Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh Gee

Got a call from my brother tonight. GUESS WHAT???

He's pregnant. Well, not him, obviously. They're pregnant.

I screamed with excitement appropriately. They are 12 weeks. He is so excited the cousins will be only about 6 weeks apart. Well, 9 weeks, since they're twins.

I hang up the phone and burst into tears. Why am I this way????????? Why can't I just be happy for them?

It's because it's all so easy for them, for seemingly everyone else. (Well, of course I know not "everyone" - this IF community proves that) but you know what I mean. Everyone in real life. He just finished with grad school, and boom pregnant! How awesome to *pick* the timing so well.  How lovely that it falls into place just when *you* want it. How jealous I am that you don't know the heartbreak I've had to deal with.

Not that I want them to have heartbreak, so I don't know what my problem is. I'm just jealous that no one else has to deal with the things I do. And that she gets to experience pregnancy, with no issues, all the way through it. Something I will never get to do.

But I get babies, right? At least I get babies.

Or so I hope. I really hope this isn't like last year, where I was pregnant, then everyone else got pregnant, then I lost the babies and everyone else continued on just fine and now they all have babies and I don't.

And that's my big fear. If I knew 100% I'd be coming home with babies, this wouldn't bother me at all. It's the fear that something will again happen and I'll have nothing, after all that we've been through, that makes me this bitter infertile.

B-I-T-T-E-R. And I love my brother, I swear. Sometimes I hate myself.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

TMI post

For a quick background on me, here's my September ICLW post.

This post is pretty TMI.

A couple of months ago at the first appointment with RE that L and I went to after the good u/s at 6 weeks (the one where I complained at how crappy the RE was about my feelings on selective reduction) she asked us what we were doing regarding birth control. L and I looked at each other and I said, "uh, nothing. I mean, nothing's worked so far, so we really haven't been worried anything's going to happen."

Well she informed us we should "worry about it" and to use protection, since she had another couple who, while working with a gestational carrier, became pregnant and were subsequently "devastated" (her word) with 3 kids all at once.

I gamely nodded along with her, and then complained afterwards to L that while it probably wouldn't be ideal, I would never be "devastated" about it. L was freaked out for awhile though, and subsequently wouldn't DTD without a condom for about....1 month. I guess going bare skin for so many years though made him strongly dislike condoms, but I told him I've taken enough chemicals into my body now that I refused to go on BCP until at least the beginning of next year.

So while we use condoms most of the time right now, every once in awhile we go without, and the latest was during our anniversary weekend in the beginning of September. And even though I wasn't doing OPKs during that time, given my skin breaking out and all the other usual signs, I knew I was ovulating. And I didn't care.

Because I knew nothing would come of it. My LMP was August 6th, and I knew I hadn't ovulated before September 1st, already 25 freaking days into the cycle. I don't have PCOS and I don't know the reason for my crazy cycles but this drives me nuts. So we went ahead and had a good weekend that weekend, and now it's September 23rd and still no period. That makes 48 days. And, all of a sudden I'm imagining sore boobs, and that a little nausea? And before you know it, I've gone full tilt convincing myself I should buy a pregnancy test.

So I did today, and of course it's negative, and I know that's a GOOD thing. But at the same time I'm just so effing frustrated with my body and it trying to fool me. My cycles are long but I always ovulate, eventually. But what makes them so long and crazy? No testing has ever said I have any hormonal problems. I really wish I knew why. And I really wish I would stop thinking maybe there's a chance I could get pregnant on my own, and you know, NOT miscarry.

You always want what you don't have. Even technically "expecting" right now, I wish so much I could be the one pregnant. Gabby sent me a belly pic today and she definitely popped this week and all I can do is look at it and wish that was my belly bump.

How can I be jealous of the woman carrying MY babies? I am so ridiculous.

She heard two heartbeats tonight too. They're still holding on.

ETA: After days of staring at it, I finally corrected my mispelling devasted to devastated. I swear I really do know how to spell. I just type fast and am lazy :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

First "babies" gift!

If you're finding me through ICLW this month and want a quick synopsis of who I am, check out my post here!

I got a package in the mail yesterday from Gabby! It was soft and squishy from the outside so I couldn't wait to open it!

My heart totally melted when I opened it up! I loved the card too - which Gabby had "amended" by making it for multiples :)

She wrote:

L & Ducky - (real names of course)

I am beyond thrilled for you both! You are going to have perfect and beautiful baby girls! I am so glad to be a part of your journey. Those are 2 lucky baby girls! Enclosed is a non pink welcome baby! gift. But I do think you'll change your mind on pink! :)

xoxo Love, Gabby

I love them!! I seriously walked around with them on and off for the rest of the night! I may have cradled one just to give me some idea of how big one of the babies would be in my arms. I have hung them up on my dresser drawer pull now and I just look at them from time to time. That aqua blue one matches perfectly the half-painted nursery we have!

Of course I texted her to exhuberantly thank her for the "onesies." She texted me back, "It's a sleeper, not a onesie, rookie!!! haha!"

I started cracking up. L and I are SUCH rookies :)

It's been 5 days and I haven't asked for nor gotten a doppler heartbeat update. I'm starting to get anxious about it though, but I think this is an improvement. She said she'll be sending me a belly pic tomorrow (hopefully she'll also listen to the doppler) because this week she said she got huge (i just saw her Monday and she wasn't that big) and finally popped. Can't wait to see! Starting on Wednesday she had said that she thinks the babies are going through a growth spurt probably because I called them shorties at the U/S on Monday :)

17 weeks here we come!

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 2012 ICLW

Welcome to my little corner of the infertility blogging world. I feel like I've been in almost every room in the Land of IF (copyright The Stirrup Queen), from the beginning of timed intercourse (TI) and "simple" meds of Clomid, Femara and Tamoxifen, to the IUI and then IVF rooms, the loss, loss, loss, multiple loss rooms, and even the pregnancy rooms, for a little bit. We also waited in the "adoption" room for over 9 months, home study ready since October 2011. I've tasted all.

Right now I'm in a room that's totally new for me, feeling my way around. L (my hubby) and I are expecting twin girls (OMG I can't believe I can actually say that for the first time EVER) in February 2013 through a gestational carrier. If you can't stand to read about pregnancy (even virtual pregnancy like I'm living right now), I fully understand you hitting your back button RIGHT NOW. I've so been there.

However, it isn't all fun and games for me. I'm dealing with a lot of emotional issues at the same time while expecting - the feeling like a "second class citizen" because I can't seem to hold onto a damn pregnancy and trying to feel like an expectant mom while someone else is walking around with my children. My bitterness - yup, bitterness, I own it - towards all sorts of people STILL. The years of our IF journey has left me with many wounds, open still.

So my blog is full of both excitement and paranoia, hopefulness and negativity, all at the same time. I'm both jealous and yet so grateful to be where I am. After so many losses, I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop and something to go wrong.

I write anonymously, and therefore, write all my feelings down, both bad and good. I think many people wouldn't admit to the things and feelings I write about, and trust me, I've gotten lambasted for it. But, fortunately or unfortunately, I don't write to educate, but to release my anxieties, and what you see is what you get, just without a name attached to it.

Thank you for reading :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thank you!

Thank you all so much for your congrats!! I don't think I have ever been so surprised (for something good, as opposed to bad news) in my life!! Out of the three combos - boy/boy, girl/girl, boy/girl, it was the last one I ever would have guessed!

I've had it so ingrained in my head for so long - L is one of three boys, our M/Cs have been boys - wow. I was just blown away!!

But I am just so excited. Hell, I would be excited if the babies were purple and gold! Now I just want them to continue to thrive and be healthy. Please be healthy!!

(And I need to figure out what I'm going to do about pink. I'm such an anti-pink girl and there's no getting around it now! Every girl baby thing is pink I think! :)

So freakin' excited. Thank you all!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Burst Into Tears Tonight

And for the first time on this infertility journey of 46+ months, it was tears of happiness.

Gabby texted me (as she always does the night before an U/S) that she found 2 heartbeats tonight, to go and get a good night's sleep and that she'd see me tomorrow.

I don't know how I work myself up, but I do it every time. She just heard heartbeats a couple of nights ago, and today I started thinking about going tomorrow and there being none.

And before, I could convince myself, as long as there was one, I would be ok. But in the last week, I've realized, I need both of those babies. Losing either one now would just be devastating. Not that it wouldn't have hurt before, but I don't know, it's just seeming more real now. And I've let it sink in that maybe, just maybe, we might get two babies out of this. Two, when all I've ever wanted is one.

So at 9pm when I hadn't heard from her, I actually asked DH, "Gosh, what happens if she can't find even 1 heartbeat? She knows I'm waiting to hear. Will she just not email/text me?"

And then I went to take a hot bath to relax. (Although I'm reading Life of Pi and it's pretty tense right now, haha). And L barged in to tell me about her text. And I just started crying in the tub, and it was a lot like my sad crying, I have to say. But I wasn't sad at all. I'm going to learn (God willing) my babies' genders tomorrow. I never thought I would get to this point. It doesn't seem real.

There is still so long to go, I know. But I can't believe we're even here.

Made It Through

I survived SIL's shower yesterday. I'm so glad it is over though. It was absolutely GORGEOUS, but not at all intimate, if that means anything to anyone. There were more than 50 women there. There were place cards (escort cards) denoting which table to sit at, just like a wedding! There were 10 people at each table! As the SIL I did not get to sit with the rest of my inlaw's family, ugh. I was sitting with my mom thank goodness, and with my other BIL's girlfriend (he's been dating her for like 6 years, so practically like family) and also the guest of honor's sisters, who are much younger than me. Then I guess they had extended family (of the guest of honor [my SIL] because I *think* they were second cousins or something.  Whatever, I thought they were rude, didn't say a word to me or my mom or BIL's GF, looked at their phones texting and generally behaving what I call "very Long Island-ish."

No offense to any Long Islanders. Certainly not all of them are that way. After all, I grew up in Westchester and am not at all like them. I think L and I are the black sheep of the family. We're such nerds. But LI's to me are all about shopping, their blinged out rings, and are decked out to the nines. I'm much more an outdoorsy girl who wants things to be comfortable.

I really want my shower to be more warm, more inviting, more comfy. I know no one absolutely LOVES baby showers, but I want people to have fun. It doesn't have to be the best experience of their life, but I want them to have enjoyed the afternoon.

They did nearly zero games. When we sat down there was a game at each place - match the celebrity parents with the baby/ies, which was fun. There was also a space for writing down a guess on how many teddy grahams were in this oversized baby bottle they were passing around. And that's it for the games. I won the celebrity baby game (surprised myself because I am so not good with pop culture) and could care less about winning teddy grahams (now if it had been filled with chocolates that would have been another story! :) The rest of the time was eating and watching her open gifts. OMG, she got a TON! Great for her, but made for a long present-opening.

We got plenty of hor d'oevres (I have no idea how to spell that) - salad, an antipasto plate, and absolutely delicious eggplant rollatini. The entrees were served family style - chicken marsala, chicken parmesan, pesto pasta, regular pasta with sauce. Then there was a huge dish of assorted desserts served to each person. And THEN there was cake! Holy cow. I barely ate any of it, I think my anxiety was in force, because I was starving after the shower.

So, the place was absolutely beautiful (an Italian restaurant in Westchester), the set up was beautiful, children's books with balloons attached as the centerpiece of each table, and the whole thing looked great. But it's probably the opposite of what I want :) Although I really have no idea what I want. Just not that :)

16 weeks today!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Another reason I hate FB

For the love of God, why do people put ultrasound pictures as their Facebook profile pics?

While I adore looking at the ones I get, I will be the first person to say they are creepy and no one else but the expectant parents and grandparents really give a crap. They are blurry and don't look anything like what the final baby will actually look at. And they make a lot of people feel like crap. Why would you do that? Why??????

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Showers and Gender Reveals

Time is starting to move slightly faster now that I'm not freaked out every second of the day. Seriously, before this last week every day felt like a year, and time was moving so slowly. Now things aren't as slow, although I still wouldn't mind time even moving faster (until February and then it can slow back down :)

My mother is already talking about baby showers (ugh) which has gotten me thinking about it. I really don't want my SIL to bring her twins to the shower. It's weird. If I were the one pregnant I don't think I'd mind at all. If I had a belly people would be exclaiming over it and asking how I felt and if the babies are active, etc. But considering I won't have a baby bump I think it won't be hard to turn people's attentions towards her cute little 3 month old twins (at that point) and away from me. And yea, I want the attention, I admit it. I don't get any of the "normal" attention pregnant women get so this one day would be nice.

So I just have to get up the guts to put something like "Adults only" on the invite. I'd really love to not have to write that though. And the odds are that she might not even be able to come, since she lives 3 hours away and would she really drive up with the babies for that amount of time when they're only 3 months old? But I could see her feeling obligated (I know I would). She might think since her mom is also invited (she invited my mom to the shower next weekend so I need to do the same) she can handle one while her mom handles the other. Oh, family.

Speaking of attention, yes, apparently I'm an attention whore. Apparently 4+ years of trying will do that to you. Or at least to me. So I've decided to throw a little gender reveal party at the end of September for me, L and our closest friends. The very closest of friends who think it's just fine to do so (I asked ahead of time) and RSVP'd to my invite within a day. I even invited Gabby after asking if she'd be interested! She did want to be invited but when she got the evite saw the date and isn't sure she can come that day. Oh well, it'll still be fun. Don't worry, I will totally be posting the genders here as soon as I find out. The party isn't until over a week after the gender reveal and I can't tell any of those close friends so I will be busting with the news :)

So I sent everyone an evite, which is so funny because most of them knew the date of the party before I sent it out. But I wanted to do so, it's part of the fun! I used this Punchbowl evite originally meant for a baby shower - just switched the wording to a regular party.

Hilariously, the last of our close friends texted us tonight to ask if they should bring their baby or find a sitter. Without me even saying anything they literally texted they wanted to make the day about us and not their baby. Holy cow. I intentionally included "family" on the invite (i.e. To the Smith Family) and not To Joe & Jane so they could see I wanted them all to come. I was very touched they asked though. I'm totally fine with it for this little party but not for my shower. See, I'm hopeful my SIL would do the same thing (and ask) but I just don't think I want to take the chance.

Gabby found both heartbeats tonight again! She said she thinks it's getting easier now that they're both bigger. She mentioned that while both were good heartbeats, one was much louder than the other. Not faltering or uneven or anything, just one was quieter. Do you think I need to worry about that? I already am. I guess it doesn't make sense to think they should both be at the same loudness, but it was enough for her to comment on. I don't know. Paranoid, of course.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

15 weeks

Gabby is feeling better. She ended up calling the OB on Thursday and they didn't want to see her. Gee thanks, doc. But she felt better as the day progressed and even better on Friday. And she found two heartbeats on Friday. Yay!

In other is 15 weeks, another yay!! Only 1 week and 1 day till the gender reveal (fingers crossed we can see something!)

I am a football widow today. L has gone off with his brothers to the Jets game. It probably won't end well :)

Here are some ultrasound pics from the 13w4d ultrasound, now about a week and a half ago. There were a couple of others Gabby mailed me that weren't that great so I didn't scan them, but I am fairly certain that one of the babies is a boy. In all honesty, given L's track record and all the boys in L's family (1 of 3 brothers), plus the fact that we did regular IVF no ICSI, I'm pretty sure they're both boys, but I feel like I may have seen something on one of the u/s pics I didn't scan (not posted here). Time will tell!

Upper twin

Lower twin

Fuzzy picture of both

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Worry Again

Last night I got an email from Gabby that immediately set me worrying.

Unfortunately I have been down and under with the WORST lower GI bug I think I've ever had ... bad timing! I have horrible gas pains and had to take a half day today and go home early yesterday. (MFM)'s office said pepto is ok so I've been taking that but to no avail. With all the cramping I double checked the heartbeat tonight and it was good and normal. Now I just need this thing to leave me because I feel like I'm dying! If I have a rough night tonight I might ask to go into see (MFM) tomorrow or my primary care to make sure I'm not missing anything and that I'm well hydrated. I'm able to drink and I'm pretty sure I'm drinking more than I'm losing so I think I'm good. Have had headaches so taking Tylenol with good relief. Oh, absolutely no spotting or bleeding so that's good!

Of course that immediately started my heart pounding. Yes, no bleeding is very good. I'm still very worried. She was totally fine Monday! Someone talk me down off my ledge. I texted her husband later last night to see how she was doing and he said she was persevering. She's resting as much as she can.

From the hubby's text:

And staying hydrated and eating when she can ... for the babies of course - can't let the little guys/girls go hungry!

I feel a little bad because it's all about the babies, but I feel bad for Gabby too! But yes, I admit I'm very worried about them. I wish I could do something for Gabby. If I lived closer I'd totally drop off a "hydration care package" but I don't and by the time I mail something she'll (hopefully) be over it.

I just texted her again this morning because I haven't heard from her. I really wish she would go into the MFM so I wouldn't worry so much.

I, I, I, me, me, me, my babies. It's all about me these days, isn't it? Ugh.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shades of Gray

If you think I'm talking about the book, I promise, I'm not. I haven't even read it yet, though I did read an article recently saying that it has caused a baby boom of sorts, wink wink, for February 2013 babies. Oy. Not my (fingers crossed) February 2013 babies. Their very scientific and mechanical conception couldn't be farther away from steamy sex after reading a hot novel.

We have entered the second trimester! And Gabby found a heartbeat on the doppler yesterday (she stopped looking after finding only one and I'm fine with that now) so I am comfortably sure that we have made it to 14 weeks. I'm still so nervous for a missed miscarriage, but I'm so excited to be where we are. I'm still amazed we have made it so far.

On Thursday night, after the ultrasound, we also had our bi-weekly (every two weeks, not twice a week) session with our "infertility" counselor. She's not really an infertility counselor, just a regular family counselor, which sucks sometimes because she says things you really shouldn't say to an infertile, but she is also really nice and sometimes can say really good things.

We spoke a lot about grief and loss while being "pregnant." About my embarrassment about being a "fraud," about what it means. About not having anything to show for things yet (i.e. a baby bump). After all of it, I take these things from her:

I see a world too much in black and white and not enough shades of gray. I've actually heard my parents tell me this for years now, well before infertility ever entered my life. I don't know why I am that way; maybe it makes things easier for me. It definitely helps me be more decisive, most of the time. It also makes things harder sometimes when they don't need to be. I am super hard on myself.

On top of that conversation with my neighbor last week, I had gotten an email from Gabby that afternoon. She told me that after the ultrasound she ran to a neighborhood consignment store to look for maternity clothes, and while there, the clerk asked if this was her first baby. She took the moment to tell her, not at all, that she was a gestational carrier with three kids of her own, and she educated the clerk. She was so excited to tell me how she has no compunction about telling this to strangers, that she feels like a babysitter or a dear aunt. These aren't her kids at all, she's just the kind Mary Poppins taking care of them for 9 months, and then they'll go home with Mom and Dad.

Well, isn't that sweet. No, it really is. I felt terrible, because in my one moment to do some education last week, I hid. I didn't take the opportunity to educate at all. I ran away from it.

And I explored that with my counselor this week. And she helped me see things in more gray, to think more kindly of myself and not think what a schmuck I am for not running with it and teaching a near total stranger (even though she is my neighbor) .

There was no true lie involved. I didn't say I was pregnant. I didn't tell her the absolute truth either, but it really wasn't the time or place. Neighbor woman didn't really want or need the whole story, and it was my story to tell when I want to - if I want to.

I told the counselor how bad I felt that Gabby educates but I do not. And talking about it, I've's much easier for her. First off, she has something to show for it, a baby bump, which makes a discussion much easier to start. Mine is less tangible, a talking point. Who likes talking points that are forced? Politics suck. Second of all, she is in a similar position to where adoptive moms are a lot of time. Adoptive moms, please correct me if I'm wrong, but during our homestudy process and classes, we were told a lot that the public looks more upon adoption as a noble "thing." Almost like "saving the babies" when we know that is not it at all, and our baby/ies saved us just as much. But that's not what the public sees or thinks. Likewise, the public doesn't look at birthmoms and think what a great, unselfish thing they have done when they decided to place their baby for adoption. They are not heralded for doing so.

Obviously, surrogacy is not at all the same thing, but there are similar veins. Instead there's a lot of feeling out there about "lazy rich women who pay others to have their babies for them." A gestational carrier is the noble one in this case, giving the gift of themselves in order to make a family. And they deserve all the credit (as do adoptive moms, in case you didn't get that from my previous paragraph), but the intended mother is not thought of in as good a light. Look at all the people who accuse celebrities of using a surrogacy to keep their bodies in pristine shape. (Luckily, no one who knows me would ever accuse me of that after seeing my body :)

Obviously, birthmoms don't usually go around telling people they've placed their baby for adoption or when they are pregnant and waiting to, even though it may be the most unselfish thing in the world to do. Why not? They could educate the world as well. And I know a few may, but not that many. It's usually online, and not in public at the local Target.

So why do I hate myself for not being forthright with the world as well?

For birthmoms, there are so many complicated issues - it's not a simple matter of saying, "I decided to place my baby." There is a history and reasons, and the grief is there for many of them. Likewise it is for me. There is so much more behind becoming an intended mother than any stranger would ever know or care to hear, and I could never convey it to them even if I wanted them to know. It's not as simple as, "One day I woke up and decided to have a baby via a gestational carrier." But most people who haven't traveled this path or watched mine don't know or get that.

Sure, I could be a better educator. I could be better at a lot of things (exercise for one). I should work on it, but I should also cut myself some slack.

For now, at least I realize what is holding me back, even if it doesn't make me completely comfortable with it. While I feel it would be great to be open like Giuliana and Bill Rancic, they also have a much bigger platform on which to speak. I have a 3 minute conversation with a stranger I'll likely never see again. And because they (G&B) are in the 5th season of their reality show, the strangers who watch them saw their journey - their miscarriage, their shots, their crying. The strangers I talk to have no idea of my journey: my many miscarriages, my open heart surgeries, my shots, my crying, my devastation - and there's just not enough time to tell them about it. Nor do they necessarily care (unlike viewers who specifically tune in to watch G&B).

It's all so very complicated. But that's ok. Here's a little bit of gray that I'm ok with. There are no wrong answers here.

Baby steps.