Friday, December 25, 2009

Conversations one has only when pregnant

J: Why the grin? Oh, you went to the bathroom didn't you?
K: Yes!
J: That is SO awesome! How do you feel?
K: I feel great!
J: *hugging K* I'm so happy for you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Brave Warriors

Sitting around with family, I had another uterus irritation but knowing my cervix is about 5cm is keeping me calm (thanks for clarifying inches versus cm Kate!). When I'm with others I don't focus as much on my pregnancy but then I start getting paranoid like did he kick me as regularly as I'm used to? And then it really hit me, you and me, we are so incredibly brave. This whole TTC business is so scary. We are Frodo carrying the ring to Mordor with perils potentially every step of the way. And we still do it. We sit through the months of the first trimester wondering every minute about all the things that can go wrong. And sometimes, things do go wrong, and we fall down, get up, and try again. And again. And again. Some of us hesitate. Some of us jump into it again without pause, but we do it.

I told a friend recently about my pregnancy and my losses and infertilty and she said I can't believe you tried again. After one loss I'd have just not been able to do it. And truth be told, when I look at all I stand to lose each time I try, I'm amazed I try. I'm amazed you try. I guess we know that despite all there is to lose there's so much to gain, so incredibly much. In this way, carrying sunflower gets a bit scarier with each passing day because the magnitude of potential loss grows each day for me and can overwhelm me if I stop to think about it.

Getting to know you all has taught me so much and though I never would have chosen it, if it had to happen I'm so glad to be in the company of such strong, beautiful, gentle, warriors.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I've been following Myndi's story for a long time. She went for her 12 week ultrasound today and found out the most horrid horrible painful news you can learn: her baby no longer had a heartbeat. I keep wanting to type something but nothing can capture how shitty this is. It sucks. It just does. Please hold Myndi in your heart tonight and send her your support during this incredibly difficult time.

MFM Update

Thank you for thinking of me and praying for me. It means the world. As we went to the MFM I had more uterus irritation, not full out contractions but you could tell it was acting funny. I went to give a urine sample and there was more pronounced pinkish spotting. Naturally I freaked out but everyone said this is normal. They did a cervix check and I'm at almost 5 inches! So they said the cervix is doing just fine and the amniotic fluid levels are also just fine. They saw some darkness by the uterus that they think might be the source of the spotting but said it was likely as a result of the uterus expanding and nothing they were concerned about. They told me based on the scan, the contraction was likely braxton hicks and I should expect to see brown discharge with Braxton hicks simply because the lovenox and baby aspirin is going to trigger it more than if I were not on those medications.

Phew. <-- [My understatement of 2009]

Sunflower was chilling out, he's head down on my cervix and his hands covered his face for most of the ultrasound. She had to nudge my belly to get him to move his hands but then he quickly covered his face again. Shy guy. The doctor said all looks well. I'm a little disappointed that the u/s machine the MFM uses isn't very high quality so the images are super blurry but that's besides the point since they saw him and measured my 14 oz bundle of joy, and he's doing fine.

I was dismayed to see I've gained about 17 pounds. Most of it is due to care to the wind eating. I can't even blame sunflower since I haven't had unhealthy cravings. It's just me letting myself eat what I want when I want. Yikes, if I've gained 17 pounds by now I could double this weight by the time I deliver. I'd like to say I'll start watching what I eat now but we're heading to Florida to spend the week with my family and we live to eat, not the other way around. So I guess I'll start hunkering down and doing more portion control in 2010.

But that's all beside the point. All is well. I am so grateful they checked the cervix and the amniotic fluid levels and discovered a probable source of my spotting. The doctor told me to expect spotting on and off here on out, so that is reassuring if I see more spotting while out of town to know its normal.

I hope you are all doing well too. Every night you're in my prayers, most of you by name. I'm not sure what good prayers do sometimes but I believe good vibes go a long way. Here's to good vibes for all of you this holiday season and beyond!

Waiting for the Appointment

Thanks for your words of support from yesterday. I'm feeling quite high strung right now and I don't know why. Couldn't sleep last night, puttering around the house uselessly. The spotting is much lighter now but I noticed a pinkish tinge, very faint, and you had to look it at like you do when you're examining a 9dpo pregnancy test but it was a pinkish tinge, which is said to be a potential sign of amniotic fluid, but I haven't had another contraction since yesterday. I see Dr.MFM at 2pm and I'll bring up all these concerns but I'm scared. My stomach literally feels like its in knots. I will be honest, I don't know if I'm just worrying for nothing, that this is just a symptom of me waiting for the other shoe to drop, or if my fears are justified. I think its just being on the bad side of statistics so often that though the chances are minimal that anything is wrong is enough to make me nervous. Taking deep breaths. Everything will be okay. What will be will be. So far so good.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spotting, I HATE YOU

I was preparing an egg sandwich and suddenly felt my uterus contract and then I checked and I had brown spotting. Fuck. The nurse said to stay off my feet, drink liquids and talk to my MFM doctor at tomorrow's visit. So far no more pain. Spotting is status quo, light and not much.

My hands are shaking. I'm so tired guys. I'm so tired of the constant fear.

Baby Dust

Sunflower will sleep in our room for the first year, at least, that's the plan. Still, I realized that he will have things such as diapers and books and clothes and they will need to go somewhere. In that vein I began cleaning out the office next to our bedroom. I was once a teacher and many of my old teaching supplies are gathering dust there. Since my mother also teaches and we're going to visit them this week I figured I'd get them out and organize them to take with us. It felt really strange organizing this room, knowing that it was for my child. It felt even stranger as I felt him move, to realize, we are organizing, together.

As I pulled open a drawer filled with ancient graded papers, ready to toss them out, my hands brushed upon a small plastic bag. It was a little baggie of stars and moons and glitter. The outside of the bag said This baby dust is special and is being sent to you hoping it will help your fondest dreams come true. It came with an order I placed almost two years ago at baby hopes.

I remember holding this little baggie when I first saw it years ago and felt so full of hope. Then, ofcourse, the hope faded and bitterness replaced it. I must have stuck this in the storage closet to push it away into the recesses of my mind.

Holding this little baggie felt strange today. Last time I held it I felt this was all futile. Last time I held it I shoved it away hoping to forget I ever had such hopes. And now I hold it with different circumstances entirely.

I go for my 20 week ultrasound. I hope it goes well. I admit, I'm a little nervous. But I am so thankful to have found this baggie. I will keep it always as a reminder of what it feels like in the space of ambiguity and darkness and remember that sometimes the light does come.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I've heard people refer to their miscarried babies as angels, but I never fully understood. Then today, I said something that hurt Jack's feelings. I apologized and that was the end of it but it hit me, Speck and Bug never hurt anyone. They were pure innocence. Their hearts beat, they existed, but they came and left without any stains on their soul. I've spent a lot of time grieving the trees they will never climb, the kindergarten classes that will start without them, and the hugs and kisses I will never get to give, but they were also pure white innocence who helped make sunflower's life possible, and who left too soon. The only home they knew was my womb and while they were here they were angels. I feel proud to have been their mother.

Dinner parties

We had a small dinner party tonight with friends we haven't seen in ages. Jack still didn't feel comfortable sharing and said we would only disclose if someone asked. No one asked though I feel convinced I got a few belly stares.

I asked Jack when he feels comfortable sharing and he said once we reach viability, 24 weeks. I think this is unnecessary but I respect his wishes. I see how his face pales when I flinch or touch my belly with a concerned expression. I'm nervous too but his fear is of monolithic proportions. I guess part of it has to do with the fact that anything that happens is so out of his control. It's out of my control too, but I get to feel sunflower do pilates daily so I have more peace. Still, I'm accepting that this is where he is emotionally. Jack can be laid back to a fault, so if he is uptight about disclosing this news, I'm going to respect it but it was weird today to sit there and not disclose particularly when the topic went to babies and pregnancy.

They began mentioning how everyone is having babies, all of them have toddlers of their own. For a split second I felt the old feelings coming back, the unique pain of infertility, and then sunflower would start up his dance dance revolution and I'd remember that I'm not alone right now. One of the girls inadvertently implied she was pregnant to which everyone said are you pregnant? She shook her head and then looked away and said I wish. Soon I hope. I remember her telling me last December of wanting to expand her family. I was struck again when she mentioned her daughter is no longer afraid of needles because she sees her dad giving me injections daily so... and then she fell silent and then I mean, she saw the doctor give me my H1N1 so. . . I nodded but I knew in the way she blushed that we were two IF sisters, sitting just feet apart, but the words went unspoken.

Seeing children make me long for sunflower. By the time I have him in May, I will have been pregnant for 15 out of 17 months. I know sunflower is the newest to chillax in my womb, and though I love being pregnant, I do feel like I'm gestating an elephant.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Twenty Weeks!

I was looking at the sidebar listing out the sampling blog titles this month: nothing is certain, taming fear, fighting depression, irritable uterus, watery discharge, waiting for the other shoe to drop, bacterial vaginosis. Yikes I'm a barrel of laughs lately huh?

Well, changing the topic to something nice, I'm twenty weeks pregnant! and it feels wonderful. Though your risk of miscarriage drops considerably in the second trimester its at week twenty that your changes dwindle to zero [yeah doesn't mean other things can't happen, but still] I am officially past miscarriage territory, I am now closer to having healthy baby than not, and this feels awesome.

For the past two mornings a beautiful thing has happened, sunflower pokes me as I wake up, as if saying hi. When Jack says goodbye to me and then leans in to say goodbye to sunflower before heading to work, sunflower pokes again. I stay in bed for an extra fifteen minutes just feeling his little legs or hands against me and in those fifteen minutes all is right in the world and I want for nothing.

I'm also excited about my new eating regimen in the hopes it will get things, er, moving. I felt like I had a poster saying "I am constipated!" yesterday when I stood at the check-out counter with my activia yogurt, metamucil, and box of prunes, but if it will help I'm game!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bacterial Vaginosis

The nurse called with the results of testing on the discharge I went in Monday for. The good news: It's not amniotic fluid. The bad news: It's baterical vaginosis. She said its not a big deal and I just need to take some antibiotics. I feel fine though, it doesn't hurt or anything and she said sometimes the body fights it off on its own, sometimes it doesn't. I looked up the dangers and realized it can cause second trimester miscarriage, and pre-term labor. Even taking the antibiotics doesn't mean that you're not at increased risk but it helps decrease your risk. So, I will be taking the antibiotics starting tomorrow. From what I read most people don't even know they have it. Good thing I'm as paranoid as they come I suppose. I really hope that the dangerous side effects don't come to fruition (obviously), I'm surprisingly not freaking out about it, maybe its because the nurse didn't seem particularly phased by it.

Just another reminder how fragile it all is. And a great reminder that when in doubt call the OB. Better to feel silly than sorry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

Sitting here I am wondering what is bringing me down when my life, as I've said countless times, is going good. If you asked me a year ago where I'd love to be a year from then, I'd say right where I am right now. So why this weird feeling of discontent.

I considered the irritable uterus. The discharge. The frantic trip to the OB and then I finally had my aha moment: I'm feeling this way because I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I remember reading a post by dooce years ago on this topic which said in relevant part:
a singular thought that has followed me through my life, the thought that because there are other people in the world who do not have it good as I do that I... need to worry about something, anything. That I owe it to those who have a harder life. That because I am very lucky I need to suffer crippling anxiety to even things out a little bit. And of course, the exact opposite is true. I owe it to those who are not as lucky as I am to appreciate the hell out of my life, I know this fundamentally, I just can't get around the guilt I experience almost every hour over the fact that my life is really good when so many in this world have lives full of ongoing tragedy, an overwhelming feeling that if I am not a stressed out mess everything will be taken away from me.
As fucked up as it sounds, because life is finally on track. Because things are going so well I'm waiting for the rug to be pulled from under me. We are so strong yet at our core we are as fragile as egg shells and there a million things that can go wrong at every second of every day. I'm thinking, no, life can't be going so well. When exactly is the shit going to hit the fan?

I feel a strange sense of survivor's guilt. Why did it take me less than two years to get to this point, when people have been trying so much longer to conceive? Why do some people have to go through more pain, more miscarriages, more severe infertility diagnosis? I got so used to crying out why me during my most difficult moments, that now that I am where I want to be I find myself feeling guilty and wondering why me.

This guilt extends to beyond fertility. I got an agent while others have struggled. Why me, not them? Add this to pretty much every blessing I have and this is a heavy load to carry.

I know I'm more lucky than I am deserving so I'm afraid it will all be snatched from me. I'm afraid someone close to me might fall ill, or something will happen with this pregnancy, or all the myriad of things that can happen in a day.

So in essence I've figured out my issue, the root cause of the melancholy that threatens, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm trying to find it with a telescope. I'm glad I've pinpointed the problem, now the next task on the list is dealing with it and putting it to rest.

Visiting the OB

The goldfish dream I wrote about in my previous post got to me more than I cared to admit. Add to that the nurse leaving a message at 8:00pm last sounding worried about my discharge and hoping it went away. Add to that a damp underwear last night of watery discharge. So I decided to go in to see the OB. They did the check up and said my cervix is long and closed and she thinks I'm just having your usual discharge.

Then, we had a talk about ahem, bowel movements, and it turns out they might be a significant factor in my crampy achy feeling. She asked me when the last time I had a normal BM and I told her in August. So, now I'm upping my Metamucil, she recommends I start activia yogurt daily and try to down as much water as is humanly possible. I don't really *want* to share that part of my journey but I think there are surely others freaking out and it could be due to this same issue.

When I was young I asked my mom if she hated me when I cried as a baby and kept her up at night, or they had to leave a party because I was being fussy. She always shook her head and said she never hated me, sometimes it felt frustrating but she never for a minute hated me. I pictured myself, a sack of helpless crying and just didn't fully believe her. But here I am, making weekly trips to the doctor, stabbing myself daily, worrying myself sick, all the while he floats and wiggles and dances inside me. The sacrifices and struggles of a mother have already begun, but I do it all gladly. I would do it all 1,000 times over until forever if I know it meant my sunflower will be okay. I wonder how much more surreal this will all feel when he's finally here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bellies, Goldfish, and Michele

The morning I turned 19 weeks, my belly changed seemingly overnight. Whereas for the past few weeks its looked like I swallowed two trays of cheesecakes, it is now small, rounded and firm. I am humbled by this outside reminder of what is changing within me. There are days I wake up and it hits me as though I just learned, I am pregnant. Just today I was sitting reading a book on the couch while Jack watched football and I realized, its not just the two of us. There are three separate entities in this room. I might not be holding him, but my son is here.
Last night I dreamt of a goldfish that needed water. It was flopping on a wet table and trying to bury its head in the corners where the water pooled. I kept flinging more water on the table but the goldfish stopped moving and then though it moved it was limp. I woke up terrified. The watery discharge has stopped but the dream left me frightened. I'm trying to remind myself the discharge is what brought on the dream into my subconscious. It was a reflection of my fear. I've heard baby animals in distress dreams are normal in all pregnant women.
Michele brought my attention to the fact that PCOSers can have challenges producing milk for their babies. After breastfeeding her babies for some time she had to make the difficult decision to stop. She generously offered to the blogworld her supplements. I took her up on the offer. I got a package from her in the mail with the supplies, and some wonderful books on pregnancy and breastfeeding, nursing pads, etc. Then I saw two stuffed animal rattles in the package. My heart skipped a beat at sunflower's first gifts. I had given myself permission to buy sunflower a small outfit or toy in the second trimester but I still hesitate. Seeing these baby toys brought me so much joy because it wasn't lovenox, or baby aspirin, or extra folate. It was something fun and light for my child. They gave me a wonderful feeling of optimism. Just maybe, one of these days, I'll buy him a little something too.

I am moved by Michele's generosity and grateful for all the people I know through the IF community. A tangible package in the mail reminds me we are all real people behind the screens. I don't know if I could have made it this far with my sanity intact (such as it is) without the support I've gotten. Thank you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Watery Discharge

I woke up this morning with a sensation I hate feeling, that of a full wet feeling down there. I checked and it was clear watery discharge. Not enough to soak through, but enough to be quite, undeniably wet. I naturally panicked a bit but felt relieved after I changed underwear and it seemed to have gone away. Then as I cleaned the kitchen half an hour later, there was more. After frantic googling about amniotic fluid leaks I called my doctor who said its probably nothing but if I wanted I could go to my hospital's Labor and Delivery and have them take a look at the fluid and rule out amniotic fluid. Jack's not home right now, and he's not picking up his phone so for now I'm in a new underwear, drinking lots of fluid and hoping its just a new discharge I've never seen.

Part of me is annoyed with myself. I feel like I'm turning into a hypochondriac. But then the nurse didn't take it lightly, so I don't know. I really really hate this.

May seems so far away. I feel like I'm gestating an elephant.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Irritable Uterus

I woke up around 5am this morning to use the restroom when I felt a weird pressure on the left side of my uterus. It was a pressure, almost like a menstrual cramp but only on my left side. After a few moments, it went away. I fell back asleep. In the morning when I awoke I felt it again, on and off while I roused from sleep. Maybe its the baby, I thought, so I put on the doppler, but he was on the complete right side of my uterus, dancing up a storm, but decidedly not on the right side. It kept happening all day. A few times an hour. Then on a trip to the bathroom I noticed some slight brown spotting. Nothing major, nothing that made me panic, but I figured it was time to ask the doctor if I should be worried.

The nurse just called me back and said it sounds like an irritable uterus. Even though the sensation of cramping is only on one side she said it could be I'm only feeling it on the left side but the entire uterus could be contracting. She said its nothing scary but to stay off my feet, drink water like a fish, and call if the spotting worsens/persists, and if the cramping persists.

I've eaten a bowlful of honeydew (high water content) and on my second glass of water. It seems to be better so hopefully it will just go away.

Memo to Uterus: Yes, I know the little boy likes to dance, and I agree I think he's building a jungle gym and a pool deck in there, but you let him do what he wants, and keep your trap shut. Understood? Mmmkay?

Fighting Depression

Sometimes I wonder, when depression clings to me like slick oil is it me at my essence feeling this way or is it my body controlling the reigns? Depression is like a noose made of rope gently placed over my head, pulling me towards it with a tangible tug. I can feel it coming and I know I have two options. I can sink into it. I can hang my hands limply to my sides and follow him down into the dark dank place. I used to take this option. I believed it was things in my life causing this depression and so when it came to lead me with it I walked for where else would I go when X, Y, and Z were missing from my life? Now, I’m beginning to think its not things in my life. I am writing full-time, a lifelong dream, I am pregnant, I am married to someone I love, and now when I feel this melancholy start pulling me into its murky depths I have nothing to hold onto and say say, yes I should follow you depression. Look at the holes in my life, what else can I do but sink?

Now when I search for the cause of the depression, there is nothing to cite to, and I'm a lawyer, you must cite to something concrete to back up this feeling. But there’s nothing. It’s winter and the days are short and the nights are cold. I’m home a lot more than I’m used to, and I may not know as many people as I once did, but I cannot wrap my mind around any of these as the culprit. Particularly when I can sense the depression like a tide, like a wave trying to physically pull me under.

I'm watching this depression in an almost clinical fashion because I can see it and I can see how hard it is coming for me. I am not depressed but I'm in quite the fight to avoid it. I’m holding onto the jagged shore and trying my best to keep its tentacles at bay. I am reading good books, I went out to lunch with a friend today, I cooked some fun mac and cheese for dinner. I am doing what I can to fight this senseless, ridiculous sensation that is standing over my shoulder watching me like the Grim Reaper on silly cartoons, waiting for me to break.

I am sure this is a combination of hormones and the weather which has been overall dismal with chilly rain day in and day out and I know it will pass, but while depression stands waiting for me to follow him I will do what I can until he gives up and leaves me be. It amazes me though how little this emotion has to do with logic. Its much like being caught in a meadow when it begins to rain violently, thunder and lightening crashing around you. And then- after a while it passes and the sun comes out and the birds chirp again. You shake your soaking hair and wonder what the hell happened but you are grateful you made it through.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shaking the infertile family tree

One of the reasons dealing with infertility was so difficult for me (among all the other reasons) was feeling like the defective one in an orchard of fertile mango trees. I have over 45 cousins and it seems everywhere I turn another aunt is cranking another out. In the midst of all this reproduction, there was me, the cheese, standing alone. My mom didn't help matters when she would say in a plaintive tone, but no one in our family has clotting disorders or PCOS, how did it happen to you? I began feeling like an X-man, but not a cool one.

When my mom relayed to me in the past, that Aunt X,Y,Z are praying for me to have a baby, I felt like a strange mutant. The fertiles staring with pity at this weird infertile. This pissed me off, their assumption (albeit correct) and corresponding pity that there was something wrong with me. I felt their superior eyes and the clucking of their tongues in disapproval as they herded their multitude of children around their breasts.

So imagine my surprise at this conversation I had today.

Mom: You'll be the first to have a firstborn son on my side of the family.
Me: What about Aunt G? She has three boys.
Mom: Her firstborn was a girl, she was stillborn.
Me: Uh, what?
Mom: She tried to conceive for two years after that with no luck. Finally her doctor put her on some sort of diet and then she got pregnant without an issue.
Me: I thought I was the only one who had issues getting pregnant.
Mom: Come to think of it Aunt J. She has two kids but she had at least six miscarriages we know of. She gained all this weight she couldn't lose, had hair under her chin, her periods went wacky, she was tired all the time. . . it was sad, she never really wanted to talk about it.
Me: Anyone else?
Mom: Well your cousin F had her first very quickly, shotgun wedding, but then she tried for three years for baby #2. I think she said she had a hormonal imbalance. .
Mom: Yep- that's it! Hey, like you!
Me: Sigh. Anyone else?
Mom: Well no one else really, your grandmother, God rest her soul, she lost two sons a few days after birth and she had a lot of miscarriages, but in those days you never knew for certain if your period was just late or if you had a miscarriage but I remember sometimes she just knew.

Talk about perspective change. Perhaps they meant it when they said they prayed for me, and it was not a veiled snide remark at the sole infertile in the family. I don't have a close relationship with many of my relatives for legitimate reasons but knowing they struggled like me softens my heart towards them. It also helps me let go of some of the guilt I've felt all these years about being the sole carrier of clotting issues and PCOS. Why did these things happen to me? Perhaps I deserved it. These feelings were never articulated but I now realize I've internalized it because the knowledge that this is likely a genetic issue based on a family history is helping me feel just a little bit lighter today.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Taming Fear

Your comments yesterday really resonated with me. I felt drained today like I had run a marathon. Sometimes I underestimate the power of my emotions and the battering they can do when I'm feeling vulnerable. Sunny's comment on my previous post really resonated with me, she said:
Even after they are born, you have a lifetime ahead of worrying about your son -- it's in the job description of a parent. It's hard to live in a world with pain, suffering, and loss sometimes... I appreciate the moments with my son every day, because even though I certainly try to keep him safe to the best of my ability, if neither one of us is enjoying life, well there's really no point.
I reflected on these words for some time. There is so much to be afraid of. My immediate fear is losing him, but once he is here, its not as though my worries will cease, there will simply be new worries. In fact, forget children from a moment, and just look at life with its accidents, and murders, and natural disasters and illnesses, and its a damn scary world out there in general. Jonathon Tropper, one of my favorite writers says in one of his books: life is so huge, but it can turn on a dime. The question is, do we sit and abide with and enjoy the beauty of life, or do we look at the dime worrying which way it will land?

I'm reading a book by Anne Lamott on writing, she tries to help people deal with the fear of writing and wondering how you will wrap up a complicated novel. She says:
[it] is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way. You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.
This strikes me as beautiful advice not just for the art of writing, but the art of living as well. It brings to mind one of my favorite poems, by Rumi, which I kept tacked to my door in college to comfort me when I wondered what my life would bring me:

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nothing is certain

Yesterday we went out to a nice Moroccan restaurant with friends for dinner. After, everyone came to our place for dessert. I baked a chocolate cake, one of my friends made cappuccino cupcakes. We talked, we laughed, I made tea for everyone while taking a glass of milk for myself. We talked about light fluffy topics like movies, and LOST, our holiday plans. I wore my maternity jeans for the first time with a loose long shirt and a shawl covering me. Jack still does not feel comfortable telling people, yet every minute I thought of my son, alive and vibrant, swimming inside me. I felt like those people in cartoons wearing trench coats covering up another person hiding with them.

Sometimes when I go so long pretending I'm not pregnant, I get afraid, wondering if I am making it all up. Is it possible this womb can sustain my son? Is it real that I am pregnant or am I one of those mad women who are so crazed for children they make up an entire pregnancy. Have I deluded the doctors? It's an irrational fear yet only listening to him on the doppler soothed me, reminding me he is here.

And then- today, I came downstairs to make brunch of hashbrowns, eggs, toast and tea when Jack shows me an ESPN special on Demarcus Ware, a football player. His wife got pregnant and had a miscarriage, the next pregnancy they counted down to the second trimester and felt relief when she made it, then, at the 20 week anatomy scan they discovered the child had no kidneys and the pregnancy ended with a stillborn son. She got pregnant again with top-notch monitoring and checkups. They found out it was a boy and Ware talked about seeing his son wiggle on the screen, frown and grimace and kick his mother from time to time. And yet, somehow, inexplicably her son lost his heartbeat and she delivered anther stillborn son.

I don't know why Jack wanted me to watch. I guess the ending, they adopted a little girl they love, was an ending of hope, but for me I felt myself grow weak as I sank to the floor. All I could think of was, I can't lose my son. Oh God, what if lose my son? I can't lose you. I won't survive it.

I've let down my guards. I've fallen madly in love. He is as real to me as Jack, my brothers, anyone I pass on the street. And yet, anything can still happen. I can still lose him. Nothing in this world is guarunteed.

The other day my mom and I were talking and my phone died. I searched for my cell phone but it too was dead. I searched for the charger and plugged it in. Perhaps two minutes passed. When I called her she sounded shaken with fear. I've passed out a few times in my life, once quite recently and she was afraid of me home alone, passed out. I felt a hint of annoyance, its not like I pass out daily, her fear seemed a bit of an overreaction.

And yet- just the mere thought that anything could happen to my child growing inside me, just writing those words, my chest hurts, my heart physically aches and tears spill down my cheeks.

He kicked me just now, as if to reassure me that he is here, not going anywhere. But- nothing in this world is certain. We live entirely on hope that things will be okay and have faith that we may get through what does not go as planned. Nothing is certain. After I finished sobbing I told Jack I wish so badly sometimes that I could be an ignorant pregnant person. Someone who did not know how much was at stake. How much there was to lose.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I went to the doctor for one of my regular ho-hum, yep you're pregnant, big deal appointments. I enjoy those so much because its only now that the panic level has lowered and I can simply be weighed, measured, and sent on my merry way. Still, I am a little disappointed by my last appointment. The doctor said because I'm on lovenox they don't want me going past my due date and will likely induce me on week 39 or 40.

I don't want to be induced. Induction means meds and I wanted to go as natural as I could without an epidural or pitocin or anything else. Induction means they're forcing my body to go into labor which means they'll likely have to force contractions which means that the pain of forced contractions (which is stronger than natural contractions) will require me to take an epidural.

I need to talk to my MFM doctor to get his take on this but I don't understand why I need to be induced just because I'm on blood thinners. She said by week 39 I will be on heparin which is easily reversible at the hospital but because they would need time to get the heparin out of my system they don't want me rushing in 5 cm dilated, they want time to get that out before I begin labor. I guess this makes sense but I'm still disappointed.

Have any of you had experience with inductions? Any advice?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thoughts on pregnancy

Note: Pregnancy discussed. The gushy mushy sort I wouldn't normally want to read while TTC.

After a year of tears and pain unlike any I ever experienced in my life I am amazed by the emotion that now crowds in pushing out all others: happiness. I am happy. This isn't to say I've only felt unhappiness this year. I've smiled genuine smiles and laughed from time to time. But its always been coupled with fear, with pain, with grief nestled deep within like a flower with folded petals that open only for me.

Feeling his little feet kick me, or at a quiet moment feeling the sensation of a goldfish swimming, I feel happy. A pure happy that eluded me for eleven months. I'm selfish because sometimes I will eat a sugary sweet just to feel the gentle karate chops against my womb. His physical presence reminds me he is real.

Fear still maintains a studio apartment in my head. Fear is the reason that despite being 18 weeks pregnant only a handful of people know. Fear is the reason I will turn down any thoughtful offers for a baby shower, opting instead to throw a big party to celebrate sunflower after he is safely here. Fear still hovers when I think of May, because until May 7, 2010 my baby remains a dream and a hope and a prayer. I know too much to think I'm free coasting from here on out.

But most of the time I feel peaceful. Most of the time I am happy. There are moments I might sink into mundane melancholy as I consider a messy bedroom or the writer's block that's hit me at the moment, but all he has to do is kick me. All I have to do is feel him acting like that there space is all his to do with as he pleases and every sad sensation dissipates like steam on a warm summer day.

My mom called the other day. She googled my name and found some articles I wrote, and a you tube video. She was so excited. My dad got on the phone and told me he was sending me the links. I hung up and considered their obvious pride. No one really gets that proud of you other than your parents. No one else sees your accomplishments and beams because they ring like they are their own. I understand this today. All I have to do is hear my son's heartbeat, or see him wiggle his legs on the ultrasound screen or feel a gentle kick against my side and I wonder, could I possibly love you more? Can I be any more proud?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


It's been over a year since I discovered the world of IF bloggers and what an amazing support network there exists for one another going through the trials of infertility and loss. In this time I've grown close to people I've never met just through reading your stories and reading your honest thoughts. When I read about failed cycles, or losses, it affects me in the way it would if I knew you in real life. Which is silly to say because I do know you if only through your words, and this is real life, what we're talking about going through is perhaps more real than what any of our "real life" friends know, the stuff we write about it is as real as it gets.

I'm thinking today of Bon. I've been following her story for some time now. Like us, she has struggled with infertility, and recently, in June, she was matched with a birthmom looking to place her son with her. I've been following her babyshowers, her painting the nursery, her excitement and her fears about adoption. When the labor was announced I thought of her at night just as I would anyone else I knew, as I would think of a friend. Just now, I saw her posts related to the adoption have all been deleted and her latest post though vague indicates something bad has happened.

I don't know what that something is, but my heart just breaks for her. If you get a chance please stop by and give her a virtual hug.

Thoughts on having a son

When I first told two close friends I'm pregnant and thought I was having a girl, one said, You’re okay with that right? and another said, there’s nothing wrong with that. These reactions surprised me. Why would there be anything wrong with it?

There has been a tumble of emotion since learning I'm having a boy. Every little boy I see looks different now, as does every man. I will be responsible for raising one. But something makes me feel emotional, and after having thought about it for some time I’ve realized what it is.

Boys and girls, it takes both genders to make the world we see today and yet it is undeniable that throughout the centuries one gender has been preferred over the other across cultural, religious, and racial lines. This history of preference is wrong but its the truth, when looked at from a statistical perspectives, throughout history, males are preferred over females.

Chinese orphanages are filled with baby girls who are not in the truest sense orphans because they have parents who, because of the one-child rule, would rather send their child away while hoping for the coveted son. In India there was, and there still may be, a ban on ultrasounds that indicated gender because of the sharp uptick of abortions of female fetuses. The female infanticide rate was so extreme that today there are villages in India where there are simply no girls, and girls must be imported from neighboring villages when it is time to marry.

Close to home my own aunt had five daughters in her quest to have her son which she ultimately had on baby number six. What must it feel like to be the first five daughters who know their birth was merely a disappointment. My grandfather was pressured to marry someone else because my grandmother only gave him daughters. As ironic as life can be sometimes, his second wife gave him three sons. My FIL proudly announces from time to time “I am proud I had a girl, I don’t mind.” Why is there a need to make this proclamation if gender is not an issue?

I can’t stop thinking about this, the emphasis on boys. The desire for boys. The devaluation of mothers who could not produce sons. How people will drive themselves to a litter of children, and abortion of little girls, in their quest for their son.

And then there's us. The IF sisters who would do anything for a child, a healthy live breathing baby to hold and care for and love and raise. The very idea of wanting one gender over another seems silly when you come down to it, just being able to reproduce is something not to be taken for granted.

This overwhelms me. I'm having a boy and I wouldn't have cared either way. Yet because my baby has a penis instead of a vagina, this would matter to so many people in ways I cannot comprehend. This small detail in another place, another time, another country could be the difference between life and abortion, between adoption and raising one’s own child.

When I thought I was having a girl I felt determined to raise her to have self-confidence and pride in being who she was. I was ready to snarl like a mother bear at anyone who dare give a disappointed glance at my female child. And now I’m having a boy. I’m thrilled to pieces but it bothers me that people may smile with approval at this. That somehow because I am having a boy I may have more worth, or my child my have more worth.

Both genders are beautiful and worthy. I hope I will be able to raise him well, into a man who will be a productive member of society, and who will never consider himself the better gender simply because of the goods God put between his legs.