Friday, December 28, 2007
Where lovers start as strangers and gradually discover each other, at times merging into a single being, the child and mother start as a single entity and slowly become physically and emotionally separate. And in both relationships, there is an unbridled delight in one's own and the other's physical being. Nowhere else in life can you revel in and explore another's body with such abandon, tracing each curve of the earlobe, nibbling on fingers and knees, caressing tummies and napes of necks.
Breastfeeding has been an absolute revelation for me. It's incredible that it happens at all, more so when you think about all the complex processes that surround that one simple act. Somehow, my body knows exactly what type of milk to produce, how much of it, and when. Gabby's sucking not only satisfies her hunger, it releases hormones that shrink my uterus back to its normal size (and make us both happy and sleepy). According to some promising new research, breastmilk may even have curative effects for people suffering from HIV and cancer.
And even crazier is how much I love feeding her this way. I love getting all snuggled up with her, skin to skin, having that connection and sharing the flood of hormones and responses. It's our own special little world, where we still share physical space and an intimate bond.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Overall, it's been a wonderful pregnancy. I feel so honored to have been able to carry this little baby so close, so safe and tucked up inside me. I'm excited to see her, to look at her beautiful little face and hear her yowl and taste her tiny little toes, but there's a part of me that doesn't want to be separated from her just yet.
I think I'm also still terrified of the impending c-section. We found out a few weeks ago that our little girl is breech, and in typical Binky fashion I attacked the problem on all fronts. Two acupuncturists, a chiropractor, a hypnotherapist and three physicians all performed their version of the Magic Ugga Bugga Dance, and all were equally unsuccessful in persuading my little princess to flip over.
We did our homework as well: Acupuncture - The Home Game involved burning pea-sized blobs of moxa on my little toes. And then there was the Waterboarding. That entailed getting me upside down on an ironing board propped against the couch, with a bag of frozen peas right on top of Pebbles' head and a heating pad, soft music, and the soothing voice of her daddy down where we wanted her head to be.*
All for naught. The little peanut's butt remains firmly wedged in my pelvis. Hence, the c-section. We're giving her until the 26th to start the process on her own. If she's not out by then, we're going in after her.
*The Attorney General has refused to opine whether this practice constitutes a violation of the Geneva Conventions. However, he stated that if it is, in fact, occurring, then it is definitionally Not Torture. So you can all rest easy.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
My due date is two months from today.
Two months. On the one hand, I can't believe we have to wait another two months to meet our little girl. And besides, I'm already so huge I have no idea where her growing body can possibly expand -- my esophagus? Hollow out a leg? The real estate is getting pretty tight around here.
On the other hand, though, it seems like this pregnancy started moving really fast at a certain point. I'm not sure when that was. I swear I was paying attention.
Two more months to prepare, physically and emotionally, for this new little person who will change our lives forever. It's really real now. We're still scared that something will go wrong, but the closer we get, the more we think that our little Pebbles is actually going to come and live with us.
Atomic played this song for me the other night -- Kooks, by David Bowie. Bowie wrote it after the birth of his son. It's the perfect love song for Pebbles:
Monday, October 15, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Photos courtesy of Eric Slade
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Right now, I rejoice in knowing that there is a genetically normal baby girl flipping and flopping around in there, at the same time I grieve with my friends over their losses, and at the same time I fear another loss in the future. It's a lot to keep in your heart all at once. I'm doing my best to let it all be, to let go of needing things to be a certain way.
Today I am happy and sad and fearful and hopeful.
So be it.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I just want you all to read Julie's hilarious and educational take on mammograms on her blog, A Little Pregnant. Now, don't you feel much, much better about mammograms?
Now go make an appointment to get one, and don't forget your little plastic cow.
I was hoping Kaiser would have called by now. Yes, they told me it would take two weeks to get the amnio results, but the nurse said that sometimes they come back a couple of days early. So now I've got myself tied up in knots, hoping that there's nothing wrong, hoping that they aren't just taking extra time to confirm bad news before they tell me.
Please, please, little baby. Please be ok. Please have all your chromosomes, and not too many, and all the DNA bits in the right places with bright shiny faces. We want you SO badly. Your grandmas and grandpas are beside themselves with anticipation. Your mom and dad think about you every minute. You have scores of fairy godmothers, both in and out of the computer, who are pulling for you and want you to be healthy.
Please be ok.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Moi, in the closet about anything?
Yes, odd as it may seem, although I have revealed the intimate details of my reproductive health here on the interweb for all the world to see, I've been a bit shy about sharing certain, ahem, information with the people I see face to face every day. Which means that now that my belly is bulging, I'm getting a lot of strange and inquisitive looks. Eyebrows-meeting-hairlines types of looks.
A couple of days ago, I was getting ready to appear at an administrative hearing. The court reporter, whom I see at these things every couple of weeks, leaned over the table and asked,
"Are you expecting?"
What I heard was "Were you expecting . . . .?" And so I waited her to finish her sentence: "Are you expecting . . . . this hearing to take a long time?" Or, "Are you expecting . . . . to call a lot of witnesses?"
But no. She was asking whether I am expecting. As in, is that a fetus under your dress or are you just happy to see me?
I blushed. I stammered. I smiled and said, "Why, yes!"
"Congratulations!" she said.
And then I felt compelled to pour one for my homies. "It was a long road getting here," I said. "We lost a couple along the way."
Sympathetic and slightly confused look.
I'm not sure why, but I feel the need to say something like that every time someone congratulates me on this pregnancy. I think it's because the infertility part still hurts, and I want it to be more visible both for myself and for those still going through it, and because however delighted I am about this miraculous little one, it will not erase the pain of what it took to get here, or the fear that settles permanently in the heart of an infertile woman.
Healing is definitely possible. But not forgetting.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
These days, though, it’s nice just to let myself enjoy what’s going on right now. I’m grateful that I have this. I don’t know how it will turn out, so I’m just enjoying it day by day.
I had a real moment yesterday. I came home from work and slipped on some comfy drawstring pants. I looked in the mirror, and there, staring back at me, was this totally cute pregnant lady! Ok, sure, so maybe I was sticking my belly out just a little tiny bit, and perhaps to a casual observer it may just seem like I've been letting myself go, and admittedly at this point there's way more chocolate milk and root beer floats in that cute little tummy than baby, but still.
I have a little bump.
WHEEEEE!!!! I have a bump!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
How is that possible?
If I do cross over into Normalville, will the residents there suspect that I'm a refugee from Heartbreak Town, across the tracks? Will my papers be in order? Will the Normalville Border Patrol come and knock on my door in the middle of the night to drag me back?
Or will I retreat into my little Normalville life and join the Normalville PTA and forget what it was like to live in Heartbreak Town? Will I stop calling my friends who still live there? If I do visit Heartbreak Town to see my old friends, will they throw tomatoes at me and slash my tires?
I'm not sure where I belong right now, emotionally. Even if I get my green card and settle down in Normalville permanently, I think I'll always have some mannerism, some accent, that identifies me as a refugee.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Here he* is:
I'm about a week past the point where I miscarried the first pregnancy, and as I result I've been even more of a raging lunatic than usual this past week. I'm not being sarcastic at all when I say that having an insane work schedule actually helped. It kept my mind off what I was sure was impending doom.
Despite the awful memories, I had finally convinced Atomic that we should go back to the nurse practitioner we were seeing before I had the first miscarriage. (I'll call her Nurse Troi, for reasons my geek friends will appreciate). Finally exercising a bit of rationality, I argued that seeing Nurse Troi again would not jinx the baby, and that if heaven forbid we did get bad news, it would be better to hear it from someone we knew and trusted. Still, I wasn't all that eager to go myself.
I finally sucked it up and went in for my first official, post-RE, prenatal visit. I started hyperventilating and sweating, oh, about four hours before our 9am appointment this morning. I dry heaved for the first time in a week. I think I may also have been a wee bit curt with my beloved husband, and, well, let's just say I'm glad that cats have short memories.
We went into the little room and I donned the ceremonial Blue Paper Gown. Atomic and I held hands and stared, zombie-like, at the ultrasound machine. When Nurse Troi finally came in, she said, "well, let's start off with the ultrasound and we can discuss everything else later."
I dug permanent nail marks into Atomic's hand. I closed my eyes.
"Can you see a heartbeat?"
(They're LAUGHING? Wha. . .)
I opened my eyes and, well, FORGET about the heartbeat, our little fetus was flipping and flopping around like a little fish. Squirming and wiggling all over the place. I've never seen anything like it in my life.
I've never seen anything quite so beautiful.
And neither of us could stop crying. We cried even harder when Nurse Troi told us our baby was just the right size, that I could stop taking prometrium because the placenta was "perfectly formed," and that everything looked just wonderful.
Of course, we're still scared and very conscious of all the things that could go wrong.
But man! You shoulda seen that kid move! It makes a mama proud, I tell you.
*Yes, I used the masculine pronoun. No, we don't know if we're having a boy. But for some reason, I've taken to calling him a him. If I'm wrong, I'm sure she'll forgive me. After some therapy.
Monday, June 4, 2007
The great goddess Mel at Stirrup Queens has organized the Barren Bitches Book Brigade, in which those of us who struggle with fertility issues can chit-chat about books on relevant topics.
This round's book is the magnificent Peggy Orenstein's Waiting For Daisy. If you haven't read it, by all means, get yourself a copy. If you've gone through this, it will feel like curling up on the couch with a soulmate. If you haven't gone through this, it will help you understand those who have.
Below are some questions generated by the BBBB and my responses:
1. We have all had our own experience with infertility. Whether it was from IVF, IUI, miscarriages, or other forms we have all been there. How do you feel Peggy's story compares to yours?
Hoo boy. I would bet we've sat in the same chairs in the same waiting rooms at different times. I gave the same nickname to the same irascible nurse. Saw the same acupuncturist and stared up at the same fake flowers and wondered about the combs and drank the mud and had many of the same thoughts.
There were also many differences, and I still have no idea how my story is going to turn out. But there is enormous comfort in knowing that she went through so much, that it turned out so well for her, and that she still had the energy to write that book for the rest of us.
2. On page 152, the author writes of considering her 3 miscarriages differently - as two miscarriages and one molar pregnancy. She explains that she does that because she doesn't blame herself for the molar pregnancy (caused by sperm abnormality) like she blames herself and feels guilty for the other miscarriages. In your fertility life, do you categorize different incidences like she does? In your heart, do you feel more or less guilty depending upon whose "fault" it was? Is that a way of coping?
I've actually felt a lot of ambivalence over stating that I've had three miscarriages, instead of one miscarriage and two chemical pregnancies. For me, it wasn't a matter of assigning blame -- my scrambled eggs are likely at the root of all our problems -- but of feeling entitled to the extra care, and the extra sympathy, that came with those losses. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense. It wouldn't have hurt any less if those cycles were just negatives. (In fact, it might have hurt more).
My reaction may say something about how our society deals with infertility and miscarriage. Many people still have no idea how to deal with or express sympathy toward someone who has had a miscarriage. But infertility? Fuggedaboudit. The multibillion dollar fertility-industrial complex notwithstanding, it's totally invisible.
3. In the epilogue, Orenstein struggles with what might be called the mythology of infertility: the messages and assumptions that it's all worth it in the end; that it's a matter of luck (the chapter's title is "Meditations on Luck"); that everything has worked out for the best; that adoption might be an emotional/spiritual cure for infertility; that some couples may be too quick to seek medical assistance; that she may have waited too long to begin trying to conceive; and, as another woman told her earlier in her journey, that "the pain goes away." Her husband warns her to not become a revisionist, but she acknowledges that becoming a mother has been a "surprisingly redemptive" experience and seems to not entirely reject the above messages. Describe how you feel about the presence of this mythology, both in Orenstein's epilogue and in your own life. How has it affected the way you tell your story, on your blog or elsewhere, and how you interpret others' stories? To what extent have you revised or even rewritten your own story of infertility? Is it inevitable, perhaps even necessary, to do so?
I am revising my story every minute. Certainly this pregnancy has caused a sea change in my feelings about the journey. I don't think it's possible to avoid it. That's kind of why I blog. I don't want to lose touch with how it felt, each step of the way, in the moment.
4. When you received your IF diagnosis, did you feel as if you were being punished or it was simply a case of dumb luck?
Perhaps it was the Catholic upbringing kicking in, but I still feel sometimes like infertility was my punishment from the universe for spending two decades building a career, having a wild, fun life, and trying to forge my own path. I recognize (after fifteen years of therapy) that it doesn't work that way, and that during that time I was also working my way back to mental health after a really big trauma and years of PTSD. Still, there are so many what ifs.
Of course, the biggest what if is, "What if I'd gotten married/had a child earlier and never met Atomic?" Sure, I wish I'd met him before I was dangling over the fertility cliff, but I met him, and my life is much better for it. He is the father of my children, however long we have to struggle to have them.
There you have it. Binky's literary wit & wisdom.
Here's what my friends in the computer have to say about the book. Please follow the links and go check them out.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
That's why I haven't posted much lately. Too much living going on, I guess. But I did come back with a few wonderful stories to tell you.
Here's my favorite:
A couple of our dear friends who attended the event with us are really into dinosaurs. They're not just into dinosaurs; they have a whole 'saurus avatar thing going on. And meticulously hand sewn 'saurus outfits and accessories. No, that's not weird. Or, it wouldn't be if you knew them. It's playful and creative and adds to the sum total of joy in the world. Plus, their saurusy-ness manifests itself in a context of people doing all kinds of creative, bizarre stuff, making art you can touch and interact with and generally letting their freak flags fly. It's a community that has brought much silliness and delight into my life, and I love my 'saurus friends with all my heart.
During this event I was feeling pretty tired and out of it, and a little sad that I didn't have the stamina to really play. One night, my Orange 'Saurus friend came a-knocking on the door of our RV, along with her delightfully goofy Boyfriend-in-Sheep's-Clothing. They were grinning great big grins and giggling, and they said, "We have something for you!"
They handed me a little cellophane package, tied with a bow. Inside was the sweetest little pair of red dinosaur socks.
I burst into tears. "It's too soon! We don't even know if this is going to happen. If something goes wrong the sight of these will break my heart a million times over. I can't . . . I. . . I. . ."
I looked up. They were still grinning.
Another friend, of a different species related to the 'sauruses, said, "This is your talisman. Put it in a safe place."
Then Atomic said, "One way or another, we're going to have a baby eventually. Whether it's this one or some other one, we will have a little red 'saurus in little red 'saurus socks."
I picked up the 'saurus socks again. They're so small. And soft. And they have claws and little foot pads on the bottom. And I thought about our little red 'saurus and the soft, chubby feet that will fill those socks some day.
And then I grinned, too. Still scared, of course, but also joyful, and hopeful.
I can't wait to meet our 'saurus.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Since my own gray matter is emitting nothing more than a persistent "bzzzzzzz," I urge you all to read the words of someone who actually has something interesting and profound to say: Michele St. Martin of the Minnesota Women's Press.
Oh, and here's the best part -- I didn't even find this on my own. Gerkat, I owe you an ice cream.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Atomic let out a breath that sounded like he'd been holding it for hours.
I got teary, and said, "thank you, thank you, thank you" over and over again.
Our little one looks, in the words of both the ultrasound folks and Dr. Reallynice, "perfect." The heart rate was around 160, and the wee one measured 7 weeks, 3 days (on average -- they took several measurements, which ranged from 7w2d to 7w4d).
Everything looks just great in there, including my ovaries, which have returned to a more or less normal size. We have now "graduated" from the RE's care, and now I get to go to a normal OB like, well, a normal pregnant person. How weird is that?
Oh, and one funny thing -- there was a sizable corpus luteum on my right side. The gigantic Ricochet follicle was on my left. So maybe we have a Droopalong after all.
And maybe, just maybe, we're going to have a really wonderful Christmas.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
I've either got an embryo doing some furious growing in there, or I've got a nasty case of stomach flu. Note to self: no more pizza before bed. That's all I'll say about that.
We're scheduled for an ultrasound this Thursday. By that point, I'll be 7 weeks, 5 days, give or take, and we should see something, hopefully an embryo of the proper size with a vigorous heartbeat. That would be nice, wouldn't it?
The more I consider my freakout from last Monday, the more I realize I had a classic, textbook PTSD reaction. My shrink tells me that once you've got PTSD, each successive trauma hits you harder. So it makes sense, since I already had PTSD when I had my first miscarriage, that my reaction to that event was as severe as it was. And my reaction on Monday was a classic flashback-type reaction to the trauma of the miscarriage. I couldn't hear, I couldn't see, I interpreted a brow furrowed with concern for me as a message of doom for our baby.
I'm glad I understand that, but I'm not sure that understanding it will help me get through this Thursday's u/s without a meltdown.
Monday, April 30, 2007
At the very least, I was hoping to say "all is well, good strong heartbeat!"
Sorry to disappoint.
I woke up at 4:30, nervous as hell, and couldn't really bring myself to eat anything. Hence, nausea. Although I took the lack of actual vomiting as a bad sign. Since two of our local highways are broken, we had to take public transportation, which took twice as long as driving and did nothing to quell the waves of nausea (the dude with the nasty BO didn't help matters, either).
We waited half an hour before they called us. There was an infant in the waiting room. I started bawling. I became convinced that it was going to be bad news.
We finally got shown to a room, where we waited some more.
Finally, the NP came in. Not one we'd met before. The ultrasound showed a sac. A big old sac. After some squinting and maneuvering, she managed to get into focus a little blob on the side of the sac. Then she asked, "You're 5 weeks, right?"
"No. Six." (Dammit, something's wrong! Something's wrong! It's too small!)
She finally managed to measure the blob, and it measured 6 weeks, one day, which is more or less exactly where I'm at, gestationally speaking. She said she could see "some fetal heart movement." I said, in full panic mode by this point, "We should be able to see a heartbeat by now!"
She hemmed, she hawed, she furrowed her brow. (I hate brow furrowing. It always means something bad. Something's wrong, I just know it!)
At that point, I started to cry.
The NP said, "Everything looks ok to me, but I can't really see a heartbeat and you should be able to get an answer. Let me check with radiology."
She left. I cried harder. A nurse came by and shooed us back out into the waiting room.
After another eternal wait, the NP poked her head out again. Didn't bring us back in, just kind of shouted across the waiting room, "Radiology is swamped. They'll call you and set something up for tomorrow."
I got up and crossed the room. "Should we be worried?" I asked.
"Everything looks ok to me. They just have better equipment in radiology, so you can get a more definite answer. They'll call you and set something up."
Yes, I know that fetal heartbeats are visible at 6 weeks only about half the time.
Yes, I know that the fetal measurement is a really good sign.
Yes, I know I'm being a neurotic twit.
I just didn't realize how utterly traumatized I still am after losing a pregnancy at 11 weeks and being unable to get past the beta stage for more than a year after that. After being told I am old, my eggs are scrambled, and our chances of a successful pregnancy are slightly less than those of rolling a seven in craps.
I don't know how to relax and enjoy this process. I don't even know how not to freak myself out. I tried yelling, "Calm the fuck down!" at myself, but oddly enough, that seemed to have the opposite effect. Large quantities of bourbon and hitting myself over the head with a 2x4 are, according to the latest medical literature, contraindicated during pregnancy.
So, I guess all I can do is recognize that the next couple of months are going to be traumatic and anxiety ridden, no matter what.
Fasten your seatbelts, my friends. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Sometimes, they help heal the world by letting their heartache transform them and make them more empathetic, softer, more grounded.
And when they come together to create something out of their hurt, the world becomes a better place.
The wonderful folks who run the Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters blog put together a virtual quilt made up of their readers' thoughts and stories on the concept of "waiting." The result made me cry, and I don't think it was just the hormones.
Check it out. And maybe spend some time visiting the blogs of the women who contributed. They're all incredibly thoughtful and inspiring.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
He might just be a keeper.
Yesterday's beta: 820.
My doubling time is 1.56 days.
For those of you keeping score at home, this is very, very good news. Best news we've had in over a year, in fact.
I'm weeping with joy, and still scared to death.
Sensible Friend has decided that I should limit myself to no more than 20 minutes per day of freaking out, and no freaking out around bedtime. We'll see if I can stick to that and spend the rest of my time enjoying the ride.