After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shower Issues

I spent Saturday at a wonderful baby shower for a dear old friend. It was a nice mix of people, old and young, and although games were involved, they were short, sweet, and kind of funny. I reconnected with old friends, made some new ones, and felt the warmth of all the people that were so genuinely excited for J. & I.

Coincidentally, over the weekend, both a good friend and a relative, told me that they'd like to plan showers/parties for me/us. I freaked out. I am so, so bad at being the center of attention, and quite uncomfortable in that situation. But it's important to them, and I know both showers will be a good time, and a memory I do want to make.

But I'm worried. (apparently, I'm not the only one who has shower issues.) Friends and family are spread all around the state. Neither J or I have a traditional work environment (we own a small business, and esentially work together. With one other person), so we don't have a group of "work friends." I certainly have some good girlfriends, but honestly, most of them are out of town. Many of our friends are "couple friends". I am deathly afraid that I simply don't have enough friends to split between two parties. What if noone comes? How horrifying.

I'm so nervous, and really don't know how to handle it. But then again, weeks ago, I had a deathly fear that noone would offer a shower, and would that be disappointing too?

Such trivial concerns. I need to put them in perspective, and realize that these are problems I only dreamed I'd ever be having.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Who Are Those Crazy Ladies?

It’s something I’ve alternately dreaded and anticipating. I avoided it for a long time … took drastic means to skip it … rubber bands, safety pins, a few of J’s items, my “fat” clothes.

But the time came, and I had to bite the bullet at go shopping for maternity clothes. All of the above techniques only enhanced the fact that it appeared that I had overindulged during the holiday festivities, and might have gotten me nominated as a candidate on “What Not to Wear.”

Typically, I love to shop. For anything. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. In the past few years, clothing shopping hasn’t been as fun, as I haven’t been particularly satisfied with my shape. And shopping on a deadline with specific needs simply takes the fun out of impulse shopping.

So I went. Actually, my MIL wanted to take me, and we spent a wonderful afternoon together. We picked out some nice basics, and few fun pieces, and were having a great time together (which is crazy, because we really don’t spend much “alone” time together).

The seemingly innocent saleswoman had been as nice as can be. It was a small boutique, and we were the only people in there, so much chatting and making-nice had been happening. I’m not sure how the subject came up, but we were talking about the different kinds of people who shop in her store.

And then she said something to the effect of “Yea, and then sometimes you get these women who aren’t pregnant, don’t seem to want to buy the clothes, don’t talk at all, and just want to look around. It’s crazy, I don’t get what they’re doing here!”

I get it. It was me. Years of cautious wandering through baby boutiques, occasionally maternity stores, wondering if I’d ever be there shopping for myself. Nothing crazy about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Birth Stories

That was about as honest as it gets.

I just returned from a local production of Birth, by New York playwright Karen Brody. A collection of monologues, really, tied together with choreographed role-playing by other members of the cast. Each character, through an alternating series of monologues, relays her own birth story, or stories. They range from scheduled c-section to a “My Body Rocks!” self-empowered natural birth, from a home birth to an experience with too much unwanted medical intervention.

The play opens with a dialogue about how it is a domesticated dog gives birth. A dog knows what to do when the time comes. Her instinct guides her. She readies herself. Humans do not intervene unless there is an emergency. There are no bright lights above and crowds on all sides. The dog takes herself to a quiet place. She has a private birth, and when her puppies are born, they either begin to nurse, or nuzzle up with their mother. Is it too much to ask, that as women, we be treated as well as our dogs in birth?

I certainly felt the slant towards the position of natural childbirth, minimal medical intervention, the promotion of midwifery. It didn’t bother me in any way. In promoting those very virtues, the play advocated women taking care of women. This is a concept that simply can’t be wrong. We are animals. We do have instincts. And yes, as the playwright so well noted, women are qualified to give birth to their own children.

I don’t want to give away too much about the specific storylines, in hopes that if you ever have the opportunity to see this play, you will rush straight to the theater. It beefed up my confidence in myself and my abilities as a woman, educated me about some questions I should be asking, and illustrated, in a very realistic light, the myriad of options that are now available to women. Reading about your options in a book is nothing like hearing them from the mouths of women.

And most of all, I learned that the intentional choices you make for yourself are always okay. Whether it's a choice about your career, your spouse, your infertility and desire to have a child, or about childbirth. Because it is your voice and your intention, you have the right to make the decision. You stand behind it because it was the right choice for you, not for anyone else.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Home again, home again

It's true. There really is no place like home.

Especially when compared to a rainy week at a secluded ski resort in the mountainous backwaters a few states over.

But relaxation is always a good thing, and although my ambitious expectations for the productive use of forced downtime are never met, or exceeded, I do feel calm and ready to take on the new year.

The pile of four books that I was certain to read remained somewhat untouched. I did enjoy many chapters from this very interesting compilation of essays written by an array of fascinating women.

While watching my sweet nieces and nephews, supervised by my very own J., swoop down the slopes, I soaked up the wit and wisdom of this very hilarious woman, who might just be my 'new favorite' author. I'll be seeing attending an event at which she'll be speaking next month, and am so very excited!

More often, I listened to a trashy mystery novel on my iPod and attempted to learn to crochet. After some very serious false starts, I managed to tangle together an attempt at a scarf. If, perhaps, my color selections has been more, um, informed, it wouldn't look so much like a day-glo seventh-grader with a bad haircut. But, I've mastered a new stitch, and have a lovely, very long scarf that I might or might not be to embarrased to wear.

Actually, the three day visits with the aforemententioned nieces and nephews, and the two day wrap up with good friends from home, made the trip quite nice. Sandwiched between the two were some good movies, kinda-good meals, quiet time with J, great people-watching, romantic moments, stunning views and nature, and the discovery of a very hip coffee shop/live music venue a few towns over. So all was good.

* * *

I was practically breaking down the doors to the vet this morning in an attempt to bring my kitties home. They didn't want to release them, as they hadn't had their required going-home bath, but I could wait no longer.

We learned that white kitty did indeed have a raging bladder infection (yet again) and after tests, bacteria cultures, an x-ray to search for stones and blockages, and a week of a new medication, I was treated to the most astronomical veterinary bill I've ever seen. But if the boarding, testing, and antibiotics have cured miss kitty of her spraying ills, it will be worth every single penny.

They were so cute when we got home ... each was so nervous, as if they'd been dropped off in a totally unfamiliar home. Scared "meows" and tentative sniffing were the typical behavior for a few hours, as they would rush around a corner to make sure that yes, we were still there. I wonder, how good is the memory of a cat?

* * *

Call it nesting, call it new year organizational frenzy, but I've got it. (I suspect the latter, since I've always been a decorating/organizing kind of girl.) Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent pulling almost everything off the shelves of my closet, trashing, moving, organzing, boxing and labeling it all. Old clothes in plastic tubs, guest room dressers and closets were sorted for (1) Maybe I Can Still Wear this For A Few Months, (2) No Chance This Will Fit Me, But Maybe After the Babies I Can Get Into Really Fabulous Shape ... A New Me!, or (3) Fat Chance, Off to Goodwill.

This afternoon you would find me in front of my kitchen pantry. All like items moved together, shelves rearranged, and each shelf labeled. Yes, it's a new low. I labeled my foodstuffs. Really, it's more in an attempt to train J to put things back in the right spot, but hopefully it will also help me keep from buying multiples of the same thing. Why, I ask, did I ever find the need to purchase three seperate containers of cornstarch. I honestly don't even know what it's used for. Got a good recipe for cornstarch muffins or something? Send it my way, please.

* * *

Things are good on the baby-front. I'm quite poochy now, at 16 weeks, and feel some very strange rumblings down below. Who knows, could be all the cornstarch I'm consuming. I got waaay ahead of myself and ordered the two cribs I'd been lusting after. Not thinking they would arrive so soon, of course. And they will continue to reside, flat-packed, in my hallway until I can get motivated to do some painting, move some furniture, and get my stuff together.

I know it's very early to be worrying about such things, but the room is so small, I need to set up the big pieces of furniture before I can figure out if a chair will actually fit in there. I'm visual ... I like to see it all in person.

* * *

This is more of a reminder to me, but for any of you who join me and all the other blogging ladies in the belief that this is the most assinine and ridiculous bill, please voice your opinion. This makes me so proud to reside in this state.


Bad news. Please send thoughts and prayers out to Jen.

Friday, January 06, 2006

And We're Off

They all made fun of me.

I had to drop the kitties off at the vet today, for a seven-day vacation while we're out of town. Normally, we have a cat-sitter come by and check on them, but Moo-Kitty is having some bathroom issues, and we would certainly come home to a stinky mess.

I couldn't just "drop them off" and take off on my merry way. I wanted to sit with them for a minute, show them around their new home, put them in the cages (they get to share a double, thank goodness), and pet and talk to them, make them calm. Or make me calm.

Okay, so I asked a lot of questions. Who checks on them over the weekend? How often? How much do they let them out to play? Etc, etc.

Okay, so I had to be tugged out reluctantly. I'm comfortable leaving them at home ... they are familiar with home. Maybe lonely, but comfortable. I've never left them away, at the vet, or anywhere else. So it was tough.

And when we were back at the receptionist desk, J proceeds to make fun of me to the receptionist. And then play the baby card: "Can you believe she's pregnant with twins? We're never going to be able to leave them. She'll be a nervous wreck." And on and on. Ad nauseum.

Well, excuse me. Somebody was raised on a farm (not me). Someone (moi) treats pets like members of the family.

I know the the comparison may be crass, and probably not equal, but these kitties are my first babies. They have comforted me through tough times, through lonely times. They put a smile on my face when nothing else will. They allow me to nurture, to take care. They keep me warm, and their purrs sooth me into sleep. The anger and frustrate me, but I love them.

So, there. And yes, I will be calling to check on them while we're away.

We're off for a week's vacation. I've packed up a stash of books, magazines, movies, and games. And pursuant to Emma's recommendation, I've loaded up on yarns and instructions, and am determined to be a master-crocheter by week's end.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Testing! 1, 2, 3 !

I don't know if it's par for the course, by my RE strongly suggested (both to me in person and via letter to my OB/GYN) that since I conceived via IVF with ICSI, that an amniocentesis should be performed, no matter my age.

He says that, while it is unproven, there could be some evidence to the conclusion that ICSI babies have a higher rate of birth defects. My OB says she hasn't seen the link, and encourages her patients to make the decision on their own. I've read articles and seen statistics to both effects.

We'd discussed it at previous appointments, and it came up again today at my 14-week checkup. If I were 35 or older, it would be a no-brainer, as the risk of birth defects in any pregnancy increases at that point. But I'm only 30. So is it worth the risk of the amnio itself? And if it showed positive for birth defects, what decision would I make?

As an alternative, by OB offered up an AFP or multiple marker screen (also known as a triple or quad screen). This blood test, she says, gives a percentage chance that there could be a genetic defect, and is a indicator to move on to an amnio.

Again, the question is, if it came back positive, what would I do with that information? I would have to amnio both babies, and what if only one had problems? Would I want to, as she said so delicately, "alter the pregnancy"?

My answer is no. Others would answer yes, which is absolutely fine. It's an incredibly personal decision that I would never presume to judge for others. We've had no genetic issues thus far, so I'm not going to investigate further. Because I know that the resulting decision would be no different than I would do right now.

Should I change my mind, I have about six more weeks. We have our in-depth fetal scan in four weeks, which I am so excited for. That scan could show problems that might exist, and we'll deal with that when we get to it.

Today's ultrasound showed two normal, healthy babies, measuring at 14.5 weeks. Every time I've been in, the ultrasound office is very busy, is shorthanded, is overbooked, etc., and today was no different. Therefore, it was again a short scan, without much screentime for me. Again, a little disappointing. And an ultrasound tech who said, a number of times, "So, we're here today to check and make sure there are still two in there, right?" Way to start off the day on a positive note, huh?
But everyone looked happy inside, and wiggled around a bit. Seeing the spines was very cool. Kind of felt like I was at my own private exhibit in the Dead Zoo.

* * *

I'm off next Saturday for an annual ski vacation on which I cannot ski. (J can, of course, and will.) It will be just J & I for the majority of the week, and friends will join us for the last two days.

I'm planning to take some good books, audio books on the iPod, write my thank-you notes, and try out some new recipes. We're going to load up on movies, and I just got some supplemental editions of Scene It. Good or bad, depending on how you look at it, it's a nothing little town with nada in the areas of nightlife or entertainment, so entertainment falls squarely on our shoulders.
Imagine you're snowed in in a 70's era condo in the mountains. What would you do to while away the long hours?