Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week Eleven

i just want to be happy that i get to finally post an entry with that heading.
so i went in for what i thought would just be some screening blood work and got a Bonus Tummymuffin Show -- a fairly comprehensive ultrasound in which i discovered:
-TM4 seems to be constantly moving.
-her/his fingers are super cute.
-apparently when a tiny person smushes his/her face up against the sonogram wand thingy, he/she looks exactly like a tiny luchador.
-it seems that TM4 is already exhibiting genetic traits such as the infamous "Hutchinson Chin" (see this link for a telling photo of direct ancestor).
-perhaps later on i will be bored watching my child's antics, but right now, it's RIVETING.

this week feels like a small island of respite in the lake of blood and fire, for which i'm grateful. i need the naptime...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week Ten

i'm going to do for you exactly what my delightful ob/gyn does for me: tell you immediately before any details that
IT'S ALL GOOD! or in her words, "WE ARE A+ PERFECT."
okay, now i'll let you all start breathing again. (i can also hear your cheers, which kind of makes me want to cry, and not just because of hormone mood swings.)
given how every appointment, except the very first innocent one almost 3 years ago, is an exercise in Will I See My Tummymuffin or Will I See Doom?, i appreciate her approach. she wastes no time -- pops in the ultrasound wand and immediately declares that all is well, and only after that proceeds to tell me what the smudge means, find the heartbeat, measure the baby, etc.
it was an effort this time, knowing that this was The Week of Doom, to not expect the worst. all of your encouragements and faith-that-i-can't-feel-myself helped me to stay in Possibility Cautious Optimism Mode. which was new. however, i can't lie; when i saw a very large, baby-looking image on that monitor, i had a split second thought: but this can't be my baby. my babies disappear around now. and then i heard my doctor saying: "you've never seen one this big yet, have you?" and reality came back and the overwhelming thought then became: this is happening. this is really happening now. this is what's true.
honestly, before seeing those kicking legs and wiggling arms i could get about as far as thinking about how awesome it would be to write a Week Ten post that was all good news. and now? i can get as far as thinking for more than a few seconds how awesome it would be to actually have a healthy, full-term child without my brain exploding. this is a huge improvement.
the way i see it, perhaps for the people who are blessed with easy conception, pregnancy, and birth, the process of having a baby is like crossing a calm lake on a comfortable ferry: you decide you want to take the trip, so you get on the boat whenever you want to, sail placidly across, and get off on the other side. for me -- and probably for others who struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss -- it's more like commandeering a tiny rowboat in open warfare to cross a wildly heaving lake of blood and fire. sometimes you never even get past finding a damn boat; other times you make it a few meters in when your oars get shot out or the boat capsizes or gets blown up. or maybe you get halfway across when you find out your boat has a slow leak or you almost dock and the land cannons get you.
some of you may be nodding; some of you may be vaguely horrified by my violent imagery, but this is the best way i have of explaining to myself (or others) why i don't know if i can ever fully act like i'm on the comfy ferry. i've wondered many times if or when i'll shift over into believing full-time that i will meet this child, and that he or she will be healthy and well. i know that this is somewhat useless speculation; what matters is my choicefulness on a daily basis in how i'm going to live.
so today i actually went down to the garage and pulled out all the maternity stuff...again. i hauled out all the books that i'd hidden carefully behind the travel guides, and even considered starting the pregnancy journal again, now that i'm into the blank pages of Week 10 and beyond. i even loaded up two pregnancy podcasts and added a pregnancy tracker widget to my iGoogle page.
all that deliberate hopefulness was a bit exhausting, but it felt good. really good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week Nine

currently, a very typical conversation:
Person Who Loves Me And Cares About Me: How are you feeling?
Me, Feeling Perpetually Like The Pukey Exhaustion Truck Hit Me: Absolutely terrible.
Loving, Caring Person: THAT'S WONDERFUL!

this gestational diabetes is a blessing in the disguise of No More White Rice, i tell you, because it forces me to eat every two to three hours whether i want to or not. despite rationally knowing the barfy feeling will recede if i just put food in my mouth, it is very hard to otherwise motivate oneself to prepare food when one feels like one has been riding on a tiny boat in very rough seas. speaking of which, my daily blood sugar numbers are apparently pleasing to the Dietician/Nurse Powers That Be, so all is well so far in that arena.
i tried to skip naptime one day and paid dearly for it that evening. after dragging around the house and then flolloping on the couch making small moaning noises, the husbanator appeared with a big giant "10" written on the iPad and said i was totally winning for Utter Patheticness. i laughed so hard i fell off the couch and decided to just go to bed.
besides, naptimes are the one time during the day that i practice loving Tummymuffin IV. not that i don't at other times, but it's way too emotionally fraught to sustain excitement, affection, or even hopefulness without it straying too close to the jagged boundaries of fear and anxiety. but when i'm drifting into that relaxed alpha state, hands cupped over my expanding pelvis, i can let go and love this small person growing inside of me. it helps that i have an image; my thoughtful ob/gyn mailed me the last ultrasound printouts (the printer was broken at the time) and sure enough, there IS a waving arm, absolutely clear. and little froglike proto-legs. it was kind of a game changer to see TM4 so...real baby-like. the joy and pleasure at seeing those images bloomed inside automatically, without any strings attached, and it was relief to know i can still feel that way about a pregnancy, even if just for a few moments.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Week Eight

yeah, you read that right. it's week 8. no one is more surprised than me.
just like with Tummymuffin III, no sooner had i put up that last post, having started the preliminaries for consulting with reproductive endocrinologists and considering our ART options, than i discovered i wasn't having a late period. no one is more surprised than me; i've never gotten pregnant this fast before, and while we had left the door open for it to occur, i truly truly deep down inside did not believe it could happen again without some sort of assistance.
well. huh. how about that.
i've struggled with what to write here, how to write it, and even if to write it at all. i don't want to post sad news here in two weeks after giving you faithful Team Hope people a reason to rejoice. but i also don't want to post any news here, sad or otherwise, in a way that would cut out the most important component of all my pregnancy experiences -- you. a very wise woman pointed out to me that people have indeed felt our loss in the past, and that may keep me feeling hesitant, but they've felt it because they want this for us so much. another very wise woman -- not knowing i had just found out i was expecting again -- wrote some things that encouraged me to keep being transparent with the WHOLE process; not just the "good parts." so. Team Hope. thanks for signing on for another ride.
i'll start with the physical facts. Tummymuffin IV is kicking my butt. i am crazy tired and queasy all the time. i have constant humiliating gas, i've started to smell funny, and none of my pants really fit any more. in other words: All Is Well. the Week Six appointment featured Instant Giant Heartbeat on Ultrasound Screen. this week's appointment featured a waving arm (says my ob/gyn, who can see these things) and a bopping head. in short, TM4 is "perfectly A+ normal." on a side note, this is definitely my husband's child, because TM4 is hanging out in my womb, sucking down all the sugar (s)he can: i already have gestational diabetes. i'm deeply grateful for the coaching from my dear friend who has Type I diabetes; it would've been all too overwhelming otherwise. today when i busted out the finger-poking bits and the glucometer it felt quite normal. and yes, overall, my numbers are fine. at this point, after all we've been through, i'm more than willing to eat on a schedule and give up watermelon and draw blood 4x/day in exchange for more Happy Ultrasound Views.
emotionally -- well hello! welcome to my wild ride, full of hairpin curves and sheer cliff dropoffs! please fasten your seatbelts and for heaven's sake, keep your dang hands inside! yeah, come to the think of it, maybe this is why i feel nauseous most of the time. i wish i could tell you how overjoyed we are and how hopeful, but this would be pointless. all y'all -- as they say in some regions -- know that this is not the case. of course we're happy. of course we're grateful. by the same token, of course we're terrified. of course we're being cautiously optimistic. it's been wonderful for the husbanator to finally -- FINALLY! -- see one of his children's heart beat, and not once, but now twice (various reasons prevented this in all previous pregnancies). but i see his face when he looks at me and i know that even as he wraps his head around what that pulsing smudge on the screen means, he's still mostly concerned about me. and not just because i'm burping like a teenage boy with no control.
i have been very consciously trying to live in the present. what i mean is that it's far too easy to think about all the things that could go wrong today, tomorrow, next week, before Week Ten, before Week Twelve. then it's not a stretch to think about all the potential other pitfalls ahead that could still end this child's life before i ever meet him or her, or simply go wrong at any point. quite frankly, i have neither the energy nor the interest in that vortex of poison. what i am trying to concentrate on is: what do i want to give this baby today? what do i want to know/feel/do/learn/understand today? this moment? how can i simply live right now in the possibility of having a healthy child -- not in the past's crushing disappointments nor in the future's heavy burden of hopeful expectation? i have often thought about how radically different it would be to shift completely and think/feel/live in the assumption that this will be a healthy, normal baby that will actually be carried to term and born and carried and smelled and kissed and shared. i can glimpse what that is like for a split second before reality takes over. every day i practice extending that split second, and it's helping.
meanwhile, as before, i am letting you be the ones who can experience pure excitement and hope and joy for me. you've shared your hope for our family dreams with me no matter if i've been currently pregnant or not. right now, this is enough for me. no. it's more. and as always, i am deeply grateful.


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