Sunday, March 30, 2008

Something I have been meaning to do

As many of you know, A.M.S at Our Own Creation has recently lost both of her children after they were born too soon. Lennox passed fairly quickly while little Zoë fought for many weeks.

In their honor, I have added a link to my sidebar. Click on the "Sweet Zoë" link and learn how you can help fund research into caring for premature babies.

I wish there was more I could do for all those who are dealing with loss right now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I must be feeling more hopeful

I know I start too many posts this way, but thank you to all of you who commented on my last post. I have enjoyed the thoughtful responses and viewpoints of each one of you. It has given me much to think about.

I know I sometimes seem ungrateful or perhaps worry too much or regret too much, but I want this to be an honest journal of my journey so that when I write one day that it "doesn't matter at all where the egg came from" someone out there may see that I didn't always feel that way. Perhaps we do get brainwashed when we see our little one for the first time - whether it is our mutually genetic child or a child of donor gametes or adoption. If that is the case, I am ready to be brainwashed.

For something different, I thought I would write a post when I am neither sad and feeling the need to connect nor thrilled and wanting to share that I am not always sad. I realized this was the case when an IRL friend commented about my blog. My posts do seem to be one extreme or the other so here are some rather mundane updates.

I am 28 weeks and 6 days today and I am enjoying this new phase of pregnancy. By "new", I mean that it is a point that I didn't get to with Ernest. I love all the movement I feel. I love dreaming that this baby will make it to term and be healthy (Please be healthy Little Butterfly!). Sleeping continues to be a challenge and I long to be able to cuddle up to Brad again. I also look forward to having my body behave in the way I have been used to for the last 40 years. Still, I wouldn't change it for anything and I am more than patient enough for this baby to get to term. After all, I have waited longer between fertility treatments just for a chance to try again than I will need to wait until we (hopefully) give birth to a live baby.

Brad and I have also considered our first baby related purchase. We are looking at getting a bike trailer / jogger. We haven't decided on a brand or style yet, but we are leaning toward one by Burley or Chariot. I know this isn't anything we would need right away, although I am secretly hoping that we will be going for bike rides sooner than later. We have a nice bike trail near our home that is separate from car traffic and I love to bike. Currently I am looking for a safe way to take a young infant since they can't use a helmet. Why would be looking into something like this when we have nothing else? We have been shy about buying anything before the baby is born (hey, the women in The Gambia never had anything but the bed they slept in and their breasts to care for a newborn), but this purchase is on a time table. Until the end of March REI offers 20% off one item and our REI rebate this year will almost cover the remainder (I charged our IVF on our REI rebate card). And so, we have explored the world of shopping for our Someday Baby AKA Little Butterfly.

We are both scared and excited about it. I almost hate to admit this in a public forum, but shopping also brought up feelings of inadequacy as I looked at the baby and kid outdoor gear. Years ago, I read an excerpt from a book about loss and one of the pregnant women confessed her fears: "I know all about pregnancy, but what do I know about being a mom?!" At the time I thought, "Honey, if you can get through infertility and loss you can be a mom." I didn't understand her fears. I think I do now. For years I have watched other women become moms and subsequently gain experience in the role. I have felt further and further behind as their kids grew up while I still waited for mine. Consciously, I know I will learn and adapt just like everyone else. Emotionally, I feel that I am behind schedule. After all, I should have more than three years of experience by now.

Crap. That sounds kind of sad, doesn't it? It must be the lack of sleep making me melancholy.

On a happier note . . . as I type this, I can feel LB moving around and reminding me that we still have the hope of a real live baby in just under three more months. This morning as I lie in bed feeling him move, I dared to think that soon he will be lying beside me. Then I imagined her hand wrapped around my finger. The image took my breath away. Like I suspect many people do, after awhile I had decided it was easier emotionally to not think about that Someday Baby in too much detail. Today, I allowed a little detail to slip into my daydream and it was really wonderful.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

OB appointment #6: 28 weeks 1 day

wait: Arrived 10 minutes late because the doctor was running "close to on time." The receptionist confirmed that he was only a few minutes behind. Thirty-five minutes later we were called back, weighed and bp checked. "The doctor will be in in just a few minutes. We read the only magazine that wasn't titled Pregnancy or Parenting. We stared out the window. We chatted about what it has taken to get this far. Forty minutes after that Dr. Wonderful walked in. Yes, we still think it is worth the wait.

The appointment: We talked about my labs being fine. He added that white blood cell counts being high were normal and although my red blood cell count was a little low, that was ok, because I had good levels of iron in each cell. I suspect he guessed that I would have already looked at the results. (In fact, I had already called my midwife to get her thoughts while we waited - she had said it was normal too). BTW, we did not do the glucose test, but I am cutting out the junk food just in case. Dr. W said my weight gain was ok and my pb was fine.

I lay back on the table and he measured me - measuring on time-ish. Then Dr. W. said, "Let's take a listen!" Brad looked up and with a look and a grin like a little kid who was hoping for some ice-cream said, "Or maybe take a look?" "Sure. Let's take a look," replied Dr. Wonderful so off to the u/s room we went.

I felt a little guilty being the don't-do-it-if-you-don't-need-it kind of person, but I recognize that feeling the baby move all the time makes it all seem so real to me. "Looking" may be just what Brad needs to feel that connection. And it was pretty neat. We saw several views of the face, a yawn, and something that looked like he was sucking. Brad was just thrilled. The doc checked out the baby physically and it all still looked good.

As we walked out, Dr. Wonderful handed us the picture of LB's face, looked between Brad and I and asked, "Which one of you has such a distinctive chin?" I thought about it for a moment and said, "It must be Brad, because Belinda's chin doesn't look like that." Brad was so excited to hear that. He laughed and gave me a high-five. I asked Brad if it was nice to see that kind of connection. Of course, he knew I was a little bit sad that we all knew it wasn't my chin we saw on the ultrasound - and I didn't mean to take away from his joy. I was genuinely curious about how that felt. I wanted to understand what it might have been like had things worked out differently. It was too late; he had softened his enthusiasm and his answer. I don't remember now what he said, but it was fairly neutral - something like, "Eh, it is what it is." or he might have redirected and said, "Whatever . . . it is our baby."

I keep trying to get an answer to that question. When people talk about family resemblances - "You can sure tell he takes after the Williams' side of the family", "She gets those green eyes from my Mother" or "He's go my hands, that's for sure!" - I asked them to tell me what it's like. Does it make them feel more connected? Is there a pleasure in seeing your genes - or your family's genes - expressed in your children/grandchildren? What is it like?!

The answer is always the same: There is a short pause as they realize who they are talking to, then the enthusiasm dissipates as they explain that it "really doesn't matter" and "Oh, it's not a big deal" or "Just something I noticed." I hope someday someone will tell me what it is like. I don't need to live that experience, as much as I would like to. I do want to understand what it is I am missing out on. I think eventually Brad will tell me. He has always been honest with me and maybe as time goes on - as those occurrences become common place for him and he feels the time is right - he will tell me what it feels like to see your own features mirrored in those of your child.

In the meantime, we are both thrilled that we have made it to 28 weeks and no reason - other than past experience that tells us there are never any guarantees - to believe that this child won't make it to term. We still dream of June and can't wait to hold LB in our arms.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Listen online to the forum

You can now listen online to the forum. It does not appear you can download it, but you can listen at your convenience.

The segment is broken in to two hours. The first hour is the moderator asking questions and the second hour has questions from the audience.

Here is the link.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Insomnia: 1 Infertility Awareness:????

Well, I did it. The Forum on Fertility was last night and I feel pretty good about it. My only regret (hey, it's my nature!) is that - while I think I did emphasize the high cost and lack of insurance coverage - I didn't express what that cost meant to us. I think I came across as being someone who can just drop $65,000 on fertility treatments.

I wish I had talked about the things we have given up - retirement, a second car, a bigger house, and all those little toys so many of our friends buy without much thought such as: kayaks, ski equipment, the latest outdoor gear, etc. I know we are fortunate to be even able to find $65,000 even though 1/2 came out of our modest retirement and nearly 1/2 is still on low interest credit cards, but it still hasn't been easy.

So that is the (not so) bad news and mostly I was really happy with how it went. I was nervous all day, but once I got there and saw that the doctors (1 PhD, 2 MD's) were just as or more nervous than I was, I felt much better. Funny how I thought it would be easy for them.

The doctor (Pat Hunt) who talked about environmental factors was really interesting. I wish I had gotten her email address so I could maybe start some correspondence. I would encourage all to listen to the show if only for her comments and thoughts on the plastics in our environment. Incidentally, after the show she recommended Born Free baby bottles and cups and Klean Kanteen for a toxin free water bottle. She said the really pretty stainless steal water bottles from Switzerland (??) have a resin coating that may contain BPA

There is supposed to be a podcast becoming available, but in the meantime you can listen online at several different times between March 25th and March 28th. Here is the schedule and some additional information.

Thanks again to everyone's wonderful support. I realized last night while I fitfully tossed and turned as my mind went over the forum again and again (Oooo . . . I liked that part . . . .wouldn't it have been funny if I called Dr. Robins "Eddie" like the host . . . I wish I had said this instead . . . I hope someone contacts me for the support group . . . ) I realized that a lot of what I said I had stolen from other bloggers. I'm afraid I am not sure where I read it, but I am pretty sure someone else first talked about how we think of our "Someday Baby" as often as other people think of their actual children (Jenna?). I think Mel and Pamela Jeanne have talked about the 4 ways out of infertility (adoption, donor gametes, successful treatment, living child free). I am sure there are many other examples where someone else said it first. To all of you someone's out there - Thank you!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Midwife appt # 4: 26 weeks and 5 days

As usual, I am a bit behind. My midwifery appointment was Tuesday night.

My midwife arrived just as Brad and I were eating dinner. I know it was rude, but I was too hungry to wait. We shared some watermelon while Brad and I finished eating. During dinner and for about an hour afterwards we mostly just chatted about things. I let her know that I was doing better emotionally (thanks to more sleep, more exercise and more sun) and that I was happily feeling the baby move quite a bit. The movements feeling bigger now too. Instead of just a bump here or there, I can sometimes feel multiple movements all at the same time - like I can feel the baby rolling around in there. It is really nice.

We talked about vaccinations too. She is very much against all vaccinations. I feel that some are probably not worth the risk (chickenpox) and others might be good at a later date (hep B). She suggested I check out a website - I think - about an MD who is against vaccinations.

I asked her for her thoughts on the glucose test my OB wants me to get. She doesn't think it is a good idea. Her reasoning: Lots of false positives that lead to unneeded interventions, hard on the pancreas (though she was glad to hear they now recommend a good meal 2 hours before taking the drink instead of fasting for 12 hours), and a pee test will indicate that I was "spilling sugar" anyway without the false positives. I'm not really worried about the trauma to my body from taking the test, but am worried about a false positive. I have put in a call to my OB to discuss the risks of not taking the test.

Then we did the actual exam. Once again, I got to feel the baby's head. This time I could feel it much better. It was just amazing. I felt like I was really touching him (btw, we have opted not to learn the sex of the baby - that's why I keep switching pronouns). Brad also let the midwife manipulate his hand so he could feel the baby. He is usually really timid about pressing too hard, but was willing to do it under her direction. That was nice too.

Everything else was routine and still within normal limits - blood pressure, pee test, etc.

Since then I have been more emotional. The night of the appointment I learned that an IRL friend who did her first IVF the same time I did my first IVF (we both got pregnant - she had a baby) is now trying for her second. Of course, her genetic baby. It really put me in a slump I am yet to climb out of. I don't think it is all about this news, but it helped start me down a slippery slope of not sleeping well and having more nightmares.

The fact that I am at the point in our pregnancy where we lost Ernest probably doesn't help either. Today is he day we delivered him - 27 weeks, 0 days. Last night was the night I spent crying and wandering the "mother and baby" floor of the hospital sobbing.

On an entirely different note - tomorrow at 8:30 AM PDT you can listen to a radio interview that introduces those of us on the panel for Tuesday. You can listen to it streaming at
I believe it is repeated at 9:00 AM PDT on KSFC (same website, different icon). I haven't heard it and have no idea how it is going to sound.

The Forum is this coming Tuesday, but will be broadcast later. I will keep you posted.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A post on a lighter note

I have a bunch of posts I need to take care of, but this isn't one of them. This is just a quicky so that there is something less heavy for my most recent post. I also need to get caught up on a ton of blogs. I hope it will be soon. My apologies for that.

For starters, Brad and I spent five (hellish) days with Brad's dad and his wife. It was nice to see Brad's dad - and we got a few blessed moments alone with him, but his wife is just plain mean. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say she is lucky to still be breathing. Ok, one detail - even though she often mispronounced works (such as calling a petroglyph a "petralgraph") she enjoyed telling a story - with a derisive tone - about a Latino nursery worker who called an Oleander an "olander".

Today I spent two hours looking for some business maternity clothes for the forum. It turns out I should have ordered online. I was really getting discouraged, but after lowering my standards a bit, we got lucky at the store we started at. I am so relieved to get that over with.

Best of all the yearly Buttercup Patrol (Ender and me) struck gold on Sunday and found the first flowers of Spring! Yeah!!!

I have added pictures of my Buttercup Patrol Buddy (note the buttercup between his front feet) and the first buttercup of Spring 2008