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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Deep thoughts & Big Decisions

Many thanks for your thoughts and comments a few months ago about the home vs. work dilemma.

Identity has always been an issue for me. Not in a particularly negative way, as in "I need to find myself," or "I just don't know who I am" kinds of crises, but in applying loose labels to myself.

In high school, identity went according to which crowd you hung with and in which sports you participated. Identity at my small, liberal arts college, was largely determined by your Greek affiliation and your academic major. All of those loose labels were ones I picked, and enjoyed. Never did I feel mislabeled, just comfortably ensconced in my crowd, my world.

Along with great friendship, love, and opportunity, marriage brought about the biggest identity crisis I'd experienced thus far. Who was I? Would I just become known as"J's wife"? I legally dropped my last name to take his, and this was scary to me. My mom was quick to point out, and it is a truth I've held dear to my heart ever since, that my maiden name always belongs to me, and just because I don't sign it on my checks, it is who I am. It always will be. J had thoughts of moving back to the town where he grew up, and the mention of it sent me into a tailspin, as he is part of a large, well-known family in a very small town. I knew I would simply become "J Smith's new wife" without a moment's investigation into who I really was and what made me interesting.

Luckily, it never came to that, as I am determined live my life in some semblance of a metropolitan area. And now, six years after marriage, I'm quite confident of who I am, in relationship to my husband. I haven't ever felt slighted, or identified as simply "the wife of ... "

But for the past ten years, my identity has been very much wrapped up in what I do professionally. I think it's a hazard of our culture, at least here in the mid-Atlantic area. The first thing out of people's mouths at any social occasion around here is "Nice to meet you, SusieQ. What do you do?" And it's so easy to spit out your job, rank, title, affiliation, whatever, and bam! You're identified.

What to do when the professional identification is gone?

Just before the new year, I made the decision that I want to stay home with the babies and give full-time motherhood a chance. For many, many reasons, but mostly acknowledging that this may be my only pregnancy/children and I really don't want to miss out on a single moment. It may be the only moment.

So. Having confidently made my decision, I presented it to my business partner, and told her I would do whatever necessary to support her in her decision about what to do with the business. I think she was surprised, and thought I would try to stick it out with some sort of a part-time presence.

We have made the plans, and are in the final month or so of our fabulous business creation. We will transition it into a business that she can run on her own, and that suits her skills and interests. I find that each day I alternate between sadness that we are closing this wonderful entity, anticipated loneliness for the people I have so enjoyed, and pure elation that the responsiblity will no longer drag me down, and awaken me at night.

Don't get me wrong, I am a fairly interesting person. I have interests, hobbies, friends, etc. I have no doubt I can carve out a new spot for myself in this big world and smallish community. But that takes time, and I'm worried about the meantime, the transition time. Who will I be in the interim? Who will I become? Mother - yes. Wife - still. Volunteer extraordinerre? Artist? Advocate? Sloth? Regular person?

* * * * *

I'm now at 22 weeks, and all is good. We've had our fetal scan, and both babies look great. They both have appropriate private parts, which is a delightful relief. Stay tuned for news about This One and That One.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Join the Bandwagon

I'll admit it, I totally dig Despera*e Housewiv*s ... it's part of the Sunday night decompression routine, which begins with a pineapple and ham pizza, consists of guilty pleasure tv shows, culminating in Gr*y's Anat*my, and sometimes later, some of my own snugglin' and lovin'. Sunday nights are grrrrrrreat, as Tony the Tiger might say.

Last night, I began Sunday Night Ritual with a plate of pizza nearby and laptop on my legs, catching up on some much-needed blog reading. I read a post at Fertility Now about the additional crappy storylines about infertility on prime time shows. So true, so true, I thought .

I attentively tune in to DH, and BIG SURPRISE! Gabriella and Carlos want to have a baby. But, according to her doctor, "that big fall" she took earlier has rendered her INFERTILE! Must be some tumble she took! And to make it even saucier, her crazy-ass mom shows up offering to be the gestational surrogate for their child. But add a background of sexual abuse, mother-issues, aversion to adoption, and all the expected drama. But alas! By the end of the show, it's all wrapped up with a nice, tight bow. Carlos is totally cool with adoption, Gabrielle is thrilled that she won't have to "mess up her body," and I'm sure by the end of the season, they'll oh-so-realistically have a brand new baby in their home!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Gross Pregnancy Detail

Bellies change. I get it. Obviously, this is because a baby (or in this case, two babies) are taking up all the room that was previously occupied by internal organs and partially digested pizza. I'm thrilled about what's going on in the inside. It's what's happening on the outside that grosses me out.

1. My belly has a pulse. I can lie in bed, shirt pulled up, and watch my belly throb. It's not babies kicking or moving, it's just blood circulating. Lots of it. Making my belly move on it's own.

2. Have you ever taken a dip in the pool or bathtub and looked down at your body, noticing that any visible hairs hold tiny bubbles on them? On a recent dip in the tub, I submerged myself in the delicious warmth, and looked down, only to see tons of bubbles all over my stomach. Everywhere! Upon further investigation, outside of the tub, I see that yes, I have fur. Pale, light fur, but fur nonetheless. Uggh.

3. And the piece de resistance ... I need to buy some stock in Band-Aid. Because I think I'm going to be purchasing them by the boatload, in order to cover the nasty, herniated sphincter that my belly button has become. I can't stand to look at it. It hasn't popped out yet, which I hear will happen, but it's previously cavernous depths are shrinking daily, and if pressed in just the right way, it looks like Jack might just pop right out of his box.

* * * * *

On the other, more positive and delightful, hand, the beings in the belly are doing way cool things. I find myself wanting to be slothful and lazy, to lie around on the couch, just so I can be still and feel the belly (averting my eyes from the orifice formerly known as Belly Button), waiting to feel a gurgle, a bump, a hard spot, or an overt jab. It is happening more and more frequently, and I'm obsessed. All I want to do is wait for it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What's up with that?

I come home from work yesterday, only to find my dear, sweet husband (formerly macho-man sports-loving husband) enthralled by the Olympic Curling match that is currently on television?

WTF? Why would a man who loves the speed of skating, the manly crunch of human bodies in football, the intense skill and inherent danger of mogul skiing, be enthralled with curling?

As I tried to engage him in our everyday repartee - "how was your day?" "What exciting things happened at work?" - I was caught in a non-stop lesson on the intricacies of block shots, stones, brooms, and tee scores. I tried, I promise I tried, to find the lesson interesting, and perhaps discover some nugget of curiosity that could prompt me to ask a question or feign interest. But alas, none. My mind was a blank.

I thought it all over when I came downstairs to breakfast. We watched the morning news, as usual, and during a commercial, someone thought it good to switch over to the other channel carrying Olympic coverage. To which the response was an overindulged "Oh yea! Curling is on!"

Oh, Turin/Turino/Torinoa, what monster have you created?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Infertility Bookshelf

Information is a salve. It soothes, it eases, it heals, even if only temporarily.

Dr. Google has been a boon to those dealing with medical issues, and in my own personal experiences, infertility. But books, I still love those. What's better than cuddling up with a first-person tale of woe to make you feel certain that there is hope for your situation? The laptop doesn't do so well propped up on the ledge of the tub (believe you me, I have tried), but a medical tome can pass the time while attempting to simultaneously relax and determine how the hell you're going to manage to conceive a child under the duress of ill-functioning internal organs.

So to you, I present my personal infertility library. These books hold a revered spot in my bedroom.
They are not on my regular, downstairs bookshelves, as I never achieved the confidence to discuss it all as cocktail party conversation with folks who might be perusing my bookshelves. And the bedroom just seems right. Since the babies were not to be made as per the ususal method (i.e., in the bedroom), the proximity seems somehow appropriate. Contemplative reading is best done in bed or bath.

Note to the right of the books, the very large husband-stole-from-a-wedding-receiption-back-in-his-college-days-extra-large-goblet full of all the spare change. Very necessary when embarking on IF treatment with minimal insurance coverage.

A Few Good Eggs ... I liked this one a lot. Straight-out woman's perspective. Not too much total depth, but a good primer in easy going language.

Love and Infertility ... While not totally my style, I was glad to find a book that talked directly about how infertility affects your relationship with your husband/partner.

Girlfriend to Girlfriend: A Fertility Companion

Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility

Inconceivable: A Woman's Triumph over Despair and Statistics ... Wow. This woman's story is awe-inspiring in many ways. I didn't necessarily take the same paths she did, but she did inspire me to keep at it.

The Baby Trail ... Okay, it's chick lit. But it's entertaining, a story I could somewhat relate to, and kept me occupied when the last thing I wanted to do was dwell on my most recently failed IUI.

Conception Chronicles: The Uncensored Truth about Sex, Love and Marriage when You're Trying to Get Pregnant ... Cool format, very "chatty with the girlfriends" and good basic info.

Conquering Infertility ... The author is somewhat of a mind-body infertility guru. After reading this book, my only consolation to my infertility woes was that if they continued, I was going to get myself up to Boston for one of her workshops.

In Vitro Fertilization: The A.R.T.* of Making Babies ... Such a clever, clever title. Gag. The edition I read had some pretty outdated information, and I found it condescending and annoying in general. Perhaps a newer edition?

The Infertility Survival Handbook ... I loved this book. It reassured me, and gave me some coping techniques, along with information for which I was starving.

Knocked up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-Be ... Another chick-lit guilty pleasure to give me hope. Although I did keep the front title hidden while reading in public.

Not on the shelf, but another goodie:

The Couple's Guide to In Vitro Fertilization: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Your Chances of Success ... The only one I found that even attempted to speak to the man in the relationship. Not that he read it anyway.

Any other nominees? Favorites? Most despised? Ones you would like to read? Books you wish someone would write?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It just doesn't seem right

While I do believe in a woman's right to have a child, whether she is single, married, black, white, yellow, purple, tall, short, skinny, round, young or old, I can't help the fact that I am bothered by this.

I don't argue with this woman's desire. I do argue with any doctor who would perform IVF on a 67 year old woman.