Thursday, June 28, 2007

One, Two, Three . . .

Oh, pardon me. I was just sitting around counting my blessings. I hope I’m not getting too tiresome with these admittedly Pollyanna-ish ramblings about how my life is JUST PERFECT now that I’m finally pregnant. There’s still plenty of suckishness in the world, and even if I were tempted to forget that for one minute, Atomic (who has a social conscience that would put your average do-gooder humanitarian to shame) wouldn’t let me.

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

Dispatch From Normalville

Our stay in Normalville continues. It's very normal here. So normal, in fact, that I struggle to come up with something interesting to write about.

I'm getting pudgy.

My tummy is pooching out in a way it never has before.

I can feel the edge of my uterus.

I look like a bag lady because the only clothes I can wear are my loosest, baggiest, fat girl clothes and even they don't fit me right, which I find kind of fun.

I've pretty much stopped feeling queasy all the time, but I still get fatigued.

I eat a LOT of Jello.

Despite my utter narcissistic fascination with my body right now, sometimes I forget, for a split second, that I've got a passenger on board. And then I remember, and I have to suppress the urge to giggle, which is a really inappropriate thing to do when one is trying a case or in the middle of an intense labor negotiation.

Tee hee. I said "labor negotiation."

See what I mean? Normalville. What a freakin' weird place.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Refugee In Normalville

As I near the end of the first trimester, it is dawning on me that I may, in fact, have a baby come December. It is entirely possible that no horrible things will occur, that I will not be confined to a madhouse for a "long rest," that there will actually be a healthy, breathing human being emerging from my body in, oh, a little more than six months.

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

Do You Know My Flipper?

No? You haven't met our little Flipper?

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

Waiting For . . . Binky To Update Her Blog

My apologies for the late posting. Blogspot has been an unkind master today.

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.