Monday, October 22, 2012

Halfway today

Yes, it's true. 20 weeks on the dot. Unfreakinbelievable.

A few things before I launch into boring pregnancy updates.

1) I LOVED your comments on my last post. Thank you so much ladies. I feel like writing that post helped me clarify some of the inner conflict I had pulling at me from within. And reading your comments helped remind me that we really all struggle with emerging from infertility into motherhood. We all (will) get there, somehow.

2) I am so thrilled by all the great news in blogland lately. A huge congrats to Egghunt, Ginger and Lime, J.J., La Fille who are finding themselves pregnant, after years of struggle and loss. I cannot tell you, women, how much my heart sings to think of you pregnant. And I also want to acknowledge those who are still waiting. In particular my dear friend Patience, who has had to watch everyone go first, and still doesn't get her turn to be a mom. I continue to hold hope for you, my friend, and can't even imagine the happy dance we will all do when the call finally comes.

Now for updates:

The anatomy scan was on Friday. It went very well indeed. I think gummy is the most beautiful fetus in the world. I was expecting to find out the sex of our baby, but the tech told me it was too early. At the time, I made as though I believed what she was saying, but in all honesty, I think it's hogwash. I know some of you have found out earlier than 19w4d, which is where I was at on Friday. I later talked to Sattva, who said she heard tell Pleasantville General Hospital had gotten into some hot water over revealing the sex of babies, and were now trying to avoid the practice altogether. It wasn't too big of a disappointment, especially when I got to see that gummy looked so healthy. I asked about the shadow, not expecting that anything could be said about that, but was happily surprised when the tech said she couldn't see it at all. She then volunteered that it was a nonfused chorion, the most benign of all three possibilities. How do you spell relief? (apparently, you spell it r-e-s-o-l-v-e-d n-o-n-f-u-s-e-d c-h-o-r-i-o-n).

I've also hired a doula to help us with the birth. When I thought about who Mr. A and I are as people, and how we handle our own and each other's anxiety, it felt like we probably needed the presence of a calming third influence in the midst of what's going to be a beautiful and likely painful experience. Despite the recommendations to shop around, I think I like the one I met on the weekend well enough to hire her.

I am wondering if the little sensations I feel sometimes are perhaps kicks from long legged gummy (this kid is going to run marathons one day). I've got the anterior placenta situation, so I know that it's supposed to take longer to feel the movements in this situation. One of my work friends described the movement akin to when your eye starts to twitch, and somehow, that was closer to what I had been feeling than gas bubbles. So, I think I may be feeling gummy move, but it's not with any certainty yet.

One last anecdote before I sign off. I went for a walk with a friend yesterday, and when she gave me a hug, she squealed and said she could feel my bump. I have not taken any pictures of the bump yet, but I think it might be time to start that. Watch for it in the gummy bear tab.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the pregnant infertile identity

Snippets of thoughts are swirling around. Will they actually come together in a blog posting? I think I've found the thread, with a little help from my friend (yes, that's you, the Scottish mama/psychologist).

We are in the car, driving up to a cottage for the weekend, and she says I'm not infertile.

What do you mean?

What she means, pointing at my (now visibly) growing bump is that I am looking like fertility incarnated. That what's going on inside of me is what fertility is all about. That my biology, and my social world, all think I'm as fertile as it gets.

She has a point. But I protest, of course.

I'm not about to give back my infertile badge. I feel like I'll be part of that club until death. Is that short sighted of me? Maybe. Probably. But at the end of the day, my body didn't create life. Yes, it is growing it as we speak. And yes, my body, my whole being will work hard to sustain this life once it joins us on the outside. 

But I'm still infertile.

I hear myself tell people I don't know well that this was a long awaited for baby. I do a double-take on myself when I say that it has been years of work to get here. What is that about? I look the same but I'm different, and I need the world to know it? I don't know. I just find it odd that it keeps coming out of my mouth. I go back to thumbing my rolodex of emotional patterns. Oh yes, I see. This is the one about deserving things only if I've absolutely worked my ass off to have them.

Don't get me wrong. I've long abandoned the idea that my infertility is psychosomatic. My psyche did not create this. No amount of relaxing would have brought us this pregnancy. But I do find it disturbing that my actions perhaps demonstrate that I fancy myself more deserving of this child than others since I've suffered so much for him or her. That's a tad effed up.

Is it that my experience of pregnancy is completely the one of a pregnant infertile? I don't think so. There are aspect I feel I'm experiencing like every other woman who has or is or will be pregnant, no matter what route she took to get there. I have the same worries (ok, perhaps magnified a bit). I've started to smugly rub my belly (yes, you can hate me). I'm interviewing doulas, and I've picked out a colour for the nursery (parma grey - farrow and ball), and I'm getting freaked out about giving birth.

And yet, I'm not ready to say that all has just gotten back on track with the pregnancy. This train didn't just jump the track, it piled up into a full wreck. And perhaps that is what I am holding onto when I cannot drop the infertile after the pregnant in my title. Let's not pretend there wasn't hell to go through to get here (and perhaps more hell before we get there - oh please no. PLEASE, NO MORE HELL!). And without going all psychoanalytic on you folks, this is perhaps a parallel with my childhood. There was a certain amount of shit that went down, all of which went unacknowledged by my parents and extended family. 15 years of therapy later, it appears I find it important to acknowledge the truth of what happens to me. Go figure.

So, I am pregnant. And I am infertile. Both of those are my truths. And I understand that to the outside world, I am just another pregnant woman* Very few know about the donor egg process we've been through and for now, it's very easy to decide who gets to know and who doesn't. But on the inside, I'm mostly still infertile and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know enough to let hope in and go with the facts (inside my uterus = growing fetus). And I also know that this is entirely a miracle, that science, money, selflessness, another woman's eggs, good medical staff, lots of missed hours of work, enormous support from all of you, and a large measure of determination on our parts made it possible. And I know that if we lose this miracle, we can't just have sex to try and make another one happen.

I think I'm ok with living as a pregnant infertile. That's what it will need to be for it to be my truth, so I'll stick with it for now.    

*Did I ever tell you how much I dread being that woman to someone in the throes of infertility. Like I could just be sitting somewhere, and she is having the worse day ever after a beta of 1, staring down her 4th IVF, and then she sees me with my bump and I am her last straw. Funny how self-important we are in our worst fears.

Friday, October 12, 2012

week 18 - updates

Last week was full of pregnancy-related episodes that I'll recount here. If you are not in the mood for pregnancy talk, please feel free to skip it entirely.

 So, yes, the prenatal yoga was a trip. It ended up, not surprisingly, that I knew 4 of the 12 women in the class. One of them is in my closer community circle and I'm glad I had found out the week before about her pregnancy (through a few channels, including her friend writing on her wall something about her pregnancy - eeeeeekkk. I'm so afraid of that happening to me). I was surprised by how much it stung to find out she was pregnant. It stung just as much as when I was infertile period. I knew that becoming a pregnant infertile would not remove the infertile out of me, but it took that news to reveal it more completely. Truth is I'm very happy for this woman. And she, in turn, expressed in as few words as possible to protect my privacy, that she was happy to see me in the class. I've chalked up the stinging to plain old infertility reflexes, which will probably be in operation until I'm 80.

I also got to meet my OB last week. It appears that my streak of amazing luck with health professionals continues. Dr. Smiley was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. And young. Close to 10 years my junior, I would guess. I was a bit puzzled that I had to meet her at the hospital, and wondered why I wasn't meeting her at a medical office. I got myself there and it became evident that I was to wait in triage. Two women were being admitted. Like, to have their babies. And I was sitting across from them, in the same waiting room, feeling quite out of place. Dr. Smiley was very compassionate about my infertility history, and was keen to learn about the DE process in the U.S. She felt that the shadow on the last u/s was a wait and see situation, and that I shouldn't worry about it for now. She noted, as I expected, that she would send me to the big university hospital if there was cause for worry. I wasn't expecting it, but she did an u/s. I was so excited to see gummy. Unlike in the last 2 u/s, gummy was quite calm. Gummy looked like he/she had filled out a little bit, and didn't look quite as gaunt as our last peek inside. Dr. Smiley didn't take any measurements, but said the baby looked like an appropriate size for his/her age.    

The anatomy scan is booked for October 19. She felt that it was a good idea to have the scan at the same place as last time (Pleasantville General Hospital), so as to compare results with the 14w scan. She said that she may also send me to another place she likes to send patients if there is a need for follow-up.

There have been a few sweet occasions for revealing the pregnancy to close friends. One evening last week, we went out to dinner with a group of friends, most of whom did not know about our little miracle. A few of them knew about our struggles in some detail and were over the moon when I told them there was a fetus in there, pointing at my stomach. As luck would have it, some other dear friends were also eating at that restaurant. I shared the news with them and both husband and wife just started crying. It was incredibly sweet.

I've been excited and hopeful by reading of some great developments in blogland. My fingers (and aloe plants) are crossed that all continues to go well for you, dear women.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A riddle

Q: How can you tell that the lovely woman you've just met in your prenatal yoga class is not at all infertile?

A: She is 6 weeks pregnant

(From the vantage point of my 17 weeks, I was still feeling rather exposed to be affirming my pregnant state so early.  Going to that class was a big emotional hurdle to summit, but I did it and even enjoyed it!)