all of the lovely comments and support in recent weeks (months). For now, I'm feeling pretty good. Pretty calm.

We had our scan last week two weeks ago and everything looks good so far. The Inhabitant was laying in a somewhat stubborn position, so the tech couldn't get all the measurements she wanted. We just have to go back for another pass. Oh darn. I did at least get confirmation that my placenta is in a good place and my cervix is long and closed, so those worries are put to rest for the time being.

People are starting to ask questions about our plans for various bits and pieces of the pregnancy, birth and homecoming. They always take me by surprise... and "OH RIGHT! This might just end with us bringing home an infant! OMG I can't think about that right now." So yeah. That's where I'm at. Ostrichville. I'm making any and all commitments only when absolutely necessary.

Along those lines, we received our first baby gift last week. It was very sweet, but I would have preferred for that milestone to come a little later. Oddly enough, nobody asked me my opinion. After we opened the gift, I wrapped it back up and tucked it aside. Not like there is ANYWHERE in this house for us to store baby stuff yet. My due date is late July so Prof and I have agreed to think about the nursery in May.

Ostrichville, population 2 (or three if we count the Inhabitant).

Saturday, February 16, 2013


It's where we're at...

It's been five weeks since our last scan, nearly two weeks since we last heard the heart beat. One more week to the next scan. I may or may not have felt movement once or twice. Can't be sure. I've been afraid to invest in a doppler, since I know I would freak the fuck out if I couldn't find the heart beat. Too much room for user error in the hands of... well, me. I haven't exactly been feeling fabulous, but there's nothing unusual going on. I've outgrown all my bras, pants and skirts, but I still don't look like I'm actually pregnant. More like I've been hitting the cookie jar too hard, or the cheese plates. So, Limbo.

PVCs: Ongoing, but the cardiologist is now confident that there is nothing to be worried about. All tests came back clean and it looks like these are just more of my usual PVCs, triggered by the pregnancy hormones. The doctor won't intervene unless things get much worse. I did get cleared for light cardio, so I'm back on my elliptical and using my hand weights in an effort to keep strong.
Constipation: Sorted via prune juice, copious Mexican food and Activia. Thank you to the twitters for all the recommendations!
Congestion/Headaches/Nausea: All normal second trimester stuff, so says the midwife. Nausea likely due to combination of postnasal drip and headaches. Sudafed and Tylenol approved and helping.
Boobs: Off the hook.
Belly: Expanding. Solidly into maternity pants/jeans, but still able to dress discreetly so that no one would notice any change. Wondering how long till the first coworker twigs to the situation. Not going to announce at work, so it is my own little game to see how long it takes for people to pick up on it.
Telling: We sent an email to friends and family and gave the parents permission to start talking about the pregnancy. The message was brief and to the point, including a reference to our egg donor but giving no details. I am surprised and relieved that not one person has asked a single question about the egg donor (particularly certain family members), but everyone has been unanimously thrilled for us. I also told my boss, purely for practical reasons. She will want to hire a temp to cover for me, and she will also be a big help navigating the institutional maternity leave process since she's done it twice now. This also gets me out of any work travel responsibilities (not strictly necessary, but I'm not complaining).
Anxiety: Through the roof. I have reached the point where I'm less worried about there being something wrong with the Inhabitant and much, much, more worried about my body simply failing at pregnancy. I have no evidence to prompt this concern, but since when do we need evidence to worry about something?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cardio (and I don't mean exercise)

So that was fun. NOT.

I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that my Bigeminy PVCs have been happening more frequently and my resting heart rate is about 20 bpm higher than normal. I've also been getting really out of breath when going up the stairs at home. Coupled with my slightly elevated blood pressure, the midwife and I decided it would be best to check in with a cardiologist.

My appointment was today and I won myself 24 hours in a harness monitor and an echo-cardiogram next week. While the harness monitor does suck, the worst part is that I have to have my appointments at the actual hospital. Which is under construction. And (obviously) overflowing with sick people. My anxiety was through the roof. And I think they had the heat turned up to about 85F.

Diagnosis? Meh. Probably nothing unusual, but we're doing the tests anyways. EKG looked fine if a little fast. Will have more data next week.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homework (or 2012 in Review)

Back in December, one of my twitter friends mentioned that she felt like she hadn't done anything in 2012 besides trying to (and failing to) become a parent. Knowing this to be untrue, I assigned her some homework. I told her I wanted to see a list of at least one fun/cool/brave thing she had done for each month of 2012 outside of family building efforts.

Upon reflection, I decided that I should make my own list to remind me that 2012 was more than just the Year of the Donor Egg. Without further ado:

January - Prof and I went outside and took nighttime self-portraits in a snowstorm.
February - BFF(H) came for a long weekend and we all went night sledding.
March - I kind of lost March... we had an early spring and I know I did a lot of gardening.
April - I donated the last of my unused IVF meds to another couple with no Rx coverage.
May - I met @thisispersonal and she bought me my first martini in NYC.
June - Prof and I planted an herb garden along the side of our house.
July - I tried dragon fruit for the first time and my mom came for a visit.
August - We attended the wedding of a long time friend.
September - I turned 40 and survived the experience.
October - Prof and I took a torchlight tour of our local cemetery.
November - I voted. Not my first time, but it always feels like such a big deal.
December - Spent the holidays with all four of our parents in the same house.

I also thought I'd follow up on my New Year's Resolutions from 2012. I think we only missed one month of photos (March again... what on earth was I doing in March?). I also managed to get cards to my grandma all but one month (not March this time) and talked to both of my parents at least once per week, if not always on Sunday. I did not get a new job title, though it was a near miss. I did at least get the pay raise that was supposed to accompany the new job title. So pretty good results. My resolution for this year may just be to keep it up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Trimester Down

THAT's hard to believe... We had our scan last week followed by some blood work. I've waited to post since we didn't get our actual results till the blood work came back. All appears to be well! Our risk for Down's and Trisomy18 is low and my midwife was very pleased.

The scan took about thirty minutes and involved lots of different views of the inhabitant from different angles. We saw two arms, two legs, a little facial profile, a little brain and even some fingers. There was a lot of jumping around going on as well, which made me wonder how I could possibly NOT be feeling it. But I'm not. The tech took all the necessary measurements and gave us a couple of pictures to take home.

The big topic of debate around here now is... when do we go public? The parents are bugging us weekly about when they can start telling people. Statistically, at this point things are probably going to be just fine. Being part of this community has given us far too many glimpses of ways that this COULD go wrong even now, and it's hard to trust the statistics after all we have gone through. On the other hand, this will be our only pregnancy and it would be nice to enjoy it. It would be nice to let our parents enjoy it.

Further to that debate, is the question of how much to share when we do go public. I feel pretty strongly that NOT sharing the fact that we used donor eggs would be doing a disservice to other infertile couples. I wouldn't want to distress any infertile friends with our announcement. I also don't want to perpetuate the myth that women can just up and get pregnant at my age when most can't. We agreed before we stepped onto this path that we didn't ever want our use of donor eggs to be perceived as secret or shameful, because we don't want the child to feel ashamed. The tricky bit is that once that information is out there, we can't get it back.

So yeah... debate ongoing.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Progress (Making Some)

Happy Belated Holidays! We are finally home and settled in again after two weeks away with family. I may never leave again. This post will be a pregnancy update. Just the facts, not much in the way of feelings. Feelings are on hold until we know if the inhabitant is healthy.

I am now eleven weeks pregnant and still having trouble believing it's real. I got the all clear to stop all of my support meds and have been released from the fertility clinic. I guess I've graduated. I do NOT miss the PIO shots or the estrogen patches. Not even a little. I had gained three whole pounds as of my midwife appointment last week. I suspect one of those pounds was my lunch, since the previous weigh-in was at a pre-meal appointment. Considering the number of Christmas cookies and cheese logs I consumed in the interim, I'm feeling OK about that. We also got to hear the heartbeat at the midwife appointment, so we know the inhabitant is still alive in there. Massive relief.

Who'd have thought, but those three pounds mean I've had to put away my regular jeans and workday slacks in favor of some in larger sizes that I stored after losing weight a while back. The styles are a trifle dated (three years or so) but I'm hoping to avoid buying maternity clothes for a little while yet. It feels like jinxing things somehow. Not sure how long I'll be able to swing that. I asked the midwife how my short-waisted torso would impact things and she said I would definitely start showing sooner.

I still don't have much to tell in the way of symptoms. The heartburn has gone away and I'm certainly not constipated. My gag reflex is still off the hook, but I haven't actually vomited. No consistent food cravings or aversions, but my thoughts on any given meal are generally pretty strong. A food either sounds good, or I'd rather just go hungry. I've also had to reduce my portion sizes, as I just can't hold as much food anymore. Seems early for that but perhaps it's the short waist at work again? I'm peeing a lot, but that's nothing new. My tiny bladder is a longstanding family joke.

My one major symptom is fatigue and it is starting to get me down. Napping doesn't work for me, so I find myself thinking about bedtime as early as 8:00 and finally giving in and crawling in bed between 9-9:30 at night. I can sleep for 12 hours and eight hours after I wake up, I'm wiped out again. I'm getting nothing done after work and I really miss those extra hours with Prof, but I can't keep my eyes open. Prof is my hero, as always. He is supportive and accommodating without being fussy. He never complains about me being too tired to do anything or too picky about meals.

We have our first trimester screening next week, and we are suitably nervous. I know that with (nice, young, proven) donor eggs the chance of a problem is greatly reduced, BUT... with eleven eggs resulting in only one embryo, I can't help but wonder at the odds of the resulting fetus being perfectly healthy. I suppose that's the main "feeling" right now... nervous.