Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two Week Wait

I have never been so relieved to be in a two week wait before. That is all it will take for LB to be sufficiently healed to get out of her split. She didn't even need a cast. She had wonderful care at Shriner's and everyone was very friendly. There was only one person - the resident - who was less than subtle about the "are these parents abusing their kid" questions. Everyone else was good enough that it almost seemed like normal conversation.

I would like to point out that Shriner's accepts no payment - not even insurance - and is completely funded by gifts. If you aren't sure where to put your charity money, you might think about Shriner's.

LB did wonderfully. She was holding court the entire time despite being very sleepy. Everyone loved her and kept going on and on about how cute she was. While she was being splinted there must have been more than 1/2 dozen people in the room (two doctors, two physical therapist, two 'care coordinators' or perhaps 'social workers in disguise' and maybe one or two others) and she was charming them all. They were very gentle too. She was pain free and happy the entire time.

We are so relieved. I know it is the same injury, but just knowing that she will be good as new in just two weeks and doesn't need a cast makes it seem so much less horrible. Still horrible, but much less so.

Thank you everyone for your words of support. I needed it as much after this incident (or perhaps more so) than anything else since I started blogging about a year and a half ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We are doing well. LB is sitting - I kid you not - on a pad on the floor about 18 inches away from where I am (also on the floor). I have her boppy around her just in case. I think we will add a padded room onto the house and give her nothing but soft, organic toys to play with from here on out.

Here is a picture that is just so wrong. LB is kind of sleepy and it was taken with a cell phone, but I think it captures the moment ok. Poor little lamb!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A little drama

She's fine. She's fine, but we had a rather traumatic day yesterday. I hardly slept because of bad dreams. I thought about whether I should blog about it and if I did how I should start . . .

Our bad luck hasn't run out in terms of babies . . .

or

As she reached up to me from the x-ray table - her eyes pleading with me to make it all better - I wondered why she trusted me. Did she think I was her mother? I am nothing but a fraud.

or

Fraud, fake, failure . . .

or

"It's not about you." That's what Brad would say when I looked to him for comfort.

or

She is so brave. After 11 hours, no nap, 4 hours past her bed time, 3 painful trips in a car - crying out each time we went over a bump, waiting rooms and x-rays; she was still smiling occasionally and babbling.

or

I didn't realize I still felt so vulnerable in my role as a mother. It brought back so many feelings about my inability to keep Ernest safe. In my many bad dreams reliving the event, I kept mixing up their names. "I'm sorry LB." "I'm sorry Ernest.

or

"Maybe you will be more careful next time," were Brad's words to me while he tried (and failed) to comfort me.

or

She acted fine. She talked, she smiled. But then we would touch her just the wrong way or move her just so and she would cry out again and would be inconsolable for a few minutes. We couldn't figure out where she hurt. I was afraid to touch her.

or

In the end it was fairly trivial. I few moments inattention and I could have slipped on the ice while carrying her, ( at a later age) she could have walked out in the street and gotten hit by a car or been snatched by a pedophile or pulled a pot of boiling water on herself. I'm thankful for that. I just still feel so horrible. I know, it isn't about me.

or

I promised myself I wouldn't be over protective. I often felt stifled growing up. I want LB to feel safe in exploring the world. I wonder how this will change me.

or

Her pediatrician kept assuring me I did nothing wrong. That I had, in fact, did everything right. I trusted my instincts. I took her in. I took her back when we didn't find what was wrong the first time. "I can't tell you how many parents find out their children can roll over when they fall out of bed." It is just a fluke, it is really rare to fall only two feet onto carpet and break such a large bone.

or

LB broke her femur yesterday. We will be going to Shriner's Hospital some time today to get a pediatric orthopedist to cast her. I am assured she will heal quickly and with no long term consequences. She will catch up with her motor skills amazingly fast. It will be fine, I'm sure, but right now it feels horrible.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living Small

There are times when I like living in a small house. It is easy to clean. I feel good about our carbon footprint. Brad and I are almost always in the same room. Even if we aren't in the same room, we might as well be. There is a spot in our house where you can stand, rotate 360 degrees and see the entire house. You can't see all of the bedrooms, but you can see into each one. Best of all, our house payment is small enough that even my part time salary (minus the cost of a babysitter) can cover it.

The downside is pretty apparent when there is three feet of snow outside. We have been mostly trapped in about 550 square feet of living space (excluding the bedrooms and bathroom) since the 17th. Our Prius has been able to get out and around exactly one day out of the last 10. Fortunately, we have a Land Cruiser (normally parked) that can get around just fine - I just don't trust it's 23 year old seat belts to secure LB's car seat so only one of us can leave at a time. Guess who gets to leave on a work day?

Add to that the fact that it gets dark by 4:30, getting outside to shovel the driveway is a treat. Having LB is the only thing that makes this survivable. If this absurd winter doesn't end soon I think I might just go insane.

How are you surviving the winter? For those of you in warmer climes or in the southern hemisphere - please share happy stories of sunshine and freedom.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Anonymous

Most of the time when I get a comment from Anonymous, it is just fine and I suspect someone is commenting who doesn't normally comment on blogs and so doesn't have an account and they don't realize they can leave a name.

Then there are the ones that leave zingers. It happens often enough that when I see an anonymous comment, I steal myself for a unsatisfying (at least) interaction.

Today was one of those days. On my post about using donor eggs before we conceived I got this:

It is not the OB's place to push anyone into seeing an RE. It is only their place to provide information but the patient must pay the price for how they proceed.

I am not sure why you would say that western medicine let you down. Eastern medicine did not create the baby you currently have. If you left it to eastern medicine you would never have a baby.

You should thank western medicine and the American doctors and state of the art modern technology that gave you this precious little girl. Had you decided to rely on them much sooner, instead of proceeding down the natural path, you may have had the genetic child you wanted.

My husband is an RE for a notable clinic in NYC and he hears the common thread of women who abhor western medicine and have insisted on natural means to become pregnant only to run to him when they turn 40. Then they are only too eager to inject themselves with the "toxic" medicine they refused for years to get their baby. They leave pregnant by their eggs or donor eggs but are usually still proponents of the eastern medicine that gave them no baby. It is ironic and so ungrateful.


It is so unsatisfying because there is no place to respond with a rebuttal. This comment isn't really that bad, but if this person read much of the rest of my blog she would know that:

  • This was a vent post.
  • I adore my RE and my OB - clearly I don't fault them that much
  • I was in denial about our chances of conceiving again after Ernest. My OB might have helped me move on more quickly precisely because I like and respect him so much.
  • Trying Eastern medicine did not keep me from going to an RE - fear did. I didn't go down a 'natural path'. I did IUI for a year. Not a good course for our situation, but again, I was in denial. I used Eastern medicine in conjunction with Western (IVF).
  • What is wrong with being disappointed / angry that Western medicine didn't have a better solution for me?
  • If this person was so bent out of shape that I was angry, why didn't she care that I was also angry at our dead son?
I haven't really talked about this - but I think there is a place for both Western and Eastern medicine. Just because their paradigms are different, doesn't mean one is true and one is false. Western medicine tries to link a single cause to a single solution. Eastern looks at the whole person which is much harder to test scientifically, but I think will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Well, that feels a bit more satisfying. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice!

Thank goodness the days are at least getting longer. We still have 2 more months of pure survival for this summer-loving-winter-solstice-baby (I was born December 19th - 3 days from the solstice that year). After the end of February, there is at least hope I will make it until the 8 weeks of good weather around here.

Yes, I need to move South. Anyone know how the job market is in Arizona or New Mexico?

LB hit her 26th week birthday on my birthday and turned 6 months the next day. I can't believe she is so old already. She continues to be the light of our life. We are experimenting with new foods and she seems to be happy to eat whatever we give her. Her digestive tract is a bit more picky and maybe a little research would have told me before it was too late - but LB's tummy does NOT like spinach. Poor thing, two days of gas and when it finally made it through her system it was untouched. At least it was organic.

In other news, I have been just so frustrated that I haven't had more time to blog and comment. I don't know how people do it, but I suspect it has to do with my lack of organization. Geode - new mother to twins - posts daily. Not only that, but she manages to be funny in just about every post. My other excuse is that LB is not a fan of napping. She takes 20 minute power naps and thinks she has slept for hours. I would like to say she sleeps great at night, but 4 hours in a row is the most I get. Actually, I think LB does sleep great at night - waking just to eat - but I wake up then and every time she fusses because she needs to (ahem) blow bad air. Thank you, spinach.

Here is what I hope to blog about some day:

No More Happy Birthdays: I stopped enjoying my birthdays after Ernest was born. Before I liked getting older - I felt wiser and better able to make the most of the life that I had. Now they are just a reminder of decreasing infertility. 41. Bleh.

Views From The Other Side of Using DE: Yes, it still bugs me, but it is much more than that. It will be a long post when (if) I get to it.

Coming Out Party: Like Luna did. Someday, someday.

Ask The Crazy Lady: Where I invite readers to ask me questions so I can post about what you want to hear. My life really isn't a series of "poor me" posts punctuated by a few "everything is perfectly glorious" posts.

Amber: How I came to hang out with a 23 year old fertile and her 8 month old son. Hint: we met via Craig's List a few months before LB was conceived.

EC Update: How things are going on the "natural infant hygiene" front. What has worked and not worked and what I think about those wonderful nasty magic disposable diapers.

For now, a link to a timely story on This American Life (you can download it for free on itunes) about vaccines and social responsibility and a view of the last few days here in the Inland Northwest and our record snowfall:



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kitty Cat Huntin'

LB has mastered rolling from back to front by, you guessed it, trying to catch a cat. They are smart enough to stay just out of reach or lose a fistful of fur. It makes great fun for the little one just the same. She has been rolling to her side easily for weeks - every time she thought I was going to lay down next to her to nurse, but she did realize what she was doing. Now she does. I'm sure they will teach her to crawl next.

In other news, it is snowing here in the Inland Northwest. We have 22 inches and it is still coming down. The previous record in 24 hours was 13 inches set in 1984. Most of us are trapped in our houses. Can I just say that I love summer? It's not all bad, I suppose. An excuse to rest, read books and bake / eat cookies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vaccines Part II

Wow! Now I now how to get people to comment on my blog. Thanks for all your input and views. I think some very good points were made. I recognize that I am scared of potential side effects compared to real issues if LB were to get one of the diseases. I wonder not only about short term side effects, but long term ones as well - the ones no one knows anything about and may not for decades.

I also worry about any long term side effects to doing ICSI, but I obviously decided that was worth the risk. I recognize that my concern over vaccines may not make sense in that context.

It is also interesting that whooping cough came up a lot in the comments, because that is the one shot that I think LB should get. I haven't done it yet because the aluminum (170 micrograms in one version of the shot and the FDA recommends less than 25 / day for adults) may cause brain / nerve damage. The short term effects may be paralysis - possibly from the tetanus portion of the shot. If there was a pertussis only shot without aluminum, she would have had it already. While pertussis is not usually life threatening after 6 months, it is far too common and uncomfortable for my liking. The question for me on pertussis is not if, but when. Bad for us that Brad and I haven't gotten the adult version of the shot.

As for some of the others:

HIB - Likely at some point - doing her part for the greater good. It is probably one of the safest vaccines out there too - been around for around 3 decades and nothing but inactivated vaccine.

Polio - Yes at some point, but maybe much later. Again, very uncommon, but too dangerous to mess with.

PCV - Still undecided. It can cause meningitis like HIB and like HIB the vaccinated versions are very uncommon (still a somewhat common disease for the versions not in the vaccine). Unlike HIB, however, it has some questionable (to me) ingredients and hasn't been around as long.

Hep B - No at this point.

MMR - Undecided. If we do it, it will likely be later than scheduled and each vaccine done as a separate shot. A couple of people commented that it would make sense to vaccinate to protect pregnant women. I think women should make sure they are immune before they get pregnant. Call me a bitter infertile, but I looked into these things before I tried to get pregnant and they should too.

That's my current thoughts in a nutshell. I don't think we are taking too big of a risk since she doesn't go to day car, she nurses exclusively (although that is now changing with the introduction of solid foods) and, of course, because most people immunize keeping the number of cases relatively low. I have also decided that if she does it a cold or the flu, I will take her in and get her tested because most of things can be treated with antibiotics, but usually by the time a caregiver realizes it isn't a common cold/flu the damage has been done.

Disclaimer: The details above are from memory - I have loaned out my copy of the Dr. Sears book and since I am massively sleep deprived, it may all be a work of unintentional fiction.

Thanks again for all the comments!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vaccinations and Social Responsibility

I have been trying to figure out what to do in regards to vaccinations. I know, I am already behind. There was the Hep B at birth and the 2 and 4 month immunizations LB has already missed. We are already into cold and flu season so it is time to either get it done or decide not to.

I have been relying mostly on two different books for my research: The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave, MD. Neither book is an anti-vaccine book. They both talk about how vaccines have been a benefit to society, but they also look at the downsides to vaccinations.

I think the Dr. Sears book has a more balanced and up to date approach. He does a great job of summarizing the current research. He even has a website where he discusses research that was published after the most recent version of the book. I like the Dr. Cave book as a secondary resource because it points out some issues Dr. Sears leaves out. For example, Dr. Sears does a great job of summarizing the current research; but Dr. Cave points out that researchers haven't been able to get funding to actually research the safety of vaccinations. I don't like that she doesn't always support her conclusions and she can sound a bit alarmist. Again, I would describe both books as pro-vaccine.

I thought going into it, that we would be getting many vaccinations, I just didn't know which ones and if I would space them out differently than recommended. After reading most of each of the above books (focusing on the early childhood vaccines) I am leaning toward no vaccinations at all. There are four main reasons I am currently avoiding all vaccines: I either think the vaccine is not needed because it is very rare (such as the HIB) or the disease it is supposed to prevent isn't that bad (chickenpox, rubella) or the vaccine has potentially dangerous ingredients (DTaP) or because it is too new for my liking (rotavirus).

Here is my dilemma: Even if we decide not to vaccinate LB for her own health, should we have her vaccinated at a later time for the good of society?

What do you think about vaccinating? What do you think about vaccinating at a later age to protect the youngest of our society (according to the Dr. Sears book, most diseases are only very dangerous under 6 months of age)? Do you trust that the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is looking out for our best interest? Do you trust that the pharmaceutical industry is giving good information to the AAP?

After you think about that last question, check out this article.

I would love to hear all thoughts, whether you are pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine or somewhere in between.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Big Mouths

I apologize for the few and far between posts lately. I feel guilty if I spend more time on the computer when my work day is done. I know there needs to be a balance between my needs and those of LB, but right now I feel like I should give her all the attention I can. Tonight, after a 'discussion' with Brad, he is entertaining the little princess while I get some computer time. She is already sounding close to "all done!" so I am straight to business.

Me over at We Are What We Repeatedly Do has given me the Speak Up, Speak Out award. I recommend checking the link out - she has some wonderful examples of what it means to live with infertility. Thank you, Me for this. For those of you who haven't been exposed to Me yet, please pop over and peruse. She has many thoughtful posts and some entertaining ones about (usually past) employees. I always enjoy catching up with her goings on.

As is the usually the case, I am going to pass this award on to a few folks. Ok, just two - I am running out of time. But really, you don't need to receive this award. You can give it to yourself. Don't believe me? Read the original post and you will see includes the following (you need to go there to read the funny bits):

If you meet the criteria above, or you'd like to submit your own, please post the following award on your blog. This is for all of the women who will no longer be silent about their infertility. This is to remind you that you need not be ashamed and you are definately not alone. This is to remind you to speak up the next time someone gives you fertility assvice.

Rules for posting award:

  1. Link back to this post so that others will read the original story behind the award
  2. Nominate 4 others who have not been "silent about their infertility"
  3. Enjoy speaking out and speaking up :D

So . . . to Katedaphne at It's Either Sadness or Euphoria who is so open about her fertility issues that she wrote a story about herselft for the St. Petersburg Times. I first met Kate online years ago and we started facing the DE solution at about the same time. We also both have younger sisters who looked like a good candidate to replace our genes - at least in the beginning. Kate is currently in her 2 week wait after an anonymous egg donation transfer. Good luck, Kate!

Also to Leah who has recently started blogging about her life with her daughter adopted from Guatemaula. She ran the IVF gauntlet at only 28 years old without success. Then just to show that the universe doesn't tire of messing with infertiles, it took her 17 months to bring home her daugter. When Maya was only 9 months old, she got tired of coming home without her and opted to move to Guatemaula for just the last couple of months . . . 8 months later she brought Maya home. She is not only open about IVF and "just adopt" but she continues to share the struggles of other ladies trapped in the Guatemaula adoption nightmare including Clair who has been sleeping on an ophanage floor for months with no end in sight.

Well, I am out of time. I apologize for any typos, misspellings, grammatical mistakes and especially to Kate and Leah if I messed up your stories.

Oh . . . and here is the actual award:


Can I just add one more little tidbit as Daddy is pottying LB? We went a record 19 hours without a soiled diaper today! from 6:30 yesterday to 1:30 this afternoon. I think we could have made it 24, but we went out and I think she has learned to associate a diaper with "go whenever" but if she is wearing underwear, she holds it if she can. Just to be clear - we only practice EC if we are having fun. If she or I or whoever is watching her, isn't up to it then we skip it.

Oh crap (pun intended)! Now it sounds like our lives are only about eliminations so one more tidbit: LB is becoming more adamant about eating solid foods so now I am figuring out what, how and when to feed her. Fun!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From My Cat

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I am late getting to it, but I especially wanted to thank Geode and B who suggested that I could hold on to that happy memory of getting a positive on a home pregnancy test in spite of what happened afterword. When I first read the comments, I thought it was a good idea in theory, but didn't really know how to apply it because that memory leads to a cascade of bad memories. Then PJ said that she wishes she had a memory like that - even if it didn't eventually change her outcome (she is one of the involuntarily childless). Now I am grateful for that memory - for that chance to experience innocence in that moment. I still don't know how to think of it without thinking of all the bad, but I would not wish to erase it. I hope that makes some kind of sense.

I apologize for not linking to everyone. I am a bit pressed for time this morning and really should be working. I encourage you to go to the comments on my previous post and explore these lady's blogs. They are all remarkable and each is in a different place in their journey.

Now, about the cat. For my Perfect Moment Monday post I would like to share an experience from yesterday. LB first learned to roll over because one of the cats walked past her and she stretched and stretched to reach her. Just a little bit further . . . and she was over. Now she has, on a rudimentary level at least, learned about cause and effect.

She was playing with a plastic tape measure - the kind you use for sewing. She was shaking it and chewing on it. The cat started playing with the other end as cat's tend to do. LB was so excited! This is the first time I have seen her giggle without another human around. In fact, without another human working kind of hard to make her giggle. She chewed, the cat pounced, she laughed. She jiggled, the cat swatted, she laughed. It went on for about five minutes. At one point, she had gotten the cat's end of the string a bit too close (to her) for (my) comfort, but she survived unscathed.

I wonder what the cat will teach her next?

For more perfect moments on this fall (winter around here) morning, go visit Lori.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

We all know that infertility is the gift that keeps on giving. I did a quick Google search on that phrase along with the words 'infertility blog' and got pages of hits - some of the blogs I even recognized. I should have probably come up with a more original title, but inspiration failed me.

LB and I are home alone tonight. Brad is off to a birthday dinner we were all invited to, but it was a drive and LB hates driving at night. That on top of a crowded restaurant - well, I didn't think she or the other diners would appreciate it so we decided let Brad represent us.

The plan was to put LB in a high back carry and bake some cookies. LB decided she needed a little snack first so as I nursed her, I picked up a book a friend had just loaned us. It is Paul Reiser's Babyhood. I though there might be a few landmines in it, but it is supposed to be hilarious. How bad could it be? Sure it was a rough road, but I had a baby now. I thought I would be able to relate. I suppose I could, but I don't think the author intended for the reader to be crying by page 34.

I got past the part where the author and his wife dreamed of how their mutually genetic baby would look and act. I was a bit uncomfortable, but survived the pages that implied it wasn't a slam dunk process for them. Then he described the moment his wife took a home pregnancy test (HPT). Of course, they were so excited . . . and a bit freaked out. Oh, how I remember my first positive pregnancy test.

We had done our second IUI about 2 weeks prior. We had already been trying for two years and I had many negative HPT's under my belt already. In these 'early' days, I didn't watch my luteal phase too closely so I think I was actually about 16 days post ovulation (dpo) when I took the pregnancy test. At seven dpo, my OB suggested that we check my progesterone. It was a bit high indicating a possible pregnancy. I filed the information away and didn't really get hopeful. Then I started noticing my breast were much more tender than was common for me. I remember I was at work when it hit me that I might be pregnant. There was the progesterone levels, the sore breasts and now this odd pain on my side that I used to associate with ovulation. Oh my gosh! Could it be?! I couldn't wait to get home to pee on a stick. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon. I got off at four and rushed home.

Brad was out of town on business and I would be picking him up in just an hour. I wondered if I should wait until he was home and we could test together. Not surprisingly, I couldn't wait. I really, really suspected I was pregnant. I went into the bathroom, 'exposed' the stick and put it on the floor in front of me like I had done many times before. I watched as the evaporation line made it's way across the paper . . . oh. my. gosh. I saw two pink lines taking shape! I was so excited and freaked out that I grabbed a magazine and threw it over the stick. I waited what seemed like minutes, but it was probably a few seconds. I slowly peeked under the magazine. I WAS REALLY PREGNANT!

I can't even describe how I managed to get to the airport and wait for Brad's plane to arrive. He had travelled with coworkers so I had to wait until we got to the car to tell him. I showed him the stick as I said, "I'm pregnant!"

We were so happy. Oh, we were a bit freaked out too. We knew we wanted kids, but now we were actually facing the reality of it for the first time. Mostly we were just thrilled. The funny thing is that I was so sure IUI wouldn't work for us that I briefly (sorry Brad!) entertained the idea that the sperm got mixed up in the lab. Of course, it didn't really work for us.

It was such an amazing and happy and special experience. I wish it was a good memory too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A little bit of politics

I was listening to On Point today on public radio regarding the issue of Hillary Clinton being a good candidate for Secretary of State. People on both sides of the argument included her husband as part of the conversation. Is that appropriate? I wonder if Hillary were a male with a famous (and political) wife, if we would still be talking about her spouse? Shouldn't she be judged on her merits alone?

If it isn't obvious, I think we should limit the conversation to Hillary Clinton's skills. The bigger question is if this is a Hillary / Bill (ie unique) issue or is this a feminist issue? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Perfect Moment Monday

Thanks to Lori over at Weebles Wobblog, I am capturing perfect moments during the week. I say thanks to her, because it reminds to appreciate those perfect moments. This week there were several. I decided to share one involving LB

I was at an adult party with 7 of our good friends. LB is young enough that I can still take her with us to these get togethers. An hour or so into the evening, LB was so tired, but everytime she was about to fall asleep something would catch her attention and she would be awake again. I decided to withdraw to another room. I went into a spare bedroom and nursed her while I rocked her and sang lullibies. I could hear the party in the next room and was reminded of the times I would withdraw from these same good friends during similar parties because I just couldn't handle one more minute of socializing. I was so very sad and I didn't have the energy to fake happy. It's not that they wouldn't have understood, but I didn't want to bring everyone down. So I would step away for a bit and let the sadness hold me . . . or perhaps flow through me . . . until I was ready to socialize again.

Here I was in such a similar, yet entirely different situation. I could feel both of me for that moment - the one that would be so sad and the one that was here, in the present, rocking my child and singing her lullabies. I closed my eyes and felt my body - my feet on the floor, LB tucked up against me and nursing, the vibrations as I sang.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Good and The Bad

I had a "bad infertile" moment. Brad and I went to dinner the other night with my sister and her husband (currently childfree by choice). We had a lovely time and as we said our good bye's my sister chirped, "I'm going to go home and play Tomb Raider!" For just a moment I thought how wonderful that would be. To be able to go home and be responsible for no one but myself - to have hours to just do what I wanted, uninterrupted. For that moment I was ready to go home with my sister and leave LB in the car with Brad. But it was just a moment.

My "good infertile" was the previous day. Brad and I thought we were going to run into the mall for just a few minutes so I didn't bother putting LB in a sling, we just carried her. After a bit, it was obvious we were going to be awhile and I passed LB to Brad to hold. About 15 mintues later, he put her down on an washing machine to get her readjusted. I offered to take her back, but Brad assured me that he was fine. What he didn't understand was that I wanted to hold her. I hadn't held her for 15 mintues and I already wanted her back. I didn't say anything because Brad needs his turn too, but it was good to realize I still appreciate something as simple as holding our little one. I still know how lucky we are. I hope I never forget.

Get thee to a therapist

There is an article in iParenting about the benefits of therapy for dealing with infertility. You might recognize a name or two.

I also have a confession. I hit the "mark all read" button in my google reader. Maybe now I won't get so stressed everytime I step in there.

Of course this is the month where people are trying to post every day. Oh, well, we will see how it works. I hope there wasn't anything huge that I missed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Perfect Moment Monday

It was a rainy, but unusually mild morning and I decided to take the kid (LB) and the dog (Ender) for a walk through the nearby field. It was Brad's BBWEE (Birthday Boy Weekend Extravaganza Extraordinaire) and I thought he would enjoy an hour of time to himself.

I put LB in a sling so she was centered in the front of me, put on one of Brad's jackets and zipped us both up together. Her eyes were just peaking over the top. I had decided to go all the way to the boat house that day, but about three quarters of the way there, LB was getting a bit too unhappy so we turned around. Still getting progressively less happy, I thought I would remove her from the sling and turn her around to face out. I unzipped the coat, lifted her up a bit and . . . she was happy. She couldn't see out well enough with her head tucked in the way it was. To be fair, I took my hat off (she had a little cotton cap on) and we spent the rest of the walk giggling every time Ender ran by and getting cold and wet. It felt wonderful.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cross Pollination Post

For more Cross Pollination Posts click here

Hi, all... I'm M, and I normally blog over at Mystery Blog. (No, not the real name. Guess who I am and then click over to see if you are right). I'm a wife, mother of two (son H age 4; daughter M, age 2 months), and a youth pastor in Central Florida. I know many of you are wonderful supporters of Kami and of SO many other ladies who struggle, mourn, rejoice, and celebrate together in this amazing community. During our path to conceiving our second child, I discovered this world of women who were in my shoes, and had been for some time; a sisterhood who needed each other and were able to count on each other for support. It was so tremendously helpful.

Because my blog is one which my family, in-laws, RL friends, and even a youth group member or two read, I have a hard time being as open as many of you are able to be. Although I don't use our last name or city on the site, our first names are unusual enough that it's not hard to figure us out. I started blogging in March 2006 primarily to communicate day-to-day goings on with our son to our families since we live far away from everyone. Light stuff - you know, funny stories, photos, silly things that were going on. We didn't tell many people that we'd started trying to get pregnant again, and I certainly didn't blog about it. I miraculously got pregnant after about 10 months of extremely irregular cycles, no ovulation, a PCOS diagnosis, and was 2 days away from starting Clomid. And when I had bleeding early in the pregnancy, and needed progesterone supplementation, I found solace reading posts about that, too. While I was so saddened by how many women were struggling, I was finally feeling not so alone.

I wish now that I had been more open. Only after I made it to 12 weeks and shared the basics of our story on my blog did I learn that my mother needed Clomid to conceive two of her three children (including me). I also found out that both my older female cousins have had reproductive struggles, including miscarriage, using Clomid, and having years of unexplained infertility. I now know that this is nothing to stay silent about. Even saying that, I'll probably not broadcast the nitty-gritty details of our reproductive plans to the world, simply because of my readership.

I hope you don't consider me an "infertility poseur." I'm not boasting when I say that I know my struggle doesn't compare to many of yours. You women are warriors in a battle no one deserves to fight. I honor you and pray for all the families struggling to conceive, stay pregnant, recover from loss; those who've made it to the other side; those who've chosen different paths to parenthood; and those who work to make peace with living without children. Thank you all for inspiring and comforting me, even though you had no idea I existed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Make No Mistake

The lovely Bee Cee left a comment on my previous post, "Hoping 2009 is our year." It is one of those statements that seems so simple, but makes your mind twist a bit - like the punch line of a good joke. Although this line didn't make me laugh, I felt my brain trying to wrap itself around it.

Make no mistake, I have had my year and it has been wonderful. I am thrilled to be where we are at in terms of family building. Bee Cee, on the other hand, is still trying for her first child. While I appreciate her comment and certainly hope to be successful with a sibling, trying for one child and trying for a sibling are two entirely different things.

I know the 'primary fertility vs secondary fertility' debate has been discussed (often heatedly) many times before and the politically correct answer is either "they are the same" or "you can't compare them" I am going to cross the line and be politically incorrect. Stop reading here if you wish.

There is some truth in "you can't compare them" because everyone brings their own experiences and beliefs to the point where they are having difficulty conceiving a child. The first time someone has truly had to face not getting the number of children she wants, it is devastating. There is pain and disappointment. And really there is no way to compare one person's pain with another's. One person may shrug her shoulders over not having a single child and another may fall apart over not getting the third child she always dreamed of.

But still.

If you have one child, then you get to parent. If you have no children it is an entirely different coarse. If you don't believe me, pick a random infertility blog where the person has been successful with at least one child. Then pick a childfree after infertility blog such as Coming2Terms. Sit down and read for a bit. Notice how the former (assuming they don't avoid the subject of children alltogether) will have parenting stories like happy times around the holidays or a child's first steps or the unhappy call from a teacher or a million other events all centered around the child(ren). Notice how the latter will talk about not leaving a legacy, not having grandchildren, feeling left out in group discussions, enjoying a vacation that was made better by meeting another childfree couple. Notice also the lack of stories about parenting decisions, play groups and midnight feedings. Yes, the involuntary childless can find happiness and a life that does not involve their own children, but it is not easy. Take the latter scenario and add just one child and Poof! it is another situation all together.

Put another way, the difference between primary and secondary infertility is like the difference between adding oxygen to hydrogen and getting water or adding water to water.

I hope that we will be successful in adding another child to our family. I have always envisioned at least two children and I will be disappointed and sad if it doesn't work. Yet, I recognize that one is much better than none and two would be icing on the cake. Granted, that is some tasty icing, but icing nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Best Laid Plans

I thought I would record our plans for our attempt for a sibling - currently referred to as Little Butterfly Mark Two; Not Better, Just Different or LBMkIINBJT - so when things go awry we can look back and laugh (or cry - as the case may be).
  • Pre-cycle physical in March
  • FET in late April / early May (natural cycle if possible)
  • Fresh cycle in June if the FET fails
  • Continue to breastfeed LB throughout cycling and pregnancy (if we have one)
  • Homebirth (if we get pregnant)
We may not be able to pull off the two cycles so close together since I will need to get my cycle synced with Belinda's in about one month (if the FET fails). This is assuming we don't get pregnant and then miscarry. If we miss June, the next available cycle will be September, but Belinda may not be able to make that one so it will be November. What do you think the chances are that everything will go according to plan? My thoughts exactly - very slim.

What is not yet decided is if I will cycle one more time with my own eggs first (ha! Only kidding. Damn, I still wish . . . maybe I will find a spare $15,000?) **. Actually, we just need to decide if we want to pay "per cycle" or take advantage of the clinics "x3" price - allowing us to pay a higher fee for three tries. While I was pregnant, I told Brad I would be happy just trying once and if it didn't work, we would just have the one child. Now I am waffling. Of course, Belinda would need to be up for three tries too.

Speaking of Belinda, I have been in touch with her since the "I-met-my-donor's-mother" day. She apologized for how uncomfortable it made me, which I appreciated. One good thing about it was that I was able to more fully appreciate her relationship with her mother so in a way it was another means for us to get to know each other better. I'm still happy that we have a known donor. I'm still thankful for Belinda's kindness and willingness to help us not only have one child but two. In fact, I spoke with her tonight and she is excited about possibly cycling in June and will be scheduling her pre-cycle physical. It is likely we will need to pay for some things that we won't need if the FET works - like Belinda's physical and the legal stuff in order to cycle in June, but I think it is worth it.

For the time being, I will attempt to forget all about it for the next 4 months.

**I thought I would be better adjusted by now too.

A bit behind

There was a post up on Bridges from a fellow DE blogger regarding genetics. Pop over and check it out.

While your at it, Daisy at Behind Schedule could use some good thoughts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Date Night

Brad and I have for the time being a scheduled date night. We decided before we got married that we would have a date once a week as soon as we had kids. In typical Brad and Kami fashion, it took us four months to get this arranged.

Our first date is my perfect moment for this Monday. We walked to the nearby bakery. It was a cool, but not cold October evening. The walk was wonderful - so peaceful. We held hands and talked. When we got to the cafe, Brad got a hot chocolate (into which he stirred his own Mexican chocolate) and I got an herbal tea. Then we read our book together for about an hour - just like old times. Yes, the same old times where I would sit in that bakery, stare out the window and wondered what it would be like to be a threesome - but that is another post.

It was a wonderful walk home too. It was good to reconnect. It is terribly easy to miss each other - and the good moments - when we are working and taking care of LB. I'm looking forward to our date tomorrow. Maybe he will kiss me good night this time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another theory

I had another dream that I was going to die last night. Quite disturbing. I keep thinking of a cancer my body might know about that my mind doesn't. The scariest one I can come up with is ovarian cancer, but since I had a cesarean birth, I suppose my OB saw my ovaries just four months ago and that is probably better screening than anything else currently available.

I have another theory. I wonder if my brain is revolting over being happy. After more than four years of sadness - four years of building pathways and activating certain synapses - perhaps my brain is fighting the transition. All day long it is activating areas that were seldom used before. At night, it relaxes and uses those old pathways because it is just that much easier.

I'm only half joking. Maybe there is some truth to that.

At any rate, the days ARE happy. Even tough days are so much better than relatively good days used to be.

If you will forgive me . . . a couple of highlights:

  • Taking a bath yesterday. We have been bathing together in our soaker tub since she was three days old. I would tell you about that first bath, but you wouldn't believe it. Suffice it to say that until yesterday she would spend some time happy and some time a little overwhelmed. Yesterday she was an entirely different baby - splashing and kicking and talking. She even got all cranky when I took her out and kept making the same splashing movement with her arms for about 3 minutes until she realized the air just wasn't going to work the same.
  • She is giggling more and more. It fills my heart to hear it. Today she was a handful during about an hour of my work shift - talking and wanting attention. I now have to find a way to make it up, but it was still a good hour.
  • How can life be bad when you can take pictures like this?




In case it isn't perfectly clear, I luvs my Lil' B.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad Dreams

Thank you everyone for you comments on my last post. The funny thing is that I agreed with every comment. If I think in terms of "it won't happen" then it makes sense to transfer earlier. If I think in terms of "it might happen" then I want to wait until May or so. I think we will just table it for the time being.

In other matters, I have had some of the most vivid bad dreams lately. The best I seem to get are neutral. Is it hormones? Not sleeping as deeply? Repression?

Anyone else notice that the less you think about something BIG during the day, the more you dream about it? It also seems that emotions felt during a dream hit extra hard and linger longer. My thought is that your conscious mind is disengaged so it can't stop the flood of chemicals like it would during the day. There is no gatekeeper saying, "Whoa there, this isn't really THAT scary."

Maybe these are just 'new mom' dreams, but I can't help but think they are, at least in part, due to my experience with our first child. Perhaps now that I am at a different place, I am processing things anew. Interestingly, I don't think I ever dreamed about Ernest until after LB was born.

Dream 1 (a couple of months ago): It is late morning and I am playing with LB. Someone reminds me that I have another child. I am sick - I left him in the car overnight. He must be freezing. I am terrified that I have killed him, but instead of rushing right out, I get sidetracked. I don't remember him again until the next morning. Again feeling sick to my stomach that I may have killed him, I go out to the car, take him out of his car seat and lay him between Brad and I to warm him up. Before I wake up, the boy - about 3 to 4 years old - says, "I'm cooold moooomy."

Dream 2 (a few weeks ago): A group of us our preparing to battle an alien with supernatural powers (yes, I may read a bit too much science fiction). I have been tasked with leading the charge and have been told to collect a few needed items for our defense. A small group heads up into the hills to a tomb where we are to collect: some soil, the dead baby boy buried there, and some special powder that is supposed to "make the baby kick." In the dream, this is to make the baby seem alive, but it is interesting choice of words because I never felt Ernest kick. On the way up, I confide in one of my travelers that I am scared because I think I am going to die soon and I think it will be painful.

Dream 3 (the night before last): I am arguing with my sister because she is doing something (undefined in the dream) to LB that will keep her from sleeping through the night. I get very angry and it is decided that she will sleep with one of my other sisters. We each have a room off of a main hallway like a dorm or a hospital. Everything is very bright as if there is bright sunlight lighting up a room with reflective surfaces. I join Brad in our room and go to bed.

In my dream, I begin to dream. In my dream dream, I am irrationally terrified when I am startled awake by our dog licking my face. If you have ever felt that primal terror as you are waking up to a surprising noise, you know what I mean. I realize it was just the dog and go back to sleep (this is still the dream within a dream). Suddenly, I am sucked out of the bed and am being pulled into another universe. I know if I get pulled through that I will die. I scream out to Brad still sleeping in the bed, "Mom! Dad! HELP!!" In my dream dream, I know it is Brad and not my parents. Dream Brad wakes up and asks what he can do to help. He is now holding me and keeping me from being pulled away. I plead with him, "Help me wake up! Help me wake up!"

And then I am awake in real life. It immediately seems to me that when I was crying out for mom and dad to help, I was calling as our child to us. I don't know if the child is Ernest or LB, but I feet helpless to help him or her. I wake Brad up to tell him about the dream (I always do this when I have a particularly bad nightmare - it makes it seem less real), but I am crying so hard that he can't understand me. As he is repeating, "It's ok, it's just a dream," I start to move LB from between us to the outside of the bed so I can cuddle up next to Brad. I can't do it. I want her next to Brad. She seems safer there. I don't trust that I can keep her safe on my side of the bed.

I finished telling Brad about the dream and felt a bit better, but continued to cry for several more minutes. It occurred to me as I was trying to go back to sleep that perhaps I was imaging how it might have been for Ernest as he was being born. He was sucked out of his comfortable womb into a world where he could not survive. We could do nothing to save him.

I hope we will never be so helpless with LB. I know there are so many bad things that could happen where we would be powerless to save her. I know this is terribly selfish, but I hope if she doesn't live to a ripe, old age; she at least outlives us.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An 'Oops' Pregnancy?

I just found out it will cost us approximately $900 to store our one frozen embryo until we planned to transfer it. We transferred three from this batch for LB and (obviously) one implanted. Based on the clinic's stats it has about a 10%-15% of making a baby. Even though it would cost us about $3500 to transfer it, if we were lucky it could save about $22,000 over a fresh cycle. We only want two kids so we would be done.

Originally we planned on doing this in the May cycle so we can do the fresh cycle no later than June. This would give me time to heal for a vbac and, to be honest, I'm just not ready to be pregnant again. But then there is the $900 to store this not-likely-to-be-a-baby embryo until that time.

This is what I am currently entertaining: Transfer the embryo in the next available cycle and save $600 of those fees. If things go as expected, we are no worse off in terms of doing a fresh cycle in June. If it works, we will just call it an "ooops" pregnancy.

Except I want a home birth - I am zero out of two for home births and I have (hopefully) one more chance. I only know of one study, but it indicates 24 months is the best place to be in terms of uterine rupture after a cesarean. Getting pregnant in January would make it only 15 months. But then we are very unlikely to get pregnant. I think this brings me back to the beginning.

That is the fun of infertility, I guess. You can't just "see what happens". You have to decide, plot and plan and still expect it to go nothing like you had hoped.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Remembering

Today is the fourth anniversary of Ernest's birth and subsequent death. Like last year, Brad and I will be commemorating the occasion by going geocaching and leaving an infertility awareness bracelet.

I don't have much to say. It seems less painful this year, but not as easy as I thought it would be. Ernest is no longer our only child and we have one we hope to see grow up. Already, LB is different than the day she was born. Ernest will always be the same in our memory. Watching LB change from day to day makes it easier to imagine how Ernest might have grown. I wish LB was a little sister now, not the oldest.

But then, I wish a lot of things had gone differently in the last 6 years. We are doing well and we are happier than we have been in a long time. Today we will remember Ernest and our journey, but I plan to notice how lucky we are too.

In the spirit of Perfect Moment Monday, I would like to submit this moment. Right now I am listening to soft music and LB is nearby while I earn money that will allow us to try for a sibling. Right now I am not wondering "What if?". Right now I am not lingering on thoughts of sadness or regret. Right now I am rejoicing in the smile LB just gave me. Right now I am at peace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We Are Survivors

I got a letter in the mail from my clinic with prices and schedule for 2009. I asked for it because I had heard prices were going up from a couple of people and I was concerned about how much. It isn't too much - about 10% over 2007 (although some individual procedures went up as much as 80% - ones I will need, of course). This isn't really a huge deal. We have already decided to give it a shot and 2-3 thousand dollars more doesn't really hit home when we will already be spending about $25,000.

No, what got to me was the pit in my stomach that started as soon as I saw where the letter was from. I naively thought it would be exiting to start thinking about giving LB a sibling. FamilyOfTwo talks about the thrill and fear of trying again to conceive. It reminded me of the thrill part of a cycle and the hope that it will work. Getting the letter reminded me of the fear. I realized that I was really lucky to have conceived LB on our first DE cycle and that there was no guarantee we would be successful again. Logically, I already knew this, but my gut was saying, "Of course we will have a sibling."

I put the letter aside thinking I could just ignore it and the sick feeling would go away. It didn't work. I looked at LB and then looked at Brad and said while trying not to cry, "I want to give her a sibling, but I don't want to do IVF again." He understood. In fact, that is what he has been trying to communicate when he has been telling me "one is enough."

Eventually, I opened the letter because I thought facing the fear a bit would help. It did, but it also got me thinking. Those of us who deal with infertility are survivors. Whether we are able to conceive with our own gametes or not, whether we adopt or carry the child, whether we get pregnant (relatively) easily or choose to put it behind us and live child free; we have kept going against significant challenges and we pay a high price. Of course, not just financially, but emotionally and physically as well.

I was listening to This American Life the other day about a soldier from the Iraq war diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. He got the diagnosis because he had heightened fear /anxiety when he was around Muslims or other events and symbols that reminded him of his time in Iraq. How many of us feel heightened anxiety around pregnant women or in conversations that revolve around children? What about the anxiety that comes from driving by the hospital where your child died or past the clinic where you had failed cycles? Isn't this a kind of PTSD?

I wonder also if it would be a somewhat easier process if society as a whole had some appreciation for it. I find it interesting that since giving birth to LB, I have gotten a few emails that wax poetic over the joys (and of course hard work) of motherhood. When I get one, two things comes to mind: 1) Why didn't anyone acknowledge that I was first a mother nearly 4 years ago and 2) If they really thought it was all that, why don't their hearts break when they hear about someone who is being denied the opportunity? My only answer is that they either don't care, can't comprehend and / or don't really appreciate being a parent as much as they say.

As people dealing with infertility, we are traumatized, marginalized and isolated; yet we keep going. We pick ourselves up after losses and failed cycles and try again. We make the courageous decision to put trying to parent behind us and choose to live child free. We find ways to be happy with our lives even when they aren't working out the way we had planned. With the risk of sounding arrogant, may I say that we are amazing.

Take some time this week to pat yourself on the back and recognize your strength, perseverance, creativity, as well as the love you have for your partner, the children you may have and the children you hope to have. While you're at it, take a moment to tell a fellow infertile how amazing he or she is too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Psalms of an Infertile Woman

I need your help. The liturgical dance group that I belong to will be doing movement to a series of psalms for the Christ the King Mass (November 23). Because I have a new baby, it was suggested last week that I move to the psalm of the unwed mother. Although I knew I could do it, I kept thinking about a psalm for the infertile woman instead. Today I suggested it and everyone agreed.

Here is where I could use some help. I need to come up with about 30 seconds that can be read aloud while I move to it. All the psalms are from the same book so they have a similar feel which I would like to emulate. Below is the original one to give you a sense of the feel. And by "feel" I mean it pretty loosely. Had I chosen to use the original, I would have had to pare it down to 30 seconds which is a little more than half.

I encourage any and all suggestions. This is a very liberal Catholic church (we once had a female play the part of God and she gave birth to all the animals for Easter) so be as creative as you like. You could submit a stanza or an entire set of stanzas. Thanks in advance!

The original:

PSALM OF A MAIN STREET MADONNA
No Raphael will paint me:
a mother with child,
but without a husband,
clutching a welfare check
with a babe in my arm.

No Botticelli background
behind this mother and child;
the bleak walls of public housing
rather than a hidden, luminous light.
No singing angels cluster
around my head.

Half-a-home, half-a-wife
and less than half-a-life:
a poor single parent
who holds in her lap
a condemned child.

Yes, condemned to live
an entire life in poverty,
so too my grandchildren,
and great grandchildren,
forever prisoners
of the lowest class.

No Michelangelo will carve me
holding the dead body of my son:
shot by police,
dead on drugs,
a victim of a gang war.

I am the sorrowful Madonna.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What she said

Some more thoughts on the importance of genetics.

Kate at It's Either Sadness or Euphoria

Me at We Are What We Repeatedly Do

In case you missed it, there are several thoughtful comments on the original post

Monday, October 6, 2008

To Be Clear

My last few posts have focused on some ongoing grief I am experiencing due to infertility. I want to be clear that while there are moments of grief and (hopefully) healing, there are many more moments of joy. I love LB with all my heart and would not change her for anything. I can't imagine loving my genetic child any more. I am so thankful to everyone who helped us bring her into this world and who supported us along the way. I am so thankful to her for just being.

As I have said, I don't think it should be my child's job to make me happy; but happiness does come more easily when life is going the way I would prefer.

In honor of "Perfect Moment Monday", allow me show some happy moments with LB:

  • Holding her in my lap as I type this. Sometimes she starts to cry, then laughs in her sleep. I love feeling her in my arms.
  • Sitting her on the potty in the morning right after she wakes up. She makes such cute faces - yawning and smiling. Sometimes she will start going right in the middle of a yawn and her mouth closes with her tongue still sticking out. So cute! (Will I ever get tired of the times when I "catch" her eliminations? I know it's crazy, but I just love it.)
  • In the last few days she has noticed the pets. She has reached out and "petted" one of the cats. The cat may have preferred the term "grabbed".
  • Last night, we put her on her tummy on her play mat while we changed the sheets on the bed. She suddenly got quiet and we went to check on her. She was on her back! Of course we put her back on her tummy about four more times just to watch her roll over.
  • While she smiles a lot, she doesn't all out laugh very much and when she does it is only a couple of chuckles and usually comes after I have been making her smile for a while. The other day, I was just talking to her and she gave me her biggest laugh so far. What did I say that was so funny? "Wouldn't it be neat if we could make you a sibling without IVF? A free baby!" I'm not sure if she was laughing with me or at me, but I will take either one as long as I get to hear it.


P.S. -- I encourage you to read this post from The Shifty Shadow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm done

I have sworn off watching Eureka. It wasn't a great show, but good sci-fi is hard to come by so we watched it. I might call it descent. It was often light-hearted and funny and made for a good distraction. The science was pretty awful and sometimes I think they played by Calvin Ball rules, but it was better than nothing.

Then they introduced a new character at the beginning of this season. The main character's sister shows up pregnant . . . with twins. Ug. I was glad we have been successful with having a real, live baby or I wouldn't have been able to watch it.

Then tonight there was another development. Two supposedly very intelligent and competent characters were in a relationship. The male died a few episodes ago. The female discovers . . . wait for it . . . yes, she is pregnant. It's funny that both characters were so exceptional they were each the head of the big research firm (at different times), but they still didn't understand how babies were made. If they were just "not preventing" then why wouldn't the female recognize morning sickness - she has already had one kid after all. Oh, she is also 37.

Unless I hear the characters leave, die or miscarry, I'm done.

What are your thoughts?

I posted on Bridges and would love to have your feedback. If you have any comments, please leave them on the Bridges post.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Perfect Moment Monday

I'm following Lori's lead and will be trying to notice those perfect moments during the week and post them on Monday. I realized this morning that there were many perfect moments, but I failed to notice them at the time so I don't know if they count. I think the idea is to really appreciate those perfect moments while in the moment, not in hindsight.

Fortunately I was saved by a perfect moment this morning. We are expecting an unseasonably warm day today so I stepped outside to test the air. LB was in my arms and looking around as I took in the crisp feel of the fall air as the sun warmed my face. There were birds singing. I found myself wishing it was a Spring day instead of Fall, but in the spirit of appreciating this moment, I banished the thought and just enjoyed the morning for what it was.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Calling it a growth opportunity

I am still feeling the effects of the events of last Saturday (previous post). I am sad, sad, sad. I don't blame Belinda for not telling me her family didn't know (we were in a local article together so I think it was a safe assumption) although it would have been nice. I'm sure she was doing the best she could and to be fair, she seemed surprised to see her mother. I don't blame her mother. As many of you pointed out, she was probably doing the best she could too.

The actual event, in hindsight, wasn't that big of a deal. I never intended to have any kind of relationship with anyone in Belinda's family and I still don't. I will likely never see B's mom or any other relation again. Whatever they think about things is their issue, not mine.

The repercussions of the encounter has very little to do with B's mom and a lot to do with me. What she so casually and innocently pointed out was how important genetics are. She felt a strong connection to a complete stranger's baby simply because they share some genes. It's more than making a child who is genetically programmed to lean toward certain traits and behaviors, it's about leaving a legacy.

I won't leave that kind of a legacy. I hope to leave another kind - the kind that comes from raising a child to be happy, kind, responsible and all those things that we hope for in our children. I am not naive. I know the template was set on the day she was conceived. If she was meant to be a sports car, I'm not going to change her into an SUV. My hope is that I will guide her to be the happiest sports car she can be. Ultimately, isn't that more important?

The last few days haven't just been about the genetic connection either. The events of Saturday brought out a whole lot of grief. The grief that comes with losing a child and not being able to have another. The guilt and regret of decisions I made early on that could have changed the entire course of events. The helplessness I feel looking back and wishing and wondering why I couldn't have done it differently - either by making different choices or just somehow willing it to happen. It was a vivid reminder of what went wrong. Even though I know it is wasted energy, sometimes it is hard not to get stuck in it.

I have heard grief is like climbing a spiral staircase. Although you are making progress, you keep coming around to the same view, just slightly different. I suppose this is how it will go. Some things in our lives just have too great of an impact to ever go away completely.

I have spent a few days on the side of the staircase that faces the past and sees the sadness, but I won't linger here any longer. I will likely come back to it, but maybe next time it won't take me by surprise or perhaps I will just keep walking instead of pausing to wallow in it. As we all know, life is too short to not enjoy the good in it. I know I have an abundance of good in my life right now.

In an effort to keep moving forward, I have decided to get more sleep and exercise - two things that have helped in the past. I suspect I already eat enough chocolate.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One year old today

LB is one year old today. September 20, 2007 she was conceived in a lab. She was one of 17 eggs, 16 of which were mature. Her other half was hand picked by Uncle Jimmy (the embryologist) from several hundred thousand sperm. She and 8 other embryos were created. There she lived in a dish with her siblings in an incubator. Two days later we learned that although they were all growing, only 4 were eight cell. I suspect she was one of those 4. When she was five days old, she was either "compacted" or an early blast. On day 6, we transferred her and two siblings (All grade A expanded blasts) into my eagerly awaiting womb.

Today she has been growing for exactly one year. I still can't get my mind around it all - the infertility, Ernest's miracle conception and death, miscarriages, 37 dead embryos, countless eggs and then to have our LB via donor eggs. It all seems so unreal sometimes.

It seemed even more . . . I am at a loss for words . . . different? strange? awkward? It it just what it is, I guess. Let me tell you why I am currently at a loss for words and why my choices above were less than positive.

Tonight we accidentally meant our egg donor's mother - Belinda's mom. We met up with Belinda to celebrate LB's conception. We didn't have much time between our two schedules, so after meeting with her for about 30 minutes, we decided to go with her and see where she worked (Her third job!). She is a part-time baker at a cafe / bistro that her sister owns. Unexpectedly, her mother was there. In hind site, I should have known that her mother didn't know about LB or that Belinda never told her that she had donated her eggs. At the time, I wanted her mother to know how much we adored and were thankful for Belinda so I introduced LB as the child Belinda helped create.

Big mistake.

I have yet to know what, if any, the ramifications were for Belinda, but the following conversation was entirely unpleasant for me. Besides bragging about how fertile she was, BM (Belinda's mom), claimed herself as LB's grandmother. She then began to tell me about LB's "family" and "cousin". She was suddenly excited to hold LB, when moments before she either didn't care to or didn't feel that she could presume to ask. Not wanting to cause Belinda any more strife, I didn't say what came to my mind ("You are NOT her grandmother", "No, she will not be playing with this child you claim to be her cousin." , "I think this will be the last time you see LB, not the first of many."). I just smiled and quietly said these things to myself. I doubt she even noticed that I wasn't responding. She seemed to be more than a little wrapped up in herself.

I think I might feel a little bit threatened in my role as LB's mother. I certainly feel creeped out by the whole experience.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

EC Update

I am happy to report that we are continuing to enjoy practicing elimination communication, or EC. Well, at least I am having fun and LB doesn't seem to mind. In fact, I think there are times when she is signaling that she needs to go potty when she doesn't: just so that she can sit on the potty and get some face time. I could be misreading her cues, but it seems to happen more often when I am working and not paying as much attention to her. We only catch about 30-50% of the time and it continues to go up and down depending on how much sleep I have had and how work is going.

Here is the lesson learned this week. I was stuck on a call and LB had woken up. I kept muting the phone when she would coo or when I talked to her. (I try not to broadcast that I am working from home with a baby.) I think I was doing pretty well. Then she started to get fussy. Then more fussy. It was getting harder and harder to keep her quiet. Then I realized she needed to go potty. As quickly as I could, I sat her on the potty. She immediately relaxed and quieted down. Phew!

With confidence, I unmuted the phone to answer a question and . . . the sound thunder - wet thunder.

I just kept talking. What was I going to say (Um, that wasn't me)?

I learned that sometimes it's better to just let her go in her diaper. Preferably from a few feet away.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Telling LB her conception story

I have recently finished reading The Belated Baby. For the most part, I didn't find it very helpful. I think it may have been if I was more isolated in this journey, but most of what it discussed I had already either experienced or read about on someone's blog. The one thing that stood out for me was the suggestion to start sharing your child's conception story from the beginning (the book is very much for telling). I realized I was already doing that to some extent, but I started making a conscious effort.

When I ask her, "How did you get to be so cute?" I answer for her, "I was just born that way, " or "Mommy cooked you just right" or "A little bit of daddy, a little bit of Belinda and then mommy grew you."

Sometimes I tell her how special she is. "You are such a special baby, it took three people to make you." and "What an amazing baby. Did you know we had dozens of people helping us bring you into the world?"

The idea is that when you tell your infant his or her conception story, you have time to perfect it and make it positive long before he or she is capable of understanding. Note the "make it positive" part.

Today, I had a sad moment. Perhaps because I was overly tired, but when a wonderful, kind woman told me she had a great first beta after her second IVF (fourth transfer), I enthusiastically congratulated her and then got off the phone and cried. It was the antithesis of our third IVF cycle and it reminded me of it and I was just so sad all over again.

We had both decided we couldn't handle getting the call from the clinic, so we directed the clinic to call our husbands. She was convinced her beta would be negative. I was convinced it was going to be positive, but was afraid of a low beta with an impending miscarriage. Her husband was surprised with a great beta - maybe in the twin range. Mine was surprised with a negative beta. Her husband got to call her and tell her the great news. Mine had to drive home from work with the weight of the news to deliver it to me in person. She and her husband celebrated. Brad and I mourned another loss.

As I cried, I was holding LB and I thought about what these tears would mean. Would she see that I wanted another baby - a baby that came to us a bit more easily? One that shared my genes? I don't want her to think she is anything less than the most loved, desired, appreciated, cared for, wonderful and beautiful person. I decided to tell her an expanded version of her conception story.

It went something like this:

LB, you are such an amazing baby. Daddy and I waited such a long time for you and we are so glad you are here. We tried for a long time and then we had your big brother, but he wasn't healthy enough to live outside of mommy's tummy. We were sad that he couldn't stay with us, but we knew we had to keep trying to see if maybe a baby just like you was out there waiting for us.

Soon we went to a special doctor and he helped us try to make a baby too, but one day he told us he couldn't help enough on his own. He said we had to find a special women who was younger than mommy who had more healthy eggs. So we started looking and soon we found that special woman and her name was Belinda. She gave mommy her eggs and together with daddy and few other people, we made you! When you were just 6 days old, we put you into mommy's tummy and there you stayed until the day you were ready to come out.

And now look at you! You are such a big girl! You have such pretty eyes and you can hold your head up all by yourself. You like to go in the potty and you are learning about your right hand. What an amazing girl! And you have so much to learn about and discover! How lucky am I to be your mother? I love you so much!

I felt better and I think the story is getting better too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Not like I thought it would be

In an effort to continue to honestly communicate my experience, below are some example of how I had imagined things would be compared to how they actually are. I will be the first to admit that some of my fantasies were only loosely based in reality, but as many of you know first hand - those fantasies are all that keep you going sometimes.

Fantasy: I wouldn't let anyone else but Brad hold LB for at least the first few months. I would let Brad hold her only when I had too.

Reality: Her very first day I was passing her around, at least while she was sleeping. I wanted to share our little miracle with all the people who have supported us over the last 6 years. It was if they had to touch her to understand that she was real. I suspect that was my bias, not theirs, but the fact remains that I was willing to let her out of my arms.

Within a couple of weeks, I was gladly handing her off to friends so that I could eat a meal and participate in an adult conversation.


Fantasy: I will appreciate Every. Single. Moment.

Reality: I have appreciated most moments, but I have a confession to make. She was only about 2 weeks old and had fallen asleep in my arms. I was exhausted and preparing to take both of us to bed. I looked down at her with the intention of soaking her up a bit more. Instead of the warm, glowing thoughts I expected, the thought that came to mind was, "Ug. I'm sick of her." I was. In that moment I wanted an off switch so I could put her on the shelf for about 10 hours and sleep uninterrupted. I couldn't believe I could have such a thought. Fortunately, Brad made me feel better by letting me know that he gets sick of me sometimes too.


Fantasy: I imagined my heart might burst trying to contain such happiness.

Reality: Truly, there are moments when I am just so happy that I feel like I have rarely felt before. It is even better than I imagined it would be. In those moments I want to tell everyone who is considering living childfree to not give up and keep trying. To do whatever it takes to parent. "IT IS WORTH IT!", I want to proclaim. (I promise I will do my best to never actually do that - I came too close to choosing that path myself and I still believe that it is a good option.)


Fantasy: I worried about having enough "Brad and Kami" time.

Reality: I sometimes ache to have more "Brad and Kami" time. At these times, I think wistfully about life pre-LB and wish I could have it both ways. I sometimes even wonder if it was a wise thing to do - to disrupt our (in many ways) very good lives together. I am glad that sometimes I remembered to appreciate our quiet lives together pre-LB even while I was sad that we weren't yet parenting.


Fantasy: I promised myself I would not over react to minor issues.

Reality: At about 5 weeks we had a minor mishap. LB kicked herself off the couch. She did a somersault and landed face down on the floor. I completely lost it. Even though it was apparent within a few seconds she was fine, I scooped her up in a panic. She stopped crying in about 2 minutes. I took me at least 10 times that. It was (is) terrifying to think that we could have so easily let harm come to her. I know Brad and I will remember that moment forever.

The one gem is that Brad and I didn't blame each other for it. Instead of "You were watching her!" or "Why did you put her down like that?!", we each took responsibility. "I'm sorry! I should have known she could kick herself off." and "No, It was my fault. I was watching her."


Fantasy: "Don't worry, LB, I will hold you." This is what I told LB while she was growing inside of me and our Someday Baby for years prior to her conception. I would say this whenever I saw a baby in a stroller or a car seat instead of a sling.

Reality: Sometimes I put her down. We have used a stroller (just once though). We have gone to dinner and left her in her car seat so I could eat without holding her. I have even gratefully discovered that she enjoys playing for short periods completely on her own. She seems to be surviving.


Fantasy: Brad will be the perfect father.

Reality: I have changed my mind about what "perfect father" means. We have had a few arguments over the division of labor. I thought we would be equals in childcare, but I found time and time again that he was looking to me to be the leader and primary care giver. When I asked for more (different?) he would ask me to point out a male that does it differently. I replied that I didn't know anyone, but thought he would be the one. When the stress was increasing because I was worried about going to work, we opted to have a session with KJ (our therapist). In the end I admitted that at this stage it probably makes sense that I am the leader when it comes to LB's care, I agreed that Brad had been willing to do whatever I asked and I would no longer worry whether he meant it or not. As KJ said, he is a big boy and if he offers or agrees to do what I ask, then I have to trust that he is willing. Things have been much smoother after that conversation.


Fantasy: It will be a bit harder to get back in shape after LB's birth than after Ernest's.

Reality: OMG! I don't know if it is the extra 3 months of pregnancy, not being able to exercise every day (at least to the extent I did after Ernest's birth - it was survival at that point), the years of fertility treatments while I self medicated with chocolate, or the fact that I am 40 instead of 36; but it has not been easy. Strike that, it is going ok, I am losing weight and getting in shape slowly , but steadily. I can't really complain and it is definitely worth it. What really surprises me is how flabby everything has become - from my arm pits to my knees. I expected the bigger breasts, I expected weaker tummy muscles; but I never suspected my tummy would sag. And what is the deal with my thighs? What happened to them? You would expect them to be stronger not weaker and flabbier after carrying around an extra 40 pounds.

For now, we try to get at least a short walk and some tummy time every day - she lays on her tummy and I do sit ups. I figure I have about 10 months until we try to get pregnant again so I am giving myself that much time to get back in shape. It will be close, but I think I can do it.


Fantasy: LB will be quietly ready novels to herself by 3 months old.

Reality: Since she can't even hold a book yet, nevermind read it, we have decided we need to give her a few more months. Harry Potter would be a good first book, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Catching up

I can't believe it has been a week since I posted last - especially since I have been mentally composing this post for the whole week thinking I would get to it each day. Let's see if I can get this done and actually posted (I didn't - it is now more than a week).

First of all, work has been exhausting. Not so much the working part of it, but the fact that I try to have LB napping while I am working so that means I don't usually get one. I wake her up earlier than she wants to be up, put her back to sleep about 9:00, wake her up at 11:30, play with her until 1:00 and then attempt to nurse her back to sleep. I hate her being on a schedule and not being able to sleep whenever she wants. What other time of life can you do that? She shouldn't have to grow up so early. It has also effected how well we EC because I am too tired to be fully in tune with her and she doesn't signal as much because I am not responding as well.

Speaking of EC'ing, I had a few people ask how she communicates that she has to go potty. Over the week, I have realized that I have used two main ways of predicting that: timing and her cues. If she seem just a bit agitated and it has been a bit (2o min or more?) I will offer her the potty first. If she goes I give her a big, "Yea! We went pee pee in the potty!" If she gets more upset and stays that way for more than a couple of seconds then I will go on to something else. If I catch her peeing when not on the potty, I will at least make a ssssss sound (I will make this sound as she goes in the potty too). Some of the ways she looks a bit agitated are: going from smiles to fussy sounds, pulling off the nipple while nursing, and not content to be in a sling. I am having a harder time catching her poops. She will sometimes signal me the same way she does when she needs to pee, but just as often my only clue is that she becomes quiet and looks off to one side. If I put her on the potty and say "pooooooop" (like a grunting sound) sometimes she goes and sometimes she will go . . . in a few to 20 minutes. I just don't have the patience for that. For now, I put her in what I have started calling her "favorite pooping chair". It is a little seat with a mobile arching over her. I think it is like reading a book for us adults - she looks at the mobiles, relaxes and out it comes. I will watch her and say "pooooop" as she goes. I'm not sure how I am going to transition her to a potty yet.

How is that for going on and on about bodily functions? Who would have thought?

On to other things . . .

Does anyone know anything about Great Wall adoption agency? I have a friend looking into it. What is one thing you would tell someone just starting to explore adoption? Thanks in advance for any thoughts / advice for my friend.

Next:

Some thoughts on my mind tonight:
  • It is an anniversary for Brad and I. Fourteen years ago today I realized we were great together. He is coming home tonight from Salt Lake City. I can't wait to go pick him up. I am smiling because I will be taking our daughter with me. This is another "this time next year" reminder - picking Brad up at the airport with a child.
  • Two years ago today, I miscarried at home. It was our second miscarriage and I thought it was better to let things happen naturally. That night, I changed my mind. A d&c is quick and easy. I will spare you the details, but that night I lost enough blood that I thought I was going to die. Seriously. The bleeding had stopped (thanks to some herbal remedy from my midwife - I should have called her sooner), but Brad had woken me up after a couple hours to make sure. I was light headed because of the blood loss and having just woken up. I told Brad that I was going to die and he didn't believe me. I remember thinking how sad it was that I was going to die and Brad would realize it too late. Of course, I was fine and Brad could clearly see that. Now I think it is funny. Especially when I called the hospital and woke up the OB on call who told me I was fine. I thanked him like he just saved my life. Lesson learned though. If I ever need to make that choice again (not to tempt the fertility gods here), I will choose the d&c - in and out in under 4 hours and feeling fine the next day. It took weeks to recover from the miscarriage. Proof that "natural" isn't always better. However, in my case at least, natural is much cheaper. The d&c cost us about $1500 out of pocket.
  • I'm tired, but I'm happy.

Next:

Lanie at Fertile Fantasy has nominated me for a Pink Rose award. She is another DE blogger who has just found out that her cycle resulted in a BFP and may even be twins. Take a moment, if you will, to pop over and congratulate her.

The idea behind Pink Rose award is to honor a person who has inspired someone (or needs to be inspired), or because they’ve encouraged someone in some way. I feel very honored to be chosen by Lanie.

I am going to pass this on to a couple of bloggers that have meant something special to me. Heck, I think I could pick at least 20, but time is short so I am going to nominate just two.

1) B at The Shifty Shadow. She also lost a child late in a pregnancy and like me it is taking her a long time to have that healthy baby. Not that having a healthy baby ever replaces the first one who was also much loved, but I believe - and it has been my personal experience - that having a living child to care for does help heal those wounds. My heart aches for her as she continues on this journey. She is also the most amazing writer. Everything she says is so eloquent - I can't even describe it. Pop over and read a few posts, but be prepared to need some kleenex and to leave feeling thoughtful.

2) Lori at Weebles Wbblog. I have nominated her before, but she still pops into my head pretty often. She has the most amazing relationship with her childs first mom (birth mom). Whenever I get nervous about raising a non genetically related child or maintaining a relationship with LB's donor, I think about her and know we will find out way.

If you would like to nominate someone for a Pink Rose award the details are below. Please note that you do not need to be nominated first. Of course, some of us take a little more prodding.

Here's what to do:
1. On your blog, copy and paste the award, these rules, a link back to the person who selected you, and a link to this post: http://smartone.typepad.com/smartone/2008/05/pink-is-my-favo.html. You will find the story behind the Pink Rose Award and other graphics to choose from there.
2. Select as many award recipients as you would like, link to their blogs (if they have one), and explain why you have chosen them.
3. Let them know that you have selected them for an award by commenting on one of their posts.
4. If you are selected, pass it on by giving the Pink Rose Award to others.
5. If you find that someone you want to nominate has already been selected by someone else, you can still honor them by posting a comment on their award post stating your reasons for wishing to grant them the award.
6. You do not have to wait until someone nominates you to nominate someone else.