Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just a quick update

Thanks everyone for your comments and support. LB continues to do well and most of the time I don't worry overly about her health and development. The nights can be odd though. A couple of nights ago I realized I was terrified of death - mine, LB's, Brad's. After Ernest died I actually lost all fear of death. What worse thing could happen? If Brad died, I would kill myself. Any other death I could survive (except mine, of course, but I wouldn't care). Now I would have to survive LB's death for Brad and Brad's for LB. If I died, who would be her mother? Craziness, but normal I suspect.

In other news . . . PJ says it better than me. She talks about the recent birth in the news. I think it is completely irresponsible. It is no different than a meth addict having a kid. In both cases the health of the child is in jeapordy. In both cases, the conception should have never happened in the first place. Nevermind the way it colors the general populations views on infertility and infertility treatment.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We have survived

We did it. LB is no longer an entirely natural kid (as if her conception was natural!). We got two vaccines yesterday - the HIB and the DTaP. Brad wanted to do both and I think the HIB is probably one of the safest ones out there. I was disappointed they didn't have the DTaP shot I was hoping for with only 170 micrograms of aluminum. They had my alternate choice of 330 micrograms aluminum (and I think not grown in cow cells, but I could be wrong on that). It still freaks me out and I was hesitant up until the very end. They had the two shots ready to go on a tray and I was asking Brad, "Are you sure we should do two?" The pediatrician was very supportive and said, "We can just do one." She added we don't need to decide what we will do with the follow up shots . . . just to decide for today on these two.

And we have survived. LB cried during the shots, but I nursed her right afterward and she did ok (I tried during, but she wanted to watch what was going on). She was a bit more fussy than usual the rest of the day and the day after - which is not much at all. Today she seems pretty much herself. The good part is that she slept better that night. The bad part is I had insomnia worrying about her development. Why did the pediatrician want to see her in 2-3 more months when they usually see them (from what I understand) at 6 months and then 12? Did she bring in that laughing doll to see if LB would respond? Does LB not laugh enough for her age? What about the comment about how social she is and babies this age start being afraid of strangers? Is that within normal?

I was awake for two hours. I could not convince myself that she was ok. Parents are the last to realize their kid isn't normal. Finally, I got up and thumbed through What's Going On In There. It should have been reassuring, but it wasn't. Maybe LB is just more subtlety messed up than Ernest. I woke Brad up. He couldn't reassure me either. In the end I just kept repeating, "I love her no matter what." and "We will deal with whatever comes."

Eventually, I got a couple more hours of sleep and the sun came up. LB woke up, laughed and coo'd and acted pretty much like her normal self.

It has convinced me that vaccinations do cause brain damage. Maybe they have had no apparent negative affects on LB, but they sure did a number on me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Vaccination Day


I have scheduled LB's DTaP shot 4 times now and canceled or rescheduled three times. Shooting 170 micrograms of a neurotoxin into her 19 pound body just freaks me out. I really don't want her to get pertussis and it is one of the more common diseases we vaccinate for. She is getting less breastmilk (less protection), is likely to be around kids more and if we are lucky we will have a sibling in a year or two. While whooping caugh isn't likely to me more than a huge discomfort to LB, it could kill a newborn. All good reasons. So I make an appointment.

As the day approaches I start worrying about the potential side effects. What if her body can't eliminate aluminum? What if she has one of the rare reactions? What if it leaves lasting, long term consequences? A day or two before the appoint, I call up the doctor's office and either reschedule or all out cancel.

So far, I haven't canceled. Brad is more determined than I am to get it done. Plus it is her 6 month wellness visit (yes, she's 7 months now). We can just go to the appointment and skip the shot.

I know to many of you, this is likely being deathly afraid to fly in an airplane. It is a fear greater than the likelihood of something bad happening. Maybe it is exactly like that. But maybe, unlike calculating the odds of a plane crash, the damage is more subtle. Maybe we won't know for 50 or 75 years the cost of the immunizations on our overall health. Maybe the high number of vaccinations really are tied to greater autoimmune diseases.

Well, there is the full circle. We will see if I break out of it today. If I do (we do) then we will see if LB suffers any short term consequences. We may never know if there are long term ones.

Wish us all luck. I will update later today or tomorrow morning.

I am also almost done with the post answering the remaining questions about DE and then I will move on to EC updates.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Answers to questions about using donor eggs

Thanks to everyone who delurked and/or asked questions. It is nice to see. Please feel free to continue to delurk or pose a question.

It has taken me a bit to post because it is hard to articulate the whole of what it has been like. I have been thinking about what to say in terms of how I feel about using donor eggs ever since Mrs. Spock asked if I still feel how I felt when I wrote about using DE before we conceived. It's a tough question to answer and even harder to explain. I hoping by answering individual questions I will be able to better focus my thoughts.

Before I do my best to address the questions I want to make a few things clear:

  • I am completely in love with LB. She is all things wonderful.
  • My unresolved issues around using DE are about me, not about her.
  • It is possible to hold two different, conflicting feelings about something simultaneously. Kids are good at this - they can hate someone and love her at the same time. As adults, we think it can only be one or the other.
  • If at some point while reading this you think I am saying that LB is anything but perfect, please revisit the above statements.
Ryan's Mommy asks:
My question for you is this: how often, if ever, do you think about LB coming from a donor egg? Do you still mourn that loss, or does it not matter anymore? I remember it took you a long time to get used to the idea, even while you were PG.

I ask because these are the kinds of things I'm thinking/worrying about now, going into this DE process. I know I'll love my kid 100%, but I have one (hard-earned) bio kid and I sometimes wonder if my DE child will be as smart, gorgeous, etc., and if it will matter to me if he/she isn't. Or will I be blind to his/her faults entirely, because he/she is mine. I'd like to think these things won't matter, but some small part of me is sad that I'll never know what a second bio kid might have been like.
Of course everyone is different and I don't think you can know for sure how you feel until you get there. I had (have) similar fears and the thought that gives me peace is that I believe I have some choice in how I feel. I have a choice in which emotions and thoughts I dwell on.

I still think about LB coming from a donor egg nearly every day, sometimes many times a day. (Please note that just because I think about it doesn't mean that it makes me sad.) I think in this I may be unusual, but it is the way I am. When I look at her I see this beautiful baby that I love, but I also see eyes (eyes that I adore) that are clearly not from Brad nor I nor anyone in our families. Because LB has a known donor, I know exactly where her eyes come from. If seeing Belinda wasn't proof enough, Belinda's mom showed me a picture of LB's 'cousin' who was about the same age - same eyes. Besides something so obvious, she just doesn't look like me. I know genetic parents who have said the same thing, but I wonder if there are similarities that hit at the subconscious level. Or maybe it is just my baggage that makes me see it differently.

I remember the first time I saw the picture in this post. I was holding LB at the time. I remember thinking that she just didn't seem like my baby - the one in the picture. The one I was holding I was madly in love with and was most certainly mine, but the one in the picture seemed like someone else's kid. Maybe this is not unique to DE parents, maybe it is just that after 6 years I still can't get my mind around the fact that we have a baby.

I also worry about her being bright enough. I take that back. I think Belinda is very bright. I guess I want LB to be bright they way I am bright, if that makes sense. I was one of the few kids who liked geometry in high school. Will LB be good at geometry?

Yes, I still mourn that loss. Not every day, but often enough. I ache to have my genetic child (my child) and I still fantasize about a miracle pregnancy (one that doesn't end in a miracle death) or winning the lottery and trying one more time with my eggs. I didn't think I would feel this way. I thought the feeling would evaporate as soon as LB was born (to answer Sky's question), but it didn't. I don't think my longing for a genetic baby changed much at all. I think my acceptance of the situation will grow, but I think it is something that will always be with me.


I delight in nearly every moment with LB. ("Nearly" because sometimes she is not entirely pleasant and I'm not entirely up to the task.) I want to give her the world. I will spend 20 minutes trying to get a smile and find even a fleeting one more than worth the effort. I will wake up in the morning after 10 hours in bed, still tired, look over at the one responsible for waking me up every 1.5 hours (we are working to break that habit) and not only be ready to do it all over again; but eager and excited to do it all over again. There have probably been over 10 billion babies born on this planet and when LB learns something new it is like the first time it has happened in the universe. I absolutely love her. I think she is bright and beautiful and a joy to have in our lives.

Furthermore, I no longer ache to parent. I have a lightness in my spirit I haven't experienced since before Ernest died. I have often said that the longing for a child is innate - a longing that is not logical, but is closer to an instinct. I no longer have that longing and the lack of it is incredibly freeing.

My goal now is to make sure my issues do not become LB's issues. One day not too long ago, I was putting her to bed after a particularly bad 'poor me' moment in terms of never having a genetic baby. I was physically afraid of her. The responsibility of helping this little grub of a human to grow up happy and healthy felt so enormous. How can I make sure my sense of loss never negatively effects her? I don't think a five year old could ever see me sad about that loss and not assume she wasn't enough. I don't want to be dishonest with her, but I see no other way at this point. If you have some thoughts on this subject, please share them.

There were other questions. I will try to answer them as soon as possible.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today is the Day

We go to Shriner's this afternoon to get LB's splint off. I am so excited! I just hope they don't x-ray her and decide to put one back on again for another two weeks. If all goes well we plan on celebrating by taking a bath. Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

I am also going to get one item off my list by jumping on the National Delurking Week (or is it international?) by asking my readers (yes, you!) to delurk and post a comment. It's not hard, I promise. You don't even have to put in a code verifying that you are a human - just hit the comments link at the bottom of this post and you are on your way.

Names would be great. Links to a blog if you have one better still. I would love to hear why you read or how you found this blog or where you are from - any little tidbit would be nice. Even if I know you IRL, just post a quick comment to say you were here. It would be much appreciated.

While we are at it, this would be a great time to ask a question or request more posts on a particular topic. Don't worry about asking something that might offend. If you are truly curious, I will do my best to respond. If you just want to offend, well then please don't.

I have to say I am a bit nervous about this post. It's like throwing a party and worrying that no one will show up. Please come, introduce yourself, and then you can go back to lurking. I will provide some virtual chocolate - all the best kinds and perpared in the most delicious ways if that would help.

In the meantime, you can go here for some more pictures of LB with her buddy Maya. LB is wearing the completely awesome overalls that Maya's grandmother made her. Besides the butterflies she embroidered on the front, it has her name, birth date and measurements. Leah (Maya's mom) successfully brought her daughter home from Guatemala this past March. I keep telling Leah we should all go back to Guatemala, at least for the winter. Unfortunately, after living there for 8 months fostering her daughter, she is happy to be home in the cold. Since Maya loves the snow too, I don't think I will be winning that argument any time soon.

Edited to add that LB's splint came off today and she looks like a normal baby again! Well, until she sucks in both her upper and lower lips - her new favorite hobby. She looks like one of those old lady faces shriveled apples. The bath was great too!

Please keep the questions / delurkings coming. I am looking forward to answering them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Signs of Spring?

Yesterday, LB and I were up before Brad and we were watching the squirrels running around the front yard. They were probably hungry because all their goodies are buried in the dirt under 6 inches of snow. I decided to toss some walnuts on top of the snow and see what happened. I opened the window, tossed the nuts and sat happily watching a squirrel eat one after another. The best part was the sound of birds singing! Yes, they are probably our winter birds, but still I could tell they were happier than usual. It hasn't snowed here in several days and it has been warming up enough to melt. What a perfect moment, to feel Spring hinting about its return! For more perfect moments - go visit Lori.

On another note I have been wanting to blog about, when Brad and I checked into Shriner's with LB they asked us if we were her "natural parents". I didn't know how to answer. "Well, no, not really. There is nothing very natural in IVF, ICSI and nevermind she isn't my genetic baby." Fortunately, Brad was much quicker than I and just said yes and that was that.

But it got me wondering . . . what constitues and "unnatural parent"? I suspect they want to know if the child is a fosterchild, adopted child or something along the lines, but is there a better way to ask and does it really matter? Maybe they shouldn't be asking at all. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dancing In The New Year

This is my Perfect Moment Monday post. I know. It's Tuesday, but I have been noticing perfect moments and then not finding the time to post them. I need to get back in the habit even if it means I am a day late.

New Years Eve:

We got together with friends. The same friends we have gotten together with on New Years for I don't know how long. Less than 10 years, I suspect, but more than 5. Maybe more than 10. At any rate, it is a wonderful group of people and it is our typical New Year's celebration - the group, not the location.

This year we got together at my friends dance studio. It was an adult party, but LB was the exception. It is fun to pretend it is because she is such a happy, easy baby (she is) but the real reason is that she is young enough to a) be a lap kid while we played cards and 2) too young to understand / repeat some of the language.

It was a perfectly delightful evening. We ate good food and drank good wine. Friends took turns holding LB so I got some time holding nothing but a glass of wine and a smoked turkey sandwich. We played several rounds of 10 handed Hearts. LB was shared among many. While an adult played their hand, LB chewed on the joker. Everyone seemed to enjoy her and she seemed to enjoy everyone - even if the person holding her sometimes made critical errors in the game and got the Queen of Spades.

We took a break to dance. LB, currently in a splint, sat it out but enjoyed watching. She already seems to love to dance and I dance with her often. That night I held her facing out and her eyes stayed glued on the dancers - sometimes excitedly flailing all her limbs, sometimes staring slack-jawed like it was the most amazing thing she has ever seen.

We played a couple more rounds and then it was time to head home. It was only 10:30, but already 2 hours past LB's bedtime. Unfortunately, she has a chronic case of FOMS (fear of missing something) and doesn't sleep if their is stuff going on. We didn't mind, of course. We missed the fire works, but we had a baby. It's all good.

As we packed up and headed out the door, it hit me. This was a perfect moment. How many years had we headed home after spending New Year's with this group and thought (although we enjoyed the evening), "God, what an awful year. I hope next year is better." December 31, 2008, we headed home with a spring in our step and a lightness in our hearts. What a happy year.

It's not too late to check out other perfect moments over at Lori's blog.

For those of you still trying . . . I hope 2009 will be a great year for you.