Saturday, June 26, 2010

One Year Ago

This time last year I was waiting for the call to find out if our one frozen embryo would survive the thaw (we were given a 50% chance) and we would have something to transfer.  Amazingly, we did.  I remember taking the phone call in the kitchen.  Nice Nurse called with the good news and I shouted with glee.  Goodness knows I had been on the wrong side of good odds before.  Amazing that the slow-growing embryo not only thawed (thank you, Uncle Jimmy - the embryologist) but stuck around and gave LB a little sister.  Once again, I am struck by how lucky we are in so many ways.

Some stats:

LBII was born exactly 9 months after transfer (June 26th to March 26th).

LB was born exactly 9 months  after their conception. (Sept 20th to June 20th)

They were both born on a Friday

No, not magic - just coincidence but it is fun to notice.

Oh, and I missed it, but on June 10th was my third blogoversary.  I started blogging about the time we made the decision to move to donor eggs.  I thought I was the only one who had a mutually genetic baby die only to never have another one.  I soon found out that I was not alone.  Thanks to all the ladies out there in the blogosphere for your support along the way.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Do You Believe In Magic?

I recently came across a post about a message in a fortune cookie and how the writer hoped it was a good omen.  I suddenly felt saddened.  It was a reaction I found a bit surprising until I realized I was sad because I no longer believe in magic. It is like learning that there is no Santa Clause.  That the magic you thought was real was only just pretend.

If you had asked me earlier in our journey, I would have told you that I was not superstitious.  I might have admitted to being somewhat spiritual, but not religious.  If you asked me out right if there was a god, I would have told you, "I don't know, but I hope so."  I would have told you that I did not believe in magic.

But I did.

There was the time before our first or second IVF when Brad and I both got fortune cookie fortunes that seemed to predict a successful cycle.  There was the time when I biked to work shortly after an IUI when two geese - perched higher up on a rock than I had ever seen them - took flight just as I passed them and flew directly overhead.  There was the time 'the church ladies' (my affectionate term for the ladies I dance with) prayed over me.  There were the too-numerous-to-count times I meditated and visualized a baby coming into our lives and I felt it.  I believed there was an energy in the universe I could tap into.

I wanted and needed to believe that I had some control.  That maybe there was a being or 'energy' out there that had more power than I did.

Here I will ask my readers to please not take offense if you do believe in they type of magic I am referring to.  It is a wonderful thing and despite my strong views, I recognize I may still be wrong.  Even if I am right, believing in a magic that doesn't exist is probably worth it.

I know that I said that I became an atheist the day I realized Ernest was going to die, but in reality I let go of the hope in a god or power beyond me or magic much more slowly.  In retrospect, on that day I let go of a notion that there was God (with a capital G) who interfered - who took notice and answered prayers.  I had decided that, while there may still be some kind of spiritual energy, there was no direct interference.  Plus I wanted to believe there was life after death  - that I would see Ernest again.

As our infertility struggles wore on, I slowly let go of that belief as well.  I came to understand that the universe is wholly natural.  Life is as it is - just random chaos. There are times when I wish I could go back to believing in magic, but just as most of us never again believe in Santa Claus, I doubt there will be a time I can convince myself that there are other kinds of magic.

Now I read posts that talk about faith or spirituality and I don't know what to say, so I stay silent.  It's not that I don't appreciate the alternative viewpoint, but I can't really agree and disagreeing would be less than appreciated.  I guess I am saying, "It's not you, it's me."

The part of me that is still angry wants to add that I have witnessed miracles.  You know, a series of unlucky events that lead to a surprising outcome.  I just don't limit it to happy outcomes.  Why praise a god when it works out and not blame him/her when it doesn't? 

We conceived Ernest with less than 400,000 post wash motile sperm on an unmedicated cycle.  Most RE's won't even do an IUI with less than 10 times that amount and those cycles are usually medicated.  What were the odds?  One in a million?  One in ten million?  Then he died of an extremely rare non-inherited (based on the geneticist best guess) birth defect.  His chromosomes were normal (well, obviously not really normal but they looked good and there was the right amount of them. There must have been something wrong with the genes or how they were expressed).  What were the odds of that?  A miracle conception and a miracle death.

No, I'm not over it.  Yes, I am still trying to be happier

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Two Years

Two years ago today I was living the drama of LB's birth. It is amazing how slowly two years of trying to conceive lasts compared to two years on 'the other side'.  She is growing so fast which is fun and exciting and challenging and all the things that we hoped for.

Right now we are especially enjoying her new verbal skills.  On my second day back to work, she crawled into the chair behind me as I was at my computer and said "Move over please.  It's my turn."  When I was trying to calm her with a saying I have used in the past that made her laugh ("all is well!"), I got to "all" and she said, "No, no, no, don't say that!"  I hope calling me by my first name is a phase . . . "Hey Kami, can you come in here?  Play toys me?"

Just the same, it is delightful to hear what is on her mind.  We are also spending far too much time together watching videos. I always promised myself that I would never use the tv as a babysitter.  While it is technically a computer and the content is 99% music videos (everything from Sting to Veggie Tales), I still feel a bit guilty.  I also go to bed with catchy kids songs stuck in my head.  Case in point below.  If you aren't singing it to yourself the first time, try watching it again.

Happy Birthday LB!  Thanks for making me a mom (again)!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just Another Quick Update

There was a helicopter crash two houses behind mine two weeks ago.  I watched it drop out of the sky and was sure the pilot died. He did.  It was very sad and later I learned that a friend of mine was good friends with the pilot.  As they say, "It's a small world."

The reason I am blogging about it was that the evening news interviewed me like they do when something interesting happens in a neighborhood.  I believe they picked me because they saw I had two small children (we were just back from a walk and sitting on the porch).  I kept thinking of PJ's pieces 'as a mother' where she takes news articles and changes 'as a mother' to 'as an infertile'.  As if I had a more important perspective because (gasp!) my kids could have been killed!  Despite how they portrayed me, I am not worried about another such accident.  And when they asked me if I had something else to add, I did not say what I was thinking, "I know I look fertile, but I am not and having kids does not make me an authority on either helicopter crashes or the mood of the neighborhood."

In news closer to home, I am back to work in my part-time-from-home role.  It was a tough first day because I always had one of the kids in my lap.  LB is having a hard time readjusting and we are all adjusting to having two kids instead of one.  By the end of my 4 hour day, I was so sad I felt like crying.  I couldn't even tell you why.  It really wasn't that hard and normally I would get frustrated not sad while trying to juggle a kid and work. It makes me wonder where that feeling was coming from. Well, we shall figure it all out in time.

Despite the transition to work, things are going well here. I am still very happy and relieved to be done trying to conceive.  Yesterday I (virtually) sat with Sarah as she waited for her beta.  I believe it was her 7th IVF but the first with donor gametes (DS/DE).  It was one of those cycles that just has to work, but yet you know it might not (I guess they are all that was to some degree).  It brought back how awful that space it.  Such hope and fear and dread and hope and anxiety and hope and you can't really know what it is like unless you have been there. Thankfully and wonderfully, she got a great first beta.

Finally a picture Leah snapped on the way back from from riding the carousel.  The blue fabric over my arm is the baby sling I should have been using.