Thursday, September 29, 2005

A good scare.

I will fill in the details of what happened within the next few days, but for now I will just say that I had to be admitted to the hospital for 5 days due to a shortening cervix and tons of contractions. I'm now home with a device that pumps medicine into my leg continuously, in order to keep contractions at bay. We were 27 weeks, 5 days when we went in. Now we're at 28 weeks, 4 days. I am on strict bedrest. The doctors say that with this medicine it is possible I will go to 32 or even a whopping 34 weeks, but that for now the goal is to get to 30 weeks. We are feeling better now, but we both did a lot of crying at the thought of our little babies coming too early and having to battle for life outside the womb. We are calmer now, knowing more facts, hearing more about what they can do in the neonatal care unit from the doctors that work there. We are cautiously optimistic and know that we are lucky they are still inside of me, safe and sound.
I don't think either one of us realized how much we love these babies -or how much we already innately feel like parents- until this scare. Please, if you feel moved to do so, send your good thoughts and prayers our way. Thank you to everyone who called or wrote with concern. It really means so much to know you're out there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On joy, fear, and bacon

One common theme of my pregnancy has been the fear of talking too much about the joy of being pregnant. You see, I've been through the sadness of infertility, and I wouldn't have even read this very blog six months ago. I wouldn't have read it because 1)I wouldn't want to hear about someone's pregnancy, 2)I would've interpreted my own complaints as ungratefulness, and 3)I wouldn't want to know the details of happiness I was missing. There is a voice in my head that still warns me not to say too much about how great it is to be pregnant and how amazing it is that it happened for us when we least expected. But the truth is, this side of things must be expressed in order to pay respect to the joy I feel right now, joy that I may never have the opportunity to feel again and therefore must acknowledge right now.

I guess the advantage of having a new blog is I don't have much of an audience, and so it's not as if I've had a substantial audience who has been following my blog because of a certain theme (like infertility) that I suddenly switched to another (like pregnancy) that may sadden many readers. I myself have sympathetically and compassionately read blogs written by women going through so many struggles to get pregnant, and yet when they did I could not read any more. And these are women whose struggles went on for much longer than my own, with more complications. The thought that you may never be able to have a baby can really mess with your head and damage your heart. I wish, like these women, I had had the strength or accessible insight to blog through my experience with infertility, but I did not. All I wanted to do was get through each day, and many times I did not want to name my sadness or fears, nor did I want to try to make sense of it all. In those days, I did not know many people like me, but SP was my partner in suffering. It was a different kind of suffering from my own, but his sympathy and love were enormous and healing, and they got me through much so that I found myself regularly wanting to give back to him, which may have been the most healing thing of all.

The joy that I feel from my relationship with SP is close in my heart to the joy I feel from being pregnant, and yet they are two very different things. I was so surprised in early pregnancy to realize that my fantasy of pregnancy bringing us so intimately close was not my reality. There were so many isolating things: the terrible sickness, the rapid changes in my body, crazy emotional (hormonal) outbursts, the raw fear that this thing in my body was so fragile and could fall apart without warning, shock that my body had gone from a flawed machine to a nurturing vessel and the resulting mistrust of it,... these experiences and feelings were not something the two of us could share, and I was frustrated to be "alone" in it. As I became a little less desperately ill and he got used to me in my new state, we began to share the experience more. When the babies started kicking a couple months ago, SP really felt a part of the experience much more than before.

But still, being pregnant, for me, is sort of like a sweet, unspoken secret, a mystery that I innately understand but would never be able to describe or solve. It is between me and the lives inside of me. And yet I don't talk to the babies a lot, nor do I put headphones on my belly to pipe classical music into the womb. I haven't written letters to them or started baby books in which I describe what they did in my belly or in which I glue their ultrasound pictures. For me, this experience is something sweeter than what those things can offer or mean. These babies are living in me, and I feel them in there. It is simply wild and thrilling. It needs no further explanation.

Of course the words "wild" and "thrilling" can also be closely related to the words "scary" and "risky." It's very scary for me to be unabashedly joyful about things that carry risk with them. Right now the risk is somewhat limited because I make choices that directly affect the babies. Yet, on the other hand I ultimately have little control over when they're born or the state of their health in the process of being born. It's like I want to reassure them that I can protect them no matter what, but I can't completely and honesty do that. So some doubt lives in me, putting a damper on the happiness I feel. I guess this will continue for as long as I am a mother.

But let's think of it in terms of bacon. I've seen my own mother make bacon. The more she cooks it, the more fat liquefies into grease in the pan. She takes the crisp bacon out and puts it on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up excess grease. And instead of throwing away the grease in the pan, she pours it into a little container, which she puts in the refrigerator so that she can use it for other purposes at some other time. What can I learn from this? Maybe I can acknowledge and even use the fear when it's needed, at some other time. But for now I'm going to try to separate the fear from the joy and appreciate the flavor and aroma and depth of the joy on its own. I'm going to try hard to do that today. Because this joy is so big that it demands attention. And because bacon is good.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monday's hangover

No, I haven't been drinking. It's just that I feel as though I've been drugged and then run over by a truck because I was too drowsy to look both ways before I crossed. Symptoms: dull cramping, back pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, BH contractions, shortness of breath, pelvic pressure. Yes, I have been checked out by a doctor. I was in twice last week, and things seem to be stable. It's just twin pregnancy in the third trimester, it seems. The babies are getting bigger and more impatient. They don't know what's good for them- to stay in there as long as they can. Part of the problem is that I didn't rest as much as I should've this weekend, as well as lack of sufficient hydration, and constipation. Sad but true. Each of those things would explain the crampiness especially. So today I'm reclining, hydrating, fiber-izing, and praying. With all of these things working in my favor, tomorrow will be a better day I hope.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Week in review: the Good and the Bad

The Good:
  • I have the best husband - no, make that partner- , pretty much in the history of the entire universe. Infinity and no backsies.
  • Some of my friends and family called and/or e-mailed this week to check in on me.
  • I only vomited 3 times this week.
  • In childbirth class, the teacher fast-forwared through the part of the video featuring couples dressed in white leotards practicing breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • The babies are growing nicely and still kicking with great force!
  • I think I averaged only 5 bathroom visits per night, down from 6.
  • I am within a good weight-gain range for twins. Even with all the vomiting, I have somehow managed to gain 38 lbs. Hurrah!
  • I did what I was supposed to and rested for most of the week, without feeling too lazy or guilty or bored.
  • We were told by the doctor on Friday that my cervical length is stable for now, so we feel a little less worried.
  • I will be able to teach for 4 hours this week, which seems very exciting to me after a week of almost complete bedrest.
The Bad:
  • Due to bedrest, I know much more about daytime TV than I care to. (PS- We don't have cable of any kind .)
  • My hands are numb when I wake up sometimes, and I have to clap them together limply as though doing an impression of a seal to get the feeling back.
  • My legs do not particularly feel like supporting the 38lbs. I have gained so far.
  • It's still hot and humid.
  • SP tirelessly worked on freelance stuff in the evening hours, while also having to make me dinner, wash the dishes, and keep his sanity. I am so grateful, but I worry.
  • Vomiting has become such a regular affair around here that the other night SP nonchalantly said to me, "Hey, I think you have some dry vomit on your glasses." And he was right. YUCK!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I'm too sexy for my body

Okay, I've tried to make it work, I really have. But it's come to the point where the belly just gets in the way of sex. Whoever is swingin' her partner like there ain't no tomorrow while sporting a huge twin belly is performing a great physical feat, in my opinion. And on top of the physical aspect, there is the knowledge that we really shouldn't be messing around, when my cervical length has shortened a lot lately. (Too much information, you say? Too bad, this is my blog, and you will hear about my cervix!) Let's face it, poking and prodding and/or spasming down there is just not what the doctor ordered to keep everything in tact. What is left, you say? How about a nice sensual massage or a good old fashioned make-out session or some tender caressing? I'm pregnant, not dead, people! I want to get it on! So while I really, really love this experience of being pregnant and watching my belly grow huge and would not trade it for the world, ....well, I must admit that I will enjoy getting back to normal, once the babies are outta there safe and sound. I'll be able to do the dishes without hurting my back, bend over to put on my underwear without help, and yes- DO IT!

And please do not write in and tell me that once the babies come I will never get to do it again. Just humor me, 'kay?

27 Weeks

Friday, September 16, 2005

All about the babies

As of 26 weeks and 5 days...

Baby A:
You are on the bottom and transverse. (Please consider moving to head down, when it's convenient for you. We do not really want a C-section.) You weigh 2 lbs. 5 oz, in the 50th percentile for your age. According to the doctor, quite impressive for the smaller twin. Your head is big for your body. The doctor said this is fine. It's just that you have a big head like your mother. You were moving a lot. We tried to look at your face, but you kept putting your hand up in front of it, like you were avoiding the paparazzi. Finally, we got a nice frontal face shot. You are undeniably cute, even if you do still kind of look like a martian. If I were ever going to have a martian come live with me, I would definately choose you. Keep growing, and don't let Baby B eat all of the food. Give Baby B a good upward kick in the rear if you need to in order to get your point across. (I would not normally condone sibling violence, but it's all about your growth right now, tiger, so do what you must.)

Baby B:
You are on the top and also transverse, head tilting down. You weigh 2 lbs. 10 oz., which puts you in the 75th percentile of your age. Very impressive for a twin! I hope you are not hogging all the food. Remember, be nice to Baby A! You two may have to share a room for another 9 weeks or so! (Er, actually that will continue once you get out of there too, but I see no reason to break that to you at this point.) Like Baby A, your head is quite big, which I choose to believe means you're both smart. What have you two been doing in there anyway, reading the Classics? You were moving too, but were very willing to give us a beautiful profile shot of your face. You have a great profile: a perfect nose and good chin. I think you will be a model, perhaps. Maybe you'd consider doing one of those baby food or laundry detergent ads? Well, at least think about it. Having twins doesn't come cheap, you know.

To both babies:
I love you both so much already and can't wait to meet you face-to-face. Hang in there!

A typical conversation

Setting: 11:15 PM. We're in bed, ready to go to sleep. SP's got to get up early for work tomorrow.
JB: You know that song that goes something like, "I put my hands on your hips when you dip, I dip, we dip"? They used to play it in clubs?
SP: Yeah.
JB: Well is that about... like, intercourse?
SP: What?!?
JB: Well, you know, "when you dip" would be like when you dip it in someone?
SP: No, I think it's about dancing.
JB: Are you sure? Because it seems like it should be about sex.
SP: How would that make sense? Sure I can dip something, but what are you gonna dip? It's "I dip" and "you dip."
JB: Well, what about if I had a dildo? Then I could dip. You know, like with a strap on?
SP: I really don't think they're talking about a dildo in that song.
JB: You never know.
(moment of contemplative silence)
SP: Can we go to sleep now?
JB: Yeah. Love you. (smooch)
SP: Love you too. (smooch)
JB: (tossing and turning)
JB: (sighing)
JB: (sighing louder)
SP: Okay, what?
JB: Well, you know that Beach Boys song that goes "wouldn't it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn't have to wait so long"?
SP: Uh, yeah.
JB: What are they having to wait so long for? Are they talking about sex?
SP: Yeah, I guess.
JB: I can't believe that they were talking about wanting to DO it in a Beach Boys song! I mean, don't you think of their lyrics as being more innocent than that? I don't know, I guess I'd have to read all the lyrics for that song to really know for sure.
SP: (silence)
SP: (silence)
JB: SP???
SP: (snooooooooore...)
JB: Okay, we can finish this tomorrow.
SP: (snooooooooore...)
(a couple minutes of silence)
JB: whisper: Good night. I love you.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Me and My Infertile Shadow (the remix)

So here I am 6 months pregnant with twins. I never in a million years imagined I'd be having twins. My maternal great grandmother had fraternal twins, and I hadn't realized that this increased my own chances. SP and I (SP being my husband) tried to conceive for a year and a half, during which I endurred 2 surgeries for endometriomas on my ovaries. (Endometriomas are bloody cysts caused by the condition endometriosis. I won't go into what exactly that is, because not even the medical world seems to be able to decide. Suffice to say, it can seem to get in the way of getting knocked up.) The second surgery was easy... in through the belly button and up within a week. In fact, I think I'll call it "the ole in 'n' up" from now on. Maybe it will catch on.

The first surgery was a nightmare. I didn't yet know that I had endometriosis. I was sitting in a grad class when all of a sudden I got a terrible radiating pain on my left side where I'd usually get cramps. It radiated to my back. I had to excuse myself and was in the emergency room by that night. There I was misdiagnosed, but that sent me to my own doctor 2 days later. I was on my way in to teach at the time. The doc felt my abdomen and told me to go straight to the hospital instead. He would need to perform surgery on me that very night! And not the ole in 'n' up. No, this would be a long horizontal incision that would require 6 weeks recovery in bed. Surprise!

Well, I came through both surgeries okay obviously. But the first one really got me down mentally. When I didn't get pregnant within 6 months of that first surgery, my doc became less encouraging about me getting pregnant, and I began to believe I would not. Of course, if you've been through infertility you know the old story of watching relatives and friends get pregnant when "we weren't even trying and it just happened and..." blahblahblah. To say it was hard is somehow not descriptive enough. It's its own classification of hard. I realized pretty quickly I was going downhill and started going to a therapist to figure out how to not feel like shit all the time. That truly was the main goal.

Therapy sort of helped. What I mostly discovered was that it was okay to feel bad about not getting pregnant and okay to not want to see pregnant women or people with new babies. Eureka! I guess I thought I'd discover something deeper about myself, like I was sad because of my own childhood or lack of mothering or something big like that, and THAT was the reason I was so inexplicably sad about not getting pregnant while others did. But no, the answer turned out to be I was just sad about not getting pregnant. Accepting that and feeling it for what it was really did help me cope. It didn't make the pain and frustration go away but nothing short of a baby could, and I came to understand that. Coping is an ongoing process, not a quick fix. Too bad, I like quick fixes. But on the upside, having to work through all of that brought SP and me closer, and I'm so thankful, not for the bad times but for the absolute beauty of that closeness.

So let's bring it all back to the pregancy, which is now. After the second surgery, done by a RE (reproductive specialist, for those who don't know), we discussed going on fertility drugs with the RE. We talked about drug options, possible consequences, timing, etc. I decided I needed a little time to think about these options. I was in a good place but admittedly disappointed we'd have to start drugs (though it was probably overdue at this point). I was dragging my feet and decided I'd wait another month to start drugs, since I wanted to run in a 10-mile race and the doc said that the stimulating drugs and all that bouncing up and down might be risky to my ovarian health. Well, the next month I did not get my period. And to top that off, I got my first positive pregnancy test ever. And to top THAT off, we found out we were having twins!! The RE thought for a moment that maybe we had somehow confiscated fertility drugs from her office and taken them in a dark alley. But we didn't. I guess it was genetics. And that leads me to where I am now. Real big and real happy.

It took me a while to feel a part of the Happy Pregnant Ladies Club. That bitter person still dominated, the one who watched what seemed like the world accidentally become pregnant. It's not that I didn't feel grateful or excited; it's just that I felt like it would be taken away from me because I somehow didn't belong. I wondered if They had accidentally granted me membership, neglecting to notice that I came from the wrong side of the tracks? But with a fast-growing belly and nausea and vomiting (which, at 6+ months, I still have) I soon earned my membership, accident or not. And now I wait and hope and pray that the three of us can see it through. I am on modified bedrest, so you will be hearing a lot from me. The options are watching daytime TV, knitting, or blogging, so you know where this is going.

Thanks for reading.

My First Time

This is my first entry. Gotta start somewhere. I'm going to try very hard not to try to sound witty all the time. I want this to be a place for me to say whatever's on my mind without needing to format it in sarcasm or vague musings or forced wisdom. There will, however, be humor. Humor is good.